We are still more than a week away from playing Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. It is biggest betting event of the year, and the Seahawks continue to be slight underdogs. It is incredibly difficult to get to this point, even with a talented roster, that the Seahawks would be wise to win now instead of expecting to make it back. Oddsmakers, like the ones over at sports.bwin.com/en/nfl, have already installed the Seahawks at 5/1 odds to return to the big game next year.
William Hill has listed the Broncos, Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers as equal contenders for the NFL crown next season. The Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and New England Patriots are next at 12/1 odds. The rest of the NFC West, despite having the strongest division in football, does not get much love as the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals come in at 50/1 and 40/1 odds, respectively.
Much of that is likely due to the power of the 49ers and Seahawks, but anyone that saw the NFC West games this season would be unlikely to dismiss any of the teams in that division. The Rams own two high picks in the first-round, and have finally figured out how important running the football is. That could change the career trajectory of Sam Bradford when he comes back. The Cardinals will have some tough personnel decisions to make on veterans like Darnell Dockett, but there is some terrific young talent on that squad. Although, it is hard to imagine Carson Palmer guiding a team to the Lombardi trophy at this point in his career.
The odds for Seattle largely can be explained by a young, talented roster that should be able to stay together as much as the front office desires it to. They have now proven they can get to the big game, and hope to soon answer the question positively about whether they can be champions. Getting to the Super Bowl is incredibly hard. Getting back to the Super Bowl the year after losing it is almost unheard of. The 49ers tried this year, and would have been the first team since the 1994 Buffalo Bills to accomplish the feat. The 1972 Miami Dolphins were the last team to win a Super Bowl the year after losing the Super Bowl. The 1971 Dallas Cowboys were the only other team to accomplish that trick. In other words, losing the Super Bowl is not a good omen if you want to eventually win one.
Winning one, however, can beget others. The 2004 Patriots were the last team to appear in two straight Super Bowls, winning both. Their run began in 2001 with a win, and then they appeared in, and won, three of four Super Bowls. They also made the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowls, although they lost those games.
The Broncos won their first Super Bowl in 1997 and came back to do it again the next season. The Packers won a Super Bowl with Mike Holmgren in 1996 and made it back the next year in a game they lost to the Broncos. Get your first, and the chances of getting your next increase substantially if you believe patterns in history repeat.