Five Times the Favorite for the Lombardi Had A Disastrous Regular Season

Aron Wright - August 22, 2023

The NFL is full of surprises, however, one of the most predictable events is the performance of the preseason favorites. Sometimes though, being the team that everyone expects to go all the way can bring added pressure. And sometimes that pressure leads to disaster.

The Kansas City Chiefs will be hoping to avoid that fate this term. Heading into the new season, the NFL odds make the reigning champions the +675 favorites to become the first team in almost two decades to lift back-to-back Lombardis. Spurred on by the brilliance of Patrick Mahomes, the Missouri-based outfit overturned a ten-point half-time deficit at Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles and secure a second championship in five seasons.

This year, however, there are plenty of teams aiming to topple football’s newest dynasty. Jalen Hurts and his vanquished Eagles as well as their NFC rival San Francisco 49ers both have the Chiefs in their sights. Over in the AFC, two heavyweights have developed in recent years in the form of the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills. Both of those outfits have potential MVP winning quarterbacks, with the former having Heisman winner Joe Burrow and the latter boasting Josh Allen, and they will be aiming to defeat the Chiefs en route to a conference title and a Super Bowl appearance it comes with.

If you are a Chiefs fan, or perhaps Mahomes himself, then you might not want to read on. In this article, we will take a look at five teams that were favored to win the Lombardi Trophy before the start of the regular season but instead experienced a disastrous campaign. With high expectations that lead to epic failures, these teams provide us with a stark reminder that anything can happen at football’s highest level.

2011 Philadelphia Eagles

The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles were the dream team that never was. Vince Young famously labeled gave them that moniker before the season got underway, and the tagline stuck. The Lincoln Financial Field side had just acquired high-profile names like Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, and Cullen Jenkins.

With Michael Vick leading on offense, they looked poised for greatness. However, they stumbled out of the gates, losing four of their first five games, and the rest of the season followed suit. Their entire campaign was plagued by poor play calls, inconsistency, and turnovers, resulting in them finishing the regular season with a record of eight wins and eight losses, missing out on the playoffs altogether.

2012 New Orleans Saints

After winning the Super Bowl in 2010 and losing in the playoffs the following year, the New Orleans Saints were heavily favored to do well in 2012. However, due to the Bountygate scandal, the team was faced with the suspension of head coach Sean Payton. They would go on to lose five of their first eight games, effectively ending their season before it even began, and even though they won their final four games, the team finished seven and nine, without a spot in the postseason extravaganza.

2015 Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts were coming off back-to-back AFC South championships and a trip to the Conference Championship game in 2014. Andrew Luck was widely regarded as a top-tier quarterback and the addition of veteran running back Frank Gore as well as wide receiver Andre Johnson bolstered their offense. However, Luck suffered a shoulder injury early in the season, and the team struggled without their lynchpin. They finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

2016 Carolina Panthers

The 2015 Carolina Panthers had a historic season, going 15-1 and making it to the Super Bowl. Super Cam Newton was named the league’s MVP, and his team was favorites to go one better the following year. However, they started the season 1-5 and never recovered. Newton was a shadow of the player from the previous campaign, struggling with turnovers as well as a defense that was nowhere near as dominant as they were the previous season. The Panthers finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs.

2019 Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns were one of the most hyped teams in recent memory before the start of the 2019 season. With Baker Mayfield leading the way at quarterback and the acquisition of iconic wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Ohio-based side were destined for greatness. However, the team only managed to win six games throughout the entirety of the campaign, only managing to finish third in the AFC North. Coaching and chemistry issues plagued the team all season, and they never lived up to their preseason hype.


In the NFL, nothing is guaranteed, and the preseason favorites are not immune to failure. The five teams we discussed in this article were all heavily favored to win the Lombardi Trophy before the start of their respective seasons but instead experienced disastrous results. These teams remind us that predicting success in the NFL is an arduous task, and sometimes, teams fall short of expectations.