Notable 4-0 starts

Notable 4-0 starts

Postby 74_75_78_79_ » Thu May 19, 2022 8:04 pm

Of course to qualify for this very thread, the team mentioned had to have, then, not won their fifth game of the season!

Three easily come to mind with me! And practically all at once! I have mentioned them already here if not at least twice, then at the very least just once. Here they are, and in-chrono...

'75 BILLS - Wallop the Jets at home in the opener, 42-14! And then in Wk#2...beat defending-Champ/repeater-to-be, Pittsburgh, and AT Three Rivers by a 30-21 score (Steelers forging two TDs in the 4th to make it that very final score!! Yes, quite a lopsided win in reality! And against...yeah! And at...yeah! And then the following week, back at Rich, they handily beat not only a Ralston Broncos team, 38-14, that's been respectable as of late, but a team that was also 2-0 going in!

Week #4 they 'calm' down by beating a Colts team (ready to soon explode) in Baltimore by 'just' 7 points, but it wasn't the offense that 'calmed' down! The 'Electric Company' scored yet another 38! Some on this site who were around during this say that they weren’t exactly punching-in their SB ticket. Still a fantastic start, just the same!

Getting upset at home on MNF to a bad Giants team stopped the streak and basically signalled no Super Bowl season to say the least. Perhaps a "high-wire" stunt may have jinxed things! Reading an artcile about this very recently on another site by an author of a recent NFL '70s book which I very regrettably still haven't ordered yet alone still haven't read yet ("come on! get on the ball!”) actually inspired this very thread in the first place!

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'89 BEARS - No more Jim McMahon? No more Ed Hughes (nor #34 - now two years removed)? No problem! Or at least it still seemed in the first quarter of the 1980's final NFL offering! First, at Soldier, they beat the defending-AFC-champs, Cincy, who still had Ickey if only for one more week (he did score a TD that game)! Final score, 17-14. And then they get revenge for getting swept the year before by blasting Burnsie & Sarge Rock's #1 defense Vikings by a 38-7 final score!

They beat Lions at Pontiac pretty lopsided as they should have (#20 & Fontes taking their first baby steps together). And then on MNF, Week #4, they convincing-enough beat an Eagles team at home who was playoff-again-bound and looking like a Super Bowl team going into the 4th quarter one week prior at the Vet against...You-Know-Who! A very 'Super Bowl Shuffle - Part 2'-looing start! But Vinny Testaverde and his 42-burger the following week had other ideas (and then Glanville had his own back at Soldier the following week) and that was, sadly, pretty much, that!

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'92 EAGLES - 'Year Two' after Buddy? Not seeming to be a problem either! As very respectable Keith Byars was that admirable "real" football player/Swiss army knife, to now aquire an at least apparent MAIN-purpose back in Herschel...things HAD to look up! Very sadly, though, there was no more Jerome Brown! Yet Eagles beat NO at the Vet to open things up, 15-13 (I attended the game; sadly we arrived late for the pre-game ceremonies in honor of #99)!

They whip Cards pretty good in the desert which wasn't all too drab an accomplishment being that Bugel had quite his moments vs an otherwise playoff-caliber Philly team! Then in Week #3 they utterly, sickly, suffocate Elway! Final score, 30-0! And, mind you, Denver was still en route to 5-2 and 7-3! So no small achievement at all!

Both Eagles and the up-and-coming Jimmy's Boys, who were also 3-0, got to enjoy themselves a bye week before then rolling up their sleeves and squaring off on that Monday Night SHOWDOWN, Week #5!! Jimmy finally beat Eagles late the season prior - and at the Vet! So they should show they turned even more a corner, right? WRONG! Birds utterly destroy Dallas, 31-7!

Or was it also a case of Dallas destroying themselves? Upon further inspection, it seemed Jimmy nor the rest of his players were really disraught nor panicking over this apparent fiasco that placed Cunningham and the Eagles on the SI cover - basically proclamining them Super Champs-to-be! JJ having the swagger and confidence, and he being quite the psychiatrist, he seemed to write it off as simply a "bad game". No need for it to have been a 'statement' game. Just a regular season game, etc.

Well, what seemed to serve as the final 'breath' of the Buddy era in Philly although he, himself, was now two years gone, seemed to ultimately serve as the very last 'growing pain' en route to..."How about them Cowboys??" After coming back hard against Seattle the following week, instead of being "hungover", Dallas simply was the very BEST from then on! Not a single cloud left in the sky at all!

