The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a Super Bowl title in February thanks to a dazzling performance by Patrick Mahomes, who won both league MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards last season. While the franchise celebrated its second championship in four years and third overall, there are still 12 NFL franchises that have yet to win one.
In contrast, four franchises have enjoyed what feels like countless Super Bowl victories, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy five-plus times, more than any of the remaining 28 organizations: The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers have won six titles apiece, and the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers each have won five.
So, with the 2023 NFL season on the horizon, we ask the question:
Which fan base is most deserving of a Super Bowl title?
PICK: Detroit Lions
The Lions are one of four teams that have never played in a Super Bowl. They won their last championship in 1957 and made only 12 playoff appearances since that season (with one playoff win). Lions fans would lose their minds if they just reached a conference championship game again, which last happened in the 1991 postseason. Playing in a Super Bowl would be nirvana.
PICK: Dallas Cowboys
High expectations hover over the Cowboys annually, and no one in that franchise or fan base is shy about the desire to earn a sixth Lombardi Trophy -- especially owner Jerry Jones. Lately, Dallas has had the firepower to give itself a chance at its first title in nearly three decades, but major blunders have abruptly ended those aspirations. The constant emotional roller coaster is almost too much to take.
PICK: New York Jets
It was tempting to pick a team that has never won a Super Bowl -- the Bengals or Lions were the ones I wrestled with -- but the agony of Jets fans has permeated the NFL for so long that a Super Bowl for Gang Green under Aaron Rodgers might lift the collective mood even for people who didn't grow up hoping Richard Todd/Ken O'Brien/Boomer Esiason/Chad Pennington/Mark Sanchez/Sam Darnold/Zach Wilson would be the next Joe Namath.
PICK: Cincinnati Bengals
I'm going with a team that has been oh so close to success, only to fall agonizingly short: the Bengals. Cincinnati has yet to win a Super Bowl despite making three appearances, with the last being a 3-point loss to the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. The Bengals nearly notched a fourth last season, but their bid to represent the AFC on Super Sunday was ruined by a 3-point loss to the eventual champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. In the 32 seasons between their two most recent Super Bowl appearances, Cincinnati posted a winning percentage of .412 (209-299-4), worse than all but three teams (Cleveland, Detroit and Arizona) in that span. But now, the Super Bowl window is open, with Joe Burrow leading the charge. Who Dey nation needs this.
PICK: Buffalo Bills
Look, while the pain of losing four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s likely isn't nearly as intense as it once was, it still seems to linger as a reminder of what Buffalo failed to accomplish. And with each year that passes in which the Chiefs or Bengals prevent the Bills from reaching the Super Bowl, one can sense that same gloomy cloud of dread creeping closer. Watching Josh Allen develop into a star has given Buffalo reason to hope for the first time since Jim Kelly (and Frank Reich, or maybe even Doug Flutie) was back there slinging the rock, but we are in an era of visible title windows, and it figures to become increasingly difficult to keep the Bills' window open. Buffalo believes this team is good enough to win a Lombardi Trophy, which would also bury the heartbreak of the '90s once and for all. Bottom line: The Bills would do well to get over the hump before their new stadium opens, and there's no better time than 2023.
PICK: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jags fans have experienced plenty of ups and downs since 1995 (the year the franchise began play), with the team making only two postseason appearances in the last 15 seasons. Stints of postseason glory have been separated by stretches of losing seasons, but optimism is higher than ever heading into 2023. The franchise and fan base finally experienced sweet success last season, when Doug Pederson, Trevor Lawrence and Co. downed the Los Angeles Chargers in epic comeback fashion on Super Wild Card Weekend, then nearly knocked off the Chiefs at Arrowhead in the Divisional Round. The Jags and their following are hungrier than ever for a title.