You’re pumped. The NFL season is about to start. No more camp, no more contract squabbles, no more preseason games.
Maybe your team drafted well, or filled some holes with great trades or free agency signings. Maybe you’ve got a new head coach, or a new OC or a new DC. They’ve got a grand plan that’s going to get wins and get into the playoffs.
Hate to break it to you — but your team’s probably not going to win the Super Bowl and probably won’t even get there.
Well, duh, you say, only 1 out of 32 teams can win anyway, so that locks out millions of NFL fans. So there’s that, but there’s more. No matter what kind of optimism you have about your redesigned team, you’re likely going ringless this season.
This is far from a scientific analysis, but there are some definite factors which, more often than not, gives some teams a chance and others, not much of one at all.
Let’s break it down. Hear me out.
Rule 1: Super Bowl winners rarely repeat
Only eight teams have repeated as title winners in the Super Bowl era:
- Packers (1966-67)
- Dolphins (1972-73)
- Steelers (1974-75)
- Steelers (1978-79)
- 49ers (1988-89)
- Cowboys (1992-93)
- Broncos (1997-98)
- Patriots (2003-04)
So, eight repeats in the first 33 years – nearly a 25 percent rate in total – but only once in the past 24.
In the salary cap era, which began in 1994, it’s really tough to keep your highest priced stars together. And the lack of repeat winners is indicative of that.
That pretty much rules out a second straight title for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Sounds crazy right? Let’s continue.
Rule 2: Sub-.500 teams rarely win the SB the following season
Only five teams have finished below .500 and won the SB the next year:
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9 in 2019)
- Philadelphia Eagles (7-9 in 2016)
- San Francisco 49ers (6-10 in 1980)
- New England Patriots (5-11 in 2000)
- St. Louis Rams (4-12 in 1998)
That’s five out of 57 Super Bowls, an 8% rate.
Several teams have finished sub-.500 the year before and LOST the Super Bowl the following year, including the Bengals three times (1981, 1988, 2021), the Panthers twice (2003, 2015), 1996 Patriots, 1998 Falcons, 2000 Giants and 2019 49ers. But for the purposes of this ‘analysis,’ we are only looking at sub-.500 teams that actually won the ring.
Thus, these teams are out this season: Patriots, Jets, Raiders, Broncos, Browns, Titans, Colts, Texans, Rams, Cardinals, Packers, Bears, Panthers, Saints, Falcons.
Rule 3: The SB-winning QB must be a potential/probable/lock Hall of Famer – mostly!
This is the toughest rule because it’s so subjective. But let’s go through it. Of the 57 Super Bowl winning teams, 45 have been won by future HOF QBs – either those who got voted in after they retired or those who most certainly will be voted in when they become eligible:
- Bart Starr (2 rings)
- Joe Namath
- Len Dawson
- Johnny Unitas
- Roger Staubach (2)
- Bob Griese (2)
- Terry Bradshaw (4)
- Ken Stabler
- Joe Montana (4)
- Troy Aikman (3)
- Steve Young
- Brett Favre
- John Elway (2)
- Kurt Warner
- Peyton Manning (2)
Locks to get in:
- Tom Brady (7)
- Ben Roethlisberger (2)
- Drew Brees
- Aaron Rodgers
- Patrick Mahomes (2)
Have a great chance:
- Russell Wilson
- Matt Stafford
- Eli Manning (2)
Not in the Hall:
- Joe Theismann
- Jim Plunkett (2)
- Jim McMahon
- Doug Williams
- Jeff Hostetler
- Mark Rypien
- Brad Johnson
- Trent Dilfer
- Joe Flacco
- Nick Foles
- Phil Simms
So, 12 of the 57 Super Bowls have been won by non-Hall QBs, a respectable 21 percent you say. Hardly a good rule of thumb, right? Well, consider that eight of those occurred in the 12 seasons from 1980-1991, the four others being won by Montana.
