Since the NFL went to a 12-team postseason format in 1990, only one of 92 teams that started 1-5 made the playoffs.
It just so happens that one team was the Kansas City Chiefs last season, pulling it off by winning their final 10 regular-season games. The Chiefs then beat Houston, which overcame a 1-4 start to make the playoffs, in a wildcard game before falling to New England in the divisional round.
As the Carolina Panthers try to climb out of a 1-5 hole and beat the odds, head coach Ron Rivera is looking to the Chiefs as inspiration.
“We’ve got an opportunity to do something that was done last year. A team started 1-5 and came back and put themselves in position,” Rivera said Tuesday. “That’s what we’re working toward is to put ourselves in position and we’ll see what happens.”
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Rivera worked for Chiefs coach Andy Reid for five seasons in Philadelphia. Rivera said he thought about reaching out to Reid, but decided against it because the Panthers and Chiefs play in a few weeks.
“But knowing (Reid) and trying to figure out what he did, I think I’ve got a little bit of a handle on it,” Rivera said. “They were an intriguing team last year and once (Reid) got the ship righted they got it going.”
The Panthers are off until Oct. 30, when they host Arizona in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game.
Regardless of what the Chiefs did last season, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis says he hasn’t lost faith.
“Whether it’s been done or not, we believe in each other and this team. And we feel like we can do it,” Davis said. “But it’s all about winning one game. We’ve got to win the next game that we play and really just start from there.”
Rivera encouraged players to get away during their five-day break, and return to the stadium Monday with a clean slate.
Rivera said he and his wife, Stephanie, were going to enjoy a “staycation.” Davis is planning to watch his sons’ youth football games.