Remembering the 0-14 Buccaneers of 1976

Manny Rubio/USA TODAY Sports

Today (Dec. 12) marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers completing their infamous 0-14 debut season with a 31-14 home loss to the New England Patriots.

They were the first team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to complete a winless season. They went on to lose an NFL-record 26 consecutive games before their first win against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 11, 1977.

Here’s a look at that 1976 team by the numbers.

0 -- The 1976 Buccaneers were shut out five times, including in their season opener and their home opener. The five shutouts are the second-most by any team since the merger, only behind the 1977 Buccaneers, which were shut out six times.

8 -- The Buccaneers lost eight games by at least 20 points, tied for the most by any team in a single season since the merger. Since 1976, the only teams to suffer that many 20-point losses are the 2000 Cleveland Browns and the 1981 Baltimore Colts.

-20.5 -- The Buccaneers were outscored by 287 points in 1976, an average of 20.5 points per game. The point differential was the worst by any team since the merger, and they are the only team in that span to be outscored by at least 20 points per game.

3 -- The Buccaneers played only three games that were decided by seven points or fewer. Their closest losses were by three points against both the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6 (13-10) and the Miami Dolphins in Week 7 (23-20).

20 -- Tampa Bay never scored more than 20 points in a game, and it was held under 20 points in 13 of their 14 games. The only team since the 1976 Buccaneers to be held to 20 points or fewer in every game in a non-strike-shortened season was the 1992 Seahawks, which finished 2-14.

8.9 -- The Buccaneers averaged 8.9 points per game, third-fewest in a single season since the merger. The fewest points per game since the merger was 7.4 by the 1977 Buccaneers.

12 -- Former Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier started 12 of 14 games for the 1976 Buccaneers, throwing 7 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.

1976 Buccaneers vs. 2016 Browns

Forty years later, the 2016 Browns are 0-13. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Browns have a 56 percent chance to finish 0-16. Since that 1976 Buccaneers squad, the only team to finish a non-strike-shortened season with a winless record was the 2008 Detroit Lions.

However, the Browns’ woes pale in comparison to the Buccaneers. Cleveland averages seven more points per game, and has been outscored by 7.5 fewer points per game than Tampa Bay was. The Browns also have suffered only three losses by at least 20 points, compared to eight for that Buccaneers team.