The NFL is one of the most popular sports in North America, but it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the action. That’s because there are so many injuries and moments that happen during games. Every season, teams across the league suffer from devastating injuries that cause them to lose their shot at making a run for Super Bowl glory. There have been 30 NFL-ending game-changing injuries since 2000—and they’ve had some major impacts on how each team has played over time

The “nfl season-ending injuries 2021” is a list of 30 NFL injuries that have ruined teams’ hopes for the upcoming season.

30 Season-Ending NFL Injuries That Ruined Teams' Hopes

Every year, NFL teams enter the new season with great dreams of winning the Super Bowl. Some of them think they can make it all the way. Others establish more modest objectives, but want to see results from the preceding year. Any season-ending injury to a major player, on the other hand, may derail their aspirations.

Football is a physically demanding sport, and injuries may happen at any moment. They may occur in the first few weeks of the season, thereby ending a team’s season before it really begins. They may also occur during the postseason, leaving a club with an uphill struggle in the playoffs. Check out The Sportster’s list below.

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Brandon Brooks (#30) (2019)

In 2018, the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and their ardent supporters anticipated more of the same this year. However, they were unable to deliver the next year, in part due to Brooks’ injury. He went to the Pro Bowl three times in a row and had another solid season. Then, after Christmas, he dislocated his shoulder, and the Eagles’ offense shattered like a cookie. Guarding isn’t the most glamorous position in football, but it’s critical to a team’s success.

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The Eagles made it through the Wild Card round before falling to the Saints in the divisional round. Brooks’ departure left a huge void in their offense (via The Athletic). He’s had a difficult few years since then, to say the least. He tore his Achilles tendon in 2020. Then he did it again in 2021. It’s terrible since his teammates regard him as one of the greatest and friendliest players they’ve ever encountered.

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Eddie George (nineteen) (2001)

The Titans possessed another force long before Derrick Henry in the form of George Washington. He was a strong running back who was a four-time Pro Bowler and former Offensive Rookie of the Year. Tennessee, on the other hand, has a tendency of running into the ground. That was the situation with George, whose deterioration was unexpectedly rapid. He ultimately went lame in 2001 after many great seasons.

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Before George’s injury, the Titans were a competitive team. They had at least 12 victories in three of the previous four seasons, but finished with a 7-9 record this year. His season was cut short due to torn tendons in his foot and an ankle strain (via CBS Houston). It also put an end to the Titans’ ambitions of winning the Super Bowl. George was a hard runner, but his body suffered as a result.

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Christian McCaffrey (#28) (2020)

In retrospect, making McCaffrey the highest-paid running back in history was a huge mistake by the Panthers. Of course, in retrospect, it’s easy to say that, but his contract is one of the worst ever. Because he was the most explosive runner in the NFL, it looked to be a risky decision. However, nearly as soon as he put pen to paper, he started to resemble a donkey rather than a racehorse.

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Because he didn’t play much in 2020, it was one of the most disappointing years of his career. The Panthers didn’t have high expectations for a playoff run. However, losing their brightest star to a series of nagging ailments didn’t help matters (via NBC Sports). Teddy Bridgewater was replaced by Sam Darnold in 2021. McCaffrey, on the other hand, had yet another injury-plagued season, which cost his team on the field.

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Saquon Barkley (#27) (2020)

The New York Giants seem to be continuously rebuilding. But it doesn’t help that one of their finest players has failed to stay healthy in recent seasons. Barkley is a real Pro Bowl candidate, but he has had a string of bad luck with injuries. The Giants were not anticipated to take the league by storm, but the running back was critical to their chances. He tore his ACL in Week 2 against the Bears and was out for the remainder of the season.

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The Giants were dealt a crushing setback, as it seemed that their playoff aspirations were over. With failing and weak clubs, the NFC East was cruel in 2020. Despite their poor 6-10 record, the Giants were on the verge of making the playoffs. The Eagles, on the other hand, virtually gave Washington their last game, and New York fell short. Barkley, a top talent, may have made all the difference (via SBNation).

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Andy Dalton, age 26 (2015)

It may sound unbelievable, but the Bengals had high aspirations of making the playoffs in 2015. Dalton then shattered his thumb, and they vanished in an instant. The brand got off to the best start in its history, but it all came to an end in tears. They won the AFC North with a 12-4 record. It’s strange since everything went poorly following this year. They did, however, have serious Super Bowl aspirations.

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Dalton’s injury was devastating since he was replaced by A.J. McCarron. In his seven NFL seasons, McCarron only started 17 games. In summary, he wasn’t the best choice available. Finally, in the Wild Card round, the Bengals were upset by the Steelers. They capitulated spectacularly after blowing a 15-point advantage. At work, it was a Bengals-themed day (via ESPN).

