Defeating the Defending Super Bowl Champions
Posted by Andrew McKillop on November 16, 2010
The Cleveland Browns 30-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints in 2010 was impressive on many fronts. Overlooked by most people was that for the third year in a row the Browns, a team that has been in the NFL basement the past few years, beat the defending Super Bowl champions.
I was curious how many times this has happened before. I went back into the history books, and recorded every instance in which a team beat the defending Super Bowl champion. The results were quite interesting.
The most consecutive years a team beat the defending Super Bowl champion, is four years. The Chargers were the first to do so from the years of 1979-82. The Chargers actually beat the defending Super Bowl champion five times (the record) in a row within four years. This is thanks to their two victories over the Oakland Raiders in 1981.
The Rams were the next team to beat the defending Super Bowl champion four years in a row, doing so from 1989-92. The Rams streak is especially impressive because for three out of four years (except 1989) the Rams posted losing seasons.
There are only five other instances (not including the Browns current streak) where a team has been able to beat the defending Super Bowl champion three years in a row; the Oilers (1979-81), Colts (1995-97), Buccaneers (1999-2001), Packers (2001-03), and Chargers (2005-07).
No team has beaten a defending Super Bowl champion three times in one season. Although teams have beaten the defending Super Bowl champion two times in one season on a rather consistent basis. The Bengals are the latest team to complete this feat defeating the Steelers twice last season. The Redskins hold the record in this category, beating the defending Super Bowl champion twice in the same season on three occasions (1972, 1987, and 1991).
Below is table on how many times each NFL team has beaten the defending Super Bowl champion, and the last time each team beat the defending Super Bowl champion.