Brandon Marshall and other stars who never tasted the playoffs

Brandon Marshall caught 31 TD passes as a member of the Bears -- but never reached the postseason there. Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

The "playoff game log" section of Brandon Marshall's stats page figures to remain untroubled.

The 34-year-old wideout, who has played in 178 regular-season games without having appeared in the playoffs during his 13-season career, was waived by the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday. Should he fail to land with a postseason contender, Marshall will remain on a hard-luck list of players across sports who never managed, or have yet to manage, to reach the playoffs:

ESPN Stats and Information assisted with research for this article.


Josh McCown, QB (Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets)

Seasons played: 16 (2002-09, 2011-18)

McCown has started 76 career games over his 16 seasons, none in the playoffs. To be fair, McCown experienced the playoffs back in 2008, when he was a backup to Jake Delhomme as a member of the Carolina Panthers. Otherwise, he has been a starter or a backup on some bad teams, including the current bad team (the Jets are 4-9) upon which he's been a starter and backup.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB (St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Seasons played: 14 (2005-18)

Jan. 3, 2016 will be a day that lives in Fitzpatrick career infamy. Starting at QB for the New York Jets that day, 'Fitzmagic' needed only to engineer a win at the Buffalo Bills in order to send the Jets to the playoffs. Instead, he threw three INTs in the fourth quarter of a 22-17 loss. The Jets finished 10-6 and out of the playoff money.

Joe Thomas, T (Cleveland Browns)

Seasons played: 11 (2007-17)

"Joe Thomas' 9,684 straight shifts in the Factory of Sadness" was the headline on ESPN's 2016 story about Thomas and his probable Hall of Fame career, spent toiling on a team that had little hope of reaching the postseason in most of his 11 seasons. His best chance probably came during Thomas' rookie season of 2007 -- the Browns went 10-6 under Romeo Crennel that year but finished on the business end of the playoff tiebreaker.

Dick Butkus, LB (Chicago Bears)

Seasons played: 9 (1965-73)

Butkus was on a couple of decent Bears teams, including his rookie-year squad of 1965 which went 9-5 under George Halas but missed the postseason in an era when it was harder to make the playoffs. The 1968 team also just missed, with a 28-27 loss to the Packers in the final week keeping Chicago out.

Floyd Little, RB (Denver Broncos)

Seasons played: 9 (1967-75)

Unlike many on this list, Little didn't even really experience a playoff near-miss -- the Hall of Famer never played on a team that won more than seven games. His closest call was the 1973 team that went into December with a shot at the AFC West but collapsed down the stretch to finish 7-5-2.

Gale Sayers, RB (Chicago Bears)

Seasons played: 7 (1965-71)

See Butkus above. "The Kansas Comet" played just four completely healthy NFL seasons, and never made the playoffs in any of them. Butkus and Sayers both stepped away relatively early in their careers due to injury, for a Bears franchise that wouldn't reach the playoffs again until 1977.


Fergie Jenkins, RHP (Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox)

Seasons played: 19 (1965-83)

Jenkins' 267 wins are the most ever by a Canadian pitcher, he made three National League All-Star teams and won a Cy Young, but was victimized by some bad luck in the playoff department. The Hall of Famer was traded from the Cubs to the reigning American League champion Boston Red Sox in 1976 -- the Sox did not make the postseason in his two seasons there, even the 1977 team that won 97 games. After starting 29 games for the 1983 Cubs at age 40, Jenkins elected to retire -- then watched as the 1984 Cubs reached the playoffs without him.

Ernie Banks, SS/1B (Chicago Cubs)

Seasons played: 19 (1953-71)

Like others on this list, Mr. Cub's ability to reach the playoffs was compromised in part by the era in which he played -- it was harder for teams to make the postseason during Banks' career. That said, the Banks-era Cubs were mostly bad. He didn't play on a winning team until his 11th year in the majors, when his 1963 team was 82-80. The 1970 team that was a game out in mid-September gave Banks his best chance -- but the Cubs would finish five games back of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL East.

