Four proud NFL franchises with 22 Super Bowl appearances between them have plummeted from .500 or better last season to 0-3 in 2013. The New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers have issues, to say the least. They've been outscored by a combined 287-177 and the four teams they lost to Sunday went 26-38 last season and all missed the playoffs.
Sunday was peppered with the wrong kinds of signature moments for these teams. Giants running back David Wilson executed a back flip while celebrating a touchdown that did not count. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier challenged a play that could not be challenged, then failed to object when referee Bill Leavy administered the incorrect punishment. The Redskins' Robert Griffin III finally trusted his knee enough to step into a deep pass, only to have his receiver, Aldrick Robinson, lose control of the ball as he landed in the end zone. The Steelers trailed by 17 points after one quarter, a first for them at home since 1999.
The bigger picture looks no better. Only three teams since 1990 have gone from 0-3 to the playoffs. That's three teams out of 115, just 2.6 percent, so the odds against these newest 0-3 teams are long. But most of those previous 0-3 teams did not have Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Griffin or similarly talented quarterbacks. And most of them were not good enough to have finished .500 or better in the previous season.
We're left to ask how these four teams got to 0-3 and which ones, if any, can recover to make the postseason.