The Cincinnati Bengals pulled off an impressive turnaround, going from a lousy 4-11-1 record in 2020 to making the Super Bowl the following season. QB Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase are one of the most explosive offensive duos in the NFL, while defensive ends Trey Hendricks and Sam Hubbard have elevated Cincinnati’s defense.
Although this type of turnaround is rare, it is not unheard of. In fact, the Bengals are the 24th team in NFL history to have a .500 or worse record and then make it to the Super Bowl next season.
To determine the teams with the worst record the year before the Super Bowl, 24/7 Tempo looked at all franchises’ records the year before the Super Bowl using data from Pro Football Reference.
Many teams on this list have several common traits – often the head coach is in their second or third year. New coaches usually arrive on losing teams and need a few seasons to fully implement their offensive or defensive system. Other teams have benefited from new players, whether by signing a young QB superstar like Joe Burrow or adding quality players through free agency.
Many of the teams on this list never had success before reaching the Super Bowl, but are now remembered as dynasties. These kinds of turnarounds can happen quickly and should give hope to fans of downtrodden franchises that they, too, can go from laughing stock to lifting the Lombardi Trophy in just a few seasons. These are the teams that have never won the Super Bowl.
Click here to see the teams with the worst record of the year before making the Super Bowl