THE FIVE WORST SUPER BOWL FOLLOWUPS
Success can be fleeting. Just ask Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Harper Lee or the guy who played “Epstein” on Welcome Back Kotter and they’ll no doubt tell you that today’s gold may turn into tomorrow’s garbage. With Super Bowl XLV only days away the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves on top of the world, but just as Seinfeld begat The Marriage Ref, Dances With Wolves led to Waterworld and the folks who blew our minds with “White Rabbit” tortured our very souls with “We Built This City on Rock N Roll” things can change at any minute. As proof here’s our list of the five worst Super Bowl follow-ups of all time:
1988 Washington Redskins- You’d expect the services of Jay Schroeder as your starting QB to be in as much demand as, say, Andy Dick’s Daycare, but if you were in our nation’s capitol in the ‘80’s you’d be mistaken. Fresh off an All-Pro selection in 1986 Schroeder was expected to be the helmsmen that made them forget Joe Theismann and his dangling tibia in the Land of The Hogs. Unfortunately Jay went the route of Joe winding up on IR late in the ’87 season forcing Joe Gibbs to hand the ball over to a 32 year-old Doug Williams fresh off a two year run with the Oklahoma/Arizona Outlaws of the USFL. That Williams was actually third choice as starter behind an undrafted, unknown and frankly made up sounding Ed “The Legend” Rubbert (http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/R/RubbEd20.htm) was quickly forgotten when ol’ Doug had the game of his life in winning Super Bowl XXII. Next thing you know Schroeder was off to Oakland, Williams returned to missing receivers like they were 7:15 Monday morning Poly-Sci classes and the folks in D.C. were left wondering where it all went wrong in a 7-9 year.
2003 Oakland Raiders- Unless you’re running a Thai brothel or Vietnamese sneaker factory employing veteran experience is generally a plus, but in 2002 Al Davis’ Traveling Circus took this idea to Matlock demographics-like levels. With the exception of Jerry Porter every significant skill position player was on the wrong side of 30 including an Early Bird Special dining Jerry Rice who led the team in receptions and yards at the tender age of 41. Throw in a defense led by a pair of 37 year-olds in Rod Woodson and Bill Romanowski and this squad seemed more likely to break a collective hip than wind up in the Super Bowl. When QB Rich Gannon, RBs Wheatley and Garner, as well as, the aforementioned defensive duo predictably succumbed to injuries the following year the Raiders limped home 4-12. Since then it’s been “Just Lose, Baby” with zero playoff appearances and only one season, this last, with more than 5 victories. But you’re right, Al, Tom Cable was the problem.
1987 New York Giants- We all know Bill Parcells’ is a genius and like many a genius he can be temperamental when people fool with his master work. The NFL owners did just that in 1987 when they locked the players out two games into the season. And the fact that The Gi’nts had already lost those two games made it the perfect time for the Pear-shaped Parcells (I wished he coached the Vikings so it would look like they had McDonald’s Grimace on the sidelines) to cop an excuse for his underachieving club. Thus when the owners decided to use replacement players in an attempt to force a settlement with the Player’s Union Big-Boned Bill announced in a fit of pique that he refused to hold tryouts and would simply use the first 40 bodies that walked through the door. That the team’s replacement QB Mike Busch completed a Ryan Leaf meets Quincy Carter-like 36.2% of his passes and the team lost both games on the way to a 6-9 record is “Clay Aiken comes out of the closet” kind of shocking.
1999 Atlanta Falcons- Unfortunately sometimes timing is everything. And like proposing to Kirstie Alley right before she had her first Krispy Kreme
Minnesota kicker Gary Anderson’s was off in 1998 when his only miss in 40 FG attempts helped send Atlanta to Super Bowl XXXIII. But that wasn’t the only bit of good luck the Dirty Birds experienced that year. A miraculous run of health led to a 194 point turnaround as the defense went from 20th to 5th overall, Jamal Anderson survived a mind-numbing 410 carries and an aging Chris Chandler dodged the MRI tube long enough to register the only plus 100 QB Rate of his career. Alas, as Charlie Sheen’s liver is letting him know (hernia, my ass), the good times don’t last forever. In ’99 the defense regressed back to a nasty mean ranking 25th in points allowed, Chris Chandler reverted to his usual Game Manager at best form and Jamal Anderson tore up his ACL like an out of state parking ticket a mere 391 attempts shy of the previous year all adding up to a spot on our list at 5-11.
1990 Denver Broncos- Like the Grey Cup or a Goodwill Games gold medal the 1989 AFC Final was a Title no one cared about. See the Denver Broncos were the only team in the conference that year to finish with more than 9 wins while the NFC was so strong both Green Bay and Washington stayed home come playoff time despite 10-6 records. Two uninspiring playoff victories later and the Mile High-ers turned biggest “jobbers" since Frankie Williams (http://www.obsessedwithwrestling.com/profiles/f/frankie-williams.php
) appeared on “Piper’s Pit” laying down for Bill Walsh’s Frisco dynasty in a 55-10 pounding. When 1990 rolled around the John Elway-led offense continued to hold its own despite Dan Reeves’ conservative, Fantasy stat crushing gameplan, but the defense went into a spiral of Leif Garrett-esque proportions allowing over 145 points more than ’89 and contributing mightily to a -18 swing in turnovers as the Broncos would finish a mere 5-11 in the worst team season of Elway’s career.
Honorable Mention- 1982 S.F 49ers (3-6), 1999 Denver Broncos (6-10), 2005 Philadelphia Eagles (6-10)