Why your team won't win the Super Bowl!


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Jan 22, 2006
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Why your team won't win the Super Bowl
Randy Hill / Special to FOXSports.com

The road to Miami, official resting place for Super Bowl XLI, opens in just eight weeks.

We'll find out if that's enough time for the settling of several NFL issues.
For example, at least five quarterbacks are racing the clock to return from serious injury.

And in two months, the Carolina Panthers must finish using considerable salary-cap room to overhaul their cheerleading roster. In eight weeks, frequent visitors to NFL end zones must finalize celebration routines that require zero assistance from props.

We also are waiting for the appointment of a new commissioner capable of luring professional football back to Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

But lead consideration for any NFL season can be whittled down to the question of which team smells like the next Super Bowl champion.

So, with training camp just around the bend, I'm here to provide at least one decent reason why your team won't be standing when the smoke clears in Miami.

The obvious target for Super Bowl surrender is Mike Holmgren, who coaches the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. On paper — which has myriad disposal applications we won't get into here — the Seahawks certainly seem capable of mowing down their conference buddies.

They did lose premier guard Steve Hutchinson, but this year's schedule includes four dates with teams from the mighty NFC North.

Unfortunately, the Seahawks' talent and schedule may be no match for karma.

In case you hadn't noticed, the Seahawks lost Super Bowl XL to the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the NFL qualified as a normal enterprise, this would suggest that Seattle's team is knocking on the door leading to immortality.

But normal professional sports enterprises usually don't feature subsequent doom for teams that finish second. Please note that the NFL offers a streak of five consecutive campaigns marked by the Super Bowl runner-up finishing out of the playoff picture.

Here's the roll call:

The New York Giants, losers of Super Bowl XXXV, finished 7-9 in 2001.
The St. Louis Rams, losers of Super Bowl XXXVI, finished 7-9 in 2002.
The Oakland Raiders, decisive losers of Super Bowl XXXVII, finished 6-10 in 2003.
The Carolina Panthers, losers of Super Bowl XXXVIII, finished 7-9 in 2004.
The Philadelphia Eagles, losers of Super Bowl XXXIX, finished 6-10 in 2005.
Will the Seahawks, whose NFC West playmates include the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, be next?

It seems reasonable to expect Seattle to overcome one disturbing trend. But a second paranormal concern may cause the Seahawks' undoing. I'm referring, of course, to the Madden Curse, an unwitting brand of consumer voodoo that has provoked bad things for video-game coverboys Michael Vick, Marshall Faulk and Donovan McNabb.

This year's Madden '07 box cover features defending league Most Valuable Player Shaun Alexander ... who still works for the Seahawks.

With the Seahawks officially extinct from the playoff landscape, let's take a look at why your favorite won't win the Super Bowl, either.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals
With a new stadium on the way, the Cardinals accelerated their Phoenix-area buzz by signing superstar running back Edgerrin James. The importance of this free-agent score has been marginalized by the realization that Edgerrin was hired for his pass-blocking skills.

Simply put, you may not be able to come across a worse line in a singles' bar full of sportswriters.

St. Louis Rams
The defense has been upgraded, but the offense finally seems capable of making Mike Martz look like a genius. Martz, by the way, now works in Detroit.

San Francisco 49ers
There will be no postseason run for a team that's invented the West Coast Lack of offense.

NFC North

Chicago Bears
Here's damning evidence: New backup quarterback Brian Griese may be an upgrade.

The Bears seem good enough to win this division; if you only seem good enough for the NFC North, you probably won't be good for more than one playoff round.

Minnesota Vikings
With a new coach on hand, the Vikes may challenge if they can avoid putting another season on cruise control. Challenging the Bears is not good enough to reach Miami.

Detroit Lions
Their improvement will fizzle when new coach Rod Marinelli forgets to inform Martz that Martz is not allowed to call timeouts.

Green Bay Packers
Behind another weak offensive line, Brett Favre may literally die a Packer.

NFC South

Carolina Panthers
Chemistry issues arise when Keyshawn Johnson declares that someday Steve Smith will be as good as he is.

Atlanta Falcons
How much confidence can be generated by quarterback Ron Mexico when backup Matt Schaub was considered an untouchable in trade talks?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Simms keeps improving at QB, but Baylor and Texas A&M have not been added to the NFC South.

New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees may be a sweet acquisition, but his repaired shoulder probably could use a couple of rehab starts at Triple-A.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys
Terrell Owens seems like the X-factor, but could wind up becoming the first decoy that actually quacks.

New York Giants
Despite several free-agent maneuvers, the Giants' defense is worse in coverage than Paris Hilton's fashion consultant.

Washington Redskins
Putting offensive coordinator Al Saunders together with Joe Gibbs could be as incongruous as hiring Baryshnikov to choreograph a square dance.

Philadelphia Eagles
Their best receiver is a running back. Their quarterback still may be their best runner. At least Freddie Mitchell could talk a good game.

AFC West

Denver Broncos
With John Elway under center, the Broncos and their fans were treated to events such as The Drive. With Jake Plummer at the controls, Denver seems committed to The Hitchhike.

Kansas City Chiefs
Unless Herm Edwards can still cover receivers, he'll have a hard time improving on what Dick Vermeil accomplished.

San Diego Chargers
The good news: Philip Rivers has only one L in his first name. The bad news: the Chargers' new starting quarterback may need directions to find the starting center.

Oakland Raiders
During his first tour as head coach, Art Shell often reminded reporters that "Football players make football plays."

If the Raiders eventually hire a few football players, we'll see if he's correct.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers
Losing a Bus and gaining a bike probably won't matter as much as losing Antwaan Randle El. Replacement rookie Santonio Holmes may provide more dropped passes than dropped charges.

Cincinnati Bengals
Their criminal-element roll call makes that fictional team from ESPN's Playmakers seem like candidates for a rerun tour on Nickelodeon. The Bengals also may suffer on kickoff return coverage if Chad Johnson fails to find loopholes in the TD celebration rule.

Cleveland Browns
They have a good, young quarterback. Too bad he's not Steve Young.

Baltimore Ravens
When Ray Lewis asks his defensive teammates for the time, they should tell him it's 11:59 p.m. Steve McNair may be an improvement at quarterback, but the AFC North looks like the Group of Death.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts
Until the league offers a bye from the regular season to the Super Bowl, most of us will remain suspicious of Peyton Manning in January.

Jacksonville Jaguars
They open the season with Dallas, Pittsburgh, Indy and Washington.

Tennessee Titans
Vince Young is a terrific prospect, but this year's read-option is limited to the Titans' playbook.

Houston Texans
If defensive end Mario Williams (the first overall pick in the draft) is incapable of reaching QB David Carr in practice, the Texans are in trouble. In games, the Houston offensive line allows Carr to spend more time on his back than Snoopy.

AFC East

New England Patriots
Replacing kicker Adam Vinatieri with Martin Gramatica may be the strategic equivalent of subbing Guillermo Mota for Jonathan Papelbon.

Miami Dolphins
Nick Saban may be a godsend, but we're still not sure if the Dolphins are better at passing the football or a drug test.

New York Jets
The defense isn't bad, but the Jets would have trouble scoring in a women's prison.

Buffalo Bills
Nobody scares you on offense, unless you're a Bills fan.

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