The Minnesota Vikings are the champions of heartbreak

The Final Standings

The Vikings stand tall atop the countdown in both total pain and playoff-specific pain. In any reasonable sort of weighting system, Minnesota comes out first. The Rams end up first in both win-loss points and DVOA points; they slide down the rankings the more you weight playoff failure versus regular-season success. In the final rankings, potential playoff pain points are balanced one-to-one with regular-season pain points. The Rams stay atop the Bills up until the point you make playoff pain worth 60% more than regular-season pain. Where you put that slider is really a matter of personal perspective, and probably has a lot to do to with whether you were born in Buffalo or Philadelphia. Either way, the Vikings stand supreme.

The 1939-1946 Giants end up getting 61.5% of their heartbreak points from their championship game losses. In an era with just 10 teams, it’s easier to end up in a championship game to begin with. The 1988-1996 Eagles are their opposite numbers at just 19.0%, as years of great defenses ended up sitting home in January a lot.

Those same Eagles are the team that gets the most value out of their DVOA ratings, clocking in at 44.1%. Even before Football Outsiders was a thing, DVOA loves it some Eagles. Once again, they stand opposite from the Giants, but this time it’s the 1957-1963 version at 15.1% as estimated DVOA never ends up loving them. If you prefer actual DVOA, then the low mark on the totem pole are the 1988-1999 Bills at 17.6%. This is the second historic team countdown we’ve done that has dinged the Bills for their average-at-best defense, but their collection of Lamar Hunt trophies ensures they get a top-five slot here anyway.

The 2008-2012 Falcons lead the way with 43.9% of their heartbreak points coming from their win-loss records. DVOA never really fell in love with them, and they made quite a few exits in the wild-card round. Their opposite numbers are the 2019-2021 49ers, who have that 6-10 injury-plagued season weighing them down from their Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game losses.

Dynasties of Heartbreak
Rk Years Team W-L Avg
DVOA
Playoff
Points
Win-Loss
Points
DVOA
Points
Champ
Penalty
Total
1 1968-1982 MIN 140-71-2 8.8% 667.6 425.1 285.8 0.0 1378.4
2 1966-1980 LAR 148-60-7 20.2% 451.2 453.6 410.5 0.0 1315.3
3 2000-2014 PHI 145-94 15.9% 533.6 285.1 377.1 100.0 1195.8
4 1988-1999 BUF 124-68 9.2% 661.8 319.4 209.8 0.0 1190.9
5 1973-1996 DEN 216-146-4 1.2% 525.8 359.7 229.3 223.8 1114.6
6 1963-1975 OAK 126-45-11 19.4% 369.6 357.2 299.9 556.1 1026.8
7 1974-1987 MIA 138-69-1 11.9% 309.4 401.4 233.1 264.8 943.9
8 1957-1963 NYG 65-22-3 14.4% 528.2 212.2 131.8 368.1 872.2
9 1987-1997 PIT 102-73 9.3% 410.6 200.9 234.0 0.0 845.4
10 1986-2000 MIN 144-95 10.3% 307.2 265.4 251.8 0.0 824.2
11 2003-2021 DAL 171-134 6.7% 202.4 293.1 287.1 0.0 782.6
12 1989-1999 KC 110-65-1 14.4% 186.8 252.8 276.0 0.0 715.6
13 1997-2011 NYJ 128-112 7.2% 278.6 185.6 245.2 0.0 709.4
14 1969-1981 WAS 112-75-3 7.7% 184.6 242.5 232.6 0.0 693.8
15 1990-2005 MIA 149-107 7.9% 184.6 242.5 232.6 0.0 659.6
16 2004-2010 SD 76-36 18.3% 207.6 227.5 221.0 0.0 656.1
17 1996-2003 TEN 80-48 10.2% 290.9 198.8 159.4 0.0 649.1
18 2011-2014 SF 44-19-1 17.9% 364.2 148.1 136.3 0.0 648.6
19 2005-2013 NE 110-34 27.5% 261.4 178.5 206.1 963.6 646.0
20 1939-1946 NYG 52-26-7 8.9% 396.6 147.6 100.5 330.1 644.7
21 2017-2021 NO 58-23 26.2% 190.8 201.6 239.8 0.0 632.2
22 1974-1985 NE 123-101 2.3% 209.0 232.3 148.8 0.0 590.0
23 1983-1989 CLE 63-47-1 8.2% 295.2 129.2 129.7 0.0 554.0
24 1960-1969 BALC 92-42-4 17.0% 251.0 165.5 134.3 478.4 550.9
25 2014-2021 PIT 83-44-2 10.7% 148.2 215.4 181.8 0.0 545.4
26 1998-2007 SEA 90-70 3.3% 254.4 147.5 126.9 0.0 528.8
27 2005-2013 CHI 84-60 3.4% 259.8 163.1 105.2 0.0 528.2
28 1977-1982 SD 55-32 17.4% 191.6 145.8 184.8 0.0 522.1
29 2013-2017 CAR 51-28-1 9.4% 204.4 168.8 120.6 0.0 493.7
30 1999-2002 OAK 41-23 22.2% 211.6 107.5 156.2 0.0 484.2
31 1987-1993 HOIL 70-41 10.3% 167.6 163.1 147.0 0.0 477.8
32 1922-1931 CHI 82-38-17 11.6% 251.2 139.6 81.3 753.3 472.2
33 1988-1996 PHI 87-57 13.5% 88.4 171.9 205.7 0.0 466.0
34 1978-1985 DAL 84-37 15.1% 187.6 157.1 118.4 547.9 463.0
35 2003-2009 CAR 64-48 3.6% 259.2 118.1 84.6 0.0 461.9
36 2019-2021 GB 39-10 15.1% 188.4 169.5 87.5 0.0 445.4
37 1983-1989 LARM 67-44 10.7% 143.2 146.3 153.1 0.0 442.6
38 1978-1981 PHI 42-22 17.3% 187.6 118.8 130.4 0.0 436.7
39 1970-1977 CIN 66-46 25.8% 89.6 170.0 169.6 0.0 429.2
40 2008-2012 ATL 56-24 12.6% 123.6 189.6 115.5 0.0 425.9
41 2019-2021 SF 29-20 18.1% 239.4 79.2 95.8 0.0 414.4
42 1968-1972 SF 38-22-4 11.3% 197.6 102.5 107.8 0.0 407.8
43 1996-1999 JAX 45-19 13.6% 153.8 149.4 104.0 0.0 407.2
44 1986-1990 CIN 43-36 7.9% 216.4 85.0 102.8 0.0 404.2

1 Loved the series!

by HitchikersPie // Jun 22, 2022 – 10:15am

Thanks for running this Bryan, I’ve enjoyed all three of these the past few seasons, it’s great to hear more about football history that hasn’t had a light cast on it in a while, and definitely helps fill the offseason satiation for more content!

