The 15 best NFL teams that missed the playoffs

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The class of the NFL for many years, the 49ers also boast the best modern-era near-miss. 

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1991 San Francisco 49ers

The birth of the Air Coryell offense did not save these Chargers in time; they went just 9-7. But this was the ground floor.

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1978 San Diego Chargers

The second-best team of Dıck Vermeil's Chiefs run, the '05 squad missed the playoffs at 10-6.

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2005 Kansas City Chiefs

A Randall Cunningham injury in Week 1 led to this Eagles nucleus missing maybe its best Super Bowl opportunity.

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1991 Philadelphia Eagles

The season that separates Bill Belichick from Tom Brady, who went down in Week 1, ended in some rare bad luck for the modern-era dynasty.

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2008 New England Patriots

One of two 11-5 teams to miss the playoffs, these Broncos finished with the same record they did when they won the AFC in 1986 and '89.

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1985 Denver Broncos

Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward each topped 1,100 yards, and LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison combined for 23.5 sacks. 

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2009 Pittsburgh Steelers

While the Boomer Esiason-era Bengals are mostly known for their Super Bowl XXIII loss, they had some decent teams.

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1986 Cincinnati Bengals

Boasting a top-10 offense and defense, these Seahawks beat both Super Bowl XXI entrants: the Giants and Broncos.

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1986 Seattle Seahawks

Hovering as a second-tier contender, the Patriots of this era enjoyed a mini-run of success. 

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1980 New England Patriots

Although they had a plus-119 point differential, these Chargers finished 9-7. 

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2010 San Diego Chargers

The Chip Kelly-Nick Foles partnership did not electrify like it did in 2013, when Foles posted a 27-2 TD-INT ratio. 

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2014 Philadelphia Eagles