Eagles would go on to lose two in a row at both Arrowhead and RFK. Both close losses on the scoreboard, but each being otherwise realistically. And despite a phenomenal goal-line-stand the following week at the Vet (or maybe more-so a case of Bugel's "tough guy" ego, just calling between-tackles plays), it still resulted in a paltry 7-3 win in a rematch vs the Cards! When Big D took care of the Birds in their second game against each other the following week, and they now being 7-1, that had to tell you how things were now going to be from there!

Yes, at least Eagles - unlike the other two mentioned here - made the playoffs. And they also won a playoff game albeit vs a team who also struggled at doing so (SOMEONE had to win it)! But then the following week in the divisionals...the distance between both got even further! And, honestly, depite Eagles finally getting in the win-column playoffs-wise, I was not thinking at all that they'd beat Dallas! Not even close. 'Gang Green' was now over!


So any other 4-0 (not winning their next game) starts you can think of? Some maybe even better than these or at least close-enough? Yes, '79 defending-Champ/repeater-to-be, Steelers, a nice mention! Beat a one-game-removed-from-Fairbanks Pats team in OT at the Schaef on MNF! Then they blast the Oilers at home, 38-7. Two close wins vs subpar competition the next two games, but they were the defending-Champs! They'd win-it-again! No one was at all really mistakening them for suddenly falling off. Vermiel did well for he and Philly Pride in Week #5 though!
Last edited by 74_75_78_79_ on Sun May 22, 2022 7:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby 7DnBrnc53 » Thu May 19, 2022 11:11 pm

The 1986 Falcons may have been one of (if not the) worst teams to ever start 4-0. They only had two Pro Bowlers (Gerald Riggs and Bill Fralic), and they had David Archer as their starting QB. They took advantage of a weak schedule in September (with no playoff teams), beating the Saints, Cardinals, Cowboys, and Buccaneers.

However, in Week 5, they ran into the Eagles and Buddy Ball, and they lost 16-0. David Archer was sacked seven times in the defeat, and the Falcons lost three turnovers.

To their credit, they beat the playoff-bound Rams and tied the eventual NFC West Champ 49ers to start 5-1-1, but they only won two more games the rest of the year to finish 7-8-1. They wouldn't get that close to .500 or better until 1991 and the 2 Legit to Quit team.
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby Hail Casares » Fri May 20, 2022 3:15 pm

The 1989 Bears were decimated by injuries on the defensive side of the ball. IIRC only 2 or 3 players started all 16 games for the Bears defense and by week 5 vs Cleveland the Bears were using 1987 strike level players on the DL.
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby Some Guy From Mars » Fri May 20, 2022 9:06 pm

How about the 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers? No, did not face the highest level of competition in defeating Detroit (6-7-1), Cleveland (7-5-2), Houston (1-13) and San Diego (2-11-1) to start the season but did outscore the opposition 131-44. Came to earth the following week in losing to eventual Central Division winners Cincinnati 7-19, a game in which the Steelers managed only 6 first downs.

Like to think the team showed its true worth over the subsequent four games in that after defeating a mediocre Jets squad, got revenge at home against the Bengals (20-13) before topping a ten win Redskins team (21-16) and Raiders at nine wins (17-9). A three game slide ensued with losses to Denver, Cleveland and eventual Super Bowl champion Dolphins (no shame in that) only to close the regular season strongly in overcoming Houston and San Francisco.

Over matched in the Divisional round against a revenge minded Raiders squad.
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby Terry Baldshaw » Sat May 21, 2022 3:40 pm

Some Guy From Mars wrote:How about the 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers? No, did not face the highest level of competition in defeating Detroit (6-7-1), Cleveland (7-5-2), Houston (1-13) and San Diego (2-11-1) to start the season but did outscore the opposition 131-44. Came to earth the following week in losing to eventual Central Division winners Cincinnati 7-19, a game in which the Steelers managed only 6 first downs.

Like to think the team showed its true worth over the subsequent four games in that after defeating a mediocre Jets squad, got revenge at home against the Bengals (20-13) before topping a ten win Redskins team (21-16) and Raiders at nine wins (17-9). A three game slide ensued with losses to Denver, Cleveland and eventual Super Bowl champion Dolphins (no shame in that) only to close the regular season strongly in overcoming Houston and San Francisco.

Over matched in the Divisional round against a revenge minded Raiders squad.