A few articles back you said to ask you at the end for the total pain scores for each franchise, or at least their highest individual pain year, is that data you still have readily on hand?

38 I don’t have the total pain…

by Bryan Knowles // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:53pm

In reply to Loved the series! by HitchikersPie

I don’t have the total pain scores for franchises, mostly (but not entirely) because I am an idiot and didn’t save data for years that didn’t come close to qualifying.  I might dig that back one year to do it, but I would be missing all the years where teams earned, like, 20 heartbreak points in the middle of runs of no importance.

But I do still have all the runs down to 300 points saved, because we weren’t sure where we wanted the cutoff when we were planning these articles.  So in terms of who generated the most points over multiple significant runs, your top ten:

1. Minnesota Vikings, at 2844.4  This includes the 1968-1982 and 1986-2000 teams that made the top 10, but also brings in the 2003-2009 and 2015-2019 teams.  They’re not the same as they used to be, but they haven’t stopped giving their fanbases heart attacks.

2. Philadelphia Eagles, at 2098.5.  That’s 1978-1981, 1988-1996 and 2000-2014, all of which made the countdown.

3. Los Angeles Rams, at 1757.9  That’s the 1966-1980 and 1983-1989 runs, both on the countdown.

4. New England Patriots, at 1604.2.  The 1994-1998 Parcells teams join the 2005-2013 interregnum and the odd welded-together 1974-1988 teams; your mileage may vary on this.

5. Miami Dolphins at 1603.5.  That’s the 1974-1987 and 1990-2005 eras, otherwise known as “wasting Dan Marino’s entire career”

6. Buffalo Bills at 1589.6.  The 2024-2021 run is 45th place on this 44-team countdown.  We’ll see if we revisit them in 10 years.

7. Dallas Cowboys at 1581.6.  That adds the 1966-1970 pre-Super Bowl teams to the 1978-1985 and 2003-2021 teams from the countdown.

8. New York Giants at 1516.9.  That’s just the 1939-1946 and 1957-1963 teams from the countdown; the majority of their pain has been pre-Super Bowl era.

9. Oakland Raiders at 1511.0.  Yes, Oakland, as there’s no LA or LV in either the 1963-1975 teams or the1999-2002 teams.

10. Cincinnati Bengals at 1483.7.  That adds in the 1970-1976 and 1986-1990 runs from way down the countdown with the 1980-1981 Super Bowl loss and the 2009-2015 Marvin Lewis teams.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals have never had a team reach 300 points, so I suppose they come in at zero each on this list.  The Lions/Spartans, Texans and Ravens follow them, with the Jaguars, Washington, Jets, Chiefs and Falcons rounding out the bottom 10.

40 And the worst season for…

by Bryan Knowles // Jun 22, 2022 – 2:13pm

In reply to I don’t have the total pain… by Bryan Knowles

And the worst season for each franchise — this isn’t including championship penalties, so this is just in-season, no-context pain:

1. Patriots: 2007 (396.8). That’s the helmet catch at the end of 18-1.
2. Bears: 1942 (378.8).  That’s the 11-0 team who surrendered just 84 points, losing the NFL Championship to Washington.
3. Browns: 1953 (361.7).  Bobby Layne leads the Lions to a one-point, fourth-quarter-come-from-behind win in the NFL Championship.
4. Colts: 1968 (327.5).  Super Bowl III.
5. Rams: 2001 (327.4).  The Greatest Show on Turf runs into the loveable underdog Tom Brady.
6. Cardinals: 1949 (324.1).  The Million Dollar Backfield gets eaten up by the Eagles, Steve Van Buren, and a massive snowstorm
7. Bills: 1990 (308.5).  Wide right.
8. Giants: 1933 (304.7). Bears win the NFL Championship on a jump-pass-hook-and-ladder from Nagurski to Hewitt to Karr.
9. Eagles: 2004 (299.7). McNabb leaves it all on the field in the Super Bowl against the Patriots
10. Seahawks: 2014 (299.4). Hand the ball to Marshawn!
11. Steelers: 2010 (295.4). Super Bowl loss to the Packers
12. 49ers: 2012 (294.2).  The Harbaugh Bowl.
13. Packers: 1997 (290.7). Super Bowl loss to a helicoptering Elway.
14. Bengals: 1988 (288.6). Too much time left for Joe Montana in the Super Bowl.
15. Chargers: 1961 (286.0) Loss to the Oilers in the AFL Championship
16. Falcons: 2016 (285.3).  28-3.
17. Raiders: 1967 (284.3). Super Bowl II
18. Cowboys: 1970 (282.3). Super Bowl V
19. Titans (Oilers): 1962 (272.2). Double-overtime loss to the Texans in the AFL Championship
20. Panthers: 2015 (272.5). 15-1 and a loss to the Broncos.
21. Dolphins: 1982 (271.8).  Stay tuned to 1982 DVOA next week to learn more!
22. Vikings: 1969 (270.4).  Super Bowl IV
23. Broncos: 1977 (242.4). Super Bowl XII, which I rewatched for this and lost three hours of my life I will never get back.
24. Chiefs: 1966 (236.3). Super Bowl I
25. Washington: 1945 (231.2). Lost the NFL Championship to the Rams by one point after a Baugh pass hit the uprights in his own end zone, which at the time was a safety.  
26. Lions (Spartans): 1932 (230.5).  The “we’re making up rules as we go along” NFL Championship.
27. Saints: 2018 (212.9). The no-call against the Rams
28. Ravens: 2019 (185.4). 14-2 and a divisional round exit
29. Jaguars: 1999 (182.2).  Three losses to the Titans, zero to anyone else
30. Jets: 1998 (176.0). The best of the Parcells teams.
31. Buccaneers: 2021 (154.1).  Yeah, that gets cancelled to zero with championship penalties.
32. Texans: 2011 (105.6). Ed Reed keeps Houston out of the AFC Championship.

