Super Bowl Chances: The Top 10 Contenders in 2011

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Super Bowl Chances: The Top 10 Contenders in 2011

NFL Free Agency and the Salary Cap went into effect in 1993—although initially the league’s two best teams – the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers – still remained at the top in 1994 and 1995, the reality is that Free Agency began to alter the NFL.

Every single season, teams surprise and become contenders when simply not expected to and rapid rises to success are common – as Free Agency provides a method for teams to acquire game changing talent much faster than simply through the draft.  The 1999 St. Louis Rams and 2008 Arizona Cardinals are great examples of teams that unexpectedly won their Conferences.  In addition, it is extremely common for a team to win their Division in just as unexpected a way:  2008 Miami Dolphins (1-15 to 11-5) and 2010 Kansas City Chiefs (4-12 to 10-6)

Nonetheless, those are still the exceptions rather than the rule – while “Real Dynasties” are a thing of the past – it’s impossible to keep a team completely together, there is unquestionable proof that teams can continue to win over an extended period with a core group of players. 

In the AFC – Pittsburgh, New England and Indianapolis have combined to win the last 8 Lamar Hunt Trophies, and if you include Baltimore (another team with consistent success), that number increases to those 4 teams winning 10 of last 11 AFC Championships and 8 Lombardi Trophy wins.

In the NFC – While there has not been the outright domination with multiple Super Bowl appearances and wins, only two teams (Rams & Giants) won the George Halas Trophy more than once over the last 13 years – the Eagles, Packers and Seahawks would qualify as the teams that not only consistently won but contended, with the Packers being the only one with a Lombardi.

While it’s possible that a team can surprise, contend or even outright win the Super Bowl not listed in this slideshow – it’s far more likely that we’ll see at least one if not two unexpected division winners; the following list represented in declining order the likelihood of each team winning Super Bowl XLVI.

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