NEW YORK — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers "earned" the first pick in next spring's NFL draft with their 2-14 record.
In their first season under coach Lovie Smith, the Bucs lost their last six games to secure the top pick over Tennessee, which had the same record under first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt. But Tampa Bay had the easier overall schedule in the weak NFC South, which was won by Carolina with a 7-8-1 record.
Clearly, neither of the coaches who lost in Super Bowls — Smith in Chicago and Whisenhunt in Arizona — had much positive impact in their debut seasons.
Rounding out the top five will be Jacksonville and Oakland, both 3-13, and Washington (4-12).