45 Methinks Titans/Oilers is…

by serutan // Jun 22, 2022 – 2:50pm

In reply to And the worst season for… by Bryan Knowles

Methinks Titans/Oilers is 1962 as there were neither Texans (became Chiefs) nor AFL in 1972

And if memory serves by 1972 the Oilers sucked toads and would until Bum Phillips showed up.

43 Buffalo Bills at 1589.6. …

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 2:36pm

In reply to I don’t have the total pain… by Bryan Knowles

Buffalo Bills at 1589.6.  The 2024-2021 run is 45th place on this 44-team countdown.  We’ll see if we revisit them in 10 years.

Oh my god, they’re failing even with a time machine!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0480669/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289879/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114746/

19. Titans (Oilers): 1972 (272.2). Double-overtime loss to the Texans in the AFL Championship

It’s not tackled at the 1 as time expires?

2 with the losses to…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 10:39am

with the losses to Washington, San Francisco, and (much later) Seattle earning the minimum 100 heartbreak points—utter blowouts from the gun

Except they weren’t! Denver led Washington 10-0 at the end of the 1st quarter, and somehow were trailing by 25 at the half. To a backup QB and RB.

18 Yes, and the Patriots scored…

by Scott P. // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:21pm

In reply to with the losses to… by Aaron Brooks G…

Yes, and the Patriots scored first in Super Bowl XX. I think they count as blowouts from the go – those scores were fluky.

20 I don’t think it’s quite the…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:31pm

In reply to Yes, and the Patriots scored… by Scott P.

I don’t think it’s quite the same.

In XX, the Pats took an early turnover, drove 0 yards — their best drive of the first half — and took a 3 point lead for about 4 minutes.

In XXII, the Broncos drove into Washington territory on their first four drives. They led for an entire quarter, and by two scores for 10 minutes. The outgained Washington by more than 100 yards. They were blowing Washington out. And then they discovered Washington wasn’t left-handed.

22 Spit-take

by reddwarf // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:55pm

In reply to I don’t think it’s quite the… by Aaron Brooks G…

Washington wasn’t left-handed…that’s awesome.

3 Agree this was a good series…

by serutan // Jun 22, 2022 – 10:42am

Agree this was a good series; but I do have a question about the Broncos  – your chart shows no champ penalties for them despite winning 2 SBs in a row in 1997-1998. and the Raiders getting one for 1977 and the Dolphins for 1973,

23 The correct championship…

by Bryan Knowles // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:58pm

In reply to Agree this was a good series… by serutan

The correct championship penalty was listed in the body, but was accidentally left off the table; that’s been fixed now.  Good catch!

31 #24 shows Baltimore 1960…

by KnotMe // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:30pm

In reply to The correct championship… by Bryan Knowles

#24 shows Baltimore 1960-1960 (should be 1969 I think) 

4 No surprise, I guess, but I…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 10:44am

No surprise, I guess, but I was hoping The Purple-Hearted would somehow manage to come in 2nd, just for the yuks.

As a little kid for their 1st Super Bowl, I didn’t realize it, but it’s obvious now how silly it was for the Vikings to be prohibitive favorites against the Chiefs. The Chiefs were loaded with HoFers as well, and one of those was at qb, with Len Dawson, whereas the Vikings had the entertaining, extremely tough, but mediocre at best passer in Joe Kapp. The other often overlooked big edge the Chiefs had was at kicker, where Jan Stenerud staked the Chiefs to a 9-0 1st half lead, with long field goals which were far less common back then. 

The ’70 and ’71 Vikings defenses were historically great as well, but, alas, paired with qbs like Gary Cuozzo or an aging Norm Snead. By the time Tarkenton came back, the defenses were still extremely good, but no longer the absolute monsters they had been previously. Still, Tarkenton was playing with a significant then-undisclosed arm injury in the latter part of ’74, which was a factor in him having so many passes blocked by the Steel Curtain in the Super Bowl. By the time they played the Raiders, they were old and small, in an NFL that had become much bigger.

7 Too favored, perhaps, but I…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 11:03am

In reply to No surprise, I guess, but I… by Will Allen

Too favored, perhaps, but I don’t think favored was really wrong.

The 1969 Vikings were basically the 1985 Bears before the 1985 Bears. Perhaps they just ran into their Dolphins.

10 I would be ok with making…

by KnotMe // Jun 22, 2022 – 11:42am

In reply to No surprise, I guess, but I… by Will Allen

I would be ok with making Vikings number 2(there is no 1!) because yeah, having a champion here does feel a bit wrong. :)

51 Fitting

by Todd S. // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:20pm

In reply to No surprise, I guess, but I… by Will Allen

Mr. Allen, I was thinking about you while reading this entry (and really most of the series).  You’ve contributed so many great comments on the site over the years…this seems like a way for the FO staff to acknowledge it.  Without really acknowledging it, of course.  Cheers.

68 Thanks.

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 7:43pm

In reply to Fitting by Todd S.

Thanks.

5 That would change in 1983…

by Travis // Jun 22, 2022 – 10:48am

That would change in 1983. John Elway didn’t want to play for the Baltimore Colts; head coach Dan Reeves didn’t want to start Morton anymore.

Craig Morton had already retired at the end of the 1982 season; Steve DeBerg was Reeves’ other option for 1983.

56 It should be noted…

by CHIP72 // Jun 22, 2022 – 4:32pm

In reply to That would change in 1983… by Travis

…that Steve DeBerg was a better option for the Broncos in 1983 than John Elway.  Elway finished last in passer rating among qualifying passers in the AFC in his rookie season.

