Do things change often enough in the NFL? Is there actual parity? Dating back to the New York Giants with Lawrence Taylor in 1986, 16 franchises have won the Super Bowl over the last 34 years. That leaves 16 current franchises in the dark since the Chicago Bears unforgettable 15-1 season with a near perfect defense that only allowed 10 points in three playoff games.
But the Bears are among the teams that have struggled to consistently win or present themselves as a contender over the last three and a half decades.
That is not the case entering Week 7’s Monday night showdown in SoFi Stadium against the LA Rams. Chicago is 5-1 and challenging the Green Bay Packers — winners of two Super Bowls, losers of one and with five additional appearances in the NFC Championship since ‘86 — for the NFC North division thanks in large part to not allowing more than 26 points in any contest this season and four times holding an opponent under 20.
However, when it comes to the other 15 teams who’ve struggled to be a consistent presence in January over the last three decades, the Bears don’t have much company at the top.
There are currently five teams in the AFC who have one or fewer wins and all five are among the 16 “hapless” franchises, while the only Super Bowl among them at all was Joe Namath’s realized vision 52 years ago: Bengals, Jaguars, Texans, Chargers and Jets.
In the NFC, the Bears are one of only two in the hapless 16 to currently have a winning record, the other being the 4-2 Arizona Cardinals, a team squarely in LA’s crosshairs two times later this season. But among the four teams in the NFC with one win, the Vikings and Falcons fall into the hapless 16, while the Washington Football Team hasn’t returned to the Super Bowl since 1991, which is also the last time they made it past the divisional round.
The only other one win team is the Giants, a franchise that since 2001 has only won eight postseason games and they all happened to come in the two years that they won a Super Bowl with Eli Manning, the guy who seems like he accidentally wandered into a party for Marvel superheroes when he actually meant to get Carvel at a supermarket.
There are 32 teams and only one can win the Super Bowl each year, which makes it difficult to judge success by that measure. How can only one team be successful every season? Wouldn’t make much sense to have a business that runs like that. There are many ways to achieve success in the NFL and you can’t expect to have to wait an average of 32 years to get to your turn. The reality is that 32 years would be a blessing for some of these franchises. It’s been 35 years since the Chicago Bears were the most dominant defense of all-time and they’re still waiting to be that good again.
The Rams have been to three Super Bowls since 1999, getting their with essentially two different franchises, but they would like to leave the land of the singular championships and join the world of the plurals, like the Steelers, Patriots, Broncos, and Packers in recent years. And somehow, the Giants.
The 4-2 Rams host the 5-1 Bears on Monday. How do you feel about that with two days to go?
How confident are you that the Rams will beat the Bears?
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