On Thursday night, Kawhi Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship in franchise history. They turned a major offseason trade into their first Finals appearance and championship. In the NFL, there are 12 teams who have never won a Super Bowl. Of those 12, four teams have never even played in the Super Bowl (Lions, Jaguars, Texans, Browns). Of the teams who have never won, who could win their first Super Bowl this season?
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers only Super Bowl appearance came back in 1994 in Super Bowl XXIX, when they were still the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers lost that game to the 49ers 49-26 and have not made it back since.
Of all the teams without a Super Bowl championship, the Chargers were the only one to win a playoff game last year. They are one of the favorites to come out of the AFC next season. As quarterback Philip Rivers hits the home stretch of his career, this season may be his best chance ever to capture a Super Bowl because of the Chargers’ wide array of talent on both sides of the ball.
On offense, Philip Rivers played like the Hall of Famer he is last season and should be the same star quarterback this year. He still has great weapons on offense including Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Melvin Gordon. The offensive line has added a couple of solid players, including Forrest Lamp who will return from a knee injury. This offense, which finished top ten last season, should be one of the best in the league.
The Chargers have a lot of talent defensively as well, on all levels of the defense. Their front four including Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will be great at rushing the passer. The defensive backfield is arguably the most talented in football, with guys like Casey Hayward and Derwin James. If the Chargers can stay healthy and give Philip Rivers time in the pocket, they are a legitimate contender to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Cleveland has the best chance to win their first Super Bowl of the four teams who have never even made it to the big game. They probably have the second best chance behind Los Angeles of all the teams without a Vince Lombardy Trophy. Cleveland used to be an NFL powerhouse in the days before the Super Bowl, but have not come close to that success during the Super Bowl era. Their fan base recently went through nearly twenty years of suffering, but the Browns finally have turned it around.
After a tremendous offseason which including landing players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon and Kareem Hunt, the Browns have high expectations for this season. They are the favorites to win the AFC North and make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. On offense, they have an absolute stockpile of talent at all of the skill positions. The defense has a talented group of young players who have shown playmaking ability and are only improving.
It is very difficult for a team to go from mediocrity to a Super Bowl championship in one season. The Browns added a ton of talent through free agency, trades and the draft. However, the players will have to develop chemistry with each other. Head coach Freddie Kitchens has shown his ability to get players on the same page and win games. He will have to take it to another level this season in order to find success in the playoffs
This team has some similarities to the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams were coming off seven win seasons with a talented second-year quarterback. They both had a smart, second-year head coach. The Eagles that year, just like these Browns, had added a ton of veteran talent in the offseason. They went on to win the Super Bowl. These Browns, unlikely as it is, have an opportunity to pull off the same feat. If the Cleveland Browns could somehow go from winning one game over two seasons to winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history, that would be the greatest turnaround in sports history. Needless to say, their desperate fans greatly deserve to witness their first Super Bowl.
“From Our Haus to Yours”