6 Chuck Knox was a terrific…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 10:56am

Chuck Knox was a terrific coach, but Bud Grant just got the better of him, often via high leverage special teams plays, or other means. They were similar in approaches to winning games, but Grant was more willing to break trends when he saw opportunity. The ’77 quagmire bowl in LA was a good example. Grant saw the conditions, knew that passing was going to have a very brief window, before the field was destroyed and all the balls were a sodden mess, and the Vikings passed on nearly ever play on their 1st possession, staking themselves to a 7-0 lead, then played turtle ball the rest of the way.

8 I will say, following the…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 11:04am

I will say, following the Eagles, I think what the Bills went through was worse.

Philly fans were more disappointed in their teams than heartbroken — mad that they should have gotten farther and less that they lost on the cusp of a title. Had they lost four consecutive SBs, I think they would have rioted.

9 A neat thing in the future…

by KnotMe // Jun 22, 2022 – 11:29am

A neat thing in the future would be to look at active dynasties of all types (normal, hb, mediocrity and anti).

The problem is, this and dynasty rankings overlap  a bit. A possible way to split would be to require dynasties to include a championship. (with HB dynasties being promoted if you win).  Could say HB can start after a dynasty but get promoted if you win, (which would make it impossible to get championship penalties from both ends, I think this only affects the 20’s bears and 05-14 pats) Could just ignore the overlap also. 

It was a fun series, thank you!

41 We’re mulling over a couple…

by Bryan Knowles // Jun 22, 2022 – 2:26pm

In reply to A neat thing in the future… by KnotMe

We’re mulling over a couple ideas for this, so stay tuned.

I can give you the list of all 18 teams with active heartbreak points at the moment, though!
 

1. 2003-2021 Dallas Cowboys (782.7)
2. 2017-2021 New Orleans Saints (632.2)
3. 2014-2021 Pittsburgh Steelers (545.4)
4. 2019-2021 Green Bay Packers (445.4)
5. 2019-2021 San Francisco 49ers (414.3)
6. 2014-2021 Buffalo Bills (399.1)
7. 2014-2020 Seattle Seahawks (390.1)
8. 2013-2020 Baltimore Ravens (389.3)
9. 2016-2021 Tennessee Titans (285.6)
10. 2021-2021 Cincinnati Bengals (207.6)
11. 2018-2021 Indianapolis Colts (176.9)
12. 2018-2020 Chicago Bears (115.8)
13. 2020-2020 Cleveland Browns (77.5)
14. 2020-2021 Arizona Cardinals (58.2)
15. 2020-2021 Miami Dolphins (39.8)
16. 2021-2021 Las Vegas Raiders (31.6)
17. 2021-2021 Los Angeles Chargers (23.3)
18. 2020-2020 Washington Football Team (6.0)

42 We’re mulling over a couple…

by Bryan Knowles // Jun 22, 2022 – 2:26pm

In reply to A neat thing in the future… by KnotMe

We’re mulling over a couple ideas for this, so stay tuned.

I can give you the list of all 18 teams with active heartbreak points at the moment, though!
 

1. 2003-2021 Dallas Cowboys (782.7)
2. 2017-2021 New Orleans Saints (632.2)
3. 2014-2021 Pittsburgh Steelers (545.4)
4. 2019-2021 Green Bay Packers (445.4)
5. 2019-2021 San Francisco 49ers (414.3)
6. 2014-2021 Buffalo Bills (399.1)
7. 2014-2020 Seattle Seahawks (390.1)
8. 2013-2020 Baltimore Ravens (389.3)
9. 2016-2021 Tennessee Titans (285.6)
10. 2021-2021 Cincinnati Bengals (207.6)
11. 2018-2021 Indianapolis Colts (176.9)
12. 2018-2020 Chicago Bears (115.8)
13. 2020-2020 Cleveland Browns (77.5)
14. 2020-2021 Arizona Cardinals (58.2)
15. 2020-2021 Miami Dolphins (39.8)
16. 2021-2021 Las Vegas Raiders (31.6)
17. 2021-2021 Los Angeles Chargers (23.3)
18. 2020-2020 Washington Football Team (6.0)

11 1970s highlight reels

by NYChem // Jun 22, 2022 – 11:46am

I don’t know if it’s the camera angles, the graininess, the fit of the uniforms/helmets, the big ass facemasks, but the front seven videos of 1970’s defenses – the players just look enormous and more monstrous than any other era. The slow-mo of Dallas defenders just ripping through Broncos linemen is legit Texas ChainSaw Massacre scary…

Thanks Bryan, fantastic montage of information, anecdote, analysis, controversy. 

17 Part of it is that LBs and…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:13pm

In reply to 1970s highlight reels by NYChem

Part of it is that LBs and DEs in the 70s were around the same weight as today, and were often taller. Jack Lambert was bigger than Ray Lewis. Too Tall Jones and Joe Greene were bigger than JJ Watt.

Now remember that offensive lineman have gotten about 4 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier since then, but DEs and LBs have if anything gotten smaller. Defenders in the 70s were comparatively huge.

Some of this was just era. The 70s were the deadball era, and there was a lingering philosophical residue of the Packers Sweep. (Much is made of how much bigger linemen today are than the Lombardi Packers line. The Packers line was small even back then.) For whatever reason, when the league gets run heavy, linemen tend to be smaller; when it gets pass heavy, they get bigger. No one could pass in the 70s, so you got runty offensive linemen.

This is part of what made Jason Peters so special. He was as enormous as a pass blocking tackle should be, but he would pull and run block like a guy who was 100-lbs lighter.

21 WAY WAY off!

by ahzroc // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:44pm

In reply to Part of it is that LBs and… by Aaron Brooks G…

Dude!

Ray Lewis – 6’1″ 250

Jack Lambert 6’4″ 220 and that “220” is very generous ! Betting he played under 2 clicks most of his career.

Never bigger than Ray Lewis !

“Some of it was ‘the Era’…yeah, the Steroid Era! 

44 Bigger implied taller there…

by Pat // Jun 22, 2022 – 2:41pm

In reply to WAY WAY off! by ahzroc

Bigger implied taller there. As in, they looked physically much bigger than offensive linemen, even though they weren’t more muscular or anything.

