On this date in 1976, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs to go 0-9 on the season.
In honor of the Bucs, today we discuss Loveable Losers, the worst single-season teams in North American sports history.
The 1962 New York Mets set a record for futility, losing an all-time worst 120 games. The 1943 Chicago Cardinals did not win a single game. The following year, the undermanned Redbirds merged with the Pittsburgh Steelers in order to drum up enough players to field a team. The new group went winless as well. The Charlotte Bobcats won only seven out of 66 games in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1976. The Bucs were anemic in their inaugural season in the NFL. They were shut out five times, including three of their first five games, and didn’t score a touchdown until Week 4. Tampa was last in the league in offense [125 points scored] and second-to-last in defense [412 points allowed]. Their average margin of defeat was 20.5 points. Sporting the then-bad, now fantastic Creamsicle uniforms, the Bucs went 0-12 to start their second season, racking up an NFL-record 26 straight losses before winning a single game.
Philadelphia A’s: 1916. Connie Mack managed the A’s to nine pennants and five World Series titles in his 50 seasons as skipper. But the 1916 team was his worst. In fact, the 1916 A’s are the worst team in American League history. Philly went 36-177, including a road record of 13-64. Their .235 winning percentage is the worst on the post-1900 era, and the A’s finished 54 ½ games behind the AL champion Boston Red Sox. How bad were the Athletics? They finished in eighth place – 40 games behind the seventh-place Washington Senators.
Washington Capitals, 1974-75. Along with the Kansas City Scouts, the Capitals joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1974. While K.C. was bad [15-54-11] the Caps were worse, finishing 8-67-5 to amass the worst record in league history. Their 21 points were half that of the Scouts and their .131 winning percentage is the lowest ever. Washington lost 67 of 80 games and were victorious on the road only once. Not surprisingly, the NHL’s decision to expand for the 1974 season was considered a debacle.
Detroit Lions: 2008. The Lions are one of the most woeful organizations in the NFL, but this group was their worst ever. Detroit grabbed the lead in five of their games but couldn’t hang on, giving up a total of 119 fourth-quarter points. The 2008 Lions are the first team in NFL history to lose every game of a 16-game season. They used five quarterbacks that season: the quintet threw a total of 19 interceptions while being sacked 52 times.
Prairie View A&M University: 1991-92. The basketball team went 0-28. They lost 115-55 to Central Michigan, 110-49 to UAB, and 120-54 to Tulane. The Panthers averaged 64.5 points per game while allowing 99, and had zero games decided by fewer than ten points. Sadly, the football team also went winless. The 0-11 Panther gridders scored only 48 points all season, with nearly half coming in a 56 20 loss to Southern in the season finale. PVAMU gave up a whopping 617 points in the first of seven straight winless seasons.
Boston Braves: 1935. Owner Emil Fuchs hired Babe Ruth as VP and assistant manager for the 1935 season, promising him a share of the profits. Even the Bambino couldn’t help this bunch, as the Braves went 38-115 [.248], worst in NL history. Boston enjoyed an Opening Day win over the New York Giants. By April 26, they’d sunk to last, where they would remain while finishing 61 ½ games back of the NL champion Chicago Cubs.
Philadelphia 76ers: 1972-73. Just six seasons after winning an NBA-record 68 games while establishing the best winning percentage of all time, the Sixers finished with the worst record in league history, at 9-73. The Sixers lost their first 15 games of the season and later went on a then-record 20 game losing streak to get to 4-58. At one point, Philly lost 34 of 35, then finished an NBA-record 59 games behind the Atlantic Division champion Boston Celtics. Dubbed the Nine and 73ers, Philadelphia set a new league low-water mark with a .110 winning percentage.
Cleveland Browns: 2017. The beleaguered Browns became just the second team in NFL history to go 0-16 [see: 2008 Motor City Kitties]. Cleveland lost two games in overtime and three more by a field goal, but the NFL ain’t horseshoes or hand grenades. In 15 games, quarterback DeShone Kizer amassed a quarterback rating of 29.7. His backup, Kevin Hogan, put up a QBR of 42.3. The Brownies offense was worst in the league and their D ranked 31st out of 32 teams. Cleveland came off its bye week and surrendered 38 points to the 4-and-4 Detroit Lions, while Hue Jackson went 3-36-1 in his three seasons along the banks of Lake Erie, compiling a winning percentage of .088, the worst of any head coach in NFL history.
Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks: 1992-93. The Senators were in their inaugural NHL season, while the Sharks were in their second. Neither team was any good, collecting only 24 points on the year. Despite winning their first game of the season, the Sens would win only nine more to go 10-70-4. They were especially woeful on the road, winning only one of 42 games away from the Ottawa Civic Centre. The worst team in franchise history gave up nearly twice as many goals as it scored. The Sharks had no bite, going 11-71 2 to set an NHL record for most losses in a season. They also set a futility mark with 17 losses in a row, also a league record.
Philadelphia 76ers: 2015-16. Only a late-season win over the hapless New Orleans Pelicans kept this Sixers squad from matching the all-time worst record established by their brethren 43 years earlier. With Joel “The Process” Embiid, the third overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft, on the bench for the second straight season due to injury, the Sixers were putrid. They set a record for the longest losing streak [28 games] in American professional sports history and finished 10-72 [.122]. Between 2013 and 2016, Philly became only the second franchise — after the Vancouver Grizzlies — to win fewer than 20 games over three seasons.
Detroit Tigers, 2003: The 2000s were a tough decade for MoTown sports teams. The Tigers went 43-119 [.265], nearly tying the 1962 Mets for most losses  in an MLB season. Detroit lost nine straight to open the season and 17 of its first 18. The Tigers were ten games back by the 12th game of the season and 26 back by the All-Star break. Detroit’s pitching staff ranked last in the league in wins, saves and strikeouts while the offense finished last in runs, hits, batting average and OBP. To top it off, these Motor City Kitties were caught stealing and struck out more than any team in the AL.
Denver Nuggets, 1997-98. While the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks posted an equally-woeful 11-71 record, the Nuggets were worse. After 40 games, Denver was 2-38 [.050] and later lost 16 straight. The Nuggs were the second-worst offensive team in the league and had only one player appear in the top ten in the NBA in any category – forward Danny Fortson was second in fouls committed. After only one season at the helm, Coach Bill Hanzlik was mercifully fired.
On this date in 1976, the Buccaneers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 28-19, at Tampa Stadium. Despite scoring 19 fourth-quarter points, the Bucs suffered their ninth straight defeat in a season that would see them go winless.