There have been a number of defending Super Bowl champions that went on to miss the playoffs the next year. Several of those teams even finished with a record that was below .500. But when it comes to the worst of the worst defending Super Bowl champions, the Rams are going to finish this season as the worst ever.
Making their badness even worse is that they returned almost everyone from their championship season. This was a team that was supposed to compete for another title, unlike the below .500 Green Bay Packers of 1968, who, after winning Super Bowls I and II, had a new head coach in place of Vince Lombardi.
The 1987 New York Giants were the defending champions, and they set a record for the worst start ever for the current holder of the Lombardi Trophy at 0-5. But it was another strike-shortened season, and one with replacement players, so it’s hard to count that against the Giants.
The Broncos were just 6-10 following their win in Super Bowl XXXIII, but John Elway retired that year, and he was replaced by Brian Griese, so we don’t really hold that against Denver either.
Which is why the Rams are the worst champion ever.
Final Record Will Be the Worst Ever
That 6-10 record for the Broncos in 1999 and their last-place finish in the AFC West is the worst record ever for a defending champion, but the Rams are going to finish even worse this season.
The Rams are 3-6 on the season, which is already a worse winning percentage than the ‘99 Broncos. And just look ahead to their schedule.
Using the Quality Stats Power Rankings tabulated by Cold, Hard Football Facts, the only teams worse than the Rams right now are the Panthers, Colts, Steelers, and Texans. That means that every game still on the Rams schedule is against a better team, and in some cases a significantly better team.
They play Kansas City, which ranks fourth. L.A. still have two games with Seattle, who rank ninth. And even the statistically bad teams on the Rams remaining schedule, like the Packers, Chargers, and Broncos, all rank higher than the defending champions.
The Rams entered the season with Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, and they still had offensive genius Sean McVay as their head coach. But in the stat Scoreability, which Cold, Hard Football Facts uses to measure the efficiency of an offense at putting points on the board, the Rams rank 25th in the NFL, behind the Jaguars and Commanders.
And that was before Cooper Kupp was just placed on injured reserve for an ankle surgery that will keep him out for five to six weeks. He may be able to return by late December, but what difference will it make?
Even the 1981 Raiders, who set an NFL record with three consecutive shutouts as a defending champion, finished the year averaging 17 points per game. The Rams right now are scoring just 16 points per game, and it’s going to get even worse.
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