65 Just some geeky psychology and materials science stuff

by DisplacedPackerFan // Jun 22, 2022 – 7:10pm

In reply to Bigger implied taller there… by Pat

The height differences between OL and LBs back then played a huge part in perception as you point out. The size of shoulder pads have changed a lot since then. You put those big pads on, and the body type differences between a 6’1” 190 dude and a 6’1” 250 dude that you can see in modern gear are mostly gone. You’ll still be able to see them but those huge pads will mask a lot of it by adding height, width, and depth to the torso. So both those guys look very similar in the older gear. That makes height differences even more visually striking because the bulk perception of everyone is all masked and dragged to a mean.

Now factor in that human perception is also more attuned to height differences as a threat indicator than we are to bulk. Both have an effect but perceived height differences trigger stronger emotional responses than perceived bulk differences. The pads add to the perceptions of height and bulk, even if they make everyone’s bulk seem very similar. All that just amplifies how nasty the older defenders looked. When everyone looks to be about bulky as everyone else the height differences really stand out. Modern padding that doesn’t morph the body nearly as much actually lets bulk difference neutralize some of the threat perception of height differences and doesn’t limit your initial emotional reactions to mainly just the height differences you are seeing as there are a lot more relative measures you can process. There is some interesting literature out there on the psychology of threat that goes really deep on what triggers emotional responses, how limited stimuli can amplify the response to threatening signal, etc.

Anecdotal personal experience with gear, the last time I played in pads was the mid 90’s and they were still big bulky things. They didn’t look much different than what my oldest brother had worn in the early 80’s. My youngest brother less than 10 year later in the early 2000’s was wearing completely different looking gear than I had. This was at the High School level (and one year of D2 NCAA for me) so differences there vs the NFL for sure but the same trends happen at all levels.

Material tech benefited a lot from the computing revolution (as has most things but it’s pretty remarkable how different material science is today vs even 1990) and by the mid 80’s major firms could do a lot of computer simulation to help with material tech. They eventually trickled into NFL pads as you could get similar or better protection from less material. Couple that with the rule changes that limit hitting and, well, today’s players look like they wear about as much padding (outside the helmets) as they did in the leather and wool days but a modern player is much more protected still.

25 Alan Page came into the NFL…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:08pm

In reply to Part of it is that LBs and… by Aaron Brooks G…

Alan Page came into the NFL at 255, and left it at 220.

73 As someone who is not a fan…

by ahmadrashad // Jun 22, 2022 – 9:57pm

In reply to 1970s highlight reels by NYChem

As someone who is not a fan of Dallas, that Doomsday Defense vid is still my favorite old NFL Films clip.

Also, great series of articles, really enjoyed them. 

12 Here’s a better look at the…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 11:49am

Here’s a better look at the play that generated the Hail Mary label, at the 1:45 mark. The pushoff wasn’t the worst noncall on the play. That would be Doug Sutherland getting tackled on a bull rush, which allowed Staubach to make the throw. That noncall wasn’t worst thing the refs did on that drive. That would be the “completion” handed to Staubach to Pearson on 4 and 17, which can be seen in this same clip, just before the HM.

I was standing at the top of the lower level of the old Met Stadium, about 200 ft. away, where I usually stood, thanks to the friend (who worked for the security company that had the Met Stadium contract)  of my Dad’s, who would look the other way when I walked in the entrance he manned, about 5 minutes after kickoff. That one stung a little. Bitter? Who, me?

19 Things I had never noticed…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:24pm

In reply to Here’s a better look at the… by Will Allen

Things I had never noticed before:

  1. Right in front of Pearson on the 4th-17, a cop is tackling a fan on the sideline.
  2. A second cop, after it’s ruled a catch, kicks Pearson while he’s on the sideline.

Watching Tarkenton move and his throwing motion — god it reminds me of Favre.

24 Ya’ gotta read this column,…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:00pm

In reply to Things I had never noticed… by Aaron Brooks G…

Ya’ gotta read this column, from the Mpls. Startribune, from a few days ago. That “cop” was actually working for the same security company as my dad’s friend, who would let me sneak into games. That guy (the one kicking Pearson) is hilarious, and used to also MC charity/awards banquets in the Twin Cities, along with Mean Gene Okerlund, especially before Gene blew up nationally. If you ever caught those two together in a casual setting where higher octane beverages were being served, you were in danger of losing consciousness from laughter induced oxygen deprivation.

https://m.startribune.com/vikings-cowboys-hail-mary-nfl-films-drew-pearson-dick-jonckowski-patrick-reusse/600183325/?c=n&clmob=y

13 the Orange hitting the field on the Hail Mary, etc…

by ahzroc // Jun 22, 2022 – 11:49am

No-One played deeper than Paul Krause.

Curt Flood didn’t play as deep as Krause. ( Saw both of them in person many times…Flood played deep, Krause way deeper.

Flood ended up running a bar on Mallorca, one of the very few Americans there)

The Hail Mary game. Remember it like yesterday.

I was a HUGE fan of both Staubach (I still love his throwing motion and athleticism) and Drew Pearson…that smooth glide!

Watch the slow motion replay of the Hail Mary…someone threw an Orange that hit the field right as Pearson scores…

Once you see it, you will never NOT see it.

15 A Viking drunkfan tossed an…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:01pm

In reply to the Orange hitting the field on the Hail Mary, etc… by ahzroc

A Viking drunkfan tossed an empty pint bottle of whisky as the Cowboys were celebrating, and plunked the ref right on his dome. Luckily, he wasn’t seriously hurt. Tarkenton or Staubach may have made that throw, but Joe Kapp likely couldn’t have. After the clock went to 0:00, Tarkenton was informed in the locker room that his dad died of a heart attack, watching the game on t.v.. I was just a stupid kid who was pissed off about a football game.

27 No one’s deep as Paul Krause…

by Bryan Knowles // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:19pm

In reply to the Orange hitting the field on the Hail Mary, etc… by ahzroc

No one’s deep as Paul Krause
 Jumps and leaps like Paul Krause

No one cleans up when pass pressure sweeps like Paul Krause
For there’s no one back there quite as handy
 Perfect when playing his zone
 You can ask any Staubach or Landry
 And they’ll tell you the passes they shouldn’t have thrown…

 

…My brain my in fact be melting out of my ears after writing so much this month. It’s conceivable.

