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Green Zone League Articles

Super Bowls - From Where Did They Come (Part 1)
By Wade Pearce
Special to gzl-football.com

Super Bowls - From Where Did They Come

Super Bowl I - 24 - 17

The Chargers entered Super Bowl I as the #1 ranked team in the AFC and the #1 ranked team on the 2010 power polls. In Madden GM leagues this is not entirely unexpected as the uniquness of the league has yet to be established. This means the usual candidates of the Steelers, Chargers, etc. regularly are the first winners of a league with the NFL-equivalent rosters of the day.

But that being said, it still takes someone capable of coaching them to the show and to that end, the Chargers worked there way through their divisional-rival Raiders, the #2 AFC ranked Patriots and the NFC North-winning bears to secure the first ever GZL championship.

The Bears for their part won the NFC North before defeating the Buccaneers at home in the wildcard round before travelling to wins in New Orleans and San Francisco to be the first ever NFC Champion.

2011 Results

Chargers - The Chargers suffered a Super Bowl hangover the next year, failing to make the playoffs.
Bears - The Bears posted an enormous 12-4 record, which only secured them the #2 NFC North position and wild card loss to the 49ers in the playoffs.

Super Bowl II - 50 - 27

Super Bowl II once again saw the NFC North winner squaring off against the AFC West winner. And like Super Bowl I, the #1 power ranked team in the league was triumphant.

After a season-long battle with the defending 2010 NFC Championship Chicago Bears to win the division by a single game, the Packers took their 13-3 record into the playoffs for the first time. Their NFC games were reasonably close, defeating the Saints by 14 points and defeating the returning 49ers by 7 points to win the NFC Championship. In the championship game, a high-flying game got blown wide-open in the last quarter by the Packers who poured on 20 points to 7 to inflate the final scoreline.

The Raiders one their first divisional title in 2011 (with many, many more to come) and took the wildcard route to the final, defeating the Bengals at home before denying the Patriots a return to the AFC Championship game. The AFC Championship game saw life-long tough-enough teams in the Raiders and Steelers playing for a trip to the Super Bowl. While the Raiders were successful, the arrival of the Steelers in the AFC Championship game would only hint at what was to come for the league's most successful franchise.

2012 Results

Packers - Like the 2010 winning Chargers, the Packers fell below the 0.500 win mark and missed the 2012 playoffs
Raiders - The Raiders fell to their worst ever GZL season record with a 6-10 mark, also missing the 2012 playoffs.

Super Bowl III - 34 - 24

Making Super Bowl III was the natural progression for the Steelers, who had made it to the divisional round in 2010 and the AFC Championship game in 2011. Their 15-1 regular season record meant for the third season in a row, the #1 ranked team in the league would win the championship. The Steelers defeated divisional rivals the Bengals in the divisional round before easily accounting for the Titans to win the AFC.

Against the Steelers were the Buccaneers. At the time, both franchises had made the playoffs every season, but little did we realise the greatness that the Buccaneers would represent. Now we can look back and see they are the winningest franchise who have never missed the playoffs and has never posted a losing record.

While the first half was close in Super Bowl III, the Steelers asserted control and backed up their regular season performance with, outscoring the Buccs 31-14 to capture their first Super Bowl victory.

2013 Results

Steelers - Would win their 4th consecutive AFC North title and return to the playoffs.
Buccaneers - Would back up their first NFC South title with another and also return to the playoffs.

Super Bowl IV - 26 - 10

The 2013 decider saw the third Super Bowl being competed between the winners of the AFC West and the NFC North. The victory would take the record to 2-1 in favour of the AFC West. However, it would also be the first Super Bowl were neither conference was represented by their #1 ranked team.

The Chargers, making their first playoff appearane since their Super Bowl I victory, won the AFC West on a tie breaker with the Raiders. Their 11-5 record was good enough to give them the #2 seed in the AFC and they accounted for the Dolphins in a divisional round shootout before taking on the #1 Titans, who were returning to the AFC Championship game. In a tightly fought contest, the Chargers moved past the Titans and returned to the Super Bowl.