I attended that San Diego game. The Steelers led 38-0 at halftime. Noll pulled most of his starters for the remainder of the game and later insisted it hurt his team in the long run. This game featured three future Hall of Famers playing quarterback: Unitas and Fouts for San Diego and Bradshaw for Pittsburgh.
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby Some Guy From Mars » Mon May 23, 2022 8:03 pm

What about the 1966 Green Bay Packers? After opening the season with four straight wins, lost by a point to San Francisco before pummeling its next three opponents by a combined score of 104-10 (sounds like the type of numbers the 76 Steelers would put up). Subsequent to a three point loss to Minnesota, went undefeated the rest of the way, including the Super Bowl I victory against the Chiefs.

Give the Packers credit in that they did not exactly face 'tomato cans' in the process,in that within the Division it played twice against Baltimore (9-5) and Los Angeles (8-6) while also facing Cleveland (9-5). Defense remained impregnable: giving up just 163 points while intercepting 28 passes and recording 47 QB sacks. Yes, the running game production might have taken a step down compared to previous years, but Bar Starr had an incredible season, completing over 60% of his passes for 14 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.

In coming within only 4 points of an undefeated season, I see the 66 Packers being potentially competitive with any team from its era.
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby Teo » Mon May 23, 2022 10:36 pm

1980 Detroit Lions. After only winning 2 games in 1979, with rookie Billy Sims they surprised the entire NFL by beating the defending NFC champion Rams, then beat the Packers, Cardinals and Vikings in the next three weeks. Then they lost to the Falcons 43-28. The loss on Thanksgiving in the opening kickoff against Chicago proved costly, as Minnesota eventually won the NFC Central by tiebreaker.
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby 74_75_78_79_ » Wed May 25, 2022 4:02 pm

As I was bringing up those ’92 Eagles OP, I should have immediately went to the following year when they also started 4-0 before losing their first. The ‘highlight’ of this start was they winning at Green Bay (Reggie White) second game. The fourth win was that memorable comeback against the Jets! However, no playoffs in '93! From there, they fell all the way down to 8-8!

What made it easy to forget was that, despite just a year removed, both ’92 & ’93 Philly installments seem years apart being just how different both squads were; and not just the no-more-Reggie and Cunningham going down again to injury. Of all players, Bubby Brister and, later, the Fridge came aboard! A very different identity this team now had. 1993, to me, was the first true Rich Kotite Eagles team - no more Buddy Ryan leftoverture.

However, Philly seemed to put that dismall 4-8 finish behind and started the '94 season on a bright 7-2 note! 40-8 at Candlestick, of course, was the highlight of that! But then the bottom fell all-out. To think, after that very 7-2 start, Rich went 4-35 from there until he was not only done coaching in the NFL, but never coached again-period.

Even the likes of Rod Marinelli and Hugh Jackson continued on coaching at least at some level!
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby Todd Pence » Fri May 27, 2022 12:57 pm

The 1979 Browns started 4-0, capped by a Monday Night upset of the Cowboys. However, they lost the next three, including two to their division rivals Houston and Pittsburgh. The Browns wound up 9-7 and out of the playoffs. The Steelers themselves, as mentioned earlier in this thread, also started 4-0 in '79 only to lose their fifth game, as did the Dolphins.
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Re: Notable 4-0 starts

Postby 74_75_78_79_ » Fri May 27, 2022 6:51 pm

Todd Pence wrote:The 1979 Browns started 4-0, capped by a Monday Night upset of the Cowboys. However, they lost the next three, including two to their division rivals Houston and Pittsburgh. The Browns wound up 9-7 and out of the playoffs. The Steelers themselves, as mentioned earlier in this thread, also started 4-0 in '79 only to lose their fifth game, as did the Dolphins.


I still wonder, had Cleveland beat Cincy in the finale, if it would have been they instead of Denver making that final wild card spot? Both would have been 10-6 with a 7-5 conference record. And both did not play against each other. Yes, Dolphins also started 4-0 only to lose their next game as Browns & Steelers did. McKay's Buccaneers, however, didn't lose their fifth game thus they (now at 5-0) actually being the last unbeaten team of 1979!

How about the 1992 Bills? With the highlight of their 4-0 start being the famous 'No Punt Game', the three other wins had them outscore their opponents by a combined 119-14!! But then in Week #5, they actually get waffled by Miami, 37-10, and AT RICH mind you! As for '92, a simple 11-5 wild card team that fell into the playoffs losing three of their last five. But two stretches of sheer dominance in that campaign, perhaps more dominant than anything from heralded 1990. In addition to that 4-0 start mentioned, they outcored opponents 98-16 starting with 'The Comeback' and ending with the Tasker-assisted 7-0 lead over Big D in the Super Bowl.

Buffalo did win their first four games in '91 as well, but they also won their fifth.
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