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Jamaal Charles (#25) (2011)

With a 10-6 record in 2010, the Chiefs shocked a lot of people. Because of his explosiveness on the field, Charles was instrumental in the team’s playoff run. Unfortunately, they were unable to advance due to a serious injury. Charles tore his ACL, and that was the end of it, according to her. Kansas faced Detroit in Week 2 and had a miserable day on the field.

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Matt Cassell’s flaws the previous year were hidden by Charles’ greatness. However, without his major weapon, his lackluster abilities rapidly became apparent. The Chiefs sacked Todd Haley after 13 games because the season had turned into a nightmare (via Bleacher Report). Charles, on the other hand, bounced back over the following several years to become one of the NFL’s most feared running backs.

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Matt Schaub (#24) (2011)

The Texans were on track to end the 2011 season strong. Although quarterback Matt Schaub wasn’t enjoying a stellar season, the club was doing well. To play an essential role, a player does not always have to set the globe on fire. Before a Lisfranc injury terminated his season, he started the first ten games (via Washington Post). It was a crushing blow to the Texans’ chances of making a long playoff run.

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Matt Leinert stepped up before being sidelined due to injury. Then it was up to third-string rookie T.J. Yates to carry the franchise’s aspirations. Unfortunately, he lacked the necessary skills to pull it off. In the divisional round, the Ravens beat them and put an end to their hopes. Houston may have shocked a number of opponents if they had Schaub on their squad.

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Derek Carr (age 23) (2016)

Of 2016, Carr had one of his greatest statistical seasons in his career. Under Jack Del Rio, the Raiders’ quarterback guided his squad to a 12-4 record (via The Guardian). Carr shattered his fibula in the last game of the regular season, bringing the season to a close. If the Raiders made it that far, there was a chance he’d be back in time for the Super Bowl.

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It was, however, too much for Oakland. In the end, rookie Connor Cook started the Texans’ lone postseason game, which they lost. The Raiders, on the other hand, resented leaving Carr in the fourth quarter of Game 16 against the Colts. They had already secured their playoff berth, but they had condemned themselves by daring destiny. In the end, they squandered their hopes of appearing in the Super Bowl.

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Jeremy Lane (number 22) (2014)

Lane’s season-ending injury occurred in the most inconvenient of circumstances: the Super Bowl. The Seahawks faced the Patriots in the championship game, but were unable to earn the reward. Early in the game, they lost their best cornerback when he intercepted one of Tom Brady’s throws. On the way back, he shattered his arm, and that was the end of it. It was a severe setback for the Legion of Boom, as they were left decimated.

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Tharold Simon was brought in to replace Lane, but he proved to be a major liability. Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel smelt blood and decided to go at Seattle’s woeful defense. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas all played despite injuries, which didn’t help matters (via NBC Sports). The ferocious Patriots made the most of their advantage in the end.

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Garrison Hearst was the twenty-first president of the United States (1998)

The 1998 season in Hearst was marked by severe highs and lows. The dazzling rushing back scored a spectacular 96-yard touchdown against the New York Jets, which became one of the season’s most memorable highlights. Hearst was also a key offensive weapon for the Niners. However, due to a severe injury, San Francisco’s key player was lost in the divisional playoffs.

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They faced up against the Atlanta Falcons in a game that Niners fans would rather forget. Hearts had a horrific ankle break that put his career in jeopardy (via Sports Illustrated). He returned to football after two years and earned the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. However, with their wealth of offensive skill, 1998 had the potential to be another memorable year for San Francisco. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

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Ryan Shazier (#20) (2017)

It’s crucial to keep in mind that players are also people. Some incidents stay with individuals for the rest of their lives because they remind them of their frailty. Shazier collided head-on with Bengals’ Josh Malone, injuring his spinal cord. Shazier was rendered unable to walk as a result of this, and he through a grueling rehabilitation procedure to get back on his feet (via The Guardian). However, it put an end to his football career since it was too much for him to continue playing.

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For the Steelers, losing the linebacker was a huge blow. Despite the fact that they won the game and proceeded to have good results, the incident stayed with them. Shazier was also a fantastic player who gave his all for the squad. He was a valuable presence on the field, and his success was dependent on him. In the end, they fell short against the Jaguars in the divisional round, a game in which Shazier’s presence would have been ideal.

