The NFL is filled with success stories this season. Philip Rivers has been reborn in San Diego. Ron Rivera has rewritten his Carolina legacy. Kansas City and Arizona are a combined 19-8 after going 7-25 last season. Green Bay is in the playoff picture without Aaron Rodgers. Chicago weathered life without Jay Cutler. Philadelphia has gotten the most from Nick Foles. Miami went from punch line to playoff contender. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders have salvaged something when any one of those undermanned teams could have gone down among the worst in league history.
That's what makes the underachieving teams so maddening to watch. The Washington Redskins have set a new standard for organizational dysfunction. Mike Shanahan plus Robert Griffin III should be a winning equation, or at least a promising one. Think of it this way: The Jaguars have won three of their past four with a rookie head coach, Chad Henne at quarterback and the worst roster in football. Do you think Gus Bradley could get by with RG III?
Incredibly, a relatively healthy Griffin watched from the sideline Sunday, while Shanahan's game management seemed designed to defy owner Daniel Snyder as much as it was designed to beat the Atlanta Falcons. These are among the reasons the Redskins head my list of the most disappointing teams in 2013. But the Redskins do have company.
Every one of the teams on my short list fell by the wayside without losing its starting quarterback to injury. I cut slack for Minnesota and Tampa Bay because both teams' QB situations were volatile heading into the season. Both teams also have winning records over their past six games; Seattle, Carolina and San Francisco account for their recent defeats. However, nothing can excuse what some of these other teams have put on the field this season.
Here are the five most disappointing teams of 2013:
1. Washington Redskins
The NFL has seen plenty of coaching dysfunction before the 2013 Redskins came along. The marriage between Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson in Dallas ended after Jones suggested any coach could have won with the Cowboys' talent. Buddy Ryan famously punched Kevin Gilbride on the sideline in Houston. Jeff Fisher and Bud Adams clashed over Vince Young in Tennessee. In St. Louis, the battles between Mike Martz and Jay Zygmunt culminated with Zygmunt blocking Martz's attempts to call in plays while on medical leave.
But it's been a wild week in Washington even by those dysfunctional NFL standards.