22 January 2007

We don't need no stinking merger!

The Colts defeated the Patirots to earn the right to play in the 7th Super Bowl matchup between pre-merger NFL teams. For those not in the know, when the AFL merged with the NFL there was a little problem. There were more NFL teams than AFL teams. When the AFC and NFC were created from the AFL and NFL leagues, 3 NFL teams had to switch sides and become AFC teams. Those 3 teams were the Colts, Steelers, and Browns. Then there were 2 expansion teams added to the AFC at merger-time: the Dolphins and Bengals.

The first 4 Super Bowls were pre-merger so there were 4 pre-merger NFL teams and 4 pre-merger AFL teams. It wouldn't be until Super Bowl XI that a pre-merger AFL team went back to the Super Bowl (Raiders). Until that time, the expansion Dolphins and pre-merger NFL Colts and Steelers were the only teams going. In the Super Bowl's 41 year history, only 25 of those years fielded a pre-merger AFL team. 8 of the remaining 16 years were pre-merger NFL teams, 7 were merger-time AFC expansions Dolphins and Bengals, and 1 was the Baltimore Ravens expansion team.

Compare this to the pre-merger NFL teams who have had a slot in every Super Bowl except for 2.* Super Bowl XXXVII was between pre-merger AFL Oakland and post-merger AFC-turned-NFC expansion Tampa. Super Bowl XXXVIII was between pre-merger AFL Patriots and the post-merger Panthers. The only other time the NFC wasn't represented by a pre-merger NFL team was Super Bowl XL between pre-merger NFL Pittsburg and NFC-turned-AFC-turned-NFC post-merger expansion Seattle.

You may be asking how pre-merger AFL teams do when they get a shot at the Super Bowl. They've won 10 of their 25 appearences. Congratualations pre-merger NFL teams for shutting that other (inferior) league out of the Super Bowl once again.

* I originally had the following sentence: "Super Bowl XXXIII was between pre-merger AFL team Denver and the post-merger expansion Falcons." This was excised due to a factual error. The Atlanta Falcons are a pre-merger NFL team. Their team began play in 1967. The merger was not until 1970. The number was updated to reflect that.

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