Top 10 Teams Not to Win The Super Bowl
"History is written by the victors" is a quote attributed to Winston Churchill. That's kind of a historically lazy argument. Yet even though the victors don't necessarily write history it is certainly written for the victors.
NFL history is no different. People only remember the 1968 Baltimore Colts as the team that lost to Joe Namath and the Jets in one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history. The 2004 Philadelphia Eagles aren't remembered as the best team that Andy Reid ever coached. Instead they are a footnote in the dynasty of the New England Patriots.
But those were two of the best teams in football history. And as good as they were, they still weren't even good enough to crack the list of the Top 10 teams not to win the Super Bowl!
Here is one man's Top 10 list of the best teams ever to make it to the Super Bowl and lose:
10) 1976 Minnesota Vikings (13-2-1)
Before there were the Buffalo Bills, there were the Vikings. Minnesota played in four of the first 11 Super Bowls. They lost them all. This 1976 team was the best squad they brought to The Big Game. Fran Tarkenton led the Vikes to an 11-2-1 regular season and a pair of easy double-digit victories. But Oakland blew Tarkenton and the Purple People Eaters defense out 32-14 in the championship.
9) 1978 Dallas Cowboys (14-5)
This Cowboys club played in the franchise's third Super Bowl in four years. Too bad for them, but Super Bowl XIII also marked their second loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers Dynasty. This version was better than the 1975 Cowboys, as the 1978 crew went 12-4 during the regular season behind the NFL's No. 2 offense and No. 2 defense. They were the defending champions heading into this game, a 35-31 classic, but were sabotaged by Jackie Smith's infamous drop in the end zone in the third quarter of a 21-14 game.
8) 2009 Indianapolis Colts (16-3)
Peyton Manning won 14 regular season games twice in his career. This was one of the two teams they did it with. In fact, this team was 14-0 and had a lead at halftime in Week 16 when coach Tony Dungy decided to rest his starters for the playoffs. The Colts lost that game and the regular season finale, when they again rested their starters. That means that Indy's loss in the Super Bowl, an upset at the hands of New Orleans, was the first game all season in which they played their starters and didn't win. An argument can be made that
7) 2014 Seattle Seahawks (14-5)
The Seahawks were the defending Super Bowl champions and were just one yard short of winning back-to-back titles and cementing The Legion of Boom's legacy amongst the all-time dynasties. This was the third year in a row (of four) in which Seattle finished No. 1 in scoring defense. And this was the second year in a row that they were No. 1 in both scoring and total defense. Recently, players on that team, which lost the Super Bowl when Russell Wilson threw an interception at the goal line in one of the most shocking moments in Super Bowl history .
6) 1997 Green Bay Packers (15-4)
This team was a heroic effort by John Elway and Terrell Davis away from winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles. These Packers actually put up better offensive numbers this season as opposed to the amazing 1996 Super Bowl team. But their defense was a little softer, and that led to them becoming the first NFC team to lose the Super Bowl in 14 years, falling 31-24 in one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
5) 1970 Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
There were five Hall of Famers on this roster, including coach Tom Landry and quarterback Roger Staubach. They lost to the Baltimore Colts, 16-13, in one of the sloppiest, worst played Super Bowls ever. They went on to add two more HOF players (Forrest Gregg and Lance Alworth) after this defeat and managed to capture the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy the following season.
4) 2001 St. Louis Rams (16-3)
I didn't even want to watch Super Bowl XXXVI between St. Louis and New England because I didn't think it would be interesting. This team boasted one of the two or three best offenses I've ever seen, and if they had been able to force overtime against the Pats instead of failing 20-17 they would have locked up their second Super Bowl title in three years. Of course, the odds are that Bill Belichick knew what plays the Rams were calling before Kurt Warner did but that still doesn't forgive Mike Martz for not running the ball more. When the dust settled the Rams made this list as the result of one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets in history .
3) 1971 Miami Dolphins (12-4-1)
I will admit that this team gets a little extra credit for what came afterwards. The 1972 Dolphins are the ones that get all the credit. But the 1971 team was made up of all the same players. Miami finished in the Top 5 in offense and defense and after losing this Super Bowl 24-3 to Dallas they won 18 consecutive games (including the 17-0 season in 1972) and back-to-back Super Bowl championships. Miami, Buffalo and New England are now the only three franchises to play in three consecutive Super Bowls.
2) 1990 Buffalo Bills (15-4)
I know that the Bills are, historically speaking, considered a punchline in the Football World. But these Bills teams from 1990-1993 were some of the best I've ever seen and some of the best ever. Think about it: four straight conference championships and a 58-19 overall record. Not too shabby. This Bills team is, in my opinion, the greatest team not to win a Super Bowl.
This team - one Scott Norwood miss away from immortality - finished the regular season 13-3, was No. 1 in the league in scoring and No. 6 in defense, and was led by Hall of Famers like Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, Marv Levy and Bruce Smith and possible HOFers Steve Tasker and Andre Reed. This team was better than the ones following it mainly because they were not yet shackled with the mental and emotional scars of Big Game embarrassments.
1) 2007 New England Patriots (18-1)
Close, but not close enough.
The Patriots were less than two minutes away from completing a perfect 19-0 season and becoming the undisputed Greatest Team of All Time. However, they lost by just three points to a Giants team that they had to play twice in five weeks. New England had 12 wins by 10 points or more and had an unbelievable +19.7 point differential. Tom Brady set a then-record for touchdown passes in the regular season (50) and Randy Moss set a record for touchdown receptions (23). It was a once-in-a-generation performance and seven of New England's 18 victories came against playoff teams.
But they didn't do the one thing that they needed to do to avoid the top spot on the list: win the Super Bowl.
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Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
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