The Super Bowl is, at the moment, the single largest sporting event in America. Super Bowl Sunday has come to represent the epitome of professional sports and the spirit of competition. Each year thirty two NFL teams begin the season with their eye on the Lombardi trophy and by the end of it all there is only one team left standing. The Super Bowl winner is crowned the champion until the next season when again it must begin the grueling process of reaching the big game again. The crazy thing about football is that you never know who is going to win and this has led to some amazing Super Bowl upsets and even some head scratching losses in the playoffs. This list isn’t about teams that have never won the big one, it’s about teams that were expected to take the whole thing home but feel short either in the playoffs or on the stage of the Super Bowl itself.
10. 1997 Denver Broncos
John Elway was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever throw on a set of pads in the NFL. For most of his career the single blemish on his otherwise stellar career was having never won a Super Bowl. The 1997 Denver Broncos represented the best chance for him to achieve the prize that had eluded him for so long because for the first time Elway had enough parts around him that he didn’t have to win games all by himself. The ’97 Broncos ended the regular season with the best record in the NFL and were considered favorites to make it to the Super Bowl. The Broncos were heavily favored in their first playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars but inexplicably the Broncos lost. Whether they would have gone on to win the Super Bowl that year is debatable but they did have a team that could have done it.
9. 2009 Indianapolis Colts
The 2009 Indianapolis Colts went into the Super Bowl as very heavy favorites against the New Orleans Saints. The centerpiece of the Colts team, quarterback Peyton Manning had already won one Championship and was looking to add another. What happened in that Super Bowl had more to do with gutsy play by the Saints than anything and goes to show us all that sometimes destiny does come to play in the arena of professional sports.
8. 1980 Los Angeles Rams
The 1980 Los Angeles Rams are not on this list because they were a favorite to win the Super Bowl, they are on this list because of their dominant defensive line. Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen anchored the most dominating defensive line in the history of the NFL but sadly never had much of a team around them. The ’80 Rams are so representative of how no matter how great an individual player is, you can’t win a championship in a team sport unless the entire team plays well.
7. 1980 San Diego Chargers
Dan Fouts was probably the most exciting quarterback of his era and earned a bust in the hall of fame because of it. However, while Fouts was indeed a phenomenal quarterback he never managed to even get an appearance in the Super Bowl. The best chance for him to make it to footballs biggest stage was the 1980 season where the Chargers finally seemed to have just enough defense to actually shut out games. It is actually quite likely the Chargers would have made it to the Super Bowl had it not been for a grueling divisional playoff game against the Miami Dolphins. The combination of Sweltering heat and a game that went into double over time left the Chargers physically exhausted and the next week when they faced the Raiders they couldn’t put it together and win the AFC championship game. To this day many consider the 1980 Chargers the best team to never actually play in the Super Bowl.
6. 1990-1994 Buffalo Bills
It takes a lot of talent, skill, and unbelievable effort for a team to reach the Super Bowl a single time. When you start talking about a team that makes the Super Bowl two times in a row you begin to hear the word legendary. In the entire history of the NFL the Buffalo Bills are the only team to reach the Super Bowl four consecutive times and that may be something that is never achieved again. If there is any team in NFL history that deserved a Super Bowl win more than the ’90-’94 Bills they haven’t come into existence yet.