The Pittsburgh Steelers entered yesterday evening’s proceedings as one of only two teams in NFL history to be able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy on six different occasions. They exited the night bearing the same distinction, thanks to a 21-point fourth quarter by the Kansas City Chiefs, making their first Super Bowl appearances in half a century.
Their opponents were the San Francisco 49ers, one of four teams to have at least five Super Bowl victories, having won theirs in the 1980s and 1990s with Hall of Famers at quarterback in Joe Montana and Steve Young.
They had a shot at six in 2012, making their first Super Bowl appearance in decades against the Baltimore Ravens, helmed by a young Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, but they fell latte to the AFC North rivals of the Steelers, who claimed their second championship that night.
Last night’s game was San Francisco’s seventh appearance in the title game, which ranks as the fifth-most all-time, with nobody else having more than five. The New England Patriots have by far the most, having now been to the title game 11 times, while the Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and Denver Broncos have all reached the game eight times. The Cowboys won five titles, while the Broncos have three.
And the Steelers, of course, have six, as has been discussed. They were the first franchise to win three, then a year later the first to win four. They were also the first franchise to win back-to-back titles multiple times, and then later the first to win six, doing so in 2008.
Since then, only the Patriots have managed to join them, doing so only a year ago when they defeated the Los Angeles Rams in a not exactly thrilling 13-3 win. They were defeated in the Wildcard Round this past year, the first time they had not reached the AFC Championship Game since 2010.
And so the number of franchise with six Super Bowl titles, for at least one more year, stands at two. And one has to wonder what the Patriots’ prospects of contending in 2020 are, if indeed Tom Brady is considering signing with another team.
As for those with five Super Bowls, the 49ers seem poised to be able to make a return trip next year, as they were consistently one of the best teams in the league in 2019. Then again, so were the Rams in 2018, and they didn’t even make it to the playoffs last season.
The Cowboys barely managed an 8-8 record last season, playing in the worst division in football. Certainly, they will not be viewed as one of the top contenders in the NFC over teams like the 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks, the New Orleans Saints (who even withstood the loss of Drew Brees), and the Green Bay Packers.