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  • Super Bowl XLV: 6th Seed vs. 6th Seed?

    In the "old" days, the best way to get to the Super Bowl was to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. It was said that winning on the road in the post season was extremely difficult. Win three on the road---impossible!

    Well, this is a different era. We are on the verge of possibly the most improbable Super Bowl match up of all time. It is possible, and some say likely, that the representative in SBXLV from each conference, will have won THREE playoff game on the road. That's a combined SIX playoff games won by the visiting teams in one season. SIX!

    My research department is on vacation so I cannot verify this fact, but it would have to be a first in NFL history.

    Go ahead and tell me I'm getting way ahead of myself because there are still two games left to be played before the conference champions are crowned, but the swagger and confidence of the visiting teams makes this scenario a distinct possibility.

    The Packers go to Chicago as hot as any team left. Many say that Aaron Rogers is well on his way to being the best QB in the league. Their weak link all season long was the lack of a consistent ground game, but James Starks has emerged to keep the defenses honest. The Bears are formidable, but the game comes down to which QB do you trust to more, I'll go with Rogers over Jay Cutler in the crunch.

    In the late game, no team believes more in itself than the Jets. They went to Pittsburgh earlier this year after getting pasted buy the Pats and rebounded nicely. They are as solid as any team in the league, with no weak link. The Steelers have tons of experience and a great defense. This game comes down to the Jets ability to exploit the one Steeler weak link, their offensive line.

    Confidence and swagger, the Jets have it, Aaron Rogers has it---they have an abundance of it. Maybe this is the secret ingredient necessary to win three playoff games on the road. It's something we've never seen before. This is not you father's NFL anymore.

    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Ripperlicious's Avatar
      Necessary secret ingredient: Confidence and swagger indeed. It also doesn't hurt to have a kick@ss defense too.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Considering that I don't recall ever having two wild card teams in the superbowl, it would definitely be a first. Since generally wild card teams both played on the road and have to play 3 games. Even when the NFL had 5 teams make the playoffs, all divisional winners got a bye and one of the wild card teams was on the road (and one was hosting) and had to win 3 games to get to the Superbowl.

      That being said, we are in a different era.

      Round 1 of the playoffsh ad every road team with a better record than the home team. Even with Green Bay and Philadelphia, who had identical records, Green Bay was considered the better team because they beat Philadelphia earlier in the year. So if the better team is on the road, the better team is more likely to win.

      In round 2, this wasn't the case at all, as the better team (at least record wise) was all at home. But all of the road teams had the advantage or disadvantage of playing the week before. That's always been a debate in NFL circles. Rest over rust. If a team that thrives on playing week after week plays a team that doesn't do well with rust, that is also an advantage for the road team.

      So now we are on round 3. The better team is at home. Both teams have played the week before. So in theory, that should mean a Steeler-Bear superbowl. But both the Jets and Packers have been preseson superbowl picks by the experts and both have underperformed to a certain extent. The Packers it was more due to injuries. For the Jets it was just sporadic play at times during the season. The fact that both of these #6 seeds were picked to go to the superbowl shouldn't necessarily make it all that surprising if we have a Jets-Packers superbowl. I think it just illustrates how deep the league is compared in the past. And that a few unlucky breaks during the regular sesaon and you go from being a #1 seed to a #6 seed.
    1. buzmeg's Avatar
      I may be incorrect but I believe the only "three road team" SB winners were the '05 Steelers and the '07 Giants.

      Were there any others?
    1. Swami's Avatar
      That's why they play the games!
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Hobbes27 has a great point. The current format makes it easier than ever for a wildcard to reach the conference championship game.
    1. GoBigOrGoHome's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by buzmeg View Post
      I may be incorrect but I believe the only "three road team" SB winners were the '05 Steelers and the '07 Giants.

