2013 NFL Playoffs: Team Most Deserving of Winning Super Bowl
Embarking on the 47th edition of the greatest spectacle in pro sports, the 2012 NFL season leaves us with its 12 finalists for the right to claim football’s brass ring, the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
This also means 12 fan bases all saying respective prayers, analyzing the team from top to bottom to gauge its chances, and gathering in sports bars in each city to revel in past glory or dwell in lost opportunity.
But who really has the right to sulk over a draft beer and mutter the fateful words they have been repeating for what seems like eternity, “Will this FINALLY be the year?”
To compile this list, we must consider many factors.
How old is the franchise? Are they regular visitors to Super Sunday or merely one- or two-hit wonders? Did they win championships before there ever was a Super Bowl? To what degree are the fans passionate and loyal?
How hungry is this city to shut everything down, once and for all? To block off downtown and invite the entire population to line Main Street and cheer their football heroes in a grand Super Bowl parade?
From No. 12 to No. 1, they are ranked here:
No. 12: Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl appearances: 5
Super Bowl wins: 4
Total Championships: 13
Last Super Bowl appearance: 2010 season (win)
They don’t call Green Bay "Title Town" for nothing. Sorry Packer fans, of the 12 teams in this group, while the Packer franchise is synonymous with everything classy and reverent about the NFL, yours is the one that least deserves a title.
Besides having the 2nd most SB wins in this group at four, there’s that thing about having 13 total NFL Championships in your back pocket. Additionally, Packer fans have suffered only one full NFL season without winning it all.
Let’s not forget that the trophy for this game is named after a man who coached your team. You can walk any street in any NFL town with your head held high and tout all of your achievements, but on this list, you are last.
No. 11: New England Patriots
Super Bowl appearances: 7
Super Bowl wins: 3
Total Championships: 3
Last Super Bowl appearance: 2011 season
Last Super Bowl win: 2004 season
For the Patriots it’s not merely the fact that they have won three titles in the last 11 years, plus two losing appearances two of the last three years, it’s the fact that since 2001, the franchise has a composite regular-season record of 146 wins against 46 losses. Over this 12-year span, they have won less than 10 games in a season exactly once.
There’s no wanting there. Had this list been created in year 2000, the Patriots would rank much higher. But since they hit the football lottery known as the tandem of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, Patriots fans have been living the life of Ricky Schroeder in the 80’s sitcom Silver Spoons.
Just like when Clint Eastwood’s character in The Unforgiven is about to dispose of Gene Hackman, the villain looks up and says, “I don’t deserve to go out like this.”
To that, Eastwood peers down with squinty eyes and says un-apologetically, “Deserving ain’t got nothing to do with it.” Indeed. And sorry to Bill and Tom, but deserving has really nothing to do with it. At least, not on our list.
No. 10: San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl appearances: 5
Super Bowl wins: 5
Total Championships: 5
Last Super Bowl appearance: 1989 (win)
Yes it has been 23 years since they flashed the ‘Forty Niner Gold and Scarlet' on the grandest stage, but any team with five Super Bowl wins in five appearances isn’t what you’d call deserving. Before there was Belichick and Brady, there was Bill Walsh and Joe Montana. There is excellence and domination, and then there are the 49ers of the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Starting with ‘The Catch’ in the 1981 NFC Championship, and culminating with a Super Bowl blowout of the Chargers in 1994, the Niners consistently reigned supreme over NFL opponents. Jim Harbaugh has done an admirable job restoring the glory, but the word ‘restoring' implies that there was glory somewhere in the past. There was plenty of glory, 13 consecutive years and five rings worth, and that means 10th on this list of most deserving.
No. 9: Denver Broncos
Super Bowl appearances: 6
Super Bowl wins: 2
Total Championships: 2
Last Super Bowl appearance: 1998 Season (win)
With the Broncos, we have another franchise with multiple Super Bowl appearances and multiple wins. Not deserving. And further, the shiny free agent quarterback has two appearances and one win of his own.
Like the Patriots before Brady, had this list been created before Denver finally found a running back to go with the golden arm of John Elway, leading to consecutive titles, they'd be much higher on this list.
While it would be nice to see Peyton Manning score a big one for now Exec VP of Football Operations Elway, Broncos fans can’t feel that bad if things don’t quite work out.
No. 8: Indianapolis Colts
Super Bowl Appearances: 4
Super Bowl Wins: 2
Total Championships: 4
Last Super Bowl Appearance: 2009 season
Last Super Bowl Win: 2006 season
The Colts are the feel-good story of the 2012 NFL season and possibly one of the more heart-warming stories the NFL has seen in a long time. With head coach Chuck Pagano battling acute promyelocytic leukemia all season long and unable to walk the sidelines until the final game of the season, his young team, led by No. 1 overall draft pick and rookie sensation Andrew Luck, surprised everyone by posting an unbelievable 11-5 record.
It is truly a great story, and if the Colts had not won the big game only six years ago, while losing one just three years ago, the might be higher on this list of teams who deserve to win one. Even when the team wasn’t playing in it, the city still got to experience the Super Bowl up close and personal last year when they were the host site.
The Colts have a storied history and have won their share over the years. Additionally, with one of the brightest young stars playing the most important position on the field, future Super Bowl opportunities should not be that far on the horizon. Missing out on one this year won’t have many Colts fans asking the bartender to make it a triple and make it fast.