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Thread: The "Almost" Super Bowls

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  1. #1
    Worth The Wait
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    The "Almost" Super Bowls

    From my blog...

    www.edkleese.blogspot.com

    Yeah, make fun of me, I deserve it. As you will see, I was kind of bored (hey, we've got like 8 feet of pure ice here right now). Anyway, I wanted to illustrate something that has always fascinated me. Championship weekend has always been my favorite weekend in the NFL. The difference between winning and losing, is obviously the Super Bowl. But more than that, it's a place in history.

    I started in 1980, and came up with the losing teams from the AFC and NFC each year to see what the "bizzaro" Super Bowl would have been that season. I came up with some interesting results.

    1980: Chargers vs. Cowboys
    1981: Chargers vs. Cowboys
    1982: Jets vs. Cowboys
    1983: Seahawks vs. 49ers
    1984: Steelers vs. Bears
    1985: Dolphins vs. Rams (LA)
    1986: Browns vs. Redskins
    1987: Browns vs. Vikings
    1988: Bills vs. Bears
    1989: Browns vs. Rams (LA)
    1990: Raiders (LA) vs. 49ers
    1991: Broncos vs. Lions
    1992: Dolphins vs. 49ers
    1993: Chiefs vs. 49ers
    1994: Steelers vs. Cowboys
    1995: Colts vs. Packers
    1996: Jaguars vs. Panthers
    1997: Steelers vs. 49ers
    1998: Jets vs. Vikings
    1999: Jaguars vs. Bucs
    2000: Raiders (Oak) vs. Vikings
    2001: Steelers vs. Eagles
    2002: Titans vs. Eagles
    2003: Colts vs. Eagles
    2004: Steelers vs. Falcons
    2005: Broncos vs. Panthers

    - What struck me most was by far the 49ers. A team that WON 5 Super Bowls over this period also appeared in 5 MORE NFC Title Games. That is truly remarkable.

    --A few years, I believe the non-match-up was actually better than the real match-up. I would include 1980 in that assesment. The Chargers were an exciting, talented team. The Cowboys still had some lingering effects of their glory days in the 1970's. That could have been a pretty interesting show. But the upset-minded Raiders ousted the Chargers, and the Eagles beat the Boys. 1993 could have been an amazing match-up with Joe Montana facing the 49ers, but the Bills and Cowboys squashed that possibility. 1996 would have been surreal had two teams that did not exsist two years prior had met.

    --As you can see, three teams had some terribly heart-breaking stretches. The Cowboys in 80, 81, and 82; the Browns three times between 86-89; and the Ealges in 01, 02, and 03. IMO, the Browns were the best of those teams, but they were cursed by Marty and Elway (lost all three times to Denver).

    Just some fun food for thought. Read. Digest. Discuss. Or Discard

  2. #2
    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    To complete the list of "almost Super Bowls":
    1966: Bills vs. Cowboys
    1967: Oilers vs. Cowboys-an "all Texas" affair
    1968: Raiders vs. Browns
    1969: Raiders vs. Browns-almost a great rivalry
    1970: Raiders vs. 49ers-battle of the Bay
    1971: Colts vs. 49ers
    1972: Steelers vs. Cowboys-these two got together later in the decade
    1973: Raiders vs. Cowboys
    1974: Raiders vs. Rams
    1975: Raiders vs. Rams-another "almost" great Super Bowl rivalry
    1976: Steelers vs. Rams
    1977: Raiders vs. Vikings-those two did meet in '76, a Raiders victory 32-14
    1978: Oilers vs. Rams
    1979: Oilers vs. Buccaneers

    The Raiders, for whom I was a huge fan, lost seven of nine AFL/AFC championship games between 1967 and 1977. The Rams lost four NFC championship games before finally breaking through in 1979. The Cowboys had four losses in NFL/NFC championship games, in addition to all their wins. The Oilers lost three, and the Browns, Steelers and 49ers came up short twice.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

  3. #3
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    I think what's impressive is that under the 8ft of ice, edskin has the ability to post. Way to use the generator for important stuff instead of heat and keeping the refridge running
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

  4. #4
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    three teams had some terribly heart-breaking stretches. The Cowboys in 80, 81, and 82;
    I don't find this heartbreaking at all. I think it's terrific.

  5. #5
    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    Quote Originally Posted by Edskin View Post

    - What struck me most was by far the 49ers. A team that WON 5 Super Bowls over this period also appeared in 5 MORE NFC Title Games. That is truly remarkable.
    Since the dawn of the Super Bowl era in 1966, the 49ers have gone 5-7 in NFC/NFL championship games.
    During that same time, the Cowboys have gone 8-8, all between 1966 and 1994; during those 29 seasons the Cowboys made it to the NFL/NFC title game 16 games, which is a terrific run.
    The Raiders have gone 5-9 in AFL/AFC title games; the Dolphins were 5-2; the Steelers were 6-7; the Bills 4-2; the Rams 3-6; the Broncos 6-2; the Jets 1-2; the Bengals 2-0. and the Browns 0-5.
    I find it interesting that these records illustrate how hard it is to win a conference championship game. The Cowboys, 49ers, and Steelers each have five Super Bowl victories, going 5-3, 5-0 and 5-1 respectively in the Super Bowl, yet none of the trio has a winning record in conference title games, with the Cowboys .500% being the best of the group. In contrast, two teams often criticized as being unable to "win the big game," the Bills and Broncos, have done quite well in conference title games, with 4-2 and 6-2 marks.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

