Not since 1996 was it this bad. That was the last year the Lions went 0-5 before winning their first game of the season. They never did make it to the playoffs. The following is an interesting read telling just how close the Lions came to folding and who pulled the Lions from the brink. There was also a significant coaching change the following year which is rather interesting. Bold font is mine:
"The 1996 season was a difficult one for both the CFL and the Lions as the league contracted back to the original nine-team Canadian only format. Lions’ crowd levels also declined as a record-low average of just 18,607 fans attended home games. The sale of the team by Bill Comrie to local businessmen led by Nelson Skalbania did not bring the hoped for stability and yet another tumultuous year unfolded. By the end of August, the Lions franchise was 2-8 and in receivership with the exit of Skalbania and his investor group. In part, the Lions’ poor start was at the heart of the challenges facing the club in 1996. After the failure of Heisman trophy winner Andre Ware to lead the team, QB Damon Allan became a bright spot throwing to WRs Mike trevathan and Matt Clark. RB Cory Philpot added a second straight 1,000-yard rushing season but new Head Coach Joe Paopao could not get the Lions into the playoffs once again. By season’s end however, new owner David Braley emerged to lead the Lions into the present era of success both on and off
In 1997 with Adam Rita as the new Head Coach, the Lions retooled their team yet again for 1997 adding WRs Alfred Jackson and Al Shipman to the offense. A 6-3 start gave a little hope but in the end BC fortunes rested on the new “cross-over? rules for playoff qualification. A last place 8-10 mark for BC in the West topped the East’s third-place Winnipeg Blue Bombers at 4-14, and thus the Lions grabbed an Eastern playoff berth for the first time."
What I found particularly interesting about the coaching [not stated in the above] is the following:
Dave Ritchie 1993–1995) won a Grey Cup ring in '94 and then was replaced.
Joe Paopao (1996)
Adam Rita (1997–1998)
Greg Mohns (1998–2000)
Steve Burrato (2000-2002) Grey Cup in 2000
Mohns resigned and joined the XFL. I'm sure about the other coaching changes.
Wally has been coaching since 2003. The Lions won the Grey Cup in 2006 under his leadership. Buono has held the position of head coach for the Lions longer than any other coach. Dave Skrien held it from '61 thru '67.
The following link shows how short a life span head coaches had with the Lions Club.
There must be something to making coaching changes. It appears that Wally has been the exception.