By Rob Ficiur
Growing up I hated the NFL. People said those teams were better than my favorite CFL teams. I did not want to believe that. It also helped that we did not have a channel that got NFL games so why should I like that sport?
The Super Bowl is unlike any sporting event in North American. For two weeks the media focuses on two teams in greater depth than any team gets in a year. Even a casual (NFL) football fan like me can’t help but be drawn in to the story lines and the hype. As a very casual NFL fan, as I began a list of my Super Bowl memories a pattern emerged.
1. Minnesota Vikings (1974-1977)
My earliest memory the Minnesota Vikings and Fran Tarkentin, losing out in two straight super bowls. It turns out that my memory was slightly wrong. The Vikings lost three Super Bowls from 1974-1977. Scoring seven, six and thirteen points in each of the finals was not enough to win a championship.
In 1975 the Vikings lost 16-6 to the Pittsburgh Stealers. Sixteen points is the second lowest total for a Super Bowl champion. The 1971 Baltimore and 1969 New York Jets also won the Super Bowl scoring sixteen points. The 1973 Miami Dolphins hold the record for the lowest points scored by a Super Bowl winner when they defeated Washington 14-7. Since 1975 only one Super Bowl winner has scored less than 20 points. The Vikings have not been back to the championship since losing that 1977 Super Bowl.
2. Buffalo Bills (1991-1994)
Former Montreal Alouettes Coach Marv Levy lead the Buffalo Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances from 1991-1994. The Bills hold the record for those four consecutive Super Bowl losses. The 1991 game was a missed field goal away from being the Bills first championship. Since going to the 1994 Super Bowl Buffalo has made the playoffs only four times. Their last playoff victory was in January 1996.
3. New England Patriots 2008
The New York Giants won the 2008 Super Bowl 17-14 over the undefeated New England Patriots. No team in NFL history had ever the perfect sixteen game regular season and won the Super Bowl. The 1972 Miami Dolphins had an undefeated season and playoffs with a fourteen game regular season.
Late in the fourth quarter it looked like New England was going to be the first ever 19-0 team in NFL history. On what should have / could have been New York’s last drive, Eli Manning avoided a sack and completed an impossible pass to set up the winning touchdown. The margin of victory often comes down to one play at a pivotal moment.
4. Tennessee Titans 2000
The St. Louis Rams won their first, and only Super Bowl 23-16 over the Tennessee Titans. The Titans were in their third year in Tennessee after relocating from Houston. This was their first year as the Titans, having playing the first two as the Tennessee Oilers. On their last set of downs the Titans made a drive hoping to tie the game. No Super Bowl game has ever gone into overtime but this one was a yard away from it. On the last play of the game Mike Jones tackled Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line as time expired. Dyson stretched his arm as far as he could hoping the ball could cross the plane of the goal line. One yard short was all they were, but the Titans lost and have never been back to the Super Bowl.
5. Seattle Seahawks 2015
The NFL had not had a repeat Super Bowl Champion since the New England Patriots won the championship in 2004 and 2005. The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were down 28-24 late in the game. After a unbelievable bounce off the defender 33 yard catch by Jermaine Kearse Seattle could win it all. With less than a minute to play and the ball on the New England one yard line Seattle quarterback threw an interception. Why throw the ball when you have the best running back in the league? The Seahawks like the Titans were one yard away from victory.
Losing Memories? What does it say about me when my top four Super Bowl memories are about the losing teams? Perhaps it is because I was pulling for the underdog. Perhaps I just picked the wrong team year after year.