American football, like any other professional sporting discipline in the world, is one where the amount of skill, determination, compromise, and talent that each team brings to the field for every game, is still sometimes no competition to what luck and fate have awaiting everyone. If you look at any of the top NFL stats websites around, you can probably find a myriad of stories and pages regarding some of the best NFL teams that couldn’t manage to go all the way and finish their fantastic seasons with a Super Bowl win. It’s heartbreaking, but at the end of the day, in order for there to be a winner, there must be a loser as well.
But which are some of those amazing teams that fell short, even after dazzling football fans all over with their dominant style of playing, stacked rosters and all-around championship feel? Let’s take a look as we bring you our picks of some of the best NFL teams that were not able to win a Super Bowl in their respective seasons.
2001 St. Louis Rams
When your team is known all over the league as “The Greatest Show on Turf” then you would think that the nickname in itself would be enough to make any and all opposing teams want nothing to do with you. Well, that was the story with the 2001 St. Louis Rams squad. After coming off a win in the previous Super Bowl the season before against the Tennessee Titans, the Rams, now in LA, seemed more than poised to get their dynasty era going with yet another win in the 2001 season. Their regular-season record of 14-2 proved that they took their nickname for real with QB Kurt Warner winning his second MVP award for the season consecutively, as well as RB Marshall Faulk and WR’s Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce all making the Rams’ offense a nightmare for any opposing defense. But then, a second-year QB named Tom Brady and the New England Patriots came along.
While Brady led New England’s offense to a total of 20 points, it was the defensive scheme that Patriots coach Bill Belichick came up with that vanquished the Rams’ over-the-top offense and held them back to only 17 points and a Super Bowl loss. While that was the end of the Rams as a dynasty, funnily enough, it was the beginning of the Patriots becoming the most dominant squad in recent Super Bowl history.
1998 Minnesota Vikings
Sure, the Rams were “The Greatest Show on Turf”, but that was from 1999 to 2001, because before that, in 1998, the absolute best offensive team in the NFL was none other than the Minnesota Vikings. If you ask any football fan around that saw this team play, they’ll tell you without a shadow of a doubt that if Minnesota ever deserved to have a Super Bowl champion team, it was this one.
Led by QB Randall Cunningham and with what’s arguably one of the best WR duo in the history of the league, Chris Carter and Randy Moss, watching Minnesota play was like watching a video game-style team come to life week in and week out. The Vikings were dominant on offense, on defense, on special teams, everywhere, until they were stopped on their way in the most heartbreaking way by the Atlanta Falcons and a missed field goal kick from Vikings kicker Morten Anderson. This is one of those teams that fans from all over can agree deserved that Super Bowl win.
1991-1994 Buffalo Bills
I could go with other teams, like the 1992 San Francisco 49ers, the 2007 New England Patriots, or the 1984 Miami Dolphins, but when you have a team that manages to make it to four straight Super Bowl appearances, to end up losing all four, then sadly for any Buffalo Bills fans out there, there’s no denying their place in this list. The Bills to this day still hold that record, which in all honesty is one that no team whatsoever wishes to hold, and what’s even harder it’s how to pick which actual squad from any of those four seasons was the best since they were all mirror images of each other.
Led by players like defensive behemoth Bruce Smith, 1991 MVP Thurman Thomas and Jim Kelly, one of the best QB’s to ever play the game, if there’s any justice in the world and time-traveling could be invented and perfected, I’m pretty sure more than a few football fans, not just Bills fans, would travel back in time and give the Bills the Super Bowl win they chased and wanted so badly and couldn’t get.