The Quest for the Lombardi Trophy

by John Delach

Each year, thirty-two NFL teams set their sights on winning the Super Bowl and the opportunity to take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Thirty-one fail. Worse, success is fleeting and usually deserts the champion team the following year. Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles erased 58 years of misery by winning SB LII. They made the playoffs this season but lost in the second round.

There is one exception, the New England Patriots organization. The Patriots rolled through the playoffs winning their tenth consecutive AFC Championship Game. They established an NFL record – one that will be unmatched for a long time, if ever. Quarterback Tom Brady is the Patriots field general who has led the Patriots to all these appearances. Brady is truly the greatest quarterback of all times.

So too and more important to the Patriots success is their head coach, Bill Belichick. Vince Lombardi, the legendary head coach of the Green Bay Packers and the Super Bowl Trophy’s namesake, once said: “The only thing I want (in a football game) is my unfair advantage.”

Belichick is an evil genius who manipulates the NFL to his own unfair advantage. He finds flaws in the rule book allowing him to design plays here-to-fore untried because everyone else thought they were illegal. His goal is to attack the other team’s strength by doing the unexpected and reducing the opposition’s offense to becoming one dimensional. He even keeps a sharp eye on the other team with an uncanny record of catching them with too many men on the field. His genius is without parallel.

He almost pulled off a new wrinkle in this year’s AFC Championship Game. He had Brady line up the team on a fourth down play, then, run off the field as the Patriot’s punting team ran onto the field. The Chief’s coaches tried to respond, but when the Pats snapped the ball, the Chiefs had 12 or 13 players on the field. This would have given the Pats a first down, but Bill’s machinations took too long resulting in a Pats penalty for delay of game.

A genius, yes, but he crosses the line. If you think Dick Chaney was an evil manipulator, Ole Doctor Death can’t hold a candle to Big Bad Bill. Belichick has been caught time and again as a cheat. He spied on the Rams stealing plays prior to SB XXXVI in 2001. Found guilty in spy-gate, where he filmed Jets practices and deflate-gate where the Pats underinflated game balls, Belichick alone knows the extent of his life of crime. Caught, fined, punished; the beat goes on and on February 3rd, his Patriots will play in their ninth Super Bowl since 2001. His record so far, 5 and 3.

The mere mortals running the other 31 teams have found Super Bowl appearances and victories to be elusive. No wonder, Joe Benigno, a WFAN radio guy and consummate Jets fan refers to the Super Bowl as the “Patriots Invitational.” 

The list of NFL teams frustrated by their ability to take home the Lombardi Trophy is sad and ugly. Worst off, The Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns, two historical franchises who have never appeared in a Super Bowl. The Lions last won an NFL Championship in 1957 and the Browns, in 1964. Two expansion teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995) and the Houston Texans (2002) have yet to experience playing in a Super Bowl.

Who deserves greater pity, the three teams that lost their one and only appearance or the five teams who appeared multiple times without claiming a single Lombardi Trophy? I believe it’s the later, particularly the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills, each with four appearances and nothing to show for it.

Two Bills fans die and go to hell. Having been cold their entire lives, the devil can’t make it hot enough for them to suffer. Undeterred, Satan turns off the heat and refrigerates hell to break these two. After a week in sub-zero freezing cold, he checks in only to find them celebrating. “Why are you happy?” He asks.

“Because Hell froze over; the Bills must have won the Super Bowl.”

How long does it take for the happiness and joy of winning the Super Bowl to fade away? The New York Football Giants last won the trophy eight years ago. Since then they have fired two head coaches and one general manager.

The New York Jets have waited 50 years and counting. So too, the Kansas City Chiefs (49) now that their dreams for 2019 are broken. The Dallas Cowboys are 24 years from their last trophy, the Miami Dolphins, 35 years and the Washington Redskins, 28 years.

Miami’s been to five winning two. The Redskins, five winning three. The Packers and the Giants have each won four of five, the 49ers, five of six, the Broncos, three of eight, the Cowboys five of eight, the Steelers, six of eight and the Patriots five of ten.

The poor KC Chiefs came so close to returning to Super Bowl LIII before losing to the Evil Empire, aka, the Patriots. The Pats won the coin toss and went the length of the field in overtime to win the AFC Championship Game, 37-31.

The Saints lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams, 26-23, also in overtime. God bless the Rams who haven’t won a Super Bowl since 2001 when they were domiciled in St. Louis. However, let the record show that their victory came on the heels of one of the worse not-called pass interference penalties, ever.

The Pats are favored to win SB-LIII. So what else is new?