Randolph Charlotin - To reach the Super Bowl, the New York Giants had to go through a Dallas Cowboys team they lost to twice in the regular season, followed by an upset of the Green Bay Packers, who New York fell to in week two.
It didn’t matter who the New England Patriots hosted for the AFC Championship. They played the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers during the regular season and the Pats beat them both. Ultimately, it was a rematch with the Chargers, and the Pats disposed of the Bolts without difficulty.
Which leads us to Super Bowl XLII. The Giants failed in their bid to prevent a New England undefeated regular season when the Patriots came from behind to beat the G-men, 38-35.
That’s a lot of familiarity in the playoffs. While it’s not uncommon to see Conference foes tussle a second time in the playoffs, in the 41-year history of the Super Bowl, eleven times have regular season opponents met again when the stakes were for all the marbles. Most recently the Patriots and the St. Louis Rams played a rematch in Super Bowl XXXI.
Here are the results starting with the most recent:
XXXVI – Patriots def. Rams 20-17
Week 10 – Rams def. Patriots 24-17
XXXIV – Rams def. Titans 23-16
Week 8 – Titans def. Rams 24-21
XXIX – 49ers def. Chargers 49-26
Week 15 – 49ers def. Chargers 38-15
XXVII – Cowboys def. Bills 30-13
Week 2 – Bills def. Cowboys 13-10
XXV – Giants def. Bills 20-19
Week 15 - Bills def. Giants 17-13
XXI – Giants def. Broncos 39-20
Week 12 – Giants def. Broncos 19-16
XX – Bears def. Patriots 46-10
Week 2 – Bears def. Patriots 20-7
XVIII – Raiders def. Redskins 38-9
Week 5 – Redskins def. Raiders 37-35
XVI – 49ers def. Bengals 26-21
Week 14 – 49ers def. Bengals 21-3
XV – Raiders def. Eagles 27-10
Week 12 – Eagles def. Raiders 10-7
XII – Cowboys def. Broncos 27-10
Week 16 – Cowboys def. Broncos 14-6
These results break down as such:
- The winner of the regular season game won the championship fives times. The average margin of victory was 13 points in the regular season, but increased to 20 points for the Super Bowl, an increase by a touchdown. Four of the championship wins were by 17 points or more.
- Six times the regular season loser reversed their fortune. The winning difference jumped from 3.6 points (regular) up to 12 (SB). Of the wins, three were blowouts, a 17-point win or greater.
- The home team won the regular season game five times. It wasn’t an advantage in the ultimate game as home winners were 2-3 in the Super Bowl.
- The six road winners were even in the championship game (3-3).
- Seven of these Super Bowls were blowouts by 17 points or more. In the four close games, the average margin of victory was four points.
- In the games played in the first half of the season, the loser won the Super Bowl three of the four times. If it was played in the second half, the winner swept four out of seven times.
- The Giants are 2-0 in the Super Bowl grudge matches, but 1-1 the first time around, beating the Denver Broncos in 1986 but losing to the Buffalo Bills in 1990.
- As for the Patriots, both times they lost the regular season games (Chicago Bears in 1985, St. Louis Rams in 2001), but 1-1 in the rematch.
- The exact scenario between the Patriots and Giants this year played out in 1977 when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos in the season finale and later in Super Bowl XII, 27-10.
What does all this mean for Super Bowl XLII? Absolutely nothing. More than anything it proves there’s a 50-50 chance for either team to win, just like in any competition between opposing sides.
Many expect the New England Patriots to become the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go undefeated for the season. Or will they be like the Chicago Bears of 1942 and 1934, undefeated until the championship game? On the flip side, some think the New York Giants are the 2007 version of the 2001 Patriots, a double-digit underdog that pulls off the unexpected upset. Or maybe the G-men are like the 1985 Patriots, winners of three road playoff games just to get pasted by a dominant Bears team.
The point is none of what you just read can help predict what happens on February third. One thing for sure is I just wasted minutes of your valuable free time, like many other forms of analysis. But at least I’m honest about it.