At the beginning of every season, each team sets out with one goal in mind – winning a Super Bowl.
You have your dynasties like the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, with multiple Super Bowls to their names. But you also have those that have never won a Super Bowl, and some that haven’t even reached the final game.
Here is a look at the teams that have never won a Super Bowl.
What teams have been to a Super Bowl, but never won?
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The Cardinals, while one of the oldest football franchises, haven’t had a ton of success. They’ve only made it to two NFC Championship Games and only once have played in the big game.
In the 2008 season, Kurt Warner and the Cardinals went head-to-head with the Steelers. Despite taking a late 23-19 lead with 2:37 remaining, the Steelers marched down the field and Ben Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes for the go-ahead touchdown with 35 seconds left to crush the Cardinals’ hopes of a first title.
Atlanta has been to two Super Bowls during the franchise’s history. The first came in during the 1998 season with Dan Reeves coaching Atlanta to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl appearance against the Denver Broncos, his former team. But the Broncos won their second consecutive Super Bowl with a 34-19 win.
The second? Well, for the sake of Falcons fans, we’ll just leave it as simple as two numbers: 28-3.
The Bills and QB Jim Kelly accomplished the incredible feat of making it to four straight Super Bowls during the early 1990s. However, they failed to win any of them, which is perhaps even more impressive.
From Scott Norwood’s missed field goal in 1990 to the record nine turnovers in 1992, it’s a period that Bills fans will never forget, for all the wrong reasons. Buffalo has yet to get back to the Super Bowl since losing in 1993.
Despite being a fairly new team by NFL standards, the Panthers have made it to two Super Bowls, once in 2003 and again in 2015.
The Panthers faced the Patriots in their first Super Bowl appearance, with a last-second field goal from Adam Vinatieri ending their Super Bowl hopes.
MVP Cam Newton led the Panthers to a Super Bowl 50 matchup with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Denver’s defense held the Panthers to a season-low 10 points in the losing effort.
The Bengals have reached the Super Bowl three times but have never won the Lombardi Trophy.
Cincinnati was bested by Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the 1981 and 1988 NFL seasons. The Bengals fell down 20-0 at halftime and were unable to mount a comeback in their first effort against San Francisco. The rematch several years later was a much tighter affair, as the Bengals were up 16-13 before Montana led the 49ers on a game-winning, 92-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left.
The team got back to the Super Bowl during the 2021 season but proceeded to lose 23-20 against the Los Angeles Rams.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have seen multiple periods of immense success, but they have only reached one Super Bowl. Los Angeles – at the time, the San Diego Chargers – made the playoffs four years in a row from 1979 to 1982, losing twice in the AFC Championship Game. They had similar success from 2004 to 2009, making the postseason five times in six years, but managing to only get as far as the AFC Championship Game, which they did once.
The franchise did make it to the Super Bowl in 1994, but they were trounced by Steve Young and the 49ers, putting an end to the Chargers’ Cinderella run that season.
Minnesota was one of the top teams to beat when the Super Bowl era began in the NFL. From 1969 to 1976, the Vikings managed to reach four Super Bowls. However, like the Bills, the Vikings fell short in each one.
Those Super Bowls were not kind to Minnesota. In fact, those Vikings teams combined for a grand total of zero points in the first half of those Super Bowls. Minnesota did not hold a single lead in those four games and only managed to score more than one touchdown once.
Tennessee made it to a Super Bowl in their first year with the name the “Titans.” It’s the only time the franchise has made it to the Super Bowl, and it was an unforgettable one.
Down 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams and the “Greatest Show on Turf,” Tennessee had a chance at a game-tying touchdown. With six seconds left, Steve McNair hit Kevin Dyson with a pass, but Rams linebacker Mike Jones wrapped up the wide receiver at the 1-yard line, inches away from the tying tally. It’s regarded as one of the best Super Bowls of all time, with Jones’ play known infamously as “The Tackle.”
What teams have never been to a Super Bowl?
What’s worse – making it to a Super Bowl but losing, or never having that chance at heartbreak?
Well for four NFL teams, the feeling of falling short in the Super Bowl has never happened, nor has the feeling of winning it all.
The Browns, one of the oldest football franchises, had a ton of success in the early days. Unfortunately, that winning has yet to translate over in the Super Bowl era.
The Browns made multiple NFL Championships during the 1950s and 60s, winning the championship four times. However, those aren’t recognized as Super Bowl wins. So since the Super Bowl was introduced in 1966, the Browns have yet to reach the big game.
Like the Browns, the Lions have NFL Championships to their names in the franchise’s long history. However, when it comes to Super Bowls, Detroit hasn’t even sniffed one yet.
In the 57 seasons that there has been a Super Bowl, the Lions have won just one playoff game – the 1991 divisional playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys. They are the lone NFC team that has failed to reach a Super Bowl.
The Texans have only been around since 2002, but despite winning the AFC South six times from 2011-2019, Houston has failed to reach the big game.
In fact, the Texans haven’t even reached the AFC Championship Game yet in franchise history, only getting as far as the divisional round.
Despite making all the wrong headlines for a few years, the Jaguars had a very successful first few seasons in the NFL. Jacksonville found itself in the playoffs four years in a row from 1996 to 1999 after entering the league in 1995. The young franchise even advanced to the AFC Championship Game in two of those years, but the Super Bowl eluded Jacksonville as the team failed short of the big game.
The most recent chance the Jags had was in 2017, when they lost to the Patriots in a tight 24-20 contest in the AFC Championship Game.