Arthur Smith

Five biggest losers of the 2023-24 NFL season

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With 14 teams about to embark on a playoff journey to the Super Bowl, we can’t ignore the 2023 NFL season losers. Who were the most disappointing teams, players, and coaches? Fortunately, no team finished with one of the worst NFL records of all time. But there were still some obvious losers this season who probably wish they could have a do-over or make some changes.

Of course, anybody can look at the standings and pick out the worst teams. However, we wanted to dig a little deeper and do a full analysis of the current season to come up with the true 2023 NFL season losers. Here is the list we came up with of the most spectacular failures and biggest losers of the 2023 NFL season.

Bill Belichick

This could potentially be the end of Bill Belichick’s time in New England after what has been hands-down his worst season with the Patriots. Obviously, things haven’t been the same since Tom Brady left. But the Patriots were at least competitive in past seasons, going 25-25 with one playoff appearance over the last three years.

But a 4-13 record and a last-place finish in the AFC East are unacceptable. The Patriots were held to seven points or less six times this season, including two shutouts. His legacy may not be tarnished because of one bad season, but it appears his tenure in New England will end with a whimper.

Austin Ekeler

Before the season, Austin Ekeler hoped to get a lucrative contract extension that never came. Instead, he’ll enter free agency as a soon-to-be 29-year-old, undersized running back who’s coming off the worst season of his career. To be fair, it’s not his fault entirely since the Chargers were collectively among the biggest losers in the NFL this season.


However, Ekeler is a loser in the sense that he went from being among the league’s best running backs to being an afterthought in less than a year. Rather than a long-term deal, Ekeler is likely to get a one-year prove-it contract from some team in free agency, which is surely not what he envisioned at the start of the season.

Sean Payton

The coach who once served a one-season suspension for his role in a bounty scandal is once again embroiled in a scandal. The Broncos and Sean Payton are facing questions over whether they were allowed to bench Russell Wilson after Wilson refused to renegotiate his contract midseason.

There is also the issue of Payton not putting Wilson and the Broncos in the best position to succeed. Plus, some of Denver’s close losses in 2023 that ultimately kept the Broncos out of the playoffs can be attributed to poor coaching decisions. In short, Payton has a lot of questions to answer about his first season in Denver.

Carolina Panthers

While nobody was expecting any miracles out of the Panthers, they surely should have done better than 2-15, especially after a somewhat respectable 7-10 campaign in 2022. For the second straight season, Carolina had to fire a coach in the middle of the season, which speaks to poor leadership at the higher levels of the organization.

The kicker is the Panthers won’t even get the first overall pick in the draft because they traded it to Chicago to get Bryce Young. That’s the punch line of Carolina’s 2023 season and why the Panthers are among the biggest losers.


Arthur Smith

As expected, Arthur Smith was fired after going 7-10 with the Falcons for the third straight season. Smith showed a profound level of incompetence throughout the season. It was almost as if he was new to the game and needed NFL plays explained to him.

He refused to get the ball to his team’s top playmakers like Bijan Robinson and Kyle Pitts, almost ignoring Robinson at times despite using a top-10 pick on him. The NFC South was there for the taking this season, only for Smith and the Falcons to go 1-4 down the stretch with losses to all three of Atlanta’s division rivals.

In a year in which multiple head coaches were fired midseason, Smith may have actually had the worst coaching job in the entire league. 

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