Hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after winning the Super Bowl is something that every NFL player dreams about when starting their career.
Only a relative few have had the opportunity to actually hold that hardware. Some are lucky enough to hoist it more than once in their career.
There are 12 current NFL franchises that have not had the opportunity to hoist the trophy at all -- meaning there are 12 NFL fan bases starving for that championship feeling.
The Cincinnati Bengals have made it to the Super Bowl twice in their history, losing both times to the San Francisco 49ers following the 1981 and 1988 seasons.
The Bengals were a regular contender in the 1980s, but they haven't won a playoff game since 1990. Cincinnati made the playoffs several times during the Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton eras -- most recently in 2015 -- but weren't considered true championship threats.
Having used the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, there could be another Super Bowl appearance in the Bengals' future.
The Buffalo Bills were very successful in the 1990s. The Bills would make it to four straight Super Bowls during the decade, but would fall short all four times.
Buffalo would make their first Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XXV against the New York Giants. The Giants would beat the Bills 20-19 in one of the most exciting games in Super Bowl history.
Buffalo would make it back in Super Bowl XXVI against Washington but lost decisively, 37-24. Then in back-to-back years they were derailed by the Dallas Cowboys in games that weren't close.
In their four Super Bowl losses, the Bills and Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy ran into a slew of Hall of Fame coaches on the opposing side: Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs and Jimmie Johnson.
The Bills' last playoff win came in 1995 against the Miami Dolphins. Since then, Buffalo has lost five straight playoff games, including the infamous "Music City Miracle" against the Tennessee Titans in 2000.
The Cleveland Browns won four NFL championships in the 1950s and 1960s -- but that was before the existence of the game we know now as the Super Bowl. In the Super Bowl era, the Browns have been shut out of the winner's club.
In 1995, the "original" Browns left Cleveland to become the Baltimore Ravens. In 1999, the NFL granted Cleveland an expansion team and allowed them to reclaim the Browns' name and history.
The Browns haven't had the best luck since their 1999 restart, and even worse, they've had the tough pill to swallow of watching the Ravens win two Super Bowls (2000, 2012).
Cleveland has not had a taste of the playoffs since 2002. Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have not won a playoff game. The Browns have been through 28 starting quarterbacks since 1999. They have also had nine different head coaches.
The Browns are hoping now that third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield and first-year coach Kevin Stefanski can break the playoff drought. They're also hoping that the two can lead the Browns to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.
The Arizona Cardinals have made it to one Super Bowl in their franchise's history. That was against the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2008 season, where the Cardinals would lose 27-23 in Super Bowl XL.
The last time the Cardinals made the playoffs was 2015. They would win their Divisional game against the Green Bay Packers but would lose in the Conference Championship to the Carolina Panthers. Arizona holds a playoff record of 7-9.
The Arizona Cardinals are hoping that QB Kyler Murray can repeat what Kurt Warner did for them in taking them to the Super Bowl. Murray definitely has the potential to take the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. This season may be an opportunity for the Arizona Cardinals and it would be remarkable.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have made one Super Bowl appearance in their franchise's history. Back when they were still the San Diego Chargers, following the 1994 season, the Chargers faced the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX and lost, 49-26.
The Chargers last made the playoffs in 2018, where they would beat the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card game before losing to the Patriots. The Chargers have had a lot of good football teams in recent years but have always fallen short. The Chargers have only made it past the divisional round of the playoffs 3 times in their franchise's history.
Like the Bengals, the Chargers have recently found their franchise quarterback in 2020 draft pick Justin Herbert and are hoping to make a Super Bowl run in the near future. The Chargers have played a total of 30 playoff games and have a record of 12-18. They're hoping that the future will look bright and one day they will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
The Atlanta Falcons have made it to the Super Bowl twice in their franchise's history. They made appearances in Super Bowl XXXIII and Super Bowl LI following the 1998 and 2016 seasons. The Falcons would lose both times, at the hands of two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
In Super Bowl XXXIII, the Falcons would lose to John Elway and the Denver Broncos, 34-19. That was after the Falcons had upset the 15-1 Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game.
