What do the NFL and the Bermuda Triangle have in common? Well, let's find out.
The Bermuda Triangle has been infamous for instances of mysterious disappearances of ships and aircrafts over the years. The triangle is located in an area of the North Atlantic Ocean that links Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Some believe alien or paranormal activity occurs inside the Bermuda Triangle, causing people, boats, and planes to go missing.
The Bermuda Triangle of the NFL
Many NFL fans may not know that a similar thing 'exists' in the National Football League as well. The Bermuda Triangle of the NFL links three franchises infamous for their failures, draft pick busts and championship droughts.
Let’s dip our toes into the mysterious waters of this triangle of turnovers and franchise failures to discover which teams make up the Bermuda Triangle of the NFL.
The Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions are the three franchises that make up the Bermuda Triangle of the NFL. Even though all three teams have had multiple first-round draft picks, they haven't won a single Super Bowl.
On that note, let's take a look at all three teams.
If you’re a Bengals fan, it would be understandable if you thought your team was cursed. If you look back over Cincinnati’s history, you’ll find many instances of plain bad luck interspersed with rather poor decision-making.
Cincinnati Bengals QB injury woes
Let’s start back in 1969 when the Bengals drafted quarterback Greg Cook in the first round. The great Bill Walsh, at the time Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator, called Cook the best quarterback he’d ever seen. Unfortunately for the Bengals, after winning their first three NFL games with Cook under center, he injured his shoulder and was never the same again.
Carson Palmer was the Bengals' no. 1 draft pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. After slowly improving during his first two seasons in the NFL, he led the Bengals to the playoffs in 2005. In the wildcard game against bitter rivals Steelers, Palmer launched a deep throw to Chris Henry at the start of the game. During the play, the quarterback’s knee was hit, and he dislocated his kneecap. The Bengals went on to lose the game, and Palmer was never the same again.
Cincinnati selected LSU QB Joe Burrow with the no. 1 pick in last year’s NFL Draft. The Bermuda Triangle of the NFL once again took another victim as Burrow tore his ACL, MCL and PCL in week 11 against the Washington Football Team.
Cincinnati Bengals' first-round draft pick failures
The Cincinnati Bengals have had a couple of unfortunate results with their first-round draft picks. (Again, that could be a curse.)
In 1995, the Bengals traded up to get the first pick in the NFL draft for Ki Jana Carter, the star running back out of Penn State. Fas loved the pick till he blew out his knee in the first preseason game against Detroit and was never the same player again.
In the 1999 NFL Draft, the Bengals picked quarterback Akili Smith with the third overall pick. The Saints had offered the Bengals a plethora of draft picks to move back in the draft, but Cincinnati refused. During the four years Smith was with the Bengals, he started only 17 games and threw just five touchdown passes and had 13 interceptions, eventually leading to his release on May 31, 2003.
Moreover, the Bengals could have had the legendary Bill Walsh as their head coach but instead chose their defensive coordinator. Walsh went on to win three Super Bowls, beating the Bengals in two of them.
The Detroit Lions have a history that fits with the Bermuda Triangle, one full of disappearances and losses. The NFL franchise has never made the Super Bowl and are once again in rebuilding mode this year.
Matt Millen... alien spy?
Former NFL great Matt Millen was the president of the Lions from 2001 to 2008. During his stint in charge of the franchise, the team went 31-84. Millen was infamous for drafting the wrong players (Joey Harrington, Charles Rodgers) and overpaying free agents (Bill Schroeder, Dre Bly). Many Lions fans would like to think of Millen as an alien sent to Detroit to sabotage their chances of winning.
The Detroit Lions have an NFL playoff record of 7-13. They have not won a playoff game since 1991, losing eight straight wildcard playoff games. So unlike the Bermuda Triangle, it’s not a mystery that they have never made the Super Bowl.
Two of the Lions’ greatest players in franchise history suddenly retired at the age of 30. A coincidence? Front office incompetence? Or was there some sort of paranormal activity going on?
Legendary running back Barry Sanders hung up his cleats after ten record-breaking seasons in the NFL. The star rusher held multiple NFL records at the time of his retirement. It was later revealed in his autobiography that he had retired due to frustration with the team management.
2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Calvin Johnson is the second Lions star to retire abruptly. Megatron dominated the NFL during the nine seasons he played. The wide receiver retired in 2015, citing health concerns and a lack of success in Detroit.
Once one of the premier teams in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns became the laughing stock of the league. Many fans blamed the Cleveland sports curse that was broken by LeBron James leading the Cavaliers to the NBA title in 2016.
Jim Brown led the Browns to their last championship in 1964 before the Super Bowl was created. Here are just a few examples of why Cleveland is a big part of the NFL's Bermuda Triangle.
One of the most famous (or infamous if you’re a Browns fan) moments in NFL history happened in the 1987 AFC championship game. Cleveland were leading Denver 20-13 when the Broncos got the ball on their own two-yard line.
John Elway went on to lead his team down the field to score a touchdown to tie the game in the final seconds. The Broncos would go on to win the game in overtime by kicking a field goal.
The franchise that disappeared
One episode in Cleveland Browns history will always link them to the Bermuda Triangle, the time Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore.
On November 6, 1995, Browns owner Art Modell announced he was moving the franchise to Baltimore. The city sued, and the team was eventually reinstated to the league in 1999. But for a few years, there the Browns ‘disappeared like a ship in the Bermuda Triangle’.
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