3 - Boston/New England Patriots
One of the more enticing examples on this list, the Boston/New England Patriots won just five division titles between 1960 and 2000 and saw just nine seasons with double-digit wins in that same frame. They earned trips to a pair of Super Bowls, but they weren’t competitive in either game, and they never truly gained relevance until the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era between 2001 and 2019.
Further, the Patriots also nearly became the St. Louis Stallions in the early 1990s when James Orthwein bought the team, which would have filled the market just a few short years after the Cardinals bolted for the desert. Things didn’t go as planned and Robert Kraft ended up acquiring the franchise, which set the stage for the dynasty that was to come in the 21st century.
While the Patriots haven’t been relevant since 2019, it’s still nonetheless an interesting history lesson to see just how they, and another pair of franchises that were dormant for quite some time, find consistent relevancy. At the absolute least, this will give hope to current fans of the Arizona Cardinals that it can be done.