I’ll say this right now — the team with the best record during the regular season in the NFL DOES NOT ALWAYS WIN THE SUPER BOWL! Caps are a must for the last part of the previous sentence because there are 12 teams who finished atop of the standings but struggled to get through the Divisional Round in the playoffs.
Let’s take a look through the years of the greatest NFL teams to not make it out of the divisional round. Hold back your tears!
Still, Haven’t Found What They’ve Been Looking For
The Vikings defense became just the second core in the history of the NFL to lead the league in fewest points allowed and fewest yards allowed. It was the same season when Minnesota won their first NFC Central title after the merger. With a 12-4 record, the Vikings lost to the 49ers, who finished a win behind Minnesota.
Bad Luck Chiefs
Improving from the season prior, the Chiefs tied with the Dolphins for the best record in AFC along with the third best record in the league. Most of the pieces from their Super Bowl IV team were still kicking around, but the season ended in dramatic fashion when the Dolphins won the longest game in NFL history thanks to a Miami field goal. The loss haunted the Chiefs for a few seasons afterward, as they slipped down the standings.
The Move Down The Street
In the Raiders first season in Los Angeles, they throttled the competition to an 8-1 record, despite the lockout reducing the games to just half a season. They won all four of their home games, along with home field advantage during the playoffs. Things turned sour during the makeshift playoff tournament — the Raiders won in the first round but blew a fourth-quarter lead to the sixth-seeded Jets.
Not What They Thought They Would Be
Chicago managed to finish the season with one less win than their 15-1 record in 1985, tying the Giants for the best record for the season. The Bears offense dominated courtesy of Walter Payton and their defense exploded throughout the season, allowing just 187 points, the lowest by any team of the eighties. However, the Bears weren’t what they thought they were when they bowed out early in the playoffs against the Redskins.