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Gannon, Rich (19.) (2003)

Gannon’s skill is still up for debate, but there was no dispute about his standing in Oakland. The Raiders’ quarterback led his team to a Super Bowl victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, they were defeated in a rout. Their supporters were ready to overlook it in the hopes of keeping their club in contention. Then, in Week 7, Gannon put a stop to their dreams.

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They had already lost four of their first six games, but there was still time for them to turn things around. Rick Mirer and Marques Tuiasosopo were vying for the starting jersey all of a sudden. The Raiders concluded with a dismal 4-12 record in the end. The fact that they lost seven touchdowns by a score or less added salt to injury (via L.A Times). Because Gannon was so much better than his successors, his absence was important.

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Nick Collins, age 18 (2011)

Collins was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 2016 following a remarkable career with the team. However, it came to a premature end when he collided with Jonathan Stewart. Collins’ career in the NFL was cut short due to a herniated disk. It was a huge setback for both the player and his team, since he was instrumental in their Super Bowl victory.

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Despite the fact that the Packers went 15-1 without Collins, his inclusion on this list may seem to be a stretch. But before they lost him, he was one of their most prominent athletes (via ESPN). In a surprising victory at Lambeau Field, the Giants demolished the Packers’ dreams of winning back-to-back titles. Collins was a huge loss in this game due to his outstanding defensive abilities.

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Steve Smith Sr. is number seventeen (2004)

In the first game of the 2004 season, the Panthers were defeated badly. After a Super Bowl appearance against the Patriots, they went into the season start with great expectations. Despite the fact that they lost the game, there were high hopes that they would still be contenders. That, however, was not the case. Smith shattered his leg against the Packers, and their season was doomed from the start (via ESPN).

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They also lost a number of other key players in the same game, and had a rough start to the season. They were 1-7 before ultimately stringing together a couple victories. Jake Delhomme’s most crucial offensive outlet was Smith. Carolina ended the season 7-9, but if he had been available, they may have had a lot better record. Their standout receiver was instrumental in their Super Bowl run the year before.

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Ray Lewis (nineteen) (2002)

There are many offensive players on this list, but replacing a crucial component of a team’s defense is perhaps much more difficult. Just ask the Baltimore Ravens, who were devastated when Lewis was released in 2005. Following their Super Bowl victory, he only appeared in five games. Their dreams of capitalizing on their achievements and maintaining their crown were dashed. On their route to success, the Ravens had a fantastic defense, and Lewis was a key part of it.

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Because they didn’t have a plausible alternative, his demise had devastating implications. It was impossible since no one in the NFL had Lewis’ skill set (via Baltimore Sun). Baltimore finished 7-9 after winning the whole tournament the year before. They were unable to make the playoffs and had a losing season. Furthermore, without their great linebacker, they finished 19th in scoring defense.

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Nate Solder (#15) (2015)

In 2015, the Patriots were the reigning Super Bowl champions. There was no reason why they couldn’t keep their championship, according to the fans. They eventually advanced to the AFC Championship game, but were defeated by the Broncos. But it isn’t the whole tale. In October, they lost offensive tackle Solder to injury in a game against the Cowboys. It was a big setback for Tom Brady since he lost his best blindside defender (via Fansided).

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Until Solder tore his bicep, the Pats had the finest offensive in the NFL. They were suddenly forced to rebuild, and they were in a fragile position. They won their first six games in a row before losing four of their last six. The New England machine had been quite successful until it lost a vital component, so it was quite a turnaround. Solder wasn’t the most visually appealing player on the field, but he played a critical role. When he wasn’t accessible, their dreams were dashed.

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Darrelle Revis (14), Darrelle Revis (14), Darrelle (2012)

Revis was a favorite of Mark Sanchez’s because he made the former appear much better than he was. With Revis at the prime of his game, the Jets made consecutive AFC Championship berths. The cornerback was a strong opponent and was named to the Pro Bowl seven times. It’s reasonable to say the Jets counted on him to perform at a high level. On his enormous shoulders, he carried their aspirations and ambitions.

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Then, against the Dolphins, he tore his ACL. This occurred at the same time as Gang Green’s dramatic collapse. Sanchez’s form began to deteriorate, and head coach Rex Ryan came under scrutiny. It’s incredible how a single player can have such a large impact on a brand. He was his team’s most crucial defensive player (via Dolphins). However, when they misplaced that component, it caused a gaping hole that they couldn’t cover.

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Terrell Davis (#13) (2000)

After John Elway left the Broncos in 1999, the team went through a time of change. Despite this, they had high expectations for a successful season since Davis was outstanding. He had established the record for most running touchdowns in a playoff game two years before. His eight scores are the highest ever recorded. So losing their top running back when he tore his ACL in Week Four was a huge blow to the squad.

