A collection of the young, talented and successful should be destined for certain future triumph, but as the film Bonfire of the Vanities—or the guys behind Windows Vista—have proven, this is not always the case.
Right now, it's hard to envision a scenario where the Rodgers/Matthews-led world-champion Green Bay Packers would succumb to such a fate. But until those interminable little boxes started flickering across the screen at the start of the "Heat of the Moment" video, the same was said about the '80s super group Asia. In other words, "Only Time Will Tell."
With that in mind, here's a look at the five biggest post-Super Bowl Championship flops of all time:
1988 Washington Redskins
You’d expect the services of Jay Schroeder as a starting QB to be in as much demand as Gary Glitter’s Daycare, but if you were in our nation’s capital in the late '80s, you’d be mistaken.
Fresh off an All-Pro selection in 1986, Schroeder was expected to be the helmsman that made them forget Joe Theismann and his dangling tibia in the Land of The Hogs. Unfortunately, Jay went the route of Joe, winding up on IR late in the '87 season.
This forced Joe Gibbs to hand the ball over to a 32-year-old Doug Williams fresh off a two-year run with the Oklahoma/Arizona Outlaws of the USFL. That Williams was actually third choice as starter behind an undrafted, unknown and frankly made-up-sounding Ed “The Legend” Rubbert was quickly forgotten when ol’ Doug had the game of his life in winning Super Bowl XXII.
Next thing you know, Schroeder was off to Oakland, Williams returned to missing receivers like they were 7:15 Monday morning Poly-Sci classes and the folks in D.C. were left wondering where it all went wrong in a 7-9 year.
1987 New York Giants
We all know Bill Parcells is a genius—just ask him—and like many a genius, he can be temperamental when people fool with his master work. The NFL owners did just that in 1987 when they locked the players out two games into the season.
And the fact that the Giants had already lost those two games made it the perfect time for the pear-shaped Parcells (I wished he coached the Vikings so it would look like they had McDonald’s Grimace on the sidelines) to cop an excuse for his underachieving club.
Thus, when the owners decided to use replacement players in an attempt to force a settlement with the Players Union, Big-Boned Bill announced in a fit of pique that he refused to hold tryouts and would simply use the first 40 bodies that walked through the door. That the team’s replacement QB Mike Busch completed a Ryan Leaf-meets-Quincy Carter-like 36.2 of his passes—and the team lost both games on the way to a 6-9 record—is “Clay Aiken comes out of the closet” kind of shocking.
1969 New York Jets
I know the Jets went 10-4 the year after their stunning upset of the Colts in SB III. They’re included on this list as more of a “Decade of Un-Achievement Award.”
See, after hastening the inevitable AFL-NFL merger with their big win, the Jet-skis' fortunes plummeted faster than the second week ratings for “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”
Between balky knees and chasing every Jill, Jane and Suzy Kolber around Manhattan, Joe Namath lost his mojo; Wilbur Charles Ewbank hung up his “Weeb” jacket; and the fight-song-writing Lou Holtz came and went as the Jets absorbed 12-straight non-winning seasons from 1970-81.
And while the “Uncle Buck of the Toe Suck” Rex Ryan has revived hope in this franchise, a second Super-Bowl appearance still remains elusive for New York’s “other” team.
1999 Denver Broncos
Trying to defend a Super Bowl title with an untested second-year QB, banged-up star RB and aging defense is akin to sending Rosie O’Donnell backstage at Lillith Fair and asking her not to put her tongue on anything: Despite your best efforts, things are bound to get to messy.
After HOF-er John Elway rode off into retirement with back-to-back titles, the offense was turned over to an untested Brian Griese, and the results were predictable—a 187-point decline. Throw in All-Pro Terrell Davis’ ACL snapping like Beats at a poetry reading four games in, a stop group that forced turnovers like a first-quarter NBA defense (25th in the league) and a schedule that went from second-easiest to toughest in the NFL, and it all added up to a playoff-less 6-10 campaign.
1982 San Francisco 49ers
After Dwight Clark’s Cowboy-crushing, back-of-the-end-zone catch propelled the Niners into Super Bowl XVI and a win over the Bengals, things couldn’t look rosier by the Bay. Then, two weeks into the 1982 season, the players walked out like Mel Gibson from Schindler’s List, and everything went to Hell in a hurry for Bill Walsh’s boys.
Following a 57-day hiatus, Joe Montana was good, but not his usual great, the defense redefined mediocre and the run game was as meaningless as a balanced breakfast to Karen Carpenter (ranked dead last). The strike-shortened season ran a mere nine games, and San Fran struggled to a disinterested 3-6 record.
Here's hoping a potential work stoppage doesn’t leave us with this kind of mess in 2011.