As the Jacksonville Jaguars were a stone’s throw from the Super Bowl this year, they failed to reach the promised land and remained one of just four NFL teams that have never reached a Super Bowl.
The Jags, Cleveland Browns Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans must be asking themselves “can we ever be super?” Super like in Super Bowl, Lombardi Trophy style, you get the idea. While the Cleveland Browns had to reinvent themselves in the late 1990s when the original franchise bolted town and landed in Baltimore, the Ravens have since brought home two Lombardis. So is it fair to place an asterisk next to Baltimore indicating they are the old Browns? Either way, before the relocation, Cleveland had still not made it to a league title game that began as the Super Bowl in 1965.
Since reestablishing themselves in Cleveland, the Browns haven’t even sniffed a Super Bowl appearance. As for the Detroit Lions, they have been an improved team over the last several years, but with Green Bay ahead of them in the division and Seattle turning into a powerhouse, chances of reaching the game represented with Roman numerals is miniscule. Then there are the Houston Texans. Unable to find a star quarterback until perhaps last season only to see rising star rookie Deshaun Watson fall to a season ending injury, this expansion team is light years away from getting to a league title.
When the Houston Oilers were in town, they had some outstanding teams in the 1970s but could not get past the Pittsburgh Steelers or Oakland Raiders. Being moved to Tennessee, the now Titans who were formerly the Oilers, did make a Super Bowl but lost in dramatic fashion. Then there are the Jacksonville Jaguars…the Jags.
Another expansion franchise in the NFL since 1996, Jacksonville had some solid early runs in the post-season but have been dreadfully awful the last 10 year or so minus last season. Those four teams, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, and Jacksonville may never reach a Super Bowl. They say to never say never but given the history and the handling of these franchises, it seems unlikely. Jacksonville now with an outstanding team may be the closest.
While that quad of teams has yet to get to the big dance, there are nine other teams that did make it to the promised land but came away empty. The Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and the Buffalo Bills all sport conference championship trophies but not one of those teams has a shiny, silver, Lombardi Trophy in their showcases.
When the Super Bowl conversation turns to the Bills or Vikings, those two teams may be proud of their four Super Bowl appearances, but they can’t claim a victory in any of those eight games. If not for Scott Norwood‘s infamous missed field goal that would have defeated the New York Giants, Buffalo would not be mentioned in this scenario. But those two teams are 0-8 in Super Bowl games.
The Bengals made it twice but could not find a way to win. The Eagles are in the same boat as Cincinnati. The Cardinals came razor close to keeping the Steelers from winning their sixth Super Bowl. Tennessee nearly tied their game with the Rams on a last second effort to reach the end zone that would have thrown that game into overtime.
San Diego defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers when the Black and Gold made a vain effort to win the game in the waning moments only to advance to a butt-whooping by the San Francisco 49ers.
While the Bengals in one of their appearances had a star player strung out on drugs the night before the big game, the Atlanta Falcons had one of theirs arrested for an illicit act. Then the team went out and got smushed. The Carolina Panthers gave the New England Patriots all they could handle but still lost. Of the teams that had made it to the Super Bowl but failed to win, their odds of a return are far better than those four that haven’t reached the huge event known as the Super Bowl. Cincinnati had a long run of making the playoffs but failed to get deep in the post-season. Perhaps they will eventually find a way to return to the Super Bowl.
This year, the Buffalo Bills are a bit of a mess, and the Vikings choked big in the playoffs last season despite an awesome defense. The Cardinals are not close, nor are the Panthers. The Falcons are playoff competitors but seemingly not good enough to represent the NFC. The Eagles are finally NFL champions and the belief here is that with Philip Rivers at the controls, the Chargers won’t return to the Super Bowl anytime soon. Finally, there are the Titans. A young group with a quarterback that is rising to star status but Super Bowl dreams are way, way off.
2018 National Football