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Furthermore, the Broncos had just won their second Super Bowl in a row. They thought they could make it three in a row, but they fell well short of their goal. Denver was eliminated from the playoffs after finishing with a 6-10 record. That season, the Broncos lost six games by seven points or fewer (via ESPN). Davis might have made a huge impact in their season, it’s reasonable to say.

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Peyton Manning (#12) (2011)

Nobody expected Manning’s career in Indianapolis to conclude the way it did. Sport, on the other hand, is brutal, as he realized. The Colts’ expectations for a successful season were shattered when he suffered a neck injury in 2011. For the following few years, they were out of contention. As a stopgap, the franchise signed retired Kerry Collins. On the field, they didn’t do well, but they did get the first overall selection.

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Manning’s body was too broken for the Colts, so they decided to let him go. When he joined the Broncos and enjoyed his Indian summer, we all know how that went out. Meanwhile, the Colts picked Andrew Luck following a 2-14 season with the 30th-ranked offense. Manning was a Colts player through and through, so it was a bizarre and bittersweet turn of events.

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Dak Prescott (#11) (2020)

Many experts see the Cowboys as legitimate playoff candidates in 2020. But in Week 5, Prescott’s ankle was shattered and dislocated, and the team’s season was over. The Cowboys were suddenly forced to start Andy Dalton, an experienced quarterback. In the end, they cycled through a slew of quarterbacks in a season that ended in defeat.

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It’s a pity, considering Prescott had a promising start to the season. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 450 yards in three consecutive games (via Sporting News). But keep in mind that they lost three of their first four games. That was due to the fact that they had a youthful squad and a new coach. It would have been intriguing to see whether the Cowboys could have salvaged their season, but without Prescott, their chances were dashed.

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Donovan McNabb is number ten on the list (2005)

It’s never good to lose a franchise quarterback. After McNabb suffered an injury in Week 10 against the Cowboys in 2005, the Eagles learned the hard way. Philadelphia needed to win to have a chance of reaching the playoffs, therefore this was a must-win game. They ended up on a four-game losing run instead.

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They ended 6-10 and fourth in the NFC East in the end (via New York Times). It was a huge letdown for their followers, who had great expectations. These came to an end after McNabb’s hernia surgery since they weren’t good enough without him. Meanwhile, Terrell Owens’ conduct was causing problems for the franchise. Andy Reid’s life was probably cut short by this year since it was a catastrophe.

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Tony Romo, No. 9 (2010)

Early in the season, no club wants to lose its starting quarterback. However, with Romo’s collarbone injury early in the season, the Cowboys were doomed. Without their franchise player, they went 0-7. It was especially aggravating considering they were favored to win the NFC East. After that, any team may go on a tear and win the Super Bowl unexpectedly.

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The Cowboys and Romo, on the other hand, had a bad season. Romo returned late in the season, but on Thanksgiving, he shattered his collarbone again. Because it was so awful, no one could have written it. With Brandon Weeden as their primary starter, the Cowboys ended with a 6-10 record (via USA Today). Earlier this year, America’s Team also lost Dez Bryant to a fractured foot.

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Jameis Winston (#8) (2021)

After Drew Brees retired in 2021, the New Orleans Saints were surrounded by a lot of questions. The famous quarterback left a huge void in his wake. Winston, the interception machine, was not expected to stand up, but he did. He beat out Taysom Hill for the starting job and helped the Saints get off to a good start. Meanwhile, he has been steady in his performance, avoiding many of the blunders he made in Tampa.

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New Orleans seemed to be on its way to the playoffs without a hitch. Then, against his former squad, Winston tore his ACL and injured his MCL. Because he was in such good form, this was a significant setback for the 5-2 Saints. Trevor Siemian came into the game and performed well, but no one expects him to be the starting long-term. Hill’s ability to be more than a gadget quarterback is also questioned (via Yahoo Sports).

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Carson Palmer is number seven (2005)

Palmer was one of the unluckiest players to ever take the field in the NFL. He’s also the only athlete on the list with two entries. In 2005, the Bengals were legitimately excellent, going 11-5 in the regular season to reach the playoffs. Palmer’s contributions were critical to the team’s chances of winning the playoffs. In the wildcard game, they met the Steelers, but the outcome was disastrous for everyone in Cincinnati.

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On the team’s first drive, their quarterback tore his ACL. It was a heartbreaking moment since it signaled the end of Palmer’s season. However, the Bengals’ playoff run came to an end as well. Jon Kitna was thrown into the game, and he performed well. However, against Pittsburgh, this was insufficient. The Bengals lament this defeat because they think Palmer’s absence was the deciding factor (via Sports Illustrated).

