10 Wildcard Teams Who Made it to the Super Bowl

The Wild Card

Will another Wild Card team win the Super Bowl?  Now that we all know that Tom Brady isn’t a system quarterback, we ask a question that is older than time itself: Can Tom Brady win another Super Bowl?  This year, the wild card was bigger than before, so you know what that means? More football!  

The Berth of the Wildcard

The wild card format began in 1970, to help facilitate the NFL-AFL Merger. One thing the Wild Card was good for, was giving bad teams a chance. The 1982 Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns made the playoffs with a (4-5) record, thanks to the ’82 NFL strike.  The league expanded the playoff field and held a 16 team tournament.  The Lions ran into eventual Super Bowl champs Washington, in a 31-7 first-round loss.  The Browns got a first-round exit thanks to the Los Angeles Raiders, 27-10 

Thanks to the divisional realignment in 2002 we saw some interesting teams get into the playoffs and cause more chaos than you know. 

In 2010, the Seahawks became the third team in NFL history to make the playoffs as a wildcard team. As a result, they became the first team with a losing record to win a playoff game.  Marshawn Lynch caused an earthquake after this 67 yard touchdown run, where he told the Saints defense to hold my di——–.

The Beast Quake

The 2014 Carolina Panthers  had back to back division titles, winning the NFC South with a 12-4 mark in 2013, then doing the same the following year with a (7-8-1) record. They would become the second team with a losing record to win a playoff game after Cam and the division winning panthers defeated the 11-5 Arizona Cardinals.  

10 Wildcard Teams Who Made it to the Super Bowl

There have been 10 wild card teams to make it to the Super Bowl. In 1975, the Tom Landry-led Cowboys nabbed the only wild card spot after finishing (10-4), second to the St. Louis Cardinals (11-3) in the NFC East. 

Roger Staubach in the Wild Card round

The Dallas Cowboys (1975)

En-route to an appearance in Super Bowl ten, the Cowboys won a Divisional round game against the Minnesota Vikings 17-14. This game was notable due to the first Hail Mary pass being completed, as Roger Staubach found Drew Pearson from 50 yards out. 

The NFC Championship would see the Cowboys dismantle the Rams 37-7.  In the Super Bowl, America’s Team, as they would come to be known in the following years, would lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-17  

New England Patriots (1985) 11-5 

In 1985, the (11-5) New England Patriots clinched the fifth and final seed in the AFC playoffs. They won a wild card round matchup over Jets 26-14, a divisional round game against the Raiders, 27-20, and the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship, 31-14.  They became the first team to win three road games, to get to the Super Bowl. At super bowl XX, they got served by the Chicago Bears, 46-10.  

Buffalo Bills (1992)

On the way to appearing in their third straight Super Bowl, the 1992 Buffalo Bills finished second in the AFC East behind the Dolphins.  They hosted the Houston Oilers in a little wild card game called, The Comeback.  

The Bills were down 35-3 to the Oilers when backup quarterback Frank Reich orchestrated an incredible comeback and the Bills won in overtime, 41-38. They would blow out the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional round 24-3, and defeat the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship game, 29-10.

As you all know, Buffalo doesn’t have a super bowl title in their trophy case.  They lost four straight in the 90s and in Super Bowl twenty seven they lost BIG to the Dallas Cowboys 52-17 

Tennessee Titans (1999)

In 1999, the Tennessee Titans got a new nickname, a new look, and they became the newest wild card team to enjoy a Super Bowl run.  

The Titans won four of their last four games, to finish 13-3 which was still only good enough for second place, behind the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Central.  As the fourth seed, they hosted their first-round game.  The fans were in for a treat with the Music City Miracle; The Bills won, 22-16.  They would pull off an upset off second year quarterback Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, 19-16 and routed the Jaguars 33-14. Their super Bowl run would end in the most dramatic way possible.  Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short of what would have been a game-tying touchdown, instead they lost 23-16. 

It’s a game of inches folks. 

