Fantastic Franchises of Football

Congratulations Nick Foles and the Eagles! I mean, sure, I was rooting for your team to win the Super Bowl mainly because I didn’t want the Patriots to win and out of hope that an Eagles win will give us an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia based on the victory that will hopefully be on the same caliber as “The World Series Defense” which was inspired by the Phillies 2008 championship, but I was still pulling for you. No matter where your fanatic devotion or one game loyalty lied last night, you have to be pleased that we were treated to an entertaining game that will stand as more than merely one of the 53 Super Bowls played to date. Philadelphia will certainly remember it as their first time hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, but even the most casual football fans will appreciate the magnificent game played by Nick Foles, especially the play where he became the first player to throw and catch a touchdown in the same Super Bowl (this is how you catch the ball, Tom):

Bravo Nick, you reminded us that you can really light it up from under center in a dazzling way… almost as dazzling as the clean look of clothing washed with Tide! That’s right, this post was a Tide commercial all along! (Please hang out with me, David Harbour….)

After that historic Super Bowl game, I took a look back at the games of Super Bowls past and started to wonder, who is the best franchise to play in the big game? There will undoubtedly be debates about the best players and teams to play in the game, and even the best games to be played on Super Sunday (Joe Montana, 1989 San Francisco 49ers, and Super Bowl XLII, respectively for me), but determining the top franchise based on its performance in the Super Bowl is a little easier, at least regarding being able to look back on multiple statistics, and chiefly, who won the games, how many they won, and how much they won by. This is what I spent some time perusing today, and I compiled a ranking of each NFL franchise’s aptitude in the Super Bowl. I considered a few key factors, like those I just described, especially winning percentage, as well as margin of victory throughout all Super Bowls that franchise has played in, whom they beat (and lost to). To break some ties I also considered how specific games went, and assessed game control for both the winners and losers.

I admit that I am no statistician, and this list is highly dependent on my personal opinion of what separates certain franchises where the aforementioned winning percentage and margin of victory (the difference between the number of points the franchise’s teams scored in the games and the number of points scored against them) could not as clearly determine an order. If you are interested in what I referenced to compose this ranking, then feel free to peruse the metric I made for it:

Best NFL Franchise Performance in the Super Bowl Metric

If you can live with that, then perhaps you’ll love this!

First, I’ll give a “you’ll get there someday… maybe” shout out to the four franchises that have yet to make it to the Super Bowl beyond hosting it:

Cleveland Browns – Ugh….

Detroit Lions – At least we’re not Cleveland!

Houston Texans – We’re still pretty new to this and have played all right.

Jacksonville Jaguars – We’re also newer and made it to the AFC Championship this year!


And now, the rankings of super Super Bowl participating franchises from worst to best!

28.) Minnesota Vikings (0-4) – I was really rooting for a Minnesota-Jacksonville game this year, but alas, the Norsemen of the Land of 10,000 Lakes did not get a chance to bring some bite back to the Purple People Eaters in the big game at home. They look a little better now that the Eagles won it all, but historically they have not played well in the Super Bowl, with all four losses being by at least two scores.

27.) Buffalo Bills (0-4) – Everyone in western New York knows they were soooo close in that first Super Bowl. A one point loss that could have easily been a two point win if it wasn’t for… I’m not even going to say it. The three consecutive Super Bowls that followed were not even close though.

26.) Los Angeles (then San Diego) Chargers (0-1) – Just one appearance to date for the Bolts of southern California, but they were soundly thrashed by their superior northern California cousins from San Francisco in it.

25.) Atlanta Falcons (0-2) – So, so close to cruising to victory last year before a miraculous (or more likely hellish) comeback from the Patriots that saw these birds get sunk in the only overtime in Super Bowl history. The earlier loss came from Denver, which is not something to be proud of.

24.) Carolina Panthers (0-2) – Barely above their NFC South fellows, the Panthers have also suffered defeats to the Patriots and Broncos, but each of theirs were late game losses by fewer points.

23.) Tennessee Titans (0-1)The Titans literally came as close to victory (or at least overtime) as any Super Bowl runner-up has.

22.) Arizona Cardinals (0-1) Perhaps the most amazing final few minutes in any Super Bowl came at the heartbreaking expense of the Cardinals who played an excellent game to cap a terrific season.

21.) Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) – How do I have a two-loss Super Bowl franchise set above two that nearly won the only one each had been to yet? When the franchise you lost to twice by only nine combined points is the San Francisco 49ers at the peak of the Bill Walsh dynasty, then you have a pretty good argument. Especially when Joe Montana does this.

20.) Denver Broncos (3-5) – The Broncos are without a doubt one of the best teams at getting to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for their fans, they are also one of the worst teams once they actually get into the game. They have been on the losing end of some of the most lopsided scores in the game’s history throughout it’s history, including a 45 point defeat by the 1989 49ers I referenced earlier. Altogether, the Broncos have been outscored 36-148 in their eight appearances in the grand game. Nevertheless, they have come away with three Lombardi Trophies.

19.) Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams (1-2) – They scored their win in that oh, so close game against Tennessee, and suffered close defeats to the Chuck Noll dynasty Steelers and the 2001 Belichick-Brady Patriots.

18.) Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) – After last night’s victory, the previous two defeats (one also a close one to those B&B Patriots) don’t sting as much.