33 :-)))

by BigRichie // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:34pm

In reply to No one’s deep as Paul Krause… by Bryan Knowles

I’ve always felt there was a poetry gap here at FO.

48 I mean, usually when people…

by Pat // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:11pm

In reply to No one’s deep as Paul Krause… by Bryan Knowles

I mean, usually when people shoehorn words to lyrics it’s a bit of a stretch on syllables, but holy cow, that’s perfectly singable (although if you sub “half” for “quite” it *really* flows).

Bravo, sir. Bravo.

14 The Orange hitting the field on theHail Mary, etc…

by ahzroc // Jun 22, 2022 – 11:49am

47 years later I still remember that orange bouncing as Pearson scored…

No Anti-Viking on my part…they have a legit beef on both plays…

16 How DARE! you?!?

by BigRichie // Jun 22, 2022 – 12:09pm

Funny how the watered-down field that slowed down the Rams’ Fearsome Foursome pass rush didn’t slow down the Packers’ pass rush. At all. Oh, and the Mighty Pack actually made much of their hay with the ground game, Travis Williams being carried off the field by the fans at the end of the contest. And won the game – blew out the Rams, actually – more with defense than offense. After an early touchdown the Rams’ offense was absolutely stoned by the Mighty Pack defense the whole rest of the game.

This was LittleRichie’s first ever football game attended in person. And you’re questioning the Mighty Pack victory?? Might as well tell me my teddy bear’s ugly.

26 There’s another idea for a…

by Bryan Knowles // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:11pm

In reply to How DARE! you?!? by BigRichie

There’s another idea for a list for the future — all the games other fanbases claim were cheated in one way, shape or form.

But I suppose we have enough Patriots-focused content on the site as it stands <_/>

29 please, no

by BigRichie // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:28pm

In reply to There’s another idea for a… by Bryan Knowles

That would fill all the time between February through July for many an off-season. And whatever your cynicism level regarding your fellow human beings, double that amount. Make that triple it when you factor in the comment threads.

32 That would be a great idea,…

by mehllageman56 // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:32pm

In reply to There’s another idea for a… by Bryan Knowles

That would be a great idea, because then fans would gain a perspective on cheating in the sport, and how it has gotten better or worse.  I think a lot of fans here would be upset at how little Patriots-focused such an article would be.

52 Cheating

by Shattenjager // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:26pm

In reply to There’s another idea for a… by Bryan Knowles

I think you can only do that if you define “fanbase” in a way that excludes most mainstream fans. I avoid talking to most fans during the season partly because they are so convinced that literally every game their team loses is somehow stolen from them (fixed in Vegas, the result of bad officiating, the other team using an illegal formation on every play, wild conspiracies involving dozens of organizations and hundreds of people, the opponents having caused injuries ahead of time, the very rules of the game being biased against them, etc.) because they root for the only clean team in the sport.

This list was very informative and fun, Bryan–thanks for doing it!

39 To be fair

by OmahaChiefs13 // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:56pm

In reply to How DARE! you?!? by BigRichie

Most teddy bears are ugly.

Or vaguely terrifying.

Or both.

49 The next Vikings Super Bowl…

by mehllageman56 // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:13pm

In reply to To be fair by OmahaChiefs13

The next Vikings or Bills Super Bowl loss needs to be commemorated with a video game: Five Super Bowls at Freddy’s.

60 Perhaps ideally a Super Bowl…

by coboney // Jun 22, 2022 – 5:04pm

In reply to The next Vikings Super Bowl… by mehllageman56

Perhaps ideally a Super Bowl of Vikings and Bills?!

28 additional heartbreak factors

by andrew // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:26pm

Will already mentioned that Tarkenton found out his father died watching the game immediately afterwards, reportedly just as the Cowboys scored to go up 10-7.   To be fair, the Vikings benefited from a questionable muffed punt call for their first touchdown.  In Tarkenton’s book he basically credits Cliff Harris for Dallas’ win, he stymied his attempts to hit Gilliam all day, and on the Vikings’ final drive, he tried to roll out on a 3rd and 1 and Harris ignored his responsibility to cover someone to crowd the line and stuff him.  He was livid, saying Harris had to honor the possibilitiy of a pass there, it was in capital letters in all the playbooks.

In the loss to the Raiders, with the game still scoreless, Matt Blair blocked a Ray Guy punt (first time Guy had ever been blocked in his career) and the vikings recovered it at the 3, not scoring but still you had to think this would be their first first half score in a superbowl.   So naturally Brent McClanahan (whom Tarkenton loved to use as a misdirection from Foreman promptly fumbled it right back to Oakland, and Clarence Davis then ripped off a huge run and the rout was on.

They had a knack for fumbling at the worst times.  In the loss to Miami, after Miami had run all over them to jump to a 17-0 lead, right before halftime the Vikings finally got a drive going, hit Gilliam for a big gain, and after a Tarkenton scramble had 2nd and 2 at the Miami 7.   They then ran Oscar Reed 3 times in a row, the last of which he would have scored if he didn’t fumble.  But he did, Miami recovered, went into halftime with the lead intact, and that was that.
 

30 The thing…

by CHIP72 // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:28pm

…that hurt the 2003 Eagles more than anything else was Brian Westbrook suffering a season-ending injury in the regular season finale against Washington.

What’s funny, speaking as an Eagles fan, is during their 2000s run I often compared them to the 1970s Raiders for often coming up short of the Super Bowl.  After their 2000s run was over, I more often compared them to…the 1970s Rams for making only one Super Bowl (while playing in the weaker conference) and losing in the conference championship game a whole bunch of times.  And when I made those comparisons, I’d note the Eagles weren’t competing with teams like the Steelers and Dolphins (in the Raiders’ case) or the Cowboys and Vikings (in the Rams’ case); instead the Eagles lost to teams like the 2003 Panthers and 2008 Cardinals, who weren’t exactly great (or even very good) teams.  (To be fair, those Eagles teams also lost to the Greatest Show on Turf Rams, the “best pass defense in the DVOA era” Bucs, and the two Super Bowl wins in the previous three years Patriots.)

34 Has FOs ever run the…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:40pm

In reply to The thing… by CHIP72

Has FOs ever run the breakout of average DVOA by conference by year?

