Today we will examine five ball clubs that have had the firepower to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season. The teams that are on this list should not come as a surprise to you. All five of them, have blown numerous opportunities to win a title during a non-salary cap era. Now that the salary cap is in full effect, it will be quite difficult to field contending teams year in and year out.
- Buffalo Bills: If there is any team that deserves a Super Bowl title it would be the Buffalo Bills. The Bills appeared to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, during the early 90s only to lose all four matchups. The most gut-wrenching defeat came in Super Bowl XXV, when kicker Scott Norwood missed the game winning field goal, against the New York Giants. Aside from that loss, the Bills were taken to the woodshed in the next three Super Bowl appearances. Against the Redskins and Cowboys, the Bills were outscored 119-54. Due to the salary cap era, the Bills could not continue their dominance of the AFC and have not seen the postseason since 1999.
- Minnesota Vikings: The “Purple People Eaters” known as the Minnesota Vikings, are one of the National Football League’s historic franchises. Like the Bills, they have also appeared and lost all four of their Super Bowl appearances. Those losses were against some of the best defenses that we have seen in NFL history. However, the most heartbreaking defeat came in 1998 when the Vikings set an NFL record, by scoring 556 points in the regular season. The Vikings regular season record that year was 15-1. They were on track to meet John Elway in Super Bowl XXXIII; however those plans did not come to pass. The Vikings would lose to the eventual NFC Champion the Atlanta Falcons in overtime 30-27. The conspiracy theorist in me, want to believe that the game was rigged to have John Elway win the Super Bowl once again, which he eventually did against the Falcons 34-19. The last time the Vikings played to advance to the big game, they fell to the New Orleans Saints 31-28 in overtime.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Aside from the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the league’s most successful franchises during a salary cap plagued era, in the National Football League. The Eagles have made it to the NFC Championship game five consecutive times, which includes a Super Bowl appearance against the New England Patriots. The Super Bowl matchup against the Patriots was competitive, but the Eagles would eventually lose 24-21. The Eagles last NFC Championship appearance was against the Arizona Cardinals, in which they lost in a thriller 32-25. Fast forward to 2015. Will Chip Kelly bring back the competitive swagger to the Eagles ball club? We shall see, don’t get your hopes up Eagles fans.
- San Diego Chargers: If there ever were a team, that should have dethroned the New England Patriots, it would be the San Diego Chargers. Far better talent has surrounded Phillip Rivers then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. However, the Chargers have failed to deliver when it counts the most. In 2006, the Chargers fielded a record of 14-2; running back LaDanian Tomlinson had one of the best seasons by a running back in league history. LT scored 31 touchdowns (28 rushing, 3 receiving) those stats alone placed him in the record books. His single-season touchdown total eclipsed the 28 touchdowns scored by former Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander in 2005. When it came to the 2006 AFC Divisional round contest against the Patriots, the Chargers would go on to lose 24-21. Two seasons later they would lose to another AFC East opponent in the New York Jets 17-14.
- Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are another ball club that should have taken out heavyweights in the AFC such as the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. They have the firepower to become a serious contender in the AFC. Under the tenure of head coach Marvin Lewis, the Bengals have not made it out of the first round of the postseason. They have continued to come up short against teams, that are less superior in the talent department than they are. If Marvin Lewis loses his job at the end of this season, the Bengals head coaching position would be one of the most attractive jobs in recent memory.