Heading into this season’s NFL playoffs, the Kansas City Chiefs weren’t on many people’s radars for Super Bowl triumph. Despite heading into the postseason as the reigning champions, Patrick Mahomes and Co were hardly in the form of their lives. They stumbled their way through the second half of the season, losing five of their last ten games and with seemingly no hope of successfully defending the Lombardi they won so impressively in Arizona last February.
However, since then, their fortunes have been completely revitalized. They first knocked off the Miami Dolphins in the wildcard round with a resounding 26-7 victory at Arrowhead. They then stunned the heavily favored Buffalo Bills on enemy territory to secure their spot in the AFC Championship game for the sixth straight season.
The Chiefs’s five previous games all came on home turf. However, this time, they had to travel to M&T Bank Stadium to face the top-seed Baltimore Ravens, and they duly ran out as 17-10 victors. They punched their ticket to Allegiant Stadium for a date with the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl LVIII, a contest that NFL betting lines make them a +112 underdog for success.
The Chiefs’ recent stranglehold over the AFC Conference is eerily similar to the unprecedented run of dominance that the New England Patriots enjoyed throughout the 2010s. The Gillette Stadium side reached the conference championships a whopping eight times in a row between 2011 and 2019, and here is how they performed on each visit.
2011 – Lost Super Bowl to Giants
The Patriots had a dominant regular season in 2011, going 13-3 before winning their first two playoff games. They thumped the Denver Broncos by a score of 45-10 in the Divisional Round, before then knocking off the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game. That set up a rematch with Eli Manning’s New York Giants at Super Bowl XLVI.
Four years prior, the Big Apple side pulled off the greatest Big Game upset of all time as they secured a shock 17-14 victory against a Patriots side that had a perfect 17-0 record up until that point. Unfortunately for Pats fans, redemption was nowhere to be found and the Giants once again ran out as surprise victors thanks to the ever-clutch Manning outplaying Tom Brady and leading his side to the Lombardi once again.
2012 – Lost AFC Championship game to Ravens
The following year saw another strong regular season from the Patriots with a record of 12-4 before advancing to their second consecutive conference Championship game. Unfortunately for them, Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens got hot at just the right time and ended up defeating them 28-13.
The 2023 Comeback of the Year contender would lead the Maryland side to triumph with a 34-31 win against the 49ers, while Brady and his Patriots were off licking their wounds.
2013 – Lost AFC Championship game to Broncos
In 2013, Brady led his team back into contention with another great season, finishing the regular season with an impressive 12-4 record. This time, however, it was the older Manning brother, Peyton, that crushed the Patriots dreams. His Denver Broncos side finished the regular season as the top seed with a 13-3 record and they secured redemption for their dropping two years prior as they ran out 26-16 victors.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it would get for them though as the Seahawks and their famed Legion of Boom thumped the Colorado outfit 43-8 at Super Bowl XLVIII in the most lopsided Big Game in history.
2014 – Beat Seahawks to Win Super Bowl
The fourth trip was finally successful for New England as they defeated a Seahawks side that was looking to go back-to-back. Unfortunately for them, this time around Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, and Co. was unable to get the W, losing out 28-24 in one of the most memorable games ever played.
The victory was sealed by Malcolm Butler’s interception on Seattle’s potential game-winning drive in the final seconds, with quarterback Russell Wilson famously opting to throw from close range rather than give the powerhouse Lynch the ball on the ground.
2015 – Lost AFC Championship Game to Broncos
The Patriots made it back to the AFC Championship game for the fifth time in as many seasons in 2015 but were once again stopped short by Manning, this time, it was Peyton again and his Denver Broncos.
Their defense was too much for Brady and company to overcome, as they fell 20-18. They then put the ghosts of two years prior behind them as they defeated a ‘Super’ Cam Newton-powered Carolina Panthers to lift the Lombardi.
2016 – Beat Falcons to win Super Bowl
The Boston-based outfit made it two Lombardis in three years in 2016 as they completed the greatest comeback in NFL history. Shortly after halftime, the Patriots trailed the Atlanta Falcons by a whopping 28 points to three.
But the majestic Brady somehow remained composed and found a way to erase the deficit, reeling off touchdown drive after touchdown drive to tie things up at 28 points apiece before ultimately securing a 34-28 victory in overtime.
2017 – Lost Super Bowl to Eagles
The Patriots made it back to their third Super Bowl in four years in 2017 but were unable to come out on top against Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite Brady throwing for over 500 yards, New England’s defense couldn’t stop Philadelphia’s high-powered offense as they lost 41-33, ultimately being downed by the famed Philly Special, which handed the Birds their first-ever Lombardi.
2018 – Beat Rams to win Super Bowl
The most recent trip came at the end of the 2018 season and marked the Patriots’ third straight trip to the Big Game, becoming only the third team in history to complete such a feat. This time, they defeated the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 13-3 in a low-scoring affair that saw Brady lead a late touchdown drive that sealed their sixth Lombardi in franchise history.