When the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII, they became the 10th team to knock the Brady/Belichick New England Patriots out of the playoffs since New England’s incredible run began in February 2002.
Not only do the Eagles have to deal with the burden of trying to become the eighth franchise in NFL history to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they will also try to buck a rather interesting trend.
While the joy of beating New England was tremendous for the aforementioned teams (including six teams winning the Super Bowl that same season), the follow-up effort wasn’t quite as fun.
New England’s previous nine playoff tormentors failed to parlay their success into similar postseason glory in the following year. Four teams made the postseason, while the other five missed it altogether.
Perhaps, the most stunning note is what happens to teams on the occasion when they arrive to the playoffs. The 2010 Ravens are the only team to beat the Patriots and actually win a playoff game during the following season.
That’s right. On the numerous occasions where New England’s run was pronounced as either dead, idling, or in decline, teams that eliminated them a season earlier had little left in the tank by the following season’s end.
One thing is for certain by observing the trend. The New England Patriots kind of have this football thing figured out. While teams seemingly can’t handle long-term success, the Patriots keep chugging along while collecting Vince Lombardi trophies, and Super Bowl appearances along the way.
Only the 2008 Giants managed to win more games than the Patriots during the following season. Every other team failed to recapture the magic.
Thus, to some degree, there appears to some sort of Patriots hangover. Yes, some of those teams won double digit games. However, when the postseason rolled around, they left the playoffs in short order.
Can the Eagles avoid a similar fate? History says probably not. The NFC is l-l-l-l-oaded with contenders this season including Green Bay, Los Angeles, and Minnesota.
Philadelphia, as they proved last year, is definitely capable of handling adversity of any sort in order to win a Super Bowl. Last season, they managed to lose a key running back, their starting left tackle, and MVP-bound starting quarterback en route to winning the Super Bowl.
Plenty of teams have won Super Bowls and followed it up with strong regular seasons over the next year. Of course, Seattle in ’14 and New England last February fell one game short of successfully defending their crown by losing in the Super Bowl.
Yet, will the Eagles have the juice and the drive needed to get back to the Super Bowl and seal the deal one more time?