Five Times Low Playoff Seeding Translated into Super Bowl Triumph

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Let’s face it, when it comes to the NFL playoffs, everyone loves a good upset. There’s nothing quite like rooting for the underdog and watching them pull off the impossible. This year, however, it’s anyone’s guess as to who ends up with the Lombardi.

Heading into the current campaign, there were a number of clear favorites to reach and potentially win Super Bowl LVIII inside Las Vegas’ brand-new Allegiant Stadium. In the AFC, the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs were expected to battle it out with both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills, just as they had done in each of the last four seasons. However, an injury to quarterback Joe Burrow as well as a number of losses to their divisional rivals means that Cincy is somewhat out of the running.

State of Play in 2023

The Bills have managed to resurrect their form and a victory against the Chiefs on week 15 has revived their hopes. But Patrick Mahomes and Co. aren’t having it all their own way at Arrowhead. They are currently 8-5 and have lost three of their last four games. If they aren’t careful, they may be pipped to the AFC West crown by the Denver Broncos. And if they do win their division, they could still head into the postseason as one of the lower-ranked teams seeing as the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars all currently have a better record than the Missouri outfit.

Over in the NFC, it had been business as usual as the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers looked set to contest the conference championship game once more. But in recent weeks, the 49ers have pulled away from the Eagles, and Super Bowl betting odds have installed them as heavy +225 favorites. Over at Lincoln Financial Field, they are now looking over their shoulders at the Dallas Cowboys when it comes to divisional honors.

But finishing the regular season as one of the top-seeded sides doesn’t always guarantee success. Here are five times lower-ranked teams have gone on to lift the Lombardi.

New York Giants

Who can forget the David and Goliath story that played out in Super Bowl XLII? Facing the undefeated New England Patriots, the New York Giants headed into the Big Game as the biggest underdogs of all time. But thanks to a relentless defense led by Michael Strahan and a clutch fourth-quarter drive spearheaded by Eli Manning, the Big Apple outfit pulled off the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

Just four years on from that stunning upset, the Giants took down Tom Brady and Co. again, this time as the fourth seed in the NFC. Their defense stepped up just as they did in 2008, sacking TB12 twice and holding the high-powered New England offense to just 17 points. Manning once again came in clutch with a touchdown drive in the final minutes to secure another improbable title.

Green Bay Packers

The 2010 Packers were a talented team, but injuries and inconsistency throughout the regular season left them as the final seed in the NFC. As such, nobody expected the Packers to make a deep postseason run that year. But nobody told quarterback Aaron Rodgers that. He put the team on his back to win four straight games on the road before ultimately knocking off the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers at Super Bowl XLV.

Baltimore Ravens

The 2012 Ravens were a team that caught fire at the right time. They had lost four of their final five regular season games but rallied to beat the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, and New England Patriots in the playoffs. Even a lengthy power outage at the Mercedes Benz Super Dome during the Super Bowl couldn’t halt their momentum, as Joe Flacco and the rest of the team outlasted the San Francisco 49ers to bring a title back to Baltimore.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady might have gotten used to being the favorite during his record-breaking stint with the Patriots, but he was very much an underdog during his maiden campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite that, their veteran QB managed to roll back the years in the playoffs. Despite entering the postseason as the NFC’s fifth seed, they managed to go on a road trip for the ages, defeating the Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers away from home. Then, they dominated Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs, who were aiming to secure back-to-back championships.

Despite facing the Missouri-based finishing as the top seed in the AFC and sweeping all before them throughout the course of the regular season, the Bucs dominated them from start to finish and ran out deserved 31-7 winners. And if that wasn’t enough, they lifted the Lombardi at Raymond James Stadium, becoming the first team in history to lift the famous trophy on home turf.