For the one time throughout his Tremendous Bowl LV postgame press convention, Andy Reid let loose fun when requested if he had a newfound appreciation for the problem of repeating as champions. A 12 months after main the Chiefs to their first Tremendous Bowl win in 50 years, Reid’s staff did make it again to the Tremendous Bowl earlier than finally falling in need of their final aim. As a substitute of changing into the primary staff in 16 years to repeat as champion, the Chiefs joined the ’78 Cowboys, ’83 Washington Soccer Workforce, ’98 Packers, ’14 Seahawks and ’17 Patriots as defending champions who misplaced within the Tremendous Bowl.
Reid is hoping to affix a shorter listing of groups which have appeared in three straight Tremendous Bowls, a feat that was achieved by the early ’70s Dolphins, early ’90s Payments and the late ’10s Patriots.
“It is powerful,” Reid stated of his staff’s current quest at successful back-to-back titles. “That is a tricky factor even to get again to this sport. It is powerful. However that is what that is all about, and it simply reveals you the center of those guys and what they’ve executed to place ourselves ready to not less than have a chance to do that. We have got to play higher. We have got to make use of this as motivation to get again once more.”
Reid’s quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, spoke as if the Chiefs’ higher days are nonetheless in entrance of them throughout his postgame presser. Minutes after his staff’s 31-9 loss to the Buccaneers, the previous league and Tremendous Bowl MVP exuded confidence when requested about Kansas Metropolis’s future.
“We have now a younger group of men,” Mahomes stated. “After we form of joined collectively, we knew it wasn’t going to at all times going to achieve success, and you were not going to win 1,000 championships in a row. We knew we had been going to undergo instances like this and adversity, and I feel one of the best factor about it’s the guys that we’ve got have the management skill to be even higher subsequent 12 months. Clearly we did not finish the season the way in which we wished to. We will study from that. We will study from the successes that we had in the course of the season. And on the finish of the day, we’ve got to come back into this subsequent 12 months with a clean slate and discover a method to get again to the Tremendous Bowl once more.”
Historical past means that the Chiefs’ street again to the Tremendous Bowl could also be daunting. Solely eight groups in NFL historical past — the 1971 Cowboys, the ’72 Dolphins, the ’73 Vikings, the ’87 Broncos, the 1991-93 Payments and the 2018 Patriots — have returned to the Tremendous Bowl the 12 months after shedding the Huge Sport. And out of these groups, solely the ’71 Cowboys, ’72 Dolphins and ’18 Patriots had been in a position to hoist the Lombardi Trophy a 12 months after being on the brief finish of the Tremendous Bowl scoreboard.
Whereas getting again to the Tremendous Bowl has confirmed to be a frightening job for the Tremendous Bowl runner-up, merely making it again to the playoffs can be not a assure. A number of current runner-ups have did not qualify for the postseason the 12 months after enjoying within the Huge Sport.
This is a have a look at how the earlier 10 Tremendous Bowl runner-ups fared throughout the next season.
Regardless of going 12-4, the Steelers, who fell to the Packers 31-25 in Tremendous Bow XLV, needed to play within the wild-card spherical after ending behind the Ravens within the AFC North division standings. Going through the 8-8 Broncos within the first spherical of the playoffs, the Steelers had been famously defeated in additional time on Tim Tebow’s 80-yard landing cross to Demaryius Thomas. The Steelers, who had appeared in three of the earlier six Tremendous Bowls, would miss the playoffs in 2012-13 earlier than returning to the postseason in 2014.
Whereas the Steelers boasted the league’s top-ranked protection in the course of the 2011 season, Pittsburgh’s offense was simply twenty first in scoring. A late-season harm to Ben Roethlisberger additionally harm Pittsburgh’s championship hopes, as Huge Ben was clearly not anyplace near 100% well being in the course of the Steelers’ wild-card loss to Denver. The hits on Roethlisberger — in addition to the offense’s dip in manufacturing — led Pittsburgh’s brass to not renew offensive coordinator Bruce Arians’ contract that offseason change him with Todd Haley. Whereas Roethlisberger went onto get pleasure from a few of his greatest statistical seasons with Haley, the Steelers have appeared in only one AFC Championship Sport since their final journey to the Tremendous Bowl.
