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Which Four NFL Teams Have Never Played In The Super Bowl?

The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 2024, after both teams were victorious in their championship games this past Sunday. It will be a rematch of two teams we saw match up in the big game five years ago, and it promises to be a competitive contest, with the betting line opening with a spread of just 1.5 points.

Lions Blow Chance At First Super Bowl Appearance

It may not be the matchup that America wanted to see, though. The Chiefs will be playing in their 4th Super Bowl in the last 5 seasons, and it will be the 6th appearance for the franchise overall. For the 49ers, it will be their 3rd in the last 11 seasons, and puts them into a three-way tie for the second-most appearances in league history with 8.

Combined, they have made up for 14 Super Bowl appearances in their histories, or 12% of all possible slots in the history of the game. But had the 49ers not rallied from a 17-point 4th quarter deficit in the NFC Championship, we would have had a long-suffering franchise qualify for the first time in their team’s history.

Which Four Teams Have Never Played In The Super Bowl?

Instead, there are still four NFL teams who have never taken part in the biggest game of all:

Detroit Lions

They are one of the oldest franchises in the league today, having started play all the way back in 1930. Detroit was rather successful in the 50s, taking home 3 NFL Championships while being one of the most accomplished teams of the decade. But things haven’t gone as smoothly since the advent of the Super Bowl in 1967.

The Lions have still never played in the big game, and just blew their best chance in their most recent game. They have only been to the NFC Championship Game twice in the Super Bowl era, once back in 1991 and again on Sunday against the 49ers. They were 30 minutes away from cutting this list down to three, but will remain as one of the teams to never play for the Lombardi Trophy.

Cleveland Browns

Like the Lions, the Browns are one of the oldest remaining franchises in the league, which makes their lack of Super Bowl appearances equally tough to swallow. They were the most dominant team in football during their early existence, playing in 10 straight championship games and taking home 7 titles between 1946 and 1955.

They haven’t even come close to sniffing a spot in the Super Bowl since the start of the 1990s, but they came heartbreakingly close multiple times in the 20 years prior. From 1968 until 1989, Cleveland made it to five AFC Championship Games, but wound up losing each one. During a four-year stretch in the 80s, they finished as the runner-up in the conference three times.

Jacksonville Jaguars

They certainly don’t have the longevity when it comes to suffering fans, but the Jaguars have been close more than once since they came into the league in 1995. It didn’t take them long, as they were able to advance to the AFC Championship in just their second year, but lost to the pre-Brady Patriots in 1996. They lost again in 1999, this time to the Titans, which began a streak of just one playoff win in 17 years.

In similar fashion to what happened to the Lions this year, Jacksonville took a 20-10 lead into the 4th quarter against the Patriots in 2017, only to have Brady and company mount a comeback and dash their hopes. They’ve only been back to the playoffs one time since.

Houston Texans

They’ve only been a part of the NFL since 2002, and the Texans have never even really been close to making a Super Bowl. They were a perennial playoff team during the 2010s, winning six division titles in the span of nine years, but have never made it past the divisional round in the history of their franchise.

But things are looking up, as they were able to finish as one of the top 4 teams in the AFC in just their first year under a new regime and with a rookie quarterback.

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