Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top 10 Missing Rings

"I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me."- Beck
As the Steelers continue to lick their wounds from their recent Super Bowl loss, I'm taking this post to recognize all of the teams that have come up short. For every one of the greatest teams that won the Super Bowl, there have been countless outstanding teams that just couldn't finish the job. And so I present to you, my Top 10 Best NFL teams that did NOT win the Super Bowl.

10. 2006 San Diego Chargers: This team went into the playoffs with a 14-2 record and a first-round bye. With an extremely prolific offense and an adequate defense, the possibility of San Diego capturing it's first ever Lombardi Trophy seemed within reach. They boasted stars such as Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Shawn Merriman, and Ladainian Tomlinson in the prime of his career. However, the Bolts surrendered their first win at home that season to the Patriots in a lackluster performance.

9. 1979 Houston Oilers: The city of Houston has been nothing short of snake-bit when it comes to NFL success. But 1979 was the closest that the often overlooked Oilers ever came to a Championship. It seemed the Oilers had finally built a formidable team around the bruising running of Earl Campbell.  Campbell was League MVP and Rushing Leader. The Oilers finished second in the AFC Central, behind the dynastic Steelers, and met their division rival in the AFC Championship as a wild card. The Steel Curtain keyed on Campbell, but Houston still had a shot at winning. Thanks primarily to an awful "no TD" call against Mike Renfro that took the wind out of the Oilers sails, Pittsburgh came away with the victory en route to their 4th Super Bowl Championship. 

8. 1984 Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins were dominant all year in '84. They rattled off 11 straight wins as Dan Marino posted over 5,000 yards passing and 48 TDs. At 14-2, they breezed through the playoffs until they met the 49ers in the Super Bowl. It was a heavyweight battle between the NFL's premier QBs: Marino and Montana. Unfortunately for Miami, it was a fight the Dolphins lost. The 49ers were well on their way to being the dynasty of the '80s.

7. 1981 San Diego Chargers: If there was ever a year that the Chargers should have won it all, '81 was it. Their offense, highlighted by Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow, was nothing short of unstoppable. It seemed they were the team of destiny after a legendary OT win over the Dolphins in the playoffs. But their season came to a grinding halt in the bitter cold of Cincinnati, as the Bengals beat them 27-7 in what became known as the Freezer Bowl. There's no telling where this Southern Cal team would sit amongst the best teams of all time had they not let the weather get the best of them in '81.

6. 2001 St. Louis Rams: "The Greatest Show on Turf" was arguably the best team in the league that year and seemed primed for a second Super Bowl title in 3 years. The offense was led by '99 Super Bowl MVP, Kurt Warner, Tory Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Marshall Faulk. The defense had made leaps and bounds in two years. They entered the playoffs at 14-2 and methodically waded through there NFC competition. They were favorites entering the game against the also-rand Patriots, who on the leg of Adam Vinatieri, launched themselves into a dynasty.

5. 1969 Minnesota Vikings: 1969 was to be the first of a long line of enormous Viking disappointments, specifically in the Super Bowl. The Vikings lost 4 Super Bowls in franchise history, but first they lost to the underdog and under-appreciated KC Chiefs. Fran Tarkenton and the Purple People Eater defense blew through the NFL with a 12-2 record. Everyone including the Vikings thought that a contest against the inferior AFL would be a breeze (Super Bowl III was clearly a fluke). But the Vikings clearly showed a lack of preparation for the game and for the second year in a row, the AFL bested their over-confident NFL counterparts.

4. 1990 Buffalo Bills: The Bills and their no huddle offense led by Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas could not be touched as they ran to a 13-3 regular season including an 8-0 home record. Bill Parcells knew that the only way his over-matched Giants could topple the AFC's giant in the Super Bowl, was to keep the ball away from their offense. New York did just that, with a Super Bowl record 40 and a half minutes of possession. In short, Scott Norwood and wide right can't take all the credit for Buffalo's misery. When this outstanding team had been beaten, it was all downhill for the Bills. Three more consecutive Super Bowl losses later and a handful of losing seasons and sub-par drafts, Buffalo is still looking for a winning formula. 

3. 1968 Baltimore Colts: The mighty Colts of the mighty NFL had no reason to believe that they would lose to the New York whoevers of the AFL. The Packers easily won the first two Super Bowls, so why would their fate be any different. At 15-1, Johnny Unitas and the Colts didn't belong on the same field as the Jets. The only problem was that the Colts felt that way, and their over-confidence bit them in the butt. The guarantee came true, the Cinderella AFL won it's first Super Bowl, and the NFL was changed forever.

2. 1998 Minnesota Vikings: One of the greatest teams in NFL history and yet they weren't even the latest on the list of Vikings teams to end with disappointment. These Vikings were stacked from top to bottom. Randall Cunningham at QB, John Randle at DT, Robert Smith at RB, and incomparable veteran Cris Carter and rookie phenom Randy Moss at WR. They finished the regular season 15-1, including 8 straight wins. It's worth mentioning that their only loss came against Tampa Bay by a mere 3 points. In the AFC Championship, the Vikings appeared all but assured of a Super Bowl berth. But the Atlanta Falcons had other plans, and after OT, came away with the 30-27 victory. Heartbreak in Minnesota seems to be a constant. 

1. 2007 New England Patriots: You can't beat undefeated... at least not on this list. The Giants certainly could. The team of the 2000s was charmed in '07 and looked like they were marching into NFL history. The city of Miami had a collective stroke as Tom Brady and the star-studded Pats reached 16-0... 17-0...18-0. The Pats had been all but crowned the greatest team ever when they met the New York Giants in the desert for the Super Bowl. Strahan and the Giants put Brady under more pressure than he had seen all year. With the help of some 4th quarter heroics, the Giants took the Pats from 19-0 to 18-1, Super Bowl runners-up, and the #1 spot on my list of losers. 

No comments:

Post a Comment