Not like the Steelers, the Patriots would make one other deep playoff run a 12 months after falling brief within the Tremendous Bowl. Led by quarterback Tom Brady and third-year tight finish Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots would win 12 video games in the course of the common season on the energy of their top-ranked scoring offense.
After placing 41 factors up on the Texans within the divisional spherical, the Patriots would host the Ravens within the AFC Championship Sport for a second straight 12 months. However after taking a 13-7 lead into intermission, the Patriots would get shut out in the course of the second half, as three Joe Flacco landing passes led the Ravens to a 28-13 victory. Whereas credit score must be given to the Ravens, the Patriots had been clearly impacted by the lack of Gronkowski, who was inactive after breaking his forearm the earlier week in opposition to the Texans.
Whereas the Ravens would go on to defeat the 49ers within the Tremendous Bowl, the Patriots would lose within the AFC title sport once more in 2013 earlier than making it again to the Tremendous Bowl in 2014.
A 12 months after falling simply brief in Tremendous Bowl XLVII, the 49ers confirmed nearly no drop off in 2013, successful 12 common season video games whereas boasting the league’s third-ranked scoring protection. After scoring 23 factors in every of their playoff wins over the Packers and Panthers, the 49ers’ offense scored simply 17 factors of their six-point loss to Seattle within the NFC Championship Sport. Whereas 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick gashed the Seahawks‘ protection on the bottom (dashing for 130 yards on 11 carries), his two interceptions, together with his notorious finish zone interception with 30 seconds left, loomed giant within the 49ers’ 23-17 loss.
Whereas their protection was nonetheless one of many league’s greatest in 2014, the 49ers regressed dramatically on the offensive aspect of the ball, rating simply twenty fifth in scoring and twenty eighth in crimson zone effectivity. San Francisco slipped to 8-8 in 2014, lacking the playoffs in what was John Harbaugh’s last season with the staff. The 49ers received simply seven video games over the subsequent two seasons earlier than the franchise introduced in Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch in 2017.
After an embarrassing blowout loss to the Seahawks in Tremendous Bowl XLVIII, Peyton Manning and the Broncos confirmed their resolve by successful 12 common season video games in 2014. Manning loved one other prolific season, whereas Denver’s protection improved from twenty second to sixteenth in factors allowed.
However regardless of their defensive enchancment, the Broncos’ protection was nonetheless not ok to cease Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who led the Colts to an upset win over Denver within the divisional spherical. The Broncos’ loss was a staff effort, nonetheless, as Manning accomplished simply 56.5% of his throws in Denver’s 24-13 loss.
The Broncos’ protection noticed a fast enchancment in 2015, as Broncos GM John Elway changed former defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio with Wade Phillips. Whereas Manning battled age and harm in 2015, Von Miller and the remainder of the Broncos’ fourth-ranked protection led the Broncos to a victory over the Panthers in Tremendous Bowl 50.
Statistically, the Seahawks, who received the Tremendous Bowl in ’13 earlier than shedding a basic to the Patriots the next season, had been even higher in 2015. Whereas their protection, led by Richard Sherman, was ranked first within the league for a 3rd straight 12 months, their offense, led by Russell Wilson, completed fourth within the NFL in scoring after being tenth and eighth in that division the earlier two years.
However after edging the Vikings on the street within the wild-card spherical, Seattle was blasted by the Panthers, who went 15-1 in the course of the common season, within the divisional spherical. After permitting a 59-yard run on the primary play from scrimmage, the Seahawks discovered themselves trailing 31-0 at halftime. Whereas Wilson’s three second-half landing passes helped shut the hole, the Seahawks finally fell to the eventual NFC champs, 31-24.
