By: Brad Manock
I watch football games every Sunday during the fall. I live in Wisconsin and am a Green Bay Packers fan but I occasionally jump onto the bandwagons of other teams who I feel good about rooting for. I find that these teams that I root for throughout a football season have a common trait, they are historically weak teams who are having a good year. Basically, they are the underdog that deserves success because of the hard times they have been through in the past. There seems to be a sense of “karma” which makes people believe that positive times and negative times will always balance out in the long run even though it isn’t always true. In this article I am going to dive into this psychology of pity and perceived karma to determine which NFL team most deserves a Super Bowl win.
Narrowing down to eight
In this next section I will determine the teams in each of the eight divisions who most deserve success. I will discuss why each of these teams is more deserving than the other teams in the division and then narrow down from there.
NFC North: Detroit Lions – This was a toss-up between the Vikings and the Lions since neither have a Super Bowl win. The city of Detroit has been through some tough times in recent years. The Lions have generally been uncompetitive in the recent decades while the Viking at least have had some legitimate chances that their fan base could become excited about. Even though I am a Packers fan, after Detroit beat Green Bay during Thanksgiving 2013 I thought “good for them.”
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles – This choice was easy since the Eagles are the only team in this division to have never won a Super Bowl. This team has had plenty of play-off success, but they have never been able to go all the way. If the Eagles ever play in another Super Bowl, I would probably root for them, but not before then.
NFC South: Atlanta Falcons – The city of Atlanta has always been pretty pitiful in terms of professional sports. I do not follow other sports but I have heard that every professional sports team in Atlanta is a bit of an underdog. The Atlanta Falcons had to deal with the whole Michael Vick ordeal where he got in trouble for dog fighting. This would have been a major distraction for any team. The Falcons have had their fair share of “downs” and not nearly as many “ups.” This is a team that could certainly cash in their karma for a Super Bowl win.
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals – I had forgotten that the Cardinals even existed until their Super Bowl run in 2008. They seem to be a fairly bland team that doesn’t have a whole lot of attention. They are just a punching bag for their divisional rivals. Especially with the 49ers and Seahawks raising in power, the Cardinals future looks bleak for at least a few years. The Cardinals also are the only team in their division without a Super Bowl win with the Seahawks having just won it.
AFC North: Cleveland Browns – This was another difficult one since Cincinnati has also been fairly uncompetitive in the grand scheme of things. The Cleveland fan base is a passionate one, they have nothing better to do then to follow professional football during the winter months, as is true with the Green Bay fan base I am a part of. The city of Cleveland always seems to be described as a bleak and boring place. They would be much more appreciative of a competitive team than most other fan bases.
AFC East: Buffalo Bills – This is another Northern fan base with little else to do in the winter months then to watch football. This team, as of me writing this, has the longest playoff absence with their last appearance being in 1999. This team is well known for blowing four consecutive opportunities at a Super Bowl win in the early 90s. This team is in the same division as one of the most consistently competitive teams, the New England Patriots. Personally, I don’t think the playoff drought will end until Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback, retires. But until then, the Bills will continue to be a punching bag for the Patriots.
AFC South: Tennessee Titans – This was a tricky decision since the teams in this division are fairly new in the grand scheme of things. I picked the Titans because the Texans and Jaguars fan bases have other near-by teams if they need to jump on a band-wagon. The Titans get very little national attention. I don’t remember the last time I actually watched the Titans play football on national TV. I didn’t want to pick the Colts since they are by far the most competitive team in this division. I picked the Titans by process of elimination.
AFC West: San Diego Chargers – This is the only team in the division which does not have a Super Bowl win. The city of San Diego has been one of the least competitive cities for professional sports overall. However they do live in a sunny, nice place, if they do not want to follow football there is plenty to do year round. This team seems to fluctuate between mediocre and competitive in recent years. No matter what the expectations are at the beginning of the season, the Chargers always seem to under-perform.
Narrowing down to two
Here comes the hard part. The Super Bowl includes the NFC and AFC champions so for this article I will select one team from each.
NFC – Detroit Lions
AFC – Cleveland Browns
Picking the most deserving NFC team was fairly easy for me. I might be a bit biased since I watch the Packers beat the Lions twice a year most years. The only argument for excluding the Lions would be that all of the fans have moved out of Detroit and that there is nobody left. The AFC pick was a toss-up between the Browns and the Bills. I picked the Browns since they have a passionate fan base and have never played in a Super Bowl. The Bills are also very deserving but they have at least been in the Super Bowl.
Alright, so “champion” might not be the best word to use here since it is determined by perceived karma accumulated by being terrible. This is difficult since both teams are always near the bottom and neither team seems likely to be competitive in the near future. I am going to pick the Cleveland Browns as the team most deserving of a Super Bowl win. The city of Detroit has one of the most consistently competitive pro hockey teams in the Red Wings so at least there is something to distract from the poor football team. Cleveland has nothing, their baseball and basketball teams are also near the bottom most years. Cleveland is in one of the most boring cities with some of the least competitive professional sports teams, they deserve a Super Bowl win the most.