It’s the refrain you hear every year from members of the losing team after the Super Bowl is over. “ We have a good young team, feel good about what’s ahead and we’ll be back.”. Ehh.. maybe? Look the Rams in Super Bowl 56 proved it’s absolutely possible. 3 years removed from a Super loss in which they only scored 3 points they hoisted the Lombardi trophy Sunday night. While it’s POSSIBLE.. history suggests it’s far from likely.
Let’s start with the positives for the Bengals, who fell to 0-3 in Super Bowls with the loss to the Rams. They have a generational QB in Joe Burrow, outstanding talent at WR and RB in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon. The pick ups of Mike Hilton and Trey Hendrickson on defense this off season provided immediate impact and will be around for a while, plus they have 50 million in cap space and all their future draft picks. Now, the downside: they have a bunch of free agents at key positions, especially on the defensive line. Their offensive line is borderline terrible. Including the 19 times Burrow was sacked in the post season he hit the deck 70 times in the regular and post season combined, that is simply not sustainable. In his rookie year of 2002 Texans QB David Carr was sacked 76 times and quite frankly never recovered. Like the Chiefs this past off season Cincinnati has to put a premium on rebuilding the weakest unit on the team or Burrow’s career could be short and painful.
And speaking of the Chiefs, perhaps that’s really the biggest problem for Cincinnati, they play in the AFC. Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert all are willing and able to stand in the way of Burrow leading his team back to the final game of the season,. Hell the Chiefs just did something no one had ever done before, host a conference championship game 4 years in a row. And even with that the only went to 2 Super Bowls and won only one of them. The point being.. this bleep is HARD to do.
History is filled with teams with great QBs that never got back, The Falcons had Matt Ryan in his MVP season in 2016, lost Super Bowl 51 in epic fashion and haven’t come close to getting back since.
Aaron Rodgers just completed his 14th season as the starter in Green Bay. He’s been there exactly once. But perhaps the most cautionary tale for the Bengals and Burrow is Dan Marino and Miami. Like Burrow Marino led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl. They were destroyed by Joe Montana and the Niners in Super Bowl 19 38-16.
After the game Dolphins WR Jimmy Cefalo, who had just finished his 7th and final season with Miami, got in the back of a limo he was sharing with Marino. Before he sad down Marino tossed him a beer and said.. “ man did we get the shit kicked out of us or what?”..with a big smile on his face. The point being, Marino was young and talented, he thought for sure he’d have another crack at it. He and Miami never saw the Super stage again. Will Burrow and the Bengals? The best anyone can say is… maybe? And that’s why when you have a chance to seal the deal take it for what it might possibly be: a one and done opportunity.