In the 31 seasons since then, the Super Bowl has only been won four times by guys who won’t get anywhere near Canton: Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Joe Flacco and Nick Foles. That’s four out of 31, or 13 percent. Now THAT is a better rule of thumb.
Let’s look at this season. These QBs have Hall potential, although some of them have a lot of years ahead of them to really prove it:
- Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
- Justin Herbert (Chargers)
- Josh Allen (Bills)
- Joe Burrow (Bengals)
- Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars)
- DeShaun Watson (Browns)
- Jalen Hurts (Eagles)
- Rodgers (Jets)
- Mahomes (Chiefs)
- Wilson (Broncos)
With all due respect, these guys aren’t getting their busts in Canton:
- Jimmy Garoppolo (Raiders)
- Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins)
- Mac Jones (Patriots)
- Ryan Tannehill (Titans)
- Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
- Justin Fields (Bears)
- Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
- Jared Goff (Lions)
- Daniel Jones (Giants)
- Kirk Cousins (Vikings)
- Derek Carr (Saints)
- Brock Purdy (49ers)
- Geno Smith (Seahawks)
- Baker Mayfield (Buccaneers)
It’s too soon to tell with these guys, but for the time being we shall default to putting them in the no-Hall grouping:
- Desmond Ridder (Falcons)
- Kenny Pickett (Steelers)
- Jordan Love (Packers)
- Sam Howell (Commanders)
So, we rule out several more teams: Lions, Vikings, Seahawks, Giants, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Steelers, Commanders.
Rule 4: No rookie QB has ever won the Super Bowl
That rules out these teams (although we had already ruled them out), who are starting rookies at QB this season:
- Houston Texans – C.J. Stroud
- Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Richardson
- Carolina Panthers – Bryce Young
Rule 5: Super Bowl runners up nearly never win it the next year
It’s only happened three times – the 1971 Cowboys, 1972 Dolphins and 2018 Patriots. Sorry, Eagles, you’re out.
So, if we look at these criteria:
- Must be .500 or better in 2022
- Must not be starting a rookie QB
- Must be starting a potential future HOF QB
- Didn’t win last year’s SB
- Wasn’t runner-up in last year’s SB
These are the only teams that have a realistic chance to win the 2024 Super Bowl:
- Bills (+850 odds)
- Bengals (+1000)
- Ravens (+1700)
- Jaguars (+2500)
- Chargers (+2500)
Based on these rules, the next Super Bowl champion will come out of the AFC. Among these teams, Burrow and Allen have proven themselves in the playoffs. Lawrence, Jackson and Herbert have shown flashes of brilliance.
It’s actually a bit of a stretch to include Lawrence, Jackson and Herbert in the ‘potential Hall of Fame’ conversation, considering that Jackson has been mediocre in the postseason thus far in his career, and Herbert’s Chargers blew a 27-0 lead to Lawrence and the Jags in last season’s playoffs. Not a good look there. But there has been sufficient buzz about these young signal-callers for us to include them as possible Canton-dwellers.
This list obviously leaves out some NFL heavyweights – Chiefs, Eagles, Cowboys, 49ers and some big names like Rodgers, Wilson, Prescott, Tua, etc. And a lot could and probably will happen to turn these rules of thumb into trash.
Maybe Cousins will actually play up to the hype and money he’s gotten over the years. Maybe one of the first-round rookie QBs will take the league by storm and lead their team to the title. Maybe Kyle Shanahan will finally live up to his dad’s reputation.
Strange things always happen in sports. We never thought a 16 seed would win in March Madness until UMBC did in 2018. We never thought a team could rally from a 0-3 baseball playoff series until the Red Sox did in 2004. We never thought a NBA team could erase a 1-3 Finals hole until LeBron and the Cavaliers did it in 2016.
So, do with this what you will. It’s just one more of a million NFL preview predictions. But maybe, just maybe, it could help you score a winning futures bet with Tipico! Think about it …
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