Nine months after meeting in Super Bowl XLVI, New England and the New York Giants are each in first place in their respective divisions, with a combined record of 11-6 (.647).
Both teams look to be headed to the playoffs, if for no other reason than the lack of other great teams in their divisions.
But since New England won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003-04, a surprising trend has emerged regarding the playoff success of teams the year after they reach the Super Bowl.
Stat of the week: the 14 teams to play in the Super Bowl between 2004 and 2010 combined to win 3 playoff games the season following their championships.
- 2010 SB: Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh / 2011 playoffs: both teams went 0-1
- 2009 SB: New Orleans vs. Indianapolis / 2010 playoffs: both teams went 0-1
- 2008 SB: Pittsburgh vs. Arizona / 2009 playoffs: PIT missed playoffs & ARI went 1-1
- Arizona def. Green Bay in wild-card round
- 2007 SB: NY Giants vs. New England / 2008 playoffs: NY 0-1 & NE missed
- 2006 SB: Indianapolis vs. Chicago / 2007 playoffs: IND 0-1 & CHI missed
- 2005 SB: Pittsburgh vs. Seattle / 2006 playoffs: PIT missed & SEA went 1-1
- Seattle def. Dallas in wild-card round
- 2004 SB: New England vs. Philadelphia / 2005 playoffs: NE went 1-1 & PHI missed
- New England def. Jacksonville in wild-card round
To summarize, Super Bowl participants between 2004-10 were a combined 3-9 in the playoffs the year following their trip to the big game (with five teams missing the playoffs altogether).
That’s not a good record of success, and should be a sobering thought for the 2012 New York Giants and New England Patriots.
In the AFC East, the Patriots (5-3) hold a 1-game lead over Miami (4-4), with both head-to-head matchups still to be played (Weeks 13 & 17). In the NFC East, the Giants (6-3) hold a 2.5-game lead over 3-5 Dallas and Philadelphia; New York has just two division games remaining, and also have a brutal 2-game stretch in Weeks 15 and 16 with road games at Atlanta and Baltimore.
Even if both teams can earn playoff berths, the numbers show that the odds are against them making much of a splash in the NFL’s “second season.”
- Houston has not yet allowed a rushing TD in 2012.
San Francisco made it to Week 16 before allowing a score on the ground in 2011, and wound up giving up three such TDs in the regular season.
Houston last allowed a rushing TD in Week 15 of 2011 (to Carolina’s Richie Brockel) so the Texans will take a 10-game streak into their matchup against Chicago on Sunday night. The Bears have scored seven rushing TDs in eight games, ranking 12th in the league. If the Texans can hold Matt Forte & Co. out of the end zone this weekend, they’ll have a bit of a break facing Jacksonville – the league’s worst offense, which has scored just two rushing TDs.
Houston still has to face Chris Johnson and Tennessee again, Adrian Peterson and Minnesota, and the top-scoring rushing offense in New England (Week 14). New England, Washington and Houston have all scored 12 rushing TDs (although the Redskins have done it one more game, nine, than the other two teams).
- Ben Roethlisberger (two Super Bowl wins) and Eli Manning (two Super Bowl rings) squared off on Sunday in a rare matchup of quarterbacks with multiple championships (as SB starters). Before Sunday’s game there had been just six such meetings in the regular season since the start of the Super Bowl Era, with another two postseason meetings.
Here is a list of the QBs to start, and win, multiple Super Bowl games (with the season they won a second SB in parentheses):
- Bart Starr (1967)
- Bob Griese (1973)
- Terry Bradshaw (1975)
- Roger Staubach (1977)
- Jim Plunkett (1983)
- Joe Montana (1984)
- Troy Aikman (1993)
- John Elway (1998)
- Tom Brady (2003)
- Ben Roethlisberger (2008)
- Eli Manning (2011)
Regular season games featuring multiple SB-winning quarterbacks (prior to the current Big Three era of Brady-Roethlisberger-E.Manning):
- Bradshaw, Pit defeated Griese, Mia (Week 10, 1976)
- Griese, Mia defeated Staubach, Dal (Week 10, 1978)
- Bradshaw, Pit defeated Staubach, Dal (Week 9, 1979)
- Montana, SF defeated Plunkett, LA (Week 3, 1985)
Postseason games featuring multiple SB-winning QBs (prior to current Big Three era):
- Bradshaw, Pit defeated Staubach, Dal in SB XIII (1978)
-- Bradshaw named SB MVP
- Bradshaw defeated Griese, Mia (1979)
-- Bradshaw went on to win his fourth SB that postseason
Starr never had a chance to play against another QB with multiple rings, since he retired in 1971. Aikman never played a QB with multiple rings, missing out on Montana and retiring before Brady entered the league. Elway never played another game after winning his second ring.
The current Big Three
Brady and Roethlisberger have met five times in the regular season and once in the postseason (in Roethlisberger’s rookie season). Only their two most recent meetings qualify under the “both starting QBs with multiple championships” criteria, since Roethlisberger won his second Super Bowl at the end of the 2008 season:
- New England 39, Pittsburgh 26 (Week 10, 2010)
- Pittsburgh 25, New England 17 (Week 8, 2011)
Brady and Manning have played just two times in the regular season. Of course, the biggest meetings between Brady and Manning happened in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, with Manning coming out on top both times (most recently last season). Brady and Manning have not met this season, and thus have not played against each other yet as dual members of this exclusive club.
With Pittsburgh’s win over the New York Giants this past Sunday, Steelers QBs now hold a 6-1 all-time record in games featuring QBs with multiple rings.