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December 02, 2022

Examining the fates of 10-1 (or 11-0) teams over the last 10 seasons

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Carroll - Eagles Parade Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Philadelphia Eagles parade along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 20th Street during the Super Bowl championship parade, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.

The Philadelphia Eagles are 10-1. As such, in my weekly Eagles chat on Thursday, I was asked to look at recent teams that started 10-1, and what their eventual fates were (h/t "The Tonner" for the question). I went back 10 years, and by my count, there were 13 teams that started the season at 10-1 or 11-0. Here's how the rest of their seasons went.

2020 Steelers (11-0): When the Steelers were 11-0 in 2020, there were plenty of analysts who thought they might be the worst 11-0 team ever. They were probably right. The Steelers proceeded to lose four or their final five regular season games before getting dumped by the Browns in the wildcard round of the playoffs.

2020 Chiefs (10-1): The Chiefs made it to the Super Bowl and were actually favored over the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers, but they could not overcome a banged-up offensive line that allowed Patrick Mahomes to be under constant pressure for four quarters.

2019 Patriots (10-1): The Patriots lost three of their final five games, costing them a first round bye, before the Titans beat them in the wildcard round of the playoffs, a game that wound up being Brady's last in New England.

2019 49ers (10-1): The 2019 49ers went to the Super Bowl and they had the Lombardi Trophy within their sights. They had a 20-10 lead, and the ball, with a first down and 10:37 to go. But the Chiefs would eventually score twice, taking the lead, before Jimmy Garoppolo had a chance to be a Super Bowl hero.

2018 Rams (10-1): The 2018 Rams made it to the Super Bowl, and lost 13-3 to the Patriots. This was the worst Super Bowl I've ever watched.

2018 Saints (10-1): The Saints lost to the aforementioned 2018 Rams in the NFC conference championship game, when the Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant, but uncalled pass interference penalty. 

Saints fans then held a pathetic parade to voice their displeasure.

2017 Eagles (10-1): I think you all know how this season ended.

2016 Cowboys (10-1): The 2016 Cowboys were fueled by then rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, finishing the regular season at 13-3. They got a tough matchup in their first playoff game in the Green Bay Packers, and were one and done. To this day, I still find this game-winning field goal by Mason Crosby funny. It looks like it's going to be wide left — and you can see the quick glimmer of hope among the fans seated behind the end zone — before it magically corrects itself and goes through.

2015 Panthers (11-0): The Cam Newton-led 2015 Panthers went to the Super Bowl, but got dominated by the Broncos' defense. Along the way, Newton had this strange play where he didn't try to jump on top of a fumble.

2015 Patriots (10-1): Like the aforementioned 2015 Panthers, the 2015 Patriots felt the wrath of the 2015 Broncos defense, as Brady was harassed into 4 sacks and 2 INTs in the AFC Championship Game.

2013 Seahawks (10-1): The 2013 Seahawks won the Super Bowl, destroying the Broncos, 43-8.

2012 Falcons (10-1): The 2012 Falcons finished 13-3 and had the 1 seed heading into the playoffs. In the NFC Championship Game, they were down four, but had the ball in the red zone with under two minutes to play, but, (fart noise).

2012 Texans (10-1): The Matt Schaub-led 2012 Texans weren't taken very seriously as some sort of juggernaut. They got to 11-1 before losing three of their final four games, costing them a first round bye. They beat the Bengals in the wildcard round, but were easy pickings for the Patriots in the divisional round.

So to recap:

• One-and-done in the wildcard round: 2 (2020 Steelers, 2019 Patriots)

• One-and-done in the divisional round: 1 (2016 Cowboys)

• One playoff win, but no Super Bowl: 4 (2018 Saints, 2015 Patriots, 2012 Falcons, 2012 Texans)

• Lost in the Super Bowl: 4 (2020 Chiefs, 2019 49ers, 2018 Rams, 2015 Panthers)

• Won the Super Bowl: 2 (2017 Eagles, 2013 Seahawks)

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