If there's one thing that makes the NFL wildly entertaining every year, it's the fact that it's one of the most unpredictable sports on the planet. At the start of every season, it feels like every team in the league has a genuine chance to win the Super Bowl. Well, almost every team. We can probably all agree that there's no way the Cardinals are winning it all this year.
The NFL thrives on parity, and if you need proof of how much parity is in the league right now, just look at the Super Bowl. As noted by a user on Reddit, in nine of the past 10 years, the Super Bowl has featured at least one team that didn't win a playoff game in the prior season. (That could be because they lost in the first-round of the playoffs or it could be because they didn't make the postseason.)
Let's take a look at each of those Super Bowl teams from the past 10 years and a 2023 team that could fit that mold
Super Bowl XLVIII: 2013 Broncos
During Peyton Manning's first season in Denver, the Broncos finished with the best record in the NFL, but they didn't win a playoff game because they got upset in the divisional round by the Ravens. One year later, they used that motivation to get to the Super Bowl, where they would lose to the Seahawks.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Chargers. The Chargers had a high-flying offense in 2022 and they probably should have won at least one playoff game, but they ended up getting upset by the Jaguars after blowing a 27-0 lead.
Super Bowl 50: 2015 Broncos
After making it to the Super Bowl in 2013, the Broncos got knocked out of the playoffs without winning a game in 2014. However, they rebounded in 2015 to get back to the Super Bowl, where they would beat the Panthers. The Broncos got to the big game thanks to their defense, a unit that put the team on its back in a season where Peyton Manning was on his last legs.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Broncos. After watching Russell Wilson play in 2022, there's a thought that he might be on his last legs, but Denver could still be dangerous this year with a strong defense and the addition of Sean Payton, who should be able to squeeze as much production as possible out of Wilson.
Super Bowl LI: 2016 Falcons
For the first eight seasons of his career, Matt Ryan showed flashes of being one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. In 2016, he finally put all together in a season where he led the Falcons to the Super Bowl while winning MVP. We won't talk about what happened in the Super Bowl, we'll just let Falcons fans enjoy the fact that Atlanta got there.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Vikings. Kirk Cousins has shown flashes of being great through his first 11 seasons, and it wouldn't be surprising if he finally puts it all together this year and produces an MVP season that ends with Minnesota in the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LII: 2017 Eagles
After going 7-9 in 2016, the Eagles rebounded with one of the wildest Super Bowl runs in NFL history. After watching Carson Wentz go down late in the season, Nick Foles stepped in and led Philly to a Super Bowl win. The defense played a huge part in a Super Bowl run that saw the Eagles embrace the role of underdog.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Ravens. Lamar Jackson has looked impressive during his time on the field, but he's also been injury prone, especially over the past two seasons. If Lamar gets hurt in 2023, the Ravens have built a roster this year that might still be able to get to the Super Bowl, even if they lose their starting QB. Last year, the Ravens almost pulled off a wild-card upset against the Bengals, even though Jackson didn't play in the game.
Super Bowl LIII: 2018 Rams
The Rams hired Sean McVay in 2017 and just one year later, his high-flying offensive scheme had them in the Super Bowl, where they would lose to the Patriots.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Falcons. In two years in Atlanta, Arthur Smith has produced some surprisingly good results, and that's mostly because of his offensive scheme, which opposing defenses are struggling to figure out. The offense is loaded this year, which could set the stage for a surprising Super Bowl run like the Rams had in 2018.
Super Bowl LIV: 2019 49ers
In Kyle Shanahan's third-year on the job, he took a veteran quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo), along with a few stars (like George Kittle and Deebo Samuel) and combined that with a ferocious defense to get the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Saints. No one would mistake Dennis Allen for Kyle Shanahan, but there are some similarities with the way the rosters are built. The Saints already have a good defense along with several explosive weapons on offense, and now they're hoping the addition of a veteran quarterback (Derek Carr) will be the final piece of the puzzle.
Super Bowl LV: 2020 Buccaneers
In 2020, the Buccaneers brought in Tom Brady and then sat back and watched as he led them to a Super Bowl win.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Jets. The Jets made a trade for Aaron Rodgers in April, and they are certainly hoping he'll bring the same results to New York that Brady brought to the Buccaneers in 2020.
Super Bowl LVI: 2021 Bengals
In 2020, the Bengals finished with one of the worst records in the NFL, but they were able to bounce back just one year later to make one of the most surprising Super Bowl runs in NFL history behind the right arm of Joe Burrow.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Bears. The Bengals' Super Bowl run happened because everything seemed to click for Burrow in 2021, which was his second season in the NFL. The Bears, who had the NFL's worst record last season, will be hoping that everything clicks for Fields as he heads into his third season as Chicago's starting QB.
Super Bowl LVII: 2022 Eagles
The Eagle used a young quarterback and an electrifying offense to make it to the Super Bowl last year. One reason the offense was so successful was due to the guidance of Nick Sirianni, who was in just his second-year as a head coach last season.
Team that could fit the mold in 2023: Dolphins. If you're looking for a team that has loads of talent on offense along with a young quarterback and a recently hired head coach, look no farther than the Dolphins. There's no reason Mike McDaniel can't be this year's Nick Sirianni. Also, the Dolphins' top weapons (Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle) might be even more explosive than Philly's pair (A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith).
Finally, remember that we weren't allowed to use any team that won a playoff game last year on our comparison list, so the Bengals, Bills, Jaguars, Chiefs, Eagles, Cowboys, 49ers and Giants couldn't be used in this exercise.