Matter of Facts: Repeat Champions In Rearview Mirror of History
By Russell S. Baxter
Cold Hard Football Facts
Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens, champions of Super Bowl XLVII.
So what have you done for me lately?
You think it’s been tough trying to figure out who’s going to win the whole ball of wax each season? Trying winning one of these things twice in a row?
No team in the NFL has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. In fact, Bill Belichick’s club is also the last club to make consecutive Super Bowl appearances. And to make matters even worse, the 2005 Patriots are the last defending Super Bowl champion to win a postseason game.
Here’s a look at the previous eight defending Super Bowl champions and what happened the season after they held the Lombardi Trophy.
Can the Ravens say never more to the recent trend of one-and-out champions? We’ll have to wait a while for that answer.
2004 New England Patriots (14-2): Won Super Bowl XXXIX
2005 (10-6, lost AFC Divisional Playoffs): With an opportunity to not only repeat but to become the first franchise to win three consecutive Super Bowls, the Patriots won four fewer games than in either 2003 or 2004 despite winning another AFC East crown. Bill Belichick’s team alternated wins and losses for the first eight games of the season and Tom Brady and company didn’t win consecutive games until the first two weeks of November. Along the way there were lopsided home losses to the Chargers and Colts, as well as regular-season setback at Denver. Following a victory over Jacksonville in the wild card game, Belichick’s club lost to the Broncos once again…
2005 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5): Won Super Bowl XL
2006 (8-8, missed playoffs): Off the team’s fifth Super Bowl title and first in 26 years, the Steelers never quite regained the form that saw them get hot at the right time the previous season. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got into a motorcycle accident during the offseason, had an emergency appendectomy that shelved him for the season opener and later dealt with concussions. It all added up to a forgettable 2-6 start. And although the club rallied to win six of their last eight contests to avoid a losing season, both setbacks were to the AFC North champion Ravens--by a combined scores of 58-7…
2006 Indianapolis Colts (12-4): Won Super Bowl XLI
2007 (13-3, lost AFC Divisional Playoffs): After opening 2005 with 13 wins and starting 9-0 in 2006, the Colts “only” managed a 7-0 start before suffering back to back losses to the equally-unbeaten Patriots (8-0) as well as a mystifying setback to the Chargers as quarterback Peyton Manning served up six interceptions in San Diego and Adam Vinatieri missed a chippy field goal late. Tony Dungy’s team rebounded with six straight wins before relaxing against the Titans in the season finale. Two weeks later, the Colts were beaten at home by those Chargers, who managed the feat despite injuries that sent LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers to the sidelines…
2007 New York Giants (10-6): Won Super Bowl XLII
2008 (12-4, lost NFC Divisional Playoffs): Off one of the great upsets in NFL postseason history, the Giants meant business the following season, opening with four straight wins and eventually sitting with an 11-1 mark after a dozen games. And that ledger included road wins over the Super Bowl bound Steelers and Cardinals. But a not-so-funny thing happened to Tom Coughlin’s club down the stretch as the absence of wideout Plaxico Burress due to personal matters clearly had an effect on Eli Manning and the offense. All told, the NFC East champion Giants scored fewer than 20 points in four of their last five outings, including a 23-11 home setback to the Eagles in the playoffs…
2008 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Won Super Bowl XLIII
2009 (9-7, missed playoffs): While they had some issues early in the season, Mike Tomlin’s team overcame a 1-2 start by reeling off five straight wins. But just when it looked like the Steelers were preparing for a strong second half performance, they inexplicably nosedived via five straight losses and a number of them to struggling teams such as the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns. Tomlin’s club gathered itself and closed the season with three straight victories but the damage was done. And for the second time in four years, the Black and Gold followed up a championship campaign with a lemon…
2009 New Orleans Saints (13-3): Won Super Bowl XLIV
2010 (11-5, lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs): You could have bet the over comfortably when it came to jokes regarding New Orleans and a Super Bowl hangover. But following two straight wins to open the season, Sean Payton’s club dropped three of its next five games, including a mystifying home loss to the Browns. But apparently a 4-3 start was enough to ignite a fire under the defending champs, who reeled off six straight victories before being knocked off by the Ravens in Week 15. The Saints would finish two games behind the top-seeded Falcons in the NFC South and headed to Seattle to fact the 7-9 Seahawks, where Marshawn Lynch ran over the entire New Orleans’ roster…
2010 Green Bay Packers (10-6): Won Super Bowl XLV
2011 (15-1, lost NFC Divisional Playoffs): Those will remember that the Packers won their final two regular season games in 2010 and carried that little bit of momentum into a four-game playoff sweep, culminating with a win over the Steelers in Dallas. Mike McCarthy’s club took that six straight wins into 2011 and proceeded to open 13-0. The 19 straight overall victories is the second-longest streak in NFL history. After a loss at Kansas City, the Pack was back winning again and finished with that lone blemish on their record. Two weeks later and riding a 13-game overall winning streak at Lambeau Field, Green Bay committed a season-high four turnovers and their defense proved to be the team’s undoing in the playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants…
2011 New York Giants (9-7): Won Super Bowl XLVI
2012 (9-7, missed playoffs): Okay, work with me. The 2011 Giants allowed more points (400) than they scored (394) and were swept by the 5-11 Redskins before winning their final two games, then worked their way through the Falcons (10-6), Packers (15-1), 49ers (13-3) and Patriots (13-3) for another Lombardi Trophy. In 2012, Tom Coughlin’s club got off to its traditional 6-2 start. But in the second half of the season the roller coaster G-Men routed the Packers and Saints. But that was offset by lopsided losses to the Bengals, Falcons and Ravens. Six of the Giants’ last seven games were decided by at least 18 points. But Coughlin’s club watched the playoffs from afar…
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