Countdown to NFL 2022-Part 2

by Larry Ness

I began my Countdown to NFL 2022 on Wednesday with a brief recap of last year's NFL's memorable postseason, one which ended with the Rams earning their first NFL title since the 1999 season — and their first representing Los Angeles since 1951. Capped the article noting that the 2022 regular season kicks off on September 8th, when the defending champion Rams host the Bills. The Bills are tied with the Vikings, having each appeared FOUR times in the Super Bowl without a victory to their name. The Vikings' most recent appearance came in 1977, although they have appeared in the conference championship game SIX times since. As for Buffalo, the Bills' four Super Bowl appearances all came in consecutive years from 1991-94 and Buffalo has only appeared in ONE conference championship game since (in 2020). I'll pick up on that theme here in Part 2 of my "Countdown" series.

The Bills and Vikings are two of 12 NFL franchises that have never won a Super Bowl, each going 0-4. The Bengals have reached Super Sunday three times (going 0-3), while the Falcons and Panthers have each gone 0-2 in their two appearances. The Cardinals, Chargers and Titans have all lost their lone Super Bowl appearance. That leaves FOUR teams that have NEVER been in the Super Bowl? Members of that 'club' include the Browns, Jaguars, Lions and Texans. Let me note that the Browns and the Lions have both won championships prior to the NFL merger in 1966. As for the Jags and Texans, those two have only been around since 1995 and 2002, respectively, and are the league's two newest expansion teams. Looking at this 'Group of 12,' the Bengals and Bills are VERY real contenders entering the 2022 season plus the Cards (11-6) and Titans (12-5) were both playoff teams in 2021. 

In college hoops they call them "Blue Bloods" and I'll 'steal' that name to describe the Patriots and Steelers. Each has won SIX Super Bowl titles. All six victories for the Pats have come under the leadership of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the first coming in the 2001 season and the most recent in 2018. However, in the two seasons since Brady’s departure (his last season was in 2019), the Patriots missed the playoffs in 2020 (7-9) and were routed 47-17 by the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round in 2021. As for the Steelers, FOUR of their six Super Bowl titles came in the 1970s, followed by a 26-year drought. Second-year QB Ben Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh to its fifth trophy in a win over the Seahawks in 2005 and then Big Ben and the Steelers captured their sixth title in 2008. Coming in right behind the Pats and Steelers are the Cowboys and 49ers, who each own five Super Bowl titles. Thirteen teams in total have won two or more Super Bowls, with the Giants and Packers checking in with four titles, while the Broncos, Raiders and Redskins (Commanders?) each own three titles. The Chiefs, Colts, Dolphins and Ravens each own two wins.

As far as making it to the NFL's "Ultimate Game" goes, the Pats have 11 appearances, with the Broncos, Cowboys and Steelers making it eight times apiece. The 49ers have seven Super Bowl appearances, rounding out the top-five franchises. Let me end by 'stealing' another phrase made popular by college hoops, "One and Done!" FIVE franchises have made just ONE Super Bowl appearance, the Cards, Chargers, Jets, Saints and Titans.  I noted earlier that the Cards, Chargers and Titans have come up short in their only tries, but the Jets (I think ALL will remember that one!) and Saints each won their only 'shot at glory!'

I'm just getting started with my countdown to the 2022 NFL season series and will be back Wednesday (July 6th) with some more "Random Thoughts." Follow my Ness Notes right here, exclusively at BigAl.com. 

Good luck...Larry

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