Ron Santo, 3B (Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox)

Seasons played: 15 (1960-74)

See Banks above. The nine-time All-Star and Hall of Famer never got particularly close to the postseason during a mostly dismal era of Cubs baseball. The best team that both Santo and Banks played on (which also included Fergie Jenkins), the 1969 club that won 92 games under Leo Durocher, was nine games up in the NL East on Aug. 16 but lost 18 of its final 26 games and finished eight games back of the streaking Mets in the NL East.

Adam Dunn, 1B/DH (Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland Athletics)

Seasons played: 14 (2001-14)

This one might have a bit of an asterisk depending on your interpretation. Dunn was a part of the 2014 A's team that reached the AL wild card, but did not play in that game (a loss to the Royals) and thus never appeared in a postseason contest. The slugger, who hit 462 home runs and made All-Star teams with both the Reds and White Sox, had near-playoff misses with the 2008 Diamondbacks (finished two games back in the NL West) and 2012 White Sox (finished three games back in the AL Central).

Felix Hernandez, RHP (Seattle Mariners)

Seasons played: 14 (2005-18)

Hernandez has racked up 168 career wins, six All-Star appearances and a Cy Young, but has never been on a team that won 90 games. The 2016 and 2014 Mariners teams that finished just out of the wild-card money have been Hernandez's closest playoff calls.


Tom Van Arsdale, SF/SG (Detroit Pistons, Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City/Omaha Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns)

Seasons played: 12 (1966-77)

A three-time All-Star with the Royals (1970-72), Van Arsdale has the distinction of playing in the most career NBA games (929) without ever appearing in the postseason. Particularly cruel was the fate of the 1967-68 Royals, who missed the playoffs by one game at the expense of the Detroit Pistons -- who'd traded Van Arsdale to the Royals in February of that season.

DeMarcus Cousins, F (Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Golden State Warriors)

Seasons played: 8 (2011-18)

Cousins was on a playoff team with the 2017-18 Pelicans, but the season-ending Achilles' tear he suffered in January of that season negated his would-be playoff debut. Now a member of the Warriors, a healthy Cousins would seem likely to get his first taste of the postseason this spring.

Geoff Petrie, G (Portland Trail Blazers)

Seasons played: 6 (1971-76)

Petrie, the 1970-71 co-NBA Rookie of the year with Hall of Famer Dave Cowens, has the most career points per game (21.8) for a player who never appeared in a playoff game. Petrie's career was cut short by a knee injury that forced his retirement at age 28.

Clark Kellogg, F (Indiana Pacers)

Seasons played: 5 (1982-87)

Like Petrie, Kellogg's career was derailed less by talent-related matters (he averaged 18.9 points per game in his 5-year NBA career) and more by injury. Knee problems shortened the final two seasons of NBA career -- the Pacers made the playoffs in Kellogg's final season (1986-87), but Kellogg was limited to four games that season and retired the following August.


Guy Charron, C (Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, Kansas City Scouts)

Seasons played: 12 (1970-81)

Charron's 734 games without a playoff appearance are the most in NHL history -- a hard-luck circumstance for a player who suited up for two of the iconic franchises in the game's history. Heartbreaks included that of the 1972-73 Red Wings, who went a solid 37-29-1 but finished two points back of the Sabres in a strong Eastern Conference.

Jeff Skinner, C (Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres)

Seasons played: 9 (2011-19)

Skinner's eight seasons in Carolina did not come with a playoff appearance, but the 2010-11 Calder Award winner looks like a good bet to end his postseason drought this season. Skinner was traded to Buffalo from Carolina in August, and the Sabres (18-9-3) currently have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Ladislav Smid, D (Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames)

Seasons played: 9 (2007-16)

Smid played in 583 career games without appearing in the postseason -- he was a member of the 2014-15 Flames team that reached the playoffs, but was sidelined by a neck injury that helped derail his NHL career. The former first-round draft choice currently plays in the Czech Republic.