So who do we root for?
Every year there’s talk of the “Super Bowl hangover” surrounding the two teams that make it to the Big Dance. Depending on the source, it applies to either the winner or the loser, and in general it seems to be considered a problem for either team.
So we took to figuring out what the hangover is, if it’s real, and if so, whether Seahawks fans would prefer the Niners to win or lose.
After all, the Los Angeles Rams were defeated in last year’s Super Bowl, and they were subsequently sent home far earlier this year than Seattle.
Let’s start by taking this decade and tracking teams’ performance the year after their Super Bowl appearance.
Last 10 winners, working backwards from February 3, 2019:
- New England Patriots
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Denver Broncos
- Your very own Seattle Seahawks
- Baltimore Ravens
- New York Giants
- Green Bay Packers
- New Orleans Saints
Last 10 losers, again starting with most recent:
- Los Angeles Rams
- Atlanta Falcons
- Carolina Panthers
Darrell Bevell, um Pete Carroll, the Seahawks
- San Francisco 49ers
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Indianapolis Colts
In all there were eight different winners, nine different losers, 13 teams besides the Patriots playing in the Super Bowl in a 10 year span. Now the test is to see how they did.
How those teams fared following their SB outcome:
‘18 Patriots - lost first playoff game
Eagles - lost in divisional round
‘16 Pats - Returned to SB and lost
Broncos - missed playoffs
‘14 Pats - lost in conference championship game
Seahawks - you know what happened
Ravens - missed playoffs
Giants - missed playoffs
Packers - had a bye, lost first playoff game
Saints - lost in wild card weekend AT Seattle
Overall: Two repeat Super Bowl appearances. One team made it to the AFCCG. Three of the four remaining teams lost their first playoff game, and then there’s the three that missed the playoffs entirely
Rams - missed playoffs, and oh how sweet it was
‘17 Patriots - returned and won Super Bowl
Falcons - 1-1 in playoffs following season
Panthers - have not won a playoff game since
Seahawks - I don’t need to tell you they’ve had a smattering of playoff wins with no real traction.
Broncos - lost first playoff game. However, they returned to SB the following season.
49ers - returned to the NFC big game before Richard Sherman and the tip sent them home.
I’m getting very tired of writing about the Patriots but the 2011 version lost the Super Bowl and then returned to the AFC championship game in 2012 and lost.
Steelers - lost in Wild Card weekend
Colts - lost in Wild Card weekend
Overall: One repeat appearance in the Super Bowl. Only two of the teams missed the playoffs entirely. Three of the teams lost their first playoff game, two fell one game short of the Super Bowl, and only the Carolina Panthers truly crumbled into oblivion following their loss, though it has not fared particularly well for several of these franchises.
The “Super Bowl Hangover” is essentially the same win or lose, which is essentially that it is not a thing. Five of the last 20 Super Bowl teams did not make the playoffs, which is probably a smaller percentage than many would have guessed. The only observation of significance is how hard it is to make it to the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons. In fact, the only teams to do it last decade were the Patriots and Seahawks. In even more fact, New England and Seattle are the only consecutive Super Bowl teams in about 25 years, so it is this author’s belief that Twitter is correct and Pete Carroll should be fired.
Admittedly, the landscape of the NFL changes, and is currently in a turbulent season of change. Analytics are nipping at every coach’s heel, running backs do or do not matter, Jared Goff is either very good or very bad, and some of the biggest pocket passer names in NFL history are retiring between now and 2022. Top QB money will be an experiment worth watching, and free agency is a complete boom-or-bust market.
Therefore, this current pattern may be a blip in the radar. Curses and hangovers may become more of a problem than they currently are, especially considering the new CBA looming on the horizon. Money plays a big role in all of this, second perhaps only to how attractive one’s quarterback is.
If anything, it seems slightly worse for the team that wins the Super Bowl than loses. That’s hard to reconcile out in the NFC West where the Rams proved the complete opposite to be true for their own fortunes.
Perhaps there’s one X-factor that could tip the scales in all this, unique to the San Francisco 49ers: Would hate to see the inside of the locker room if Richard Sherman loses another Super Bowl while on the sidelines.