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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

Aaron Rodgers has one Super Bowl, but he and the Packers missed out on another. (PHOTO: Jim Biever / Green Bay Packers)

Top 10 Super Bowls that never were


Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will take on former Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson and his Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII, a game many have anticipated at the start of the year. It's one of the few times it can be said that the best teams from each conference reached the ultimate game to decide a champion.

While the game may be a blowout, you won't be able to look back and think it wasn't the best game possible this season.

You can't say the same over history though. While there have been many classic Super Bowls, we have been robbed of what could have been some special contests once the two-team wildcard era was introduced for the 1978 season.

Here are 10 of the top Super Bowls we never got to see:

10. XL: Indianapolis vs. Seattle

The Petyon Manning-led Colts became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 6 seed (and eventual champion Pittsburgh) when Mike Vanderjagt missed a potential game-tying field goal. Manning would eventually make the Super Bowl (and win it) the next year, but 2005 was a missed opportunity.

9. XLVI: Green Bay vs. New England

This was a missed opportunity for the Packers, as the Aaron Rodgers-led green and gold went 15-1 and were clearly the best team in the NFL before laying an egg at home to the New York Giants. The Giants went on to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but once again it made Packers fans wonder "what if?" It would have been the start of a dynasty and cemented Rodgers as a Hall of Famer.

8. XXII: San Francisco vs. Denver

Yes, another 49ers/Broncos Super Bowl would've occurred, but in 1987 the Redskins upset the second-seeded Bears and then the top-seeded 49ers before routing the Broncos. It was a historic win for Washington and quarterback Doug Williams, but this win not only prevented the 49ers from starting their dynasty a year early, but perhaps proved that "getting hot" at the right time would be a key to winning a title in the wild card era.

7. XXXIV: St. Louis vs. Jacksonville

Yes, the Jaguars. Jacksonville was the AFC's best team in 1999 but they couldn't solve the Tennessee Titans. They lost to the Titans twice in the regular season to go 14-2, and then lost to them again in the playoffs. This Super Bowl was yet another classic, but the Mark Brunell-led Jaguars would've been a great matchup against "The Greatest Show on Turf."

6. XXVII: Dallas vs. Houston

The start of Dallas' dynasty probably would have still begun this year, but Houston's Run-N-Shoot offense behind Warren Moon would have been a fun matchup instead of a mentally defeated Buffalo team that went on to lose their fourth straight Super Bowl after the 1993 season. Of course, prior to getting to that point, the Bills came back behind backup quarterback Frank Reich to beat Houston in the playoffs despite trailing, 35-3.

5. XLII: Green Bay vs. New England

The Packers should have been in the Super Bowl, but Brett Favre threw a costly interception at home to allow the New York Giants to challenge the then-undefeated New England Patriots after the 2007 season. While they got the job done in a classic game, how much fun would have been to see Favre and the Pack go after Moss and Tom Brady.

4. XXXIII: Denver vs. Minnesota

Gary Anderson missed his only field goal of 1998 when the Minnesota Vikings had a chance to seal the NFC Championship at home, and his miss set up the game-tying touchdown (and subsequent overtime victory) by the Atlanta Falcons. Cunningham was an MVP candidate and Randy Moss was the game's biggest threat. This would've been an exciting matchup of high-powered offenses.

3. XXV: Philadelphia vs. Buffalo

It's true – the Bills and New York Giants engaged in one of the greatest Super Bowls in modern history – but the Eagles were led that year by a ferocious, Reggie White-led defense and the league's MVP in quarterback Randall Cunningham. The Eagles were upset by Washington in the playoffs, paving the way for the Giants.

2. XIV: San Diego vs. Tampa Bay

In 1979, the Chargers went 12-4 behind Dan Fouts and his high-flying offense. Fouts threw for over 4,000 yards and he had two 1,000-yard receivers in Charlie Joiner and John Jefferson for the NFL's second ranked scoring offense. It wasn't all offense though – San Diego was also second in the league in points allowed. Unfortunately, they were upset in the wildcard round by Houston. In the NFC, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 10-6 and had the NFL's best defense, led by Lee Roy Selmon. Doug Williams and Ricky Bell were the offensive leaders, but the Bucs couldn't score in the NFC Championship in a 9-0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, who would lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1. XX: Chicago vs. Miami

One of the most dominant teams in NFL history produced one of the most lopsided victories in Super Bowl history in large part because the New England Patriots upset a couple of worthier adversaries along the way, especially Dan Marino's Dolphins, the only team to beat the Bears in the regular season. Miami figured out how to exploit the holes in the Bears' vaunted "46" defense, and it would've been a treat to see how these two teams would've fared in a rematch in perfect conditions.


Talkbacks

pjk | Jan. 31, 2014 at 2:38 p.m. (report)

Bills-49ers 1992 season. They met in week 2. Over 1000 yards in offense. It's the only NFL game that has ever been played without a punt. The Bills won 34-31. Would have been nice to see a rematch.

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