  6. #6
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsBaron View Post
    Since the dawn of the Super Bowl era in 1966, the 49ers have gone 5-7 in NFC/NFL championship games.
    During that same time, the Cowboys have gone 8-8, all between 1966 and 1994; during those 29 seasons the Cowboys made it to the NFL/NFC title game 16 games, which is a terrific run.
    The Raiders have gone 5-9 in AFL/AFC title games; the Dolphins were 5-2; the Steelers were 6-7; the Bills 4-2; the Rams 3-6; the Broncos 6-2; the Jets 1-2; the Bengals 2-0. and the Browns 0-5.
    I find it interesting that these records illustrate how hard it is to win a conference championship game. The Cowboys, 49ers, and Steelers each have five Super Bowl victories, going 5-3, 5-0 and 5-1 respectively in the Super Bowl, yet none of the trio has a winning record in conference title games, with the Cowboys .500% being the best of the group. In contrast, two teams often criticized as being unable to "win the big game," the Bills and Broncos, have done quite well in conference title games, with 4-2 and 6-2 marks.
    The Browns are actually 0-2 in NFL championship games to the Super Bowl and they are 0-3 in the AFC. They switched with the Colts and Steelers in '70 to go to the AFC.

    The Colts are actually the only team to represent BOTH leagues in a Super Bowl (An NFL Member in SB III and an AFC Member in SB V).
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

  7. #7
    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    Quote Originally Posted by Heath View Post
    The Browns are actually 0-2 in NFL championship games to the Super Bowl and they are 0-3 in the AFC. They switched with the Colts and Steelers in '70 to go to the AFC.

    The Colts are actually the only team to represent BOTH leagues in a Super Bowl (An NFL Member in SB III and an AFC Member in SB V).
    In the paragraph mentioning the Browns I was really just briefly mentioning the records of several teams in conference title games, without intending to mean that I was referring only to AFL/AFC teams; I had the Rams in that list, and they have never been an AFL/AFC team.
    If I had gone back a couple of years before the dawn of the Super Bowl era, the Bills AFL championships in 1964 and 1965 would give them a 6-2 record in conference title games.
    The Super Bowl makes for a neat dividing line in discussing football eras, but it does sometimes irritate me when I hear TV commentators talk about how Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana are the only quarterbacks to ever "win" four Super Bowls. Wholly apart from the fact that a QB doesn't win a game all by himself, such comments ignore the fact that Bart Starr quarterbacked the Packers to five NFL championships; it wasn't Starr's fault that his 1961, 1962 and 1965 Packers did not then play the AFL champion--if they had, Starr would've added three more Super Bowl rings to the two he picked up following the 1966 and 1967 seasons.
    Otto Graham lead the Browns to NFL titles in 1950, 1954 and 1955, and to the NFL title game six straight seasons between 1950 and 1955. His Browns also won four straight titles in the AAFC in 1946-49 and were arguably the best team in pro football during those years.
    Last edited by RedsBaron; 01-17-2007 at 10:11 AM.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

  8. #8
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    Could have, would have, should have.... but didn't.

    From John Elway to the city of Cleveland!

    It would stink to lose a Super Bowl (so close!)... ask us Bengals fans. But I have always thought the worse would be to lose the Conference Championship game. All the hype and hope and being so close to a Super Bowl appearance... bam, gone just like that! As a Bengals fan I was happier to lose in the 1st round last year than to get to the Championship game and lose. I guess it is easier to accept. My Dad used to say that he'd rather lose a baseball game 11-0 than lose it 3-2. Just easier to accept.

    Good stuff, Ed (and RB). Thanks for sharing.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  9. #9
    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    I totally don't remember the Lions being one game away from the Super Bowl in 1991.

    Great thread, Ed. Very interesting stuff.

  10. #10
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    I totally don't remember the Lions being one game away from the Super Bowl in 1991.

    Great thread, Ed. Very interesting stuff.
    That was the Wayne Fontes/Mike Utley year.

    Fontes finally let the hair down on offense and found Barry Sanders room to run. Mike Utley was an offensive lineman who got paralyzed and started the "Thumbs Up" craze.

    The offense was sick with Sanders and Erik Kramer. The defense had Chris Spielman and Bennie Blades. They just absolutely ran into a Washington buzz saw at the NFC championship.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

  11. #11
    Worth The Wait
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    Re: The "Almost" Super Bowls

    I totally don't remember the Lions being one game away from the Super Bowl in 1991.
    Yes, as Heath mentioned, the Lions rode an emotional swell to that title game. However, the Redskins would have beaten them 100 times out of 100 that year-- especially in DC. In fact, the Redskins and Lions opened the season against each other that year. Result? 45-0 Redskins. The Skins then won the title game 41-14. Not even close.


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