36 To my knowledge…

by CHIP72 // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:49pm

In reply to Has FOs ever run the… by Aaron Brooks G…

…not that I’m aware of.  Having said that, you don’t need FO DVOA figures to see the disparity in some seasons.  Just look at the interconference records and/or season records for playoff teams (and non-playoff teams) in some seasons, like 1989, 1991, 2004, and 2006:

*1989: AFC had ONE team that finished better than 9-6-1, the NFC had SEVEN such teams, plus a 9-7 team (to be fair, most of the AFC seemed to finish between 7-9 and 9-6-1 that year).

*1991: NFC had EIGHT teams win 10 or more games, AFC had an 8-8 team make the playoffs.

*2004: NFC had two 8-8 playoff teams (one of whom, the Rams, only got in because the Eagles rested most of their starters for most of the game in their penultimate regular season game).

*2006: NFC had ONE team that finished better than 10-6.

It is likely the DVOA disparities will show up in those seasons just because teams in the stronger conference had to play tougher schedules and would need to have a better DVOA value to post the same regular season record as a weaker team in the other conference.

50 The ’03 and ’08 Eagles…

by Pat // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:19pm

In reply to The thing… by CHIP72

The ’03 and ’08 Eagles losses aren’t really that surprising, even given the other team. Losing a QB obviously is gonna kill you, and the ’08 team was primarily defense (which is already volatile) and their defensive coordinator was dying.

53 Using the Football Outsiders’…

by CHIP72 // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:30pm

In reply to The ’03 and ’08 Eagles… by Pat

…DVOA numbers, the 2008 Eagles ranked third in the NFL in defense that season (-22.2% DVOA).

They lost against the Cardinals because 1) their defense played very poorly (and Jim Johnson’s melanoma didn’t stop the defense from playing well in the regular season or their first two playoff games that year) and 2) Donovan McNabb played spectacular for about 1 1/2 quarters but very mediocre for 2 1/2 quarters.  Really though, they lost mostly because of #1.

61 “and Jim Johnson’s melanoma…

by Pat // Jun 22, 2022 – 5:05pm

In reply to Using the Football Outsiders’… by CHIP72

“and Jim Johnson’s melanoma didn’t stop the defense from playing well in the regular season”

He didn’t know he was dying until literally that week. They saw something after the Giants game (they thought it was disc issues) and sent him for an MRI the week of the Cardinals game. (Technically he didn’t know know until after, but in some sense that’s worse).

You can put on a bold face all you want, but I *guarantee* that screwed up game planning and prep. How couldn’t it?

66 If Jim Johnson…

by CHIP72 // Jun 22, 2022 – 7:29pm

In reply to “and Jim Johnson’s melanoma… by Pat

…didn’t know he had melanoma until AFTER the NFCCG was played, how would that have impacted Johnson’s or especially the players’ mental preparation for the game?  Many, many times people get themselves checked out because something is bothering them, don’t think too much of it, and only get mentally off kilter AFTER they get the much worse than expected diagnosis.

Johnson was physically ailing coming down the stretch of the 2008 season.  He did have to coach the NFCCG from the coaches’ booth rather than the sideline, which may have had an impact.  On the other hand, he also coached the previous week’s game, the Eagles’ divisional round win against the Giants, from the booth as well, and the Eagles’ defense didn’t have any major issues in that game, holding the Giants to 11 points, two of which came on an Eagles’ safety.

Regardless of the above, Johnson wasn’t one of the 11 players out there who didn’t perform well.

I suspect the major issue is that Eagles were likely overconfident going into that game.  They easily defeated the Cardinals on Thanksgiving night that season 48-20, intercepting Kurt Warner three times, two of them in the 1st quarter.  In the playoffs they had beaten the Vikings and Giants, the latter the #1 NFC seed, on the road the previous two weeks without too much trouble.  They were favored against the Cardinals even though they were on the road, and probably rightfully so.  The Eagles just laid an egg defensively and lost a game against a mediocre opponent.

72 No, you’re misunderstanding…

by Pat // Jun 22, 2022 – 9:39pm

In reply to If Jim Johnson… by CHIP72

No, you’re misunderstanding. He had melanoma back in 2001 but was in remission.

He had back pain the previous weeks (was coaching from the box), but they thought it was disc issues. They took an MRI after the Giants playoff game and saw a tumor.

At that point he knew he was dying, the “know know” part is of course they had to do a biopsy first, etc. etc.. But he (and the other coaches) all found this out literally the week of the Arizona game. There’s no way they prepared normally.

It’s like Reid’s final season with the Eagles. He can say his son’s suicide had no effect on that year, and players can say “no, totally normal.” Don’t care. Don’t believe it. Never going to believe finding out you’re dying or having your son kill himself during training camp isn’t going to cause problems.

35 1970s reflections

by CHIP72 // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:43pm

One thing I’ve thought for a long time is the NFL’s dip in popularity during the 1970s (a decline mentioned in Michael MacCambridge’s excellent mid-2000s book “America’s Game” about pro football from 1945 to the 2000s) is that while the decline was primarily due to the low scoring and run-dominated play during the era, some of it also had to do with the lack of competitiveness during the decade.

For much of the 1970s, teams like the Steelers, Raiders, Dolphins (early in the decade), Cowboys, Vikings, and Rams were playoff givens, and a fourth NFC team (often the Redskins) and 1-2 other AFC teams (for a period the Colts were one of the teams) would join them.  At the same time, teams like the Giants, Jets, Bears, Eagles, Lions, Patriots, 49ers, and Oilers were down for much or all of the decade; for many of those teams, the season was over almost before it began in many seasons.  And most of the major market teams were “down” teams.  NFL teams’ and the NFL’s overall popularity isn’t nearly as reliant on having good teams in large markets, but even with the NFL it still helps when most of the large market teams are competitive.  However, most of the large market teams weren’t very good and had little hope, and that, along with the lack of competitiveness, probably didn’t help the NFL’s popularity during the 1970s.

37 I mean…

by OmahaChiefs13 // Jun 22, 2022 – 1:51pm

I’m not even a Vikings fan, and Pearson absolutely, obviously, and without question pushed off.

It wasn’t going to get called, but….man.

