We’re excited here at the MMQB for the stretch run of the NFL season. By pretty much all accounts, it’s been a fun year. The stars have mostly stayed healthy, some new players have arrived on the scene or broken out into new levels of stardom. Even TV ratings are up, which we wouldn’t have imagined a year ago.
But let’s be honest: The final few weeks will also feature their share of meaningless games between bad teams. The bad teams at least have something to hold their interest though (check out our latest mock draft). The one sin worse than being bad is being boring. And on this Friday afternoon we asked our staffers to make their pick for the most boring team in the NFL.
Here are the three most interesting things that have happened to the Lions all season long: They beat the Patriots in Week 3 on national TV, they dealt Golden Tate at the trade deadline and the head coach strangely verbally accosted a reporter for his posture. That's it. At 4-7, they're in last place in the NFC North and don't have a household name on the roster outside of the quarterback, who's playing poorly this year. —Jonathan Jones
Why would anybody watch, much less pay, to see an Oakland Raiders game? Even when they've been bad over the last five seasons, they've had nice things to look at. Without Khalil Mack rushing the passer, and to a lesser degree, a promising young talent in Amari Cooper catching passes, what's the point? They're in tank mode, and the individuals who remain aren't fighting very hard to convince anyone otherwise. —Robert Klemko
It has to be the Dolphins. I was trying to think of the last time Miami played in a big, important game that I was excited to watch, and I remembered that Matt Moore started their last playoff game. That was in January 2017, the team’s only postseason game since 2008. (They lost 30-12.) The entire Ryan Tannehill era has just been an extended run of mediocrity—low expectations and forgettable teams, without bottoming out enough to give us a great controversy or memorable disaster. Over the last decade or so, some teams have spent time as lovable losers (Bills), others have been flaming car wrecks we can’t look away from (Browns, Raiders), others tortured their fan base more regularly (Bengals) or in more creative ways (Vikings), but no franchise has simply plodded along quite like the Dolphins. —Mitch Goldich
It’s odd to say about the sexiest city in the NFL, but Miami has the most boring team in the league. The most interesting players are (1) Brock Osweiler, having “won” the business of football from the Texans and Browns and (2) the ageless Frank Gore. This is not to say the Dolphins are a bad team or poorly coached. Rather, there is simply nothing particularly interesting about them. They have a boring coach and a boring quarterback (Tannehill) who is injured a lot. They seem to always be a team—albeit with some success—that’s a year away from being a year away. —Andrew Brandt
At this very moment, the Dolphins are the most boring team because they run the ball on third-and-10 in the final moments of a tie game. However, if we're going to stop living in the past and look into the world of tomorrow, the most boring team from this point on will be the Jacksonville Jaguars. Whatever you think of Blake Bortles (you don't think very much of Blake Bortles), he had the occasional dizzying high. But you can't replace the excitement of his terrifying lows. Like how every once in a while he'd just kind of forget he was carrying a football and fumble it away. Or the exaggerated wind-up delivery inspired by every sports episode of Bugs Bunny. He truly was the clown prince of football. Now he's replaced by Cody Kessler, which feels a little like that time they started Trent Edwards a couple years ago. And I don't think any of us will ever forget what happened that day. Then there's Jalen Ramsey, whose offseason Tour of Taeks was interesting for literally, minutes, before devolving into something resembling classic Madden commentary AI ("[insert player name] is trash! [insert player name] is overrated! [insert player name] was a terrible pick!"). And, while there was some enjoyment in watching Ramsey masticate (that's a word I learned from Dick Enberg) crow, he now seems content to speak in boring platitudes, drifting listlessly through his days. Just like the rest of us. —Gary Gramling
I'm choosing to interpret this question as not necessarily the most boring to team watch this entire season, but as the most collectively boring team in recent memory. That’s the Bengals. It's not news that the Bengals are known for being consistently mediocre. After a hot 4-1 start this year, it seemed like they might finally be breaking the boring cycle, but it was all a mirage. Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson are back together, Andy Dalton is out for the season, and Bengals will never win a playoff game until they break out of boring. —Kalyn Kahler
I was tempted to put the Bengals, thanks to their unending quest to finish each season 8-8, but I'll have to go with the Cardinals here. They were sort of boring even when they had the most electric coach in recent NFL history. They have a star running back and the best cornerback in football. Josh Rosen is going to become a great player. But on Gamepass, I often see a yellow shrug emoji where the red bird should be. I think the public would benefit from learning more about the good players on their roster. —Conor Orr
The Cardinals. Despite having a handful of offensive playmakers in RB David Johnson, rookie QB Josh Rosen and—albeit aging—veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald, the Arizona offense has seriously struggled to put points on the board this season. The Cardinals have scored the fewest points in the NFL this season, and the team hasn't put up more than 21 points in a game. Arizona did their best to remedy this issue, firing offensive coordinator Mike McCoy after Week 7 and handing play-calling duties to quarterback coach Byron Leftwich. But in this age of high-scoring offenses, who wants to watch the league's worst-scoring offense? In addition, the Cardinals share a division with the Rams, one of the three best teams in the NFL this year—and Los Angeles is hogging all of the attention this season. Sorry Cardinals, but unless you're playing the Rams, there's no reason to tune in. —Bette Marston
NEW YORK JETS
The most boring team in the NFL would be the New York Jets, who no longer have a blustery head coach entertaining us on the days between his team’s feckless offensive showings. It’s been years since I could characterize an identity for New York’s offense. What’s worse, watching Jets home film is a nightmare. The camera is perched way too high and at an angle that reveals the tip of a player’s shoulder pads, but not his jersey number. It’s also not a high res picture. On sunny game—swhich are frequent with a boring team that so often plays at 1:00—you can’t always tell who is who. —Andy Benoit
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Yes, the Patriots are boring. They are boring both despite and because of the drama that surrounds them at every moment. The endless questions—about whether Belichick and Brady are getting along, whether Gronk is coming back next year (or playing this week), whether they’ll find a new piece to plug into the system, whether this is really the end—are tedious. And they are boring both despite and because of their perennial excellence. They don’t have the electrifying offense of the Saints, Rams or Chiefs anymore. They don’t have a stifling defense with a cool nickname. They have Belichick’s monotone press conferences and sideline scowls, and Brady’s furrowed brow and pumped fist. Mostly, though, the Patriots are boring because they are inevitable. They are going to win their division this year, as they have every year since 2003 (except for the season of Brady’s injury), and they are going to do it with no real challenge—only once in the last eight seasons has their final margin in AFC East been fewer than three games; and they’re three games up again this year after 11 games. Yes, winning can be thrilling, and give them credit, but too much winning can wear people down, especially those who don’t necessarily subscribe to the Patriot Way. After last year’s Brady-led comeback against Pittsburgh, my Steelers-fan brother-in-law muttered, “Why do I ever think he’s NOT going to do that?” —Mark Mravic
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