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Most Super Bowl appearances without a win are compiled in The Nearly Men


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    The off-season is a time to reflect on the campaign just gone and begin to hope ahead of the season to come. This statement is true of any sport – from soccer fans assessing the top betting offers, such as the bet365 goals giveaway, to the NHL, NBA, and, of course, the NFL.

    Whatever the sport, a little previous glory to call upon never hurts when it comes to fuelling future dreams, but for supporters of certain NFL sides, a little more imagination is required when predicting their heroes may be making the football news for all the right reasons in 2023/24.

    Dirty Dozen in the Winless Club

    Of the 32 Franchises currently in the NFL, 20 have at least one Super Bowl win to their name. For the other 12 teams, the wait goes on. The Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and LA Chargers have never really come close, with the long-running Browns, in particular, becoming famous for their decades of ineptitude.

    The Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals have felt the pain of a Super Bowl defeat only once, but there are other squads for whom Super Bowl suffering has become an unwanted habit over the years.

    Here we present the top 5 “nearly men” of the NFL – those teams with the most Super Bowl appearances, without yet managing to lift the famous trophy.

    Carolina Panthers

    First Season: 1995

    Super Bowl Appearances: 2

    Super Bowl Wins: 0

    Having only been established as part of the 1995 expansion, Carolina’s record of 2 Super Bowl appearances is a respectable one. However, winning counts in this game, and their relative youth as a franchise won’t have diminished the pain of a 32-29 defeat to the Patriots in 2004 and a 24-10 loss to Denver in 2015.

    Atlanta Falcons 

    First Season: 1966

    Super Bowl Appearances: 2

    Super Bowl Wins: 0

    It took 33 years for the Falcons to make their first Super Bowl, but that long wait ended in disappointment with a 34-19 loss to the Broncos in 1999. Following an 18-year interval, the Falcons were back in 2017, only to again come up short in the iconic 34-28 collapse to the Tom Brady-inspired New England Patriots.

    Cincinnati Bengals 

    First Season: 1968

    Super Bowl Appearances: 3

    Super Bowl Wins: 0

    Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers were to prove the Bengals’ nemesis during the 1980s, beating Cincinnati 26-21 in 1982 in their first Super Bowl appearance and again 20-16 in 1989. Returning in 2022, it was a tough task to master the LA Rams at the SoFi Stadium, coming out on the wrong end of a 23-20 score.

    Minnesota Vikings 

    First Season: 1961

    Super Bowl Appearances: 4

    Super Bowl Wins: 0

    The first entry onto the 0 for 4 list are the Minnesota Vikings, who endured a spectacular run of near misses during the 1970s. Making their first appearance in the big game in 1970, they couldn’t keep up with the Chiefs in a one-sided 23-7 defeat. It was then a similar story in a 1974 24-7 loss to the Dolphins. The third time then proved not to be the charm in 1975 – the Steelers this time breaking Minnesota hearts with a 16-6 win in New Orleans. Back for more in 1977, the result was their most comprehensive loss yet, as they went down 32-14 to the Oakland Raiders. 46 years have passed, and the Vikings are yet to make it back to the big one.

    Buffalo Bills 

    First Season: 1960

    Super Bowl Appearances: 4

    Super Bowl Wins: 0

    The most spectacular run of Super Bowl defeats undoubtedly belongs to Buffalo. Between 1991 and 1994, the Bills incredibly made it to the Super Bowl in four consecutive years – and, just as incredibly, managed to lose each and every time. The Bills couldn’t have come much closer in a 20-19 loss to the Giants in 1991, but that was as good as it got, with the following three years seeing a 37-24 loss to Washington, a 52-17 thrashing by the Cowboys, and another loss to Dallas, this time by a score of 30-13. Troy Aikman likely remembers those games with fondness… Bills fans, not so much.

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