Super Bowl LI may be the one appearance that hurts the most for the Atlanta Falcons and their fans. In Super Bowl LI the Atlanta Falcons would meet up with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The Falcons would lead the game 28-3 at halftime when everything changed. The Patriots would make a huge comeback forcing the Falcons to blow a 28-3 lead. The Atlanta Falcons would lose 34-28.
The Jacksonville Jaguars debuted in the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1995. Since then, they have not had the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl. The Jaguars would make their most recent playoff appearance in 2017.
That appearance in 2017 would break a 10-year drought of playoff appearances. Jacksonville made a strong push towards the Super Bowl in 2017 before losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship. Many believe that 2017 was the best opportunity for them to make it to the Super Bowl and potentially win it all.
The Jaguars currently have a playoff record of 7-7 and are going through a rebuilding stage. Recently, they traded away top players on their defense and released their running back. The Jaguars will look to find their franchise quarterback in this years draft and hope for another push at their first appearance in the Super Bowl.
The Detroit Lions are a team on this list that may surprise a lot of fans. The Lions made their last playoff appearance in 2016. The big downfall to the Lions is that they have not won a playoff game since 1991.
The Lions are currently holding a playoff record of 7-13. The Lions are also on the list of teams that have never made it to a Super Bowl.
In 2008, the Detroit Lions failed to win a game in the regular season. The Lions have made big strides since that historically bad 0-16 season. Detroit has stood behind veteran QB Matthew Stafford and are hoping that he can lead them to their first Super Bowl appearance before he's done.
The Carolina Panthers debuted as an expansion franchise the same year as the Jaguars, in 1995. While the Jaguars haven't made it to the Super Bowl yet, the Panthers have played in two Super Bowls, but lost both times.
After the 2003 season, the Panthers would make it to Super Bowl XXXVIII and play against the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and the Patriots would get the best of the Panthers, winning the game 32-29.
Carolina would make it back to the Super Bowl after the 2015 season, led by league MVP quarterback Cam Newton. In the Super Bowl, they ran into Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The Broncos would take down Cam and the Panthers, 24-10.
The Panthers have a 9-8 playoff record in their history. After moving on from Cam Newton this past offseason, the Panthers are hoping that first-year head coach Matt Rhule can take them back to the playoffs.
The Houston Texans are on the list of teams that have never played in the Super Bowl. But in their defense, they are still a relatively new NFL franchise. The Texans debuted as an expansion franchise in 2002.
Houston has made the playoffs six times since then, including last season when they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional round. The Texans are 4-6 all-time in the playoffs.
Formerly known as the Houston Oilers, the Titans relocated to Tennessee in 1997 and changed their name.
The franchise has made it to the Super Bowl once, following the 1999 season. The Titans would play the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, losing 23-16 in one of the most thrilling down-to-the-wire Super Bowls in history.
Last season, the Titans made it to the AFC Championship Game, but lost to the Chiefs.
The Titans have the opportunity to make the playoffs this season. They're equipped with the right tools to make another deep playoff run. Star running back Derrick Henry is looking to carry the Titans on his back again, this time to the Super Bowl.
The Minnesota Vikings went to the Super Bowl four times in the 1970s, but lost each time. The Chiefs, Dolphins, Steelers and Raiders handed the Vikings their losses in the big game.
After the 1998 season, the Vikings had another good chance to win a Super Bowl. They went 15-1 in the regular season and got to the NFC Championship Game led by QB Randall Cunningham and receiver Randy Moss. But the Vikings fell one step short of the Super Bowl, losing to the Falcons in the conference title game.
The Vikings are on the path to rebuilding their football team. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is not quite working out for the Vikings. The Vikings came close to returning to the Super Bowl in 2017 but fell short to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Minnesota Vikings are hoping that the rebuild will be short and they will be on the path to the Super Bowl soon.
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