The Lions also won the NFC North with a tie breaker decision against the Vikings on a 9-7 record. An easy wildcard win at home against the Seahawks saw the team upset the much more fancied Cowboys by a single point in the divisional round. If it wasn't for the result in the other NFC divisional game, the game against the Cowboys might have been considered the upset of the season. But the Lions would go on to face the Falcons in the NFC Championship game, who were making their first playoff appearance and had just upset the Buccaneers in Tampa. The Lions shutdown the Falcons to become the NFC Champions.

There was some interesting aspects to the 2013 decider. The Chargers lost their starting QB before the playoffs and relied heavily on Pat Devlin, who eventuall took a whole 64 snaps for the whole 2013 season. For the Lions, the franchise had undergone a major change in the frontoffice with Tom Riddell taking on a team he had little experience with.

2014 Results

Chargers - In a repeat of their Super Bowl I victory, the Chargers once again had a hangover, slipping to 7-9 and missing the playoffs.
Lions - The Lions also missed the 2014 playoffs, also with a 7-9 record.

Super Bowl V - 10 - 0

The 2014 Super Bowl saw our beloved and departed mate James Paronne emotionally reach the pinnacle of a hobby he had been enjoying for years. Super Bowl V was also the first Super Bowl in GZL history to see it fought out between two wildcard teams.

In the most defensive decider to date, the Giants kept the Jaguars to an egg across the entire game, a feat that was required when the Jaguars responded nearly in kind, keeping the Giants themselves to only 10 points, but the Giants walked away with their first GZL victory and James' first career win as a Madden GM.

The Giants finished the season with a 10-6 record but lost the NFC East title race in a tie breaker to the Redskins. This set them up for a tough trip through the NFC that would result in an oscillating set of results. After romping to a win in Seattle in the wildcard round, the Giants won a down-n-dirty tussle with the Packers where they won by just 6 points. Things flared up in the NFC Championship game where the Giants faced off against divisional rivals and winners, the Redkins where a high-scoring shootout occurred, before the Giants played the low-scoring result against the Jaguars.

The Jaguars also took the hard route through the AFC. Finishing #2 in the AFC South with a 9-7 record, they defeated divisional rivals the Titans in the wildcard round before upsetting the Steelers in the divisional round and accounting for the Browns to become the AFC Champions. After posting scores of 27 and 34 in the previous games, being kept scoreless in the decider was completely expected by all.

2015 Results

Giants - Giddy with their success, the Giants failed to make the 2015 playoffs with a 7-9 record.
Jaguars - The Jaguars Super Bowl V appearance has been the franchise's last playoff appearance to date.

Super Bowl VI - 27 - 21

The Steelers like to bring out the best in the league and prove they are the best. Much like their win in Super Bowl III, the Steelers finished as the #1 seed in the AFC and their opponent in the Super Bowl was the #1 seed in the NFC.

After the upset by the Jaguars in the 2014 playoffs, the Steelers took a 12-4 record into the playoffs, where they accounted for the Titans in the divisional round before exacting revenge on the Raiders for their 2011 AFC Championship game defeat in a tightly fought contest. With the Seahawks' high-powered offense, Super Bowl VI was going to be a far different affair to the previous season, but the Steelers prevailed 27-21 to win their second GZL title and pull level with the Chargers in overall title counts.

For the Seahawks, the 2015 season was a watershed one for them. Having only made two playoff appearances before the 2015 season, both resulted in immediate exists to teams that either won or made the Super Bowl. In 2015, the team recorded an impressive league-leading 13-3, securing home field advantage through the playoffs and bye from the wildcard week. The Seahawks accounted for divisional rivals the Cardinals in the divisional round in a shootout before meeting the Vikings for another reasonably high-scoring affair that resulted in the Seahawks winning their first ever NFC Championship title.

2016 Results

Steelers - The Steelers become the 5th GZL champion to fail to make the playoffs the following year. Apart from their own Super Bowl III win, all other champions to this point had failed to make the playoffs the next season.
Seahawks - The Seahawks become the first (and only) team to compete in back-to-back Super Bowls and would become the 2016 victor.
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