In anticipation of this weekend’s Conference Championship Games, I want to give you a look at the playoff and championship histories of the four teams left in this year’s hunt for the Lombardi Trophy, just to give the games some context. All four teams have won Super Bowls and have an impressive number of playoff appearances to their credit.
Let’s start with the youngest team, the Baltimore Ravens, who have only been in existence since 1996.
Seasons with Playoff Appearances: 7
Conference Championships: 1
Super Bowl Victories: 1 …Super Bowl XXXV (2000, beating the New York Giants 34-7)
NEW YORK GIANTS
Seasons with Playoff Appearances: 30 (tied for the most with the Dallas Cowboys)
NFL Championships (from the days before the Super Bowl): 4… in 1927, 1934, 1938 and 1956
Conference Championships: 4
Super Bowl Victories: 3… Super Bowl XXI (1986), Super Bowl XXV (1990) and Super Bowl XLII (2007, beating the New England Patriots 17-14 to end the Pats’ dream of an unbeaten season...remember the miraculous helmet catch by David Tyree?)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Seasons with Playoff Appearances: 18
Conference Championships: 6
Super Bowl Victories: 3… Super Bowl XXXVI (2001), Super Bowl XXXVIII (2003) and Super Bowl XXXIX (2004). Their last Super Bowl appearance was the loss to the Giants in 2007.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Loyal readers will recall that the 49ers of the 1980’s formed one of the NFL’s great dynasties. However, the Niners have the longest championship drought of the four remaining contenders, as they haven’t won the Big One since 1994.
Seasons with Playoff Appearances: 22
Conference Championships: 5
Super Bowl Victories: 5…. Super Bowl XVI (1981), Super Bowl XIX (1984), Super Bowl XXIII (1988), Super Bowl XXIV (1989) and Super Bowl XXIX (1994)
So, how will the 2010 contenders put their stamp on history? We'll have to wait a few more weeks to find out!