The Green Bay Packers have lost two straight NFC Championship games and I, for whatever reason, thought it would be hard to advance that far three years in a row. Turns out it’s not that hard, in fact it is almost common. 16 times it has happened in the NFC and another 7 times in the AFC. The Packers have done it three times themselves.
The NFL didn’t have championship games until 1933. Prior to that the team with the best record won the title and the Packers did that three times, in 1929, ’30 and ’31. Since then the Packers were in three straight championship games in 1960-62, 1965-67, and 1995-97. The Packers went 7-2 in those games, losing in 1960 and 1995. The Packers won that third straight appearance all three times, winning two NFL championships.
Check out sites like comeon.com for example, to see how the Packers’ odds look to return to the NFC Championship game again next year.
It was easy from the start
It actually happened the first three years the league held a championship game, with the New York Giants appearing in the game from 1933 to 1935. They lost two those games, including the third. The Bears went to four straight championship games in the early forties and the Eagles did three straight in the late forties. And of course there is no pattern here, the Bears won the first two and lost the third while the Eagles lost the first and won the next two.
The Rams and Browns did it in the fifties. The Browns actually advancing to six straight championship games, winning three NFL titles. The Rams lost the first two and won the third, so it’s doable. The Rams beat the Browns in their third attempt in a rematch of the previous years game. I could easily see a Packers-Bucs rematch in 2021.
Still common after the merger
As previously mentioned, the Packers dominated most of the sixties. They won five championships in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls. No other NFL team has won three straight NFL championships and only three have been to three straight Super Bowls, but I digress.
The AFL started up in early sixties and they also had their share of three-straighters. Houston did it from 1960-62 and the Chargers 1963-65. Later, after the NFL-AFL merger, the Raiders made four straight from 1967-70. They only won the first and we all know that season ended for them in Super Bowl II.
The Raiders actually went to six AFC championship games in the 70s, adding five straight from ’73 to ’77. They only won the Super Bowl after the ’76 season, however. Sounds eerily familiar to a certain team I follow, if you ask me.
The seventies were dominated by three teams, the Steelers, Raiders and Cowboys. Dallas went to four straight from 1970-73. Only one Super Bowl for the Cowboys in that stretch, though. Miami went to three straight from 1971-73. They won all three and two Super Bowls.
The Cowboys were the only team to get to three straight in the eighties, losing all of them.The 49ers made three straight from ’88 to ’90 and two more times as well, once in the nineties and again in 2010s. And lest we forget the Buffalo Bills, who won four straight AFC Championships in the early nineties only to lose four straight Super Bowls. Ouch!
As much as I would like to, you can’t forget the New England Patriots, who went to eight straight AFC Championships from 2011 to 2018. Crazy.
So there is a good chance the Pack will be back
The bottom line after all that is it is not really that hard to get back to the championship game three times in a row. It’s seems like the dominant teams of their eras were and constantly knocking on the door to the Super Bowl. The Packers are again one of the best teams in the NFC and will certainly be right in the hunt for another appearance next year. Now we know it’s that tough.