It’s been just over a week since the 2022 NFL season concluded with the Kansas City Chiefs hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in four years. Andy Reid’s team had to come from behind to knock off Nick Sirianni’s Philadelphia Eagles. All told, the clubs combined for 73 points, the third-highest scoring Super Bowl in the series’ 57-game history.
Let’s not bury the lead. In case you haven’t noticed, comebacks have become somewhat normal on Super Sunday as of late. For quite a long time, if a team fell behind by 10 or more points in the “Big Game,” odds were that they weren’t rallying for the win. However, take a closer look at the last nine Super Bowls and you’ll find something quite revealing and perhaps somewhat surprising.
It’s Not Over Until the…
Travel back in time to Super Bowl XLIX at Glendale, Arizona. The then-defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks took a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter, only to see the Patriots rally for a 28-24 triumph. Three years later, Bill Belichick’s team once trailed on Super Sunday – this time by 25 points to the Atlanta Falcons in the 3rd quarter of Super Bowl LI. A 28-3 deficit turned into a 34-28 overtime victory as New England responded with 31 unanswered points and captured its fifth Super Bowl title, 34-28.
In Super Bowl LIV at South Florida, Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco 49ers owned a 20-10 advantage midway through the final quarter. However, Kansas City scored the final 21 points of the contest and came away with a 31-20 triumph. Of course, football fans just saw Patrick Mahomes and company rally from a 24-14 halftime to defeat the Eagles, 38-35, in Super Bowl LVII.
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Back In the Day
Why is this recent trend of comebacks significant? Only twice in the first 48 Super Bowls did a team manage to fall behind by double digits and rally for a victory on Super Sunday. It first occurred in San Diego in 1987 (XXII) when Washington was down 10-0 to the Denver Broncos after one quarter of play. Then came Doug Williams, Ricky Sanders and Timmy Smith. Joe Gibbs’ club scored 35 points and gained 356 total yards in the second quarter and pulled away for a 42-10 win.
There was Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida. Peyton Manning and the Colts were up 10-0 after 15 minutes of play and were outscored by Sean Payton’s Saints, 31-7, over the final three quarter.
It’s a different style of play in today’s National Football League. Comebacks and/or collapses (ask the Las Vegas Raiders) are occurring more frequently in the NFL. So it’s only natural that you are seeing it happen on Super Sunday with a big of regularity.
Fun stuff, indeed.
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