Super Bowl Blowouts, Dynasties

Thank God for box pools. Sunday’s Super Bowl was an all-time snooze fest, as Seattle steamrolled Denver 43-8. In the aftermath, I heard two statements thrown around often. The first was that the wide margin was highly unusual and the second was that Seattle looks primed to start a dynasty. Are either true?

Starting with Super Bowl XXX in 1996, 13 of the 18 games have been exciting.* And by that I mean they were within one score at some point in the fourth quarter. Common sense tells us that the championship game in any sport should be a competitive game and the numbers back that up: for every Seahawks-Broncos or Bucs-Raiders we get five Giants-Patriots or at least Saints-Colts. That’s a good deal for us fans and it was fair to criticize Sunday’s game for not living up to the hype.

*Fair or not, I’m calling this the start of the “modern” era because that’s when the NFL expanded to 30 teams, with the formation of the Panthers and Jaguars. It doesn’t hurt that I loved the Jaguars for a few years. I was nine years old for that Super Bowl and its the first I really remember. I know it’s an arbitrary period of time.

What about the claims that Seattle, with its dominant defense and young quarterback, is poised to return to the Super Bowl for the foreseeable future? It’s not true. Starting with that 1996 Super Bowl, the Big Game has featured a repeat team from the previous year just three times: Green Bay returned to the Super Bowl in 1998 and lost to Denver, which won its second straight title the next season, and New England won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005.*

*Before that, it happened 18 times; more frequently, but still not likely.

That’s it. Remember all the talk after the 2011 Super Bowl about how the Packers were in a great position to make a run at multiple titles? Playoff football has become something of a crap shoot, so even dominant teams that can avoid injuries have no guarantee of returning to the Super Bowl the following season.

Seattle delivered one of the most dominant Super Bowl performances in history. Don’t expect them to have a chance to do it again next year.

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