Why the last 8 Super Bowl champs didn't win a playoff game -- is Seattle next?
The 2013 Seattle Seahawks made history by winning Super Bowl 48. The 2014 Seahawks are trying not to become history. Seattle wouldn’t qualify for the playoffs if the regular season ended today. This type of struggle for a defending kingpin isn’t uncommon. The past eight defending champions either failed to reach the postseason or lost in their opening postseason game. Alex Marvez looks at what caused each demise.
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2013 Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
The Ravens suffered a series of major personnel departures from their Super Bowl-winning squad, led by middle linebacker Ray Lewis (retired), safety Ed Reed (free agency) and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (trade). Key offensive injuries and Joe Flacco’s (pictured) 22 interceptions compounded the problem.
Getty ImagesMatt Sullivan
2012 New York Giants (9-7)
The Giants made the mistake of keeping too many declining players in hopes they had one season of good football left to make another Super Bowl run. The December magic that propelled Eli Manning (pictured) and the 2007 and 2011 Giants to Lombardi Trophies also dissipated with three losses that crippled New York’s playoff hopes.
Getty ImagesJim McIsaac
2011 Packers (15-1)
For the second time in five seasons, the New York Giants upset the Packers at Lambeau Field in the playoffs (pictured). Green Bay, which won its first 13 regular-season games, looked out of sync coming off a first-round bye and Week 17 game in which key starters were rested. Green Bay’s preparation also was affected by the drowning death of then-offensive coordinator Joe Philbin’s son.
Getty ImagesJamie Squire
2010 New Orleans Saints (11-5)
Whether it was underestimating the opposition or problems winning on the road that continue today, New Orleans fell to a Seattle squad (pictured) that was the first NFL team to post a losing record (7-9) and still win its division. A Saints defense that underperformed compared to the previous season didn’t help matters either.
Getty ImagesJonathan Ferrey
2009 Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
A five-game losing streak for Ben Roethlisberger (pictured) and company from Weeks 10 to 15 that included defeats against three AFC North rivals was the longest by a defending champion since the 1987 New York Giants. The skid also doomed Pittsburgh’s playoff chances. Particularly disheartening were losses to Oakland and Cleveland, which entered those matchups with a combined 4-19 record.
Getty ImagesGregory Shamus
2008 New York Giants (12-4)
This team shot itself in the foot after star wide receiver Plaxico Burress (pictured) accidentally shot himself in the leg at a New York City night club. The Giants were never the same offensively with Burress out, dropping three of their final four regular-season games and getting dominated at home by Philadelphia in their first playoff game.
Getty ImagesJeff Zelevansky
2007 Indianapolis Colts (13-3)
During his last five games against San Diego as the Colts quarterback, Peyton Manning (pictured) lost four times. One of those losses was a 28-24 playoff stumble in the divisional round as defending champs. Making this home defeat even more painful, two Chargers backups -- uarterback Billy Volek and running back Darren Sproles -- pearheaded the win in place of the injured Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson.
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
2006 Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Ben Roethlisberger’s health problems were part of the team’s demise during what proved Bill Cowher’s (pictured) final season as head coach. Roethlisberger suffered life-threatening injuries in an offseason motorcycle accident, then needed his appendix removed in the preseason and sustained a concussion in Week 7.