Three of Football Outsiders' 10 most disappointing teams of the last quarter-century call the NFC West home today.
None ranks lower than seventh on the list, which is available to Insider subscribers.
The 2002 St. Louis Rams (second), 1999 San Francisco 49ers (third) and 2006 Seattle Seahawks (seventh) made the cut. The piece details what went wrong for each team, from Kurt Warner's injury problems to Steve Young's career-ending concussion to Steve Hutchinson's departure as a transition player.
Three more teams I'd nominate for consideration:
2010 Arizona Cardinals. Expectations fell off when Warner decided he would rather forfeit millions than return for a shot at a third consecutive NFC West title. At that point, however, few could have imagined how far the Cardinals would fall. They went 5-11 and shuttled through no-name quarterbacks despite facing what should have been a breeze of a schedule.
1990 Los Angeles Rams. They were coming off an 11-5 season in 1989 and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game, only to finish 5-11. The team traded workhorse running back Greg Bell, who had complained about his salary following two highly productive seasons. Bell never did much with the crosstown Raiders, but his prediction that his new team would enjoy a stronger season came true. While the Raiders were on their way to a 12-4 record in 1990, the Rams' five victories were their fewest in a non-strike season since 1965.
1992 Seahawks. This wasn't supposed to be a playoff-caliber team, but neither was it fathomable to think Seattle would score only 140 points all season, down from 276 the previous year. Think the Seahawks could have used Dave Krieg? Krieg left Seattle following the 1991 season, then went 10-6 as a starter for Kansas City in 1992. Krieg had a losing record as a starter only twice in 12 seasons with the Seahawks, and one of those was 0-2 during the 1982 strike year.
Any other seasons qualify for inclusion? The 49ers' 2-14 season under Dennis Erickson was one that came to mind.
The inclusion of the 1999 49ers on the Football Outsiders lists affirms that Young's career-ending concussion should have appeared on the multiple-choice Flash Points ballot, probably at the expense of R.C. Owens' alley-oop reception against Detroit in 1957.