17.) Miami Dolphins (2-3) – Still the only franchise to have a Super Bowl champ that went undefeated in the regular season and postseason en route to carrying their coach, the great Don Shula (my university’s most well-known alumnus!), across the field. Unfortunately for Miami, their three losses were rough ends to otherwise amazing seasons.

16.) Seattle Seahawks (1-2) – It should be two if only they would have handed Marshawn Lynch the ball at the two yard line instead of throwing a pass! A pass! No matter how this most recent Malcolm Butler bullshit goes, he’ll always have that interception that never should have happened. Good job whipping the Broncos though!

15.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) – The first runners-up in any Super Bowl got to kick off the big game by getting kicked around by Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr’s Packers, but they got a trophy of their own against the Vikings a few years later.

14.) Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (2-2) – The original team from Baltimore that now resides in central Indiana has gone half and half on the SB stage, thanks to legendary quarterbacks Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning each winning on one of two trips to the game.

13.) New England Patriots (5-5) – Some may be surprised to find the Patriots in the middle of the pack, but their record in the game is 0.500, and their wins have all been one score in games that went down to the wire. This is not to take away their five wins, still tied for second all-time, but their five defeats have not been as close, especially in their first Super Bowl against the shufflin’ Chicago Bears. Like the Broncos, they are great at getting to the game, but not the best at winning it, especially if Eli Manning is under center on the other side.

12.) New York Jets (1-0) – It’s hard to deny a perfect record, although it is a small sample size. That being said, this still remains one of the greatest sports upsets in history and served to show that the supposed parity between the merging football leagues was not as great as it appeared.

11.) New Orleans Saints (1-0) – Besting Peyton Manning is no small feat, especially on the biggest stage. And let’s not forget that second half opening onside kick! Gutsy play that finally brought the big game hardware to the Big Easy.

10.) Chicago Bears (1-1) – Super Bowl XX is the game that solidified Mike Ditka as a coaching legend. Da Bears were da champs after crushing the Patriots in the first Super Bowl for both teams.

9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) – The best of the single showing bunch thanks to an annihilation of the Oakland Raiders.

8.) Washington Change This Name Already (3-2) – They were 1-1 against the Dolphins and also bested the Broncos and Bills on the way to three victories. Now if only they can get rid of that racist logo and team name.

7.) Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (3-2) – No matter where they’ve been (or where they’re going) the Raiders have been the scariest looking franchise in the NFL thanks to some wild fans that remind us that the term is short for fanatic. They get the narrow edge over the Change the Name franchise by virtue of beating them handily head-to-head in Super Bowl XVIII.

6.) Baltimore Ravens (2-0) – The last of the unbeaten franchises is held back purely because the franchises above them have slayed in the Super Bowl. However, the Ravens have been no slouches in their numerous playoff appearances. They fortunately were not permitted to steal away the Browns history when they were stolen away from Cleveland in 1996, but since joining the NFL as an expansion team, the Ravens have made their own history with two wins over two of the best Super Bowl franchises.

5.) Dallas Cowboys (5-3) – The claim to be “America’s Team” may be contested by any of the franchises I have ranked above them, but one thing that cannot is that the Cowboys and their pals at the top of this list have earned their keep. Dallas gets extra props for having won over many decades.

4.) New York Giants (4-1) – Who would have thought that Peyton’s little brother would help ascend this franchise into the top five among Super Bowl champs? Well, he did, and he and the Giants bested the B&B Patriots twice to do so, including being the lone loss on the 2007 Pats resume. They also beat the Broncos and Bills, but lost badly to the Ravens.

3.) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) – The owners of the most rings, the Steelers have been in the hunt for the big prize as regularly as the Cowboys, but they get the edge over them due to their 2-1 record against the Boys in the Bowl.

2.) Green Bay Packers (4-1) – The winners of the first two Super Bowls, the Pack Attack has gone on to beat the Patriots and Steelers to vault themselves into the silver medal slot on this list. Their lone loss came to the best of those Broncos teams by only a touchdown.

1.) San Francisco 49ers (5-1) – For all the analysis of various football factors, the answer to the question “who’s the best Super Bowl franchise?” was obvious from the start. The 49ers arrived to the Super Bowl mix somewhat late, but once they made their way onto the dance floor, they quickly took it over. After besting the Bengals in each franchise’s first Super Bowl, they cruised past the Dolphins to spoil Marino’s greatest season, then posted an historic final drive against the Bengals in the sequel to their first major matchup. The next season they absolutely obliterated the Broncos, 55-10, in the biggest outpouring of points and margin of victory by any team in any Super Bowl. A few years later, with Steve Young at the helm of the ship Joe Montana made, they outshot the Chargers. Since then, San Francisco has only made it to one other Super Sunday showdown, the Harbowl between brothers John and Jim Harbaugh. John’s Ravens got the better of his big brother’s 49ers, but only by three points thanks to a furious San Fran rally following a bizarre half-hour blackout in the stadium.

When all is said and done, the 49ers have won five Super Bowls by a combined 99 points and only lost one by 3. When it comes to winning the Super Bowl, no other franchise has proven to be up to the task like the San Francisco 49ers.

Thanks for reading! Rush back here next week for more hard-hitting and concussion-inducing fun!

Sports yeah go!

Alex

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