By Mark Metzler
With the Super Bowl a few days away, I was thinking of the teams that haven’t won it yet.
There are 12 teams without a Lombardi Trophy – the Bengals, Browns, Bills, Cardinals, Chargers, Jaguars, Falcons, Lions, Panthers, Texans, Titans and the Vikings.
Out of that group, you have to think the Bengals and Bills are close, with the Vikings and Chargers not far behind. I think the two teams to watch next year will be the Jaguars and the Lions. With quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a good coach in Doug Pederson and an improving defense, the Jags will be a force next year in the AFC. The Lions really turned it around this year, and they have some draft capital coming with four picks in the first two rounds, including the 18th pick and the sixth pick, another first-rounder that they received for Matthew Stafford. (Hey, Packers there is a lesson here about trading your quarterback while he still has some value.)
The two biggest disappointments on the list of non-winners have to be the Bills and Vikings because they have fielded some very good teams over the Super Bowl era. One of the rumors swirling about the Bills is that they might trade for Packers running back Aaron Jones. He would be an upgrade for the Bills, and the Packers would be able to offload his contract and free up salary cap space. Trouble is, he was the Packers’ best offensive weapon last year, and he has averaged 5.1 yards a carry over his career. Plus, he’s a very good receiver. But, if history teaches us anything, running backs start running out of gas at about Jones’ current age of 28. It’s a tough call. I think he’s one of the top five backs in the league. If they do trade him, they may receive a second- or third-round pick because the value of running backs is relatively low. The Vikings are going to have the same sort of call with Dalvin Cook. Do they re-sign him?
The Vikings? It would be so hard to be a Vikings’ fan. They have been so close so many times and always seem to come up short. Hopefully, they will get a good defensive coordinator and will make some upgrades. Their fans deserve better.
Like the Vikings, the Eagles and Chiefs have great fan bases, so it’s good to see those teams in the Super Bowl. It should be a great match and an entertaining game.
The one win that Minnesota did have in the Super Bowl era was Minneapolis native Prince’s halftime show in Miami in 2007. My goodness, he was so good rocking in the rain, and the guitar solo on “Purple Rain” was epic. If you get a free 20 minutes, you really should pull it up on YouTube. Prince was better than any of the others that performed, but there were a few other good ones over the years.
The first Super Bowl featured a marching band, and that tradition continued until the 1993 Super Bowl when Michael Jackson became the first star to perform. Most who track that sort of thing say that Jackson was the second-best performance next to Prince. Really, though, it wasn’t close.
Second best doesn’t cut it when it comes to pro sports. With or without Aaron Rodgers the Packers are going to be a good way from being the best team in the NFC in 2023. They will have strong competition in their own division from the Vikings and the Lions. So, it will be interesting to see what the team does with the draft and the draft capital they may get along the way.
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