At this time last year, the Carolina Panthers were the talk of the NFL. Quarterback Cam Newton was leading the MVP race and the team was a few days away from going 13-0 on the season and looked like a favorite to not only make the Super Bowl, but to actually win the title.
What a difference a year makes!
This week, the Panthers have a 4-8 record and, barring a miracle, will be on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
With their eighth loss this season, the Panthers became the 20th team in NFL history to play in the Super Bowl one year and then lose eight or more games the following season. The last team to “accomplish” this were the Baltimore Ravens who won the Super Bowl after the 2012 season and then fell to an 8-8 record the following season. They missed the playoffs in 2013.
With four games remaining, the Panthers still have a mathematical chance to win the division this year (Atlanta and Tampa Bay are tied for the division lead at 7-5). The Panthers could also lose their last four games and end the season at 4-12. That would tie them for the most losses in the season after a Super Bowl appearance. The Oakland Raiders in 2002 made the Super Bowl and then the following season had a 4-12 record.
Here’s a look at the 20 teams that lost eight or more games the season after appearing in the Super Bowl (the year noted below is the season they won the Super Bowl).
12 losses the following year after playing in the Super Bowl 2002 Oakland Raiders
11 losses the following year after playing in the Super Bowl 1989 Denver Broncos 1998 Atlanta Falcons
10 losses the following year after playing in the Super Bowl 1998 Denver Broncos 2004 Philadelphia Eagles
9 losses the following year after playing in the Super Bowl 1980 Oakland Raiders 1986 New York Giants 1987 Washington Redskins 1993 Buffalo Bills 2000 New York Giants 2001 St. Louis Rams 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs 2003 Carolina Panthers 2006 Chicago Bears
8 losses the following year after playing in the Super Bowl 1987 Denver Broncos 1988 Cincinnati Bengals 1990 New York Giants 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Baltimore Ravens 2016 Carolina Panthers (four games remaining)
One final note: Three times in league history both teams that appeared in the Super Bowl lost eight or more games the following season. That happened in 1987 (Denver and Washington), 1998 (Denver and Atlanta) and 2002 (Oakland and Philadelphia).
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