5 Best NFL Teams That Didn’t Make It to the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl has long been the final stage in determining the best football team in a given season. However, that isn’t always usually the case, especially when another team with gaudy stats across the board and all-stars aplenty fail to live up to their lofty expectations. There are still more than a handful of NFL teams with no Super Bowl appearances to this day, but for this article, it’ll be about the specific squads which had a fantastic regular season yet failed to reach the grandest stage of football.
Read on as we count down the five best NFL teams that didn’t reach the Super Bowl despite having a phenomenal season. And to be on top of all the latest from the sports and entertainment news cycle, head on over to Nitrogen Sports Blog after this.
Which are the 5 greatest NFL teams that failed to make it to the Super Bowl?
1974 Oakland Raiders
The 1974 Raiders lost only two games during the regular season and found themselves back in the AFC Championship Game for the second-straight year. Considering that they just defeated the reigning Super Bowl champs the Dolphins in the divisional round, many fans believed that Oakland was going to win it all for the first time in franchise history.
But alas, John Madden’s Silver and Black squad ran into the dynasty of his era in the Steelers, who drubbed the Raiders in the 1974 AFC Championship Game, 24-13. Pittsburgh and Oakland faced each other in the playoffs five-straight times between 1972 and 1976 and it was the Raiders who were often on the receiving end of a crushing loss. It wouldn’t be until the ’76 season wherein Al Davis’ pride and joy would finally hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
1992 San Francisco 49ers
Joe Montana’s last season in the Bay Area was a bittersweet one. The 1992 49ers had a complete roster on both sides of the ball, going 14-2 in the regular season behind the future Hall-of-Fame tandem of Montana and Jerry Rice on offense.
READ: The biggest, most embarrassing Super Bowl blowouts in history
Unfortunately, the Niners would lose to the Cowboys in their NFC Divisional round showdown by 10 points, signaling the end of Montana’s career in San Francisco as well as the start of a new dynasty over in Dallas that will soon blossom into a fierce playoff rivalry between the two teams throughout the rest of the ‘90s.
2005 Indianapolis Colts
By mid-2000, Peyton Manning was setting records left and right as he was slowly garnering the claim of being the greatest NFL quarterback of all-time. However, Manning’s decorated career only netted him two Super Bowl wins, having come up short in the playoffs more times than not during his lengthy stay in Indianapolis.
The 2005 Colts was Manning’s best shot at the Lombardi Trophy at the time, as he was joined by seven other Pro Bowlers from his team such as Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James on offense, as well as Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney on defense. The team set a new NFL record of winning 12 games without trailing at any point of the contest, only to be eliminated early in the divisional round by the sixth-seeded Steelers.
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2010 San Diego Chargers
It’s easy to forget about the 2010 Chargers’ astounding statistics and talent on display. Why is that so, you may ask? Well, it’s probably because this San Diego squad never even made it to the playoffs, to begin with.
Norv Turner’s Chargers finished first in both total offense and defense during the regular season but also had the league-worst special teams unit, which allowed four blocked punts and four kicks returned for a touchdown by their opposition. They lost a good number of close games to start the season at 2-5 due to their poor special teams play before winning seven of their last nine. In the end, San Diego came up short of a playoff berth with a 9-7 record, squandering a golden opportunity to win the Lombardi Trophy with the likes of LaDanian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers, and Antonio Gates in their respective primes.
The Chargers used to be among the NFL teams with no Super Bowl appearances until they made it there in 1995 when they lost to George Seifert’s 49ers.
1998 Minnesota Vikings
A lot of football fans will point at the 1998 Vikings as the one team that could have and should have won the Super Bowl during that season, and rightfully so.
This Dennis Green-led Vikings team lost just one regular-season contest powered by sensational quarterback Randall Cunningham and Hall of Fame receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss making his NFL debut. The Vikes scored a then-record 556 points in a single season, only to lose the NFC Championship Game in heartbreaking fashion; a 30-27 defeat to the Falcons in overtime.
Fans from Minnesota would suffer many more crushing defeats in future postseasons, but none of them can compare to the sour taste that the 1998 season left on the title-starved franchise’s long history of bad playoff beats.
The Vikings are one of the NFL teams with no Super Bowl appearances since the 1970s.
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