      Were there any others?
      1997 Broncos won @JAX, @Chiefs & @Steelers then went on to beat the Packers in SB XXXII
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      I agree that the current format makes it easier for wild card teams to advance. Overall league parity is definitely at play. One constant remains true as well. Solid defensive play travels well. Crowd noise is no issue on the road for defenses to deal with. In fact it is easier to communicate defensively on the road for the most part. Good offenses can be disrupted on the road with crowd noise etc. If you can run the ball on the road it helps as well. For the most part, much less communication in the ground game than the passing game. Would not shock me at all to see the Jets and Packers in the Super Bowl and history would be made.
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      This Super Bowl is gonna be Fun to watch nonetheless. I think there will be some intriguing storylines building after the Sunday Showdowns. I know the Packers are showing as favorites but I think the Bears are going to put up a fight with key players. Jets are being looked at as a team with a Big voice and key featured players but Steelers as more capable and more experienced with these situations. Whoever clinches the Super Bowl berth will make it a fun one no doubt. P.S. 25 years ago, Phil McConkey and the 1986 Giants were playing in what we know now as the their Super Bowl Winning Season. This also helped propel the Legacy of Bill Parcells and Phil Simms to name a few.
    1. Phil McConkey's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRidley View Post
      This Super Bowl is gonna be Fun to watch nonetheless. I think there will be some intriguing storylines building after the Sunday Showdowns. I know the Packers are showing as favorites but I think the Bears are going to put up a fight with key players. Jets are being looked at as a team with a Big voice and key featured players but Steelers as more capable and more experienced with these situations. Whoever clinches the Super Bowl berth will make it a fun one no doubt. P.S. 25 years ago, Phil McConkey and the 1986 Giants were playing in what we know now as the their Super Bowl Winning Season. This also helped propel the Legacy of Bill Parcells and Phil Simms to name a few.
      It's absolutely shocking to me that was almost 25 years ago, those emotions are as fresh to me as kissing my daughter this morning! We had home field advantage and were looking forward to getting a shot at the Bears who eliminated us the year before. We blew out the 49'ers in the divisional round and the Redskins beat the Bears. So we're looking at playing the 'Skins for the third time that year.

      I'll never forget waking up the morning of the the NFC Championship game---the first thing I would do is look out the window to check the winds like I always did(punt returner paranoia), it was gusting and howling like I had never seen. I got to the stadium early, as usual, and there's Parcells siipping his coffee with the biggest grin on his face. He knew those conditions gave us an advantage.

      It's amazing how vivid memories can be, even a quarter century ago.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Crowd noise is no issue on the road for defenses to deal with. In fact it is easier to communicate defensively on the road for the most part. Good offenses can be disrupted on the road with crowd noise etc.

      Before helmet headsets.

      Take a look at the before/after trend. Home field advantage isn't so steep anymore.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Btw, Phil. I'm confused by the title of this thread. 5th seed vs. 6th seed? Both Green Bay and the Jets are 6th seeds. What is the 5th seed in reference to?
    1. Phil McConkey's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      Btw, Phil. I'm confused by the title of this thread. 5th seed vs. 6th seed? Both Green Bay and the Jets are 6th seeds. What is the 5th seed in reference to?
      hobbes, great catch, you got me. My brain probably couldn't process the fact fact that a 7-9 team would be ranked higher than a 10-6 team. I'll change it. Thanks.
    1. Swami's Avatar
      Really? A 7-9 seed ahead of a 10-6 seed? I wonder if anyone has commented on whether they should re-seed the playoffs or not?

      Scarcity is part of what makes the NFL great. So few games. They all matter so much. And they leave so many questions never answered. We never really know how good teams are in a season because they play less than half of the other teams, and then there's so much turnover in the off-season that year-to-year continuity is minimal.

      That makes for great debates, though, which is why this site is a must-read!
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      Darvon..headsets don't help OL communicate assignments up and down the line of scrimmage, or help a QB audibilize a play, or help OL get off the ball at the proper time.Even during a silent snap count your eyes are on the ball rather than targeting your defender.. and your only advantage...knowing the snap count is voided. DL are so athletic they are tough to block in a sterile environment, never mind a noisy, hostile one. The headsets only make it easier to communicate form the sideline to the QB. He has the only headset. Everyone else is on their own. Same thing on the defensive side of the ball. One player is designated, MLB or a safety whoever calls plays communicated from the sideline.