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With their 24-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on September 5, the New York Giants became the first defending Super Bowl champs to lose the first game of the next season after their title since 1999. The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl after the 1998 regular season and then lost their first game at the start of the ’99 campaign.
The Giants, however, weren’t the only previous Super Bowl champ to lose on the first week of the 2012 season. In fact, for the first time in NFL history, the last four Super Bowl champs all lost their opening game of the 2012 season. In addition to the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, the Packers, 2010 season champs, lost to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday; the Saints, 2009 season champs, lost to the Redskins; and Pittsburgh, 2008 season champs, were defeated by the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
Will the Giants rebound from their opening weekend loss? My guess is that they just hope not to repeat what happened to the 1986 version of the franchise. The Giants won the 1986 season title with a Super Bowl victory in early 1987. The team then went on to lose its first five games to start the 1987 regular season.
Following are the Super Bowl champs who lost the most games to start the following season after their title.
Team, Season title year, Losses to start following season
New York Giants, 1986: Lost 5 straight to start 1987 season
Denver Broncos, 1998: Lost 4 straight to start 1999 season
San Francisco 49ers, 1981: Lost 2 straight to start 1982 season
Dallas Cowboys, 1992: Lost 2 straight to start 1993 season
Last season the Giants became the eighth team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl after starting the season with a loss (ironically, the Giants lost the first game of the season in three of the four years they won the Super Bowl). The Giants started the 2011 season with a 28-14 loss to the Washington Redskins. Here’s a quick look at the Super Bowl champs that lost their first game of the year in that title season.
2011: New York Giants (lost their first game that season)
2007: New York Giants (lost their first two games of the season)
2003: New England (lost first game of the season)
2002: Tampa Bay (lost first game of the season)
2001: New England (lost first two games of the season)
1993: Dallas Cowboys (lost first two games of the season)
1986: New York Giants (lost first game of the season)
1981: San Francisco 49ers (lost first game of the season)
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