Déjà Vu All Over Again? A Special History of Super Bowl Rematches
The matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks earlier this season gave football fans a special and uncommon treat: the game marked only the seventh time two Super Bowl participants would meet again the following season. Of the past six rematches, five came in the regular season and one in the next year’s Super Bowl. Take a walk down memory lane with us as we go back in football history to revisit each pairing and who ultimately came out on top. How many of these games do you remember?
All statistics come from Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Chiefs-Vikings, September 20, 1970
After the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV to win what remains the franchise’s only Super Bowl trophy, the tables were turned eight months later. The Vikings never trailed en route to a 27-10 win at home, and although the total yardage was nearly identical (220-218), Minnesota forced four Chiefs turnovers in the game (getting some semblance of revenge after the Vikings coughed up the ball five times in the Super Bowl defeat).
Raiders-Vikings, December 11, 1977
The Oakland Raiders followed up a 32-14 victory over Minnesota in Super Bowl XI with a similarly dominant 35-13 triumph the following December. After Oakland’s Clarence Davis ran for 132 yards in the Super Bowl meeting, it was Mark van Eeghen’s turn to gash the Vikes’ defense in the rematch; he went over the century mark with 112 yards on the ground and a score. Ken Stabler added three touchdown passes in the Raiders’ regular-season win at home, as they took advantage of the absence of Minnesota star quarterback Fran Tarkenton (broken fibula).
Cowboys-Steelers, October 28, 1979
Terry Bradshaw’s Pittsburgh Steelers picked up right where they left off in the 1979 season, building on a 35-31 Super Bowl XIII win over Dallas the past January (which included four Bradshaw scoring tosses) with a 14-3 victory in the teams’ rematch that October. The Steelers went on to repeat as Super Bowl champions, which gave the franchise four titles in a six-year span. Franco Harris scored two rushing touchdowns for Pittsburgh in the October victory at Three Rivers Stadium, while Dallas legend Roger Staubach was sidelined for part of the game after suffering a concussion.
Bills-Cowboys, September 12, 1993
The Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills met three times in a 365-day span between January 1993 and January 1994, and the Bills won the only game that really doesn’t matter all that much. Buffalo became the first road team to win a Super Bowl rematch, avenging a lopsided 52-17 scoreline in Super Bowl XXVII with a 13-10 win at Texas Stadium in September. The Cowboys outgained the Bills 393-229, but committed four costly turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by Troy Aikman. Both teams would go on to finish the season with identical 12-4 records, and their paths would collide again soon.
Bills-Cowboys, January 30, 1994 (Super Bowl XXVIII)
The rematch that counted took place in the Georgia Dome, and it was the Cowboys once again taking home the hardware. Dallas outscored Buffalo 24-0 after halftime to rally from a 13-6 deficit and win Super Bowl XXVIII 30-13. While Aikman didn’t come close to matching his four-touchdown performance in the previous season’s championship game, Emmitt Smith’s 132 rushing yards and two touchdowns were enough to send Buffalo to a record fourth straight Super Bowl defeat. How does the saying go? Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
Packers-Patriots, October 27, 1997
After the Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI, the much-anticipated rematch took place during an October Monday Night Football showdown in Foxboro. Green Bay once again got the better of its host, scoring a touchdown in each quarter on the way to a 28-10 victory. Three of the Packers’ scores came courtesy of Brett Favre’s right arm as Dorsey Levens, Mark Chmura, and Robert Brooks caught touchdown passes from No. 4.
Seahawks-Broncos, September 21, 2014
The Seattle Seahawks became the first team in 35 years to win a Super Bowl rematch at home when they held off the Denver Broncos 26-20 in overtime on September 21, 2014. Peyton Manning’s Broncos mounted a furious rally in the fourth quarter to tie the game, scoring 17 of their 20 points in the period, including a 40-second drive that culminated with a touchdown and two-point conversion in the final minute. But, in overtime, it was Russell Wilson’s Seahawks that won the all-important coin flip, and the home team marched right down the field for a game-winning six-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch. If only every Super Bowl rematch went more than 60 minutes!