46 First Viking game I attended…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:01pm

First Viking game I attended was the 2nd game of the ’69 season. Vikings beat the defending NFL champ Colts 52-14, with Joe Kapp throwing for 7 touchdowns. This was the equivalent of some poor dumb sap walking into a casino, and winning a jackpot on the first spin at a slot machine. I was hooked, and the cruel bastards have been mocking me for 53 years now.

47 If it makes you feel better,…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:07pm

In reply to First Viking game I attended… by Will Allen

If it makes you feel better, I first became aware of professional baseball watching the 1987 Tigers rally to pass Toronto, only to lose in 5 to a Twins team who would have finished 5th in the AL East.

I’ve hated the Metrodome and its super ball turf and giant diaper in right field ever since.

54 Weird thing about baseball…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 3:57pm

In reply to If it makes you feel better,… by Aaron Brooks G…

Weird thing about baseball is that only having two legit good starting pitchers usually means that, at best  you’ll win around 85 games, but if you get to the post season, those two good starters, like Viola and Blyleven, may be enough to hoist the trophy. That said, the Blue Jays likely would have rolled the Twins. They were just a bad matchup for the Tigers.

55  

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 4:29pm

In reply to Weird thing about baseball… by Will Allen

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/DET/2014.shtml

57 From ’69 to adding wild card…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 4:39pm

In reply to  by Aaron Brooks G…

From ’69 to adding wild card teams to the playoffs, no major sport had so much randomness, in terms of your odds for a ring depending on what division the team was in.  The demands on starting pitching is just so different in the regular season, compared to the post season.

58 I go back and forth about…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 4:50pm

In reply to From ’69 to adding wild card… by Will Allen

I go back and forth about which sport I think is more different from the regular season to the post-season: hockey or baseball.

59 With hockey, of course, the…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 4:53pm

In reply to I go back and forth about… by Aaron Brooks G…

With hockey, of course, the variance in performance of one player, who plays nearly every minute, makes predictions based on regular season outcomes often times pretty silly.

62 It’s not just that.
Guys go…

by Aaron Brooks G… // Jun 22, 2022 – 5:29pm

In reply to With hockey, of course, the… by Will Allen

It’s not just that.

Guys go faster for longer; players block shots at a much higher rates (the injury risk of doing so is non-trivial), etc. But also, the referees call the game differently.

Baseball umpires get a ton of criticism — much of it deserved — but they don’t change how they make calls in the post-season. Even Eric Gregg; his strike zone sucked in the regular season, too.

69 Hockey Playoffs

by reddwarf // Jun 22, 2022 – 7:46pm

In reply to It’s not just that.
Guys go…
by Aaron Brooks G…

The hockey playoffs are simultaneously some of the most exciting and most irritating playoffs to try and follow.  The pace is just electric.  But why oh why do they call the game so differently?  Hits that would be thrown out of the game major penalties in the regular season don’t even get called as a minor.  If you aren’t cross-checking you aren’t trying.  Boarding is suddenly only a penalty if the opponent can’t get up-if he does, no big deal.  But of course, an accidental flip of the puck into the crowd from your defensive zone is still a 2 minute minor, no exceptions.  Seriously-it’s the only rule called consistently from regular to post-season.  Ridiculous.

And don’t get me started on how they do video review in hockey (though that’s a regular season problem as well).

70 Not at all

by BigRichie // Jun 22, 2022 – 8:31pm

In reply to From ’69 to adding wild card… by Will Allen

I don’t know that you’ve been paying attention the last 5 years, Will. Playoff starting pitching matters much less than regular season starting pitching. Teams are super-quick to go to their bullpens come October.

71 That’s my point. What we see…

by Will Allen // Jun 22, 2022 – 9:39pm

In reply to Not at all by BigRichie

That’s my point. What we see now is just a continuation of a trend that began in 1969. Prior to that, trying to build a successful roster without 4 solid starting pitchers was nearly hopeless, with only two teams making it to the postseason. Ever since divisions were formed, it has become continually less important to have a deep rotation of talented starting pitchers. We’re probably on the brink, absent rules changes, of a team winning a World Series with one consistently good starting pitcher.

MLB’s inability to make needed rules changes, and to really think about what makes a baseball game fun to watch, has led to today’s hideous product, dominated by homeruns, strikeouts, and (sigh) pitching changes.

63 Bills-Giants

by Tutenkharnage // Jun 22, 2022 – 6:01pm

The Buffalo passing game was stymied by Bill Belichick’s shifting coverages

And many, many uncalled defensive holding penalties and DPIs. 

64 Thanks for the series

by Salur // Jun 22, 2022 – 7:01pm

Super Bowl IX saw the Dolphins limit the Steelers to just 16 points, but the Minnesota offense completely no-showed

Seems like the defense no-showed too, if the Dolphins replaced them.

More seriously, thanks for this series, Bryan! Always enjoy stuff like this, and it’s a good opportunity to learn about some history that I was ignorant of.

For what it’s worth, as an Eagles fan too young to remember anything in the NFL before about 1996, that Buccaneers loss in the NFC championship was much more painful to me than the Super Bowl loss two years later. And then, week 1 of 2003 season, it was Bucs at Eagles again, and the Eagles drive right down to the Tampa Bay 1 yard line and on fourth-and-1*, throw a pass that hits rookie LJ Smith right in the hands…and he drops it. The first time that I would get annoyed at LJ Smith, but not the last.

*in my memory this was the first drive of the game, but it was actually their second. And apparently Koy Detmer threw the pass (his only attempt of the game), which I completely did not remember.

67 Believe me…

by CHIP72 // Jun 22, 2022 – 7:37pm

In reply to Thanks for the series by Salur

…most Eagles fans older or even much older than you (I personally go back to the 1981 season, though the first game I remember is Super Bowl 15 at the end of the previous season), feel the 2002 NFCCG loss to Tampa Bay was much worse than the Super Bowl 39 loss to New England.

The only Eagles losses that truly upset me for more than a few hours were the 2002 NFCCG loss to the Bucs and their horrible, 1985 loss at the Vet to the Vikings (Eagles led 23-0 with 9 minutes to go in the 4th quarter and lost 28-23; it was sort of like the Miracle of the New Meadowlands situation in reverse).



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