Chuck Fairbanks (New England Patriots)
It took decades for the New England Patriots to finally win a championship when the Bill Belichick era began. What nobody will remember is it probably should’ve started a long time ago. The Patriots had some really good teams in the 1970s. Players like Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes, Hall of Fame offensive guard John Hannah, Pro Bowl wide receiver Stanley Morgan, Pro Bowl tight end Russ Francis, and Pro Bowl linebacker Steve Nelson.
This collection of talent was plenty good enough to get the team to a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Chuck Fairbanks was their coach. He got them to the playoffs twice in 1976 and 1978. Both times they were knocked out in the first round. The worst was the former. Earlier that year they’d hammered the Oakland Raiders 48-17. Then in the playoff opener, they got out to a 21-10 lead going into the 4th quarter.
Then they allowed two Raider touchdown drives in the final minutes to lose. That team was their best chance to win a title. They’d also beaten the Steelers earlier in the year, who would’ve been their opponent in the AFC championship. Fairbanks just never got them over the hump.