Teams that start 8-0 aren’t guaranteed Super Bowl success

Posted on November 7, 2022

The Eagles are the first team in franchise history to start 8-0. When you start a season like this, it’s OK to look ahead —maybe even dream the big dream. Eight games are too early to throw a serious scare into the 1972 Perfect Season Dolphins but you better believe they are keeping tabs.

The Eagles are low-key about their start, saying their focus is directed at going 1-0 each week. This posture comes from coach Nick Sirianni and is echoed by his players.

Their next three opponents have losing records — the Commanders (4-5), Colts (3-5-1) and Packers (3-6). Their next opponent with a winning record is 5-3 Tennessee, which visits the Eagles on Dec. 4.

Twenty other teams started 8-0 since the NFL schedule increased from 14 to 16 games in 1978. Five of those teams won the Super Bowl. Six lost the Super Bowl.

1984 Dolphins. 11-0 (to start season), 14-2 (final record)

Lost Super Bowl to 49ers. Rookie quarterback Dan Marino led the way for coach Don Shula’s Dolphins. Marino was first-team All-Pro and threw for 5,084 yards. Expectations were that Marino would make multiple Super Bowl appearances. He never made another.

1985 Bears. 12-0, 15-1

Won Super Bowl over Patriots. The “Super Bowl Shuffle” team dominated the NFL. Buddy Ryan’s defense was one of the best in history. Chicago allowed 10 points in three playoff games.

1990 49ers. 10-0, 14-2

Lost NFC title game to Giants. Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig suffered a 15-13 loss to the Giants and quarterback Jeff Hostetler.

1990 Giants. 10-0, 13-3

Won Super Bowl over Bills. The Eagles ended Giants’ undefeated streak, 31-13. Randall Cunningham threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third. Giants won the Super Bowl, 20-19, when Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt was wide right with eight seconds to play.

1991 Redskins (Commanders). 11-0, 14-2

Won Super Bowl over Bills. Art Monk and Gary Clark had 1,000-yard receiving seasons, catching passes from Mark Rypien.

1998 Broncos. 13-0, 14-2

Won second consecutive Super Bowl, over Falcons. John Elway retired after this win. Terrell Davis ran for 2,008 yards in regular season and 102 yards in the Super Bowl.

2003 Chiefs. 9-0, 13-3

Lost divisional round to Colts, 38-31, and Peyton Manning. Dick Vermeil coached Kansas City and Trent Green passed for 4,039 yards.

2005 Colts. 13-0, 14-2

Lost divisional round to Steelers. A Super Bowl victory was a year away for coach Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning.

2006 Colts. 9-0, 12-4

Won Super Bowl over Bears. Manning passed for 4,397 yards and Dungy won his Super Bowl.

2007 Patriots. 16-0, 16-0

Lost Super Bowl to Giants. The perfect Patriots were stunned by Eli Manning and David Tyree’s helmet catch.

2008 Titans. 10-0, 13-3

Lost divisional round to Ravens. Kerry Collins won 12 games and Chris Johnson rushed for 1,228 yards but it wasn’t enough.

2009 Colts. 14-0, 14-2

Lost Super Bowl to Saints. Peyton Manning, who had 4,500 passing yards in the regular season, lost to the Drew Brees-led Saints.

2011 Packers. 13-0, 15-1

Lost divisional round to Giants. First-team All-Pro Aaron Rodgers, who passed for 4,643 yards in the regular season, lost to Eli Manning, who had three touchdown passes.

2012 Falcons. 8-0, 13-3

Lost NFC title game to 49ers. Matt Ryan’s brilliant season didn’t get Atlanta to the Super Bowl.

2013 Chiefs. 9-0, 11-5

Lost wild card game to Colts. First-year coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson lost, 45-44. KC led 38-10 in the third quarter. Ouch.

2015 Panthers. 14-0, 15-1

Lost Super Bowl to Broncos. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen were shut down by Denver and linebacker Von Miller, 24-10.

2018 Rams. 8-0, 13-3

Lost Super Bowl to Patriots. Sean McVay and Jared Goff’s high-powered offense scored three points against New England.

2019 Patriots. 8-0, 12-4

Lost wild card game to Titans. Tom Brady’s Pats lost three of their last five games before falling to Tennessee, 20-13.

2019 49ers. 8-0, 13-3

Lost Super Bowl to Chiefs. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 70 percent of his passes and threw for 3,978 yards in regular season but couldn’t beat Patrick Mahomes in the big game.

2020 Steelers. 11-0, 12-4

Lost wild card game to Browns. Mike Tomlin’s Steelers lost four of their final five regular season games then saw the Browns take them apart, 48-37.


Is there a conclusion to be drawn for the Eagles? Well, no. They will be in the playoffs. Home-field throughout the playoffs is uncertain.

Injuries, the great equalizer, tend to pile up as the season progresses. Teams that look great in September can stumble around in December.

Team strengths are easy to cheer for. When you get to playoff games that mean *everything*, you want to know weaknesses have been rectified.

For the Eagles, stopping the run must be a priority. On a Sunday afternoon at the Linc, when it’s January-cold and windy, teams that effectively run the ball could have an edge.

Yes, that’s the Eagles. But it also could be their opponents.

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Chuck Bausman

Chuck Bausman is an Eagles writer for Chuck formerly was the Executive Sports Editor of the Philadelphia Daily News and the Executive Sports Editor of the Courier-Post in South Jersey. He learned how to cuss by watching Philly sports.

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