Whereas Wilson continued to develop right into a top-tier quarterback, Seattle would fall once more to the eventual NFC champion within the ’16 playoffs earlier than lacking the playoffs altogether in 2017. Whereas the Seahawks have rebounded with three consecutive playoff appearances, they have not superior previous the divisional spherical since 2014.
The 2016 Panthers had been unable to shake off their dismal Tremendous Bowl exhibiting the earlier season. A 12 months after successful league MVP honors, quarterback Cam Newton suffered a down 12 months (that was partly on account of an harm he sustained in Week 14), finishing lower than 53% of his cross makes an attempt. Carolina’s protection — after shedding All-Professional cornerback Josh Norman in free company — additionally took a serious step again, because the Panthers’ secondary went from eleventh to twenty ninth in passing yards permit. The regressions of Newton and the protection contributed largely to the Panthers’ 6-10 file in 2016. Carolina loved a quick resurgence in 2017 earlier than lacking the playoffs once more in 2018 and in 2019. Ron Rivera, who led Carolina to a few straight division titles earlier within the decade, was relieved of his duties late within the 2019 season. He has since resurfaced in Washington, main the Soccer Workforce to a division title in 2020.
Just like the Panthers, the Falcons, who famously squandered a 28-3 lead in Tremendous Bowl LI, endured a Tremendous Bowl hangover, successful simply half of their first eight video games of the 2017 marketing campaign. However after a gradual begin, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the remainder of the Falcons rebounded by going 6-2 down the stretch to clinch a wild-card berth. However after defeating the up and coming Rams in Los Angeles within the wild-card spherical, the Falcons’ crimson zone points that season (they had been twenty third within the NFL in crimson zone effectivity) reared its ugly head within the divisional spherical, because the Falcons scored simply 10 factors of their street loss to the eventual champion — the Philadelphia Eagles. Atlanta has but to return to the postseason.
After rallying from behind to defeat the Falcons in Tremendous Bowl LI, the Patriots surrendered 41 factors of their loss to the Eagles in Tremendous Bowl LII. And regardless of a (for them) modest 11-5 file, the Patriots regained their swagger within the playoffs, dismantling the Chargers within the divisional spherical earlier than needing additional time to defeat the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium within the AFC title sport.
In Tremendous Bowl LIII, the Patriots’ protection held the Rams to only three factors, tied for the fewest whole allowed by a staff in Tremendous Bowl historical past. Offensively, New England was led by sport MVP Julian Edelman, whose 10-catch, 141-yard effort keyed the Patriots’ 13-3 victory and sixth Tremendous Bowl win in the course of the Tom Brady-Invoice Belichick period.
Not like the ’18 Patriots, the Rams had been unable to rebound the 12 months after shedding the Huge Sport. Accidents on the ability positions, a slip in manufacturing on the defensive aspect of the ball, and enjoying within the NFL’s hardest division took its toll on the Rams, who missed the playoffs with a 9-7 file. The Rams did make it again to the playoffs final season earlier than arising brief in opposition to the Packers within the divisional spherical. Los Angeles not too long ago made noise after they traded Jared Goff, two future first-round picks and a 2021 third-round choose to the Lions in alternate for Matt Stafford.
Accidents derailed the 49ers’ protection of their NFC title and probability of redeeming the Tremendous Bowl LIV loss. Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Brandon Aiyuk, Ben Garland, Solomon Thomas, Ronald Blair, Kwon Alexander, Ezekiel Ansah and Jaquiski Tartt missed a mixed 149 video games in 2020. Regardless of these (and different) accidents, the 49ers had been 5-6 after beating the playoff-bound Rams in Week 12. And whereas their last file was an underwhelming 6-10, 5 of the 49ers’ losses had been determined by eight or fewer factors. If not for the mountain of accidents, San Francisco doubtless would have claimed one of many NFC’s seven playoff spots.