You can almost smell the tailgates being held outside of stadiums and in less than a week we will get our first taste of football for the 2019-2020 NFL season. 30 teams are getting ready for their quest to win a Super Bowl and dethrone the defending champions, the New England Patriots. The Patriots who have made five Super Bowl appearances, and won three Super Bowls, in this past decade look to carry over that success to the 2020s. But before we look forward we must look back on the Super Bowl winners of this past decade.
9. 2011 New York Giants (Super Bowl XLVI)
A team who had lost 3 straight games late in the season and needed to win two straight games to make the playoffs, got hot at the right time. This Giants team managed to beat a 15-1 Packers team led by Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau Field, and later on won an overtime NFC Championship game against the 49ers in San Francisco. Despite winning their first Super Bowl matchup the Giants opened as 3 point underdogs to the New England Patriots. In the end the Giants beat the Patriots behind a defense that ranked 25th in points allowed. A Giants team that nearly missed out on the playoffs managed to beat the odds and win the Super Bowl. A team whose leading rushing did not eclipse the 700 rushing yards and behind subpar defensive play throughout the regular season goes to show that it is all about getting hot at the right time and needing to win their last two regular-season games led to a winning streak that ultimately led to Eli Manning being named Super Bowl MVP for the second time in his career.
8. 2012 Baltimore Ravens (Super Bowl XLVII)
With constant speculation on if Joe Flacco was an elite level quarterback, Flacco responded with one of the greatest playoff performances in recent memory. Flacco threw for 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, threw an average of 9 yards per pass attempt and had a quarterback rating of 117.2. Flacco bested Hall of Fame QBs Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and a young Andrew Luck to clinch a Super Bowl berth. On the other side of the ball, the Ravens defense ranked 12th was led by legend Ray Lewis who had announced that this would be his final season. This was also a team with infamous running back Ray Rice who had a good year rushing for more than 1,000 yards on 257 attempts. Much like the last entry, this was a case of a team that got hot at the right time and did not slow down.
7. 2015 Denver Broncos (Super Bowl 50)
Looking back, it is almost surprising that a team that had started Brock Osweiler for seven games would make the playoffs. But they did. Granted Peyton Manning took starter duties for the playoffs from Osweiler, his play did not resemble what Manning had done throughout his career causing many to speculate if this was his last season. Despite mediocre QB play from Manning, this Broncos team is the reason why the saying “Defense wins Championships” is constantly mentioned. Led by a defense with superstar outside linebacker Von Miller, defensive end Demarcus Ware and cornerbacks Aquib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., the Broncos had a solid pass rush and a great secondary that made the lives of opposing quarterbacks much difficult. This defense neutralized a Panthers offense that was led by the NFL regular season MVP Cam Newton who was only able to score 10 points.
6. 2010 Green Bay Packers (Super Bowl XLV)
Aaron Rodgers only Super Bowl win came at a time when Brett Farve comparisons were linked whenever the topic of Rodgers play was put into question. Rodgers responded to the comparisons by throwing almost 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 65% of his passes. Unlike recent years this Packers team had a defense that ranked 2nd in the NFL that help propel this team to win their last two games and make the playoffs. The Packers would go on to beat Philadephia, Atlanta and arch-rival Chicago all on the road to advance to the Super Bowl. The Packers matched up against the Steelers where they would walk out of Arlington, Texas and bring back home the Vince Lombardi trophy.
5. 2018 New England Patriots (Super Bowl LIII)
The most recent Super Bowl on this list, the Patriots seemed to have slowed down a bit from years past. Having lost all five of their regular season games to non-playoff teams and heading into the playoffs with a bit of uncertainty as they would have to go through a Kansas City Chiefs team that looked ready for the Super Bowl. With a balanced rushing attack that included the efforts of rookie Sony Michel, who was selected with the 31st pick in the first round, James White, and even Cordarrelle Paterson who has seen the majority of his snaps as a wide receiver prior to joining the Patriots. Nonetheless, this team ended the year as the 4th best offense and 7th best defense in the league. Against a young Rams team with a lack of Super Bowl experience great coaching and the play of Julian Edelman proved to be the deciding factor in one of the most boring Super Bowls of all time.
4. 2014 New England Patriots (Super Bowl XLIX)
A Super Bowl that will forever be remembered for Pete Carroll’s questionable decision to not run the ball at the goal line resulted in the Patriots winning their first Super Bowl since beating the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. After a rough start to the season in which the Patriots began 2-2 they would finish the season going 10-2 clinching a first round bye in the process. Having clinched home field advantage the Patriots made quick work of the Ravens and Colts in the playoffs to advance to the Super Bowl where they would face last years champion the Seattle Seahawks. However, this success was met with controversy as the beginning of deflate-gate, in which the balls used by the Patriots were deflated to their advantage. Needless to say the Patriots played a close game throughout and caught a huge break when Malcolm Butler snagged a game ending interception to give the Patriots their fourth Super Bowl win.
3. 2017 Philadelphia Eagles (Super Bowl LII)
The Eagles started the season with stud QB Carson Wentz who put up MVP numbers until he was forced to miss the season with an ACL injury. Enter Nick Foles, who had found himself back to where his career first took off in Philly. Now serving as a backup to Wentz, Foles took over the starting job of a team that was going to make the playoffs. The question was will Nick Foles continue the fairy tale season for the Eagles. Foles did exactly that, beating the Falcons and Vikings en route to Philly’s first Super Bowl win. This Eagles team did not have a 1,000 rusher or receiver and still found a way to be world champions.
2. 2016 New England Patriots (Super Bowl LI)
The third and final Super Bowl winning Patriots team, the 2016 Patriots finished the regular season with 14 wins and ranked 1st in average points allowed. With LeGarette Blount rushing for more than 1,000 yards and after returning to play after sitting out the first four games of the season, Tom Brady finished with 28 passing touchdowns, and threw only two interceptions in twelve games. This is also a Patriots squad when down 28-3 at the halftime mark came all the way back and won the game behind the veteran leadership of Tom Brady and the coaching legend that is Bill Belichick.
1. 2013 Seattle Seahawks (Super Bowl XLVIII)
Defense wins championships. But unlike an entry on our list, 2015 Denver Broncos, this 2013 Seahawks squad had a run game to compliment a young QB in Russell Wilson and a defense so good that it was named The Legion of Boom. A secondary that had hard hitting safeties like Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, lockdown corners in Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, linebackers Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, this Seahawks defense was stacked. So stacked that not even season MVP Peyton Manning could get the upper hand on this defense. The Seahawks would open the very first play of the Super Bowl with a safety after a botched snap. They would, later on, dismantle the Denver Broncos and win their first Super Bowl by score of 43-8.