The 2015-16 NFL season will culminate with golden anniversary Super Bowl 50. That is pretty cool. What an experience, what a privilege it would be for a franchise to participate in that game.
Plenty of pundits have provided predictions for which teams will get to the Super Bowl. Your Dallas Cowboys and the AFC’s Indianapolis Colts are chic picks. Of course, Seattle, Green Bay, and New England top a lot of boards, too.
I will not offer my prediction here. Maybe mid-season, I will do that. Right now, I want to talk about which would be the coolest teams to see in this historic game.
Here are some suggestions:
Revenge of the Super Losers
In the 1970s, the Purple-People Eaters defense and quarterback jitterbug Fran Tarkenton led the Vikings to four Super Bowl appearances. They lost all four games. They lost to the Chiefs in 1970, the Dolphins in 1974, the Steelers in ’75, and the Raiders in ’77.
The Buffalo Bills could have been one of the greatest teams in history. In the 1990s, they made it to four consecutive Super Bowls. That had never been done before and has not been approached since. In Super Bowl XXV, they lost a 20-19 heart-breaker to the New York Giants. “Wide right” became the name for that game, as a game-winning field goal was missed by the Bills in their first – and, as it turns out, best – shot at winning the whole enchilada. They would lose to the Redskins the next year and then twice to Jimmy Johnson’s mighty Dallas Cowboys.
The Vikings look to be pretty good this year. I see no way for the Bills to hold up their end of the bargain, but it would be intriguing.
Welcome to the Party
The Detroit Lions were founded in 1929, known then as the Portsmouth Spartans. They were involved in the first NFL playoff game in 1932, against the Chicago bears. They played in the first Thanksgiving Day game in the 1930s and won their first NFL championship in 1935. With QB Bobby Layne, they won three straight championships, 1952-54. They are one of the oldest and most storied professional football teams in American history. But! In 49 tries, they have made it to exactly zero Super Bowls.
The Cleveland Browns were named for Joe “the Brown Bomber” Louis and not for Paul Brown, the founder and first coach of the team. Or so say some. Others say they were named for Coach Brown. Either way, they were founded in 1944 as a member of the All-America Football Conference, meant to compete with the National Football League. (Other competing leagues would come along over the years.) They began play in 1946. Cleveland won the AAFC championship all four years of the league’s existence. They won the NFL Championship in 1964, before the first Super Bowl was held in 1967. They featured one of the biggest names and icons in NFL history, running back Jim Brown, from 1957-65. In 1986, the Browns appeared to be headed for their first Super Bowl. But then John Elway and The Drive happened. Owner Art Modell took the franchise to Baltimore and the Ravens were born. Cleveland was without a team from 1996 – 1998. The Ravens have won two Super Bowls. The Browns and Cleveland have been waiting nearly 50 years for their appearance.
The likelihood of a Lions v Browns Super Bowl 50 is roughly the same as lightning striking me twice before I finish this article. (The sky is clear blue, not a cloud for miles.) But…it would be intriguing.
Champion of Champions!
Two teams have been to eight Super Bowls. No other team has been to more than seven.
The two teams? The Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite all that has been accomplished in New England (7), Denver(7), and San Francisco(6), the Steelers and the Cowboys stand out as the flagship franchises of the National Football League.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the fifth oldest franchise in the NFL. They were founded July 8, 1933 by Arthur Joseph Rooney. The team is still owned by the Rooney family. They had a checkered story, one of mostly failure and shortcomings, until the 1970s, when new coach Chuck Knoll, quarterback Terry Bradshaw, and the Steel Curtain defense, anchored by Mean Joe Green, led the team to four Super Bowls…and as many Super Bowl victories.
The Steelers slow rise to success resulted in crossing the path of one of the NFL’s fastest-rising franchises. Established in 1960 and led by legendary-coach-in-the-making Tom Landry, the Dallas Cowboys were contending for championships and falling just short by the mid-60s. They had their own dominant defense, known as DoomsDay.
When former Heisman winner and Navy man Roger Staubach ascended to the helm, he helped to put the Cowboys on a collision course with Bradshaw’s Steelers. The two met in Super Bowls X and XIII. The Steelers won the first meeting 21-17 and the second, 35-31. The games were colossal struggles, mighty clashes, and instant classics.
The Cowboys played in five Super Bowls in the ’70s, but won just two. The Steelers, you might say, stole the moniker “Team of the 70s” from them.
In Super Bowl XXX, the two met again. This was Jerry Jones’ Cowboys, built by Jimmy Johnson, but, thanks to his acrimonious departure, now coached by Barry Switzer vs Bill Cowher’s resurgent Steelers. This time, the Cowboys won and became the Team of the 90s.
The Steelers are 6-2 and the Cowboys are 5-3 in the Super Bowl. They have met three times in the ultimate game, which is more than any other pairing.
The dream Super Bowl 50 has to be the Steelers and the Cowboys. Of course, should the Cowboys prevail, they would have beaten each other twice and would each be 6-3.
That is a dream that just might come true.
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Silver and BlueBlood