Oakland Raiders (1980)

The first wild card team to win the Super Bowl, was the 1980 Oakland Raiders.  After moving on from Kenny Stabler in the offseason, The Raiders finished second in the AFC West behind the Chargers, who were also 11-5, after finding a spark in Jim Plunkett; they were the fourth seed, so they hosted the fifth-seeded Oilers.  

The Raiders would pick off former quarterback Ken Stabler twice, on their way to a twenty seven to seven victory. After beating the Oilers, the Raiders would steal a victory over the Cleveland Browns, after Mike Davis intercepted a pass in the end zone. They won a shootout with the Super Chargers in the AFC Championship, winning 34-27 right before taking down the Eagles in Super Bowl XV in New Orleans, 27-10 

Jim Plunkett GOING DEEP
“He look like he open”

Jim Plunkett was the MVP becoming the first minority quarterback to win a super bowl, and first Latino to be named super bowl mvp.  

Denver Broncos (1997)

The 1997 Denver Broncos finished with 12 wins but were second in the AFC West behind the Chiefs (13-3).  Denver got to host their first-round game a rout against the Jacksonville Jaguars, 42-17.  Then won two on the road against Kansas City and the Pittsburgh Steelers, by scores of 14-10 and 24-21 respectively. The Broncos would finish their run with a 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers after Terrell Davis rushed scored his third touchdown of the day with a minute and fourth five left. He finished as the games MVP, rushing for 157 yards.  

Bet the House on Brady

Brady da Gawd throwing downfield
The last four wild-card winners to get to the Super Bowl have won it. 

Baltimore Ravens (2000)  

In the season before the current division realignment, the 2000 Ravens were the top wild card team and the fourth seed, so they hosted the Broncos to start the playoffs.  

2000 Ravens Defense
The greatest defense ever?

After finishing (12-4) with one of the nastiest defenses of all time, the Ravens crushed teams in their path. With wins at home against Denver, and on the road against Tennessee and Oakland, they would put on one of the most dominant displays of defense in Super Bowl XXXV.

The Divisional Re-alignment

After the division realignment, they got rid of the third wild card and gave it to the fourth division winner, that made it harder for wildcard teams, because of road games.  

Only four of these wild card teams — New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers — won three games on the road to make it to the Super Bowl.  

Pittsburgh Steelers (2005)

The Steelers won their final four regular-season games and clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Lions in Week 17. They were the sixth seed in the AFC.  

They would beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild card round, 31-17. Followed by a spectacular upset of the Indianapolis Colts, in which Ben Roethlisberger saved the season by a shoe string, and finally, a double digit victory over the Broncos.  

The Bus wins one in Detroit

The Steelers would go on to defeat the Seahawks. in Super Bowl XL.  They were just the second team since the merger to win three road games in the playoffs and win  the Super Bowl.  

New York Giants (2007)

David Tyree

In 2007, the Giants had to win every playoff game on the road, to get to the Super Bowl in Phoenix. In a wild card  matchup, it would be smooth sailing past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the Giants winning, 24-14. There was a giant upset in the divisional round, as a game-winning Tony Romo drive was picked off. The Giants traveled to the Frozen Tundra, as they stole the NFC Championship in overtime, 23-20.  Before going on to upset the undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 at Super Bowl XLII

Green Bay Packers (2010)

The last wild card team to make it to the Super Bowl was the Aaron Rodgers-led 2010 Packers. They were the sixth and final seed in the NFC that year. They won in Week 17 to get in, and their Super Bowl run began in Philadelphia, where they would defeat the Eagles  21-16. In the divisional round, they won handily against the Atlanta falcons 48-21. In the Conference Championship they would beat their division rival, the Chicago Bears. In Super Bowl 45, Aaron Rodgers would bring home super bowl mvp, beating the Steelers  31-25 

It’s not impossible for a Wild Card team to win the Super Bowl. As the founding member of the I hate Aaron Rodgers fan club, I actually welcome it. Tom Brady is 2 and 1 in head to head matchups with Aaron Rodgers, but Rodgers only victory, came at Lambeau Field.  

All bets are off with this game, the only thing I can say is **** the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers wins the Super Bowl

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