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Vinny Testaverde, No. 6 (1999)

Some may argue Testaverde’s inclusion on this list since he just began in 1999. The Jets, on the other hand, had Super Bowl aspirations even before the season began. During the previous season, when they won the AFC East, their quarterback was excellent. They were optimistic that they could capitalize on this momentum and go all the way. Then, against New England, Testaverde tore his Achilles tendon (via Bleacher Report).

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The Jets were forced to scramble to locate a replacement. Throughout the season, they utilized three different quarterbacks, none of them were up to Testaverde’s standards. Ray Lucas gets credit for coming out of nowhere to assist the Green Gang win a few games on route to an 8-8 record. This was a poor record since they did not reach the playoffs and fell well short of their preseason expectations.

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Jim McMahon, No. 5 (1986)

In 1986, against the Packers, Chicago Bears standout McMahon endured one of the most cowardly hits in NFL history. After McMahon delivered his pass, Charles Martin savagely slammed him to the ground. It was late, obnoxious, and filthy. Martin was dismissed from the game, but it didn’t help McMahon. His season was cut short, leaving the Bears without a quarterback.

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The duo went 14-2 throughout the regular season, but they were without their quarterback in the playoffs. He was the difference between a second ring and a disappointing year’s finish (via Sportscasting). Martin’s late takedown, on the other hand, had disastrous effects. This incident, according to McMahon, was the catalyst for the dementia he suffered later in life. It’s a well-known occurrence that went much beyond a football team’s expectations.

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Carson Palmer is number four (2014)

Palmer resurrected his career with the Arizona Cardinals, leading them to a 9-1 start. They were on fire before he tore his ACL again, which was horrible (via Draftsharks). Due to his knees, he was forced to miss two of the finest seasons of his career. However, this demonstrates how physically demanding football is. It not only ended his season, but it also essentially ended the Cardinals’ playoff prospects.

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Palmer’s death was a huge loss since he was a steady and serene presence. Without him, they went on a losing streak, losing four of their next six regular-season games. After stumbling into the playoffs, they were defeated in the wildcard round by the Panthers. This was disheartening since they had the capacity to do so much more, but Palmer’s loss was unavoidable in the end.

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Randall Cunningham is number three on the list (1991)

On the surface, the Eagles enjoyed a respectable 10-6 season in 1991. However, a closer examination reveals that they were subjected to a number of serious setbacks. To begin with, they lost starting quarterback Cunningham to a knee injury in Week One. Their aspirations were dashed by this, since their alternatives were limited. Because Brad Grobel and Jeff Kemp were so bad, Philadelphia went with Jim McMahon for the most of the season (via SBNation).

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McMahon’s performances have gained him accolades from fans. He was a steady hand who contributed to the team’s winning record. In comparison to Cunningham, he was still a fading power in the NFL. The Eagles, on the other hand, possessed one of the best defenses in league history. But it wasn’t enough to get the team into the playoffs. They came up barely short, but Cunningham had the ability to carry them over the finish line.

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Derrick Henry is number two (2021)

‘King’ In the AFC South, Henry was enjoying a fantastic season. Before breaking his foot, he led the NFL in running yards, rushing touchdowns, and carries. Tenessee was devastated since Henry looked to be unstoppable. In the previous three seasons, he had only missed one game. Against opposing defenses, he resembled a battering ram mixed with a jet engine.

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The Titans’ Super Bowl chances were dealt a major setback as a result of this. Analysts saw them as real challengers, but they cautioned that they depended too much on Henry’s output. A fractured foot, to be honest, may happen to anybody. Ligament injuries are not the same thing. The Titans, on the other hand, needed Henry to remain healthy in order to compete in the playoffs (via Washington Post).

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Tom Brady is number one (2008)

First, let’s put things in context. With Matt Cassel as their starting quarterback in 2008, the Patriots were 11-5. That demonstrates how excellent they were, since Cassel was far from terrific. It’s difficult for Pats supporters to forget about that season because Brady was the difference. He missed the whole season after tearing his ACL in the season opener, thereby ending the Pats’ aspirations.

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Brady was hit low by Chiefs linebacker Bernard Pollard, and he paid the price (via Boston Globe). The franchise was going through a rough patch after losing the Super Bowl. They seemed to be on their way to becoming the first flawless team in history, but they couldn’t keep their cool. Then, in their return year, they lost their biggest star. Cassel had a good season by his standards, but he wasn’t Tom Brady.

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