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NFL 2014: Who’s the Next First-Time Super Bowl Champion?

Yahoo Contributor Network

Do we finally have a breakthrough?

Less than two weeks ago, the Seattle Seahawks became the first team since the 2009 New Orleans Saints to win its first Super Bowl title. Pete Carroll's club embarrassed the Denver Broncos, 43-8, in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Seahawks became the 19th different franchise in the NFL to capture a Lombardi Trophy. Remember that there have been 48 Super Bowl titles. So when you actually do the math, you realize that's there's not a lot of variety when it comes to our champions.

It also means there are still 13 clubs that haven't prevailed in the Big Game to date.

Of course, you have to be in it to win it. That has yet to be the case when it comes to the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars in regards to Super Sunday. In fact, this upcoming season will mark 50 years since the Browns' last NFL title (1964) while the Lions haven't won the whole ball of wax since 1957.

However, there's also the Arizona Cardinals (0-1), Atlanta Falcons (0-1), Buffalo Bills (0-4), Carolina Panthers (0-1), Cincinnati Bengals (0-2), Minnesota Vikings (0-4), Philadelphia Eagles (0-2), San Diego Chargers (0-1) and Tennessee Titans (0-1)? Those clubs have combined for 17 Super Bowl appearances, without a win.

Starting in 1997, it appeared for a stretch that every team was going to get something shiny to put in their trophy case. That season marked the front end of the back-to-back Super Bowl wins by the Broncos, who had been 0-4 on Super Sunday before capturing XXXII and XXXIII. Those Denver titles were followed the next four seasons by first-time Super Bowl winners in the St. Louis Rams (XXIV), Baltimore Ravens (XXXV), New England Patriots (XXXVI) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (XXXVII).

But since Tampa Bay's win over the Oakland Raiders in San Diego, the only two first-time winners in the last 11 Super Bowls have been the Saints (XLIV) and the aforementioned Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Patriots, Steelers and Giants have all added two more championships, the Colts, Packers and Ravens one each.

So which team is the next most likely candidate to win that first Super Bowl title? Entering last season, the Falcons and Texans certainly looked like strong contenders. However, both suffered through miserable campaigns in 2013 and now must work their way back into the playoff picture.

Could the Bengals, Panthers, Eagles and Chargers be on the cusp of something special? All four reached the playoffs this past season and all but San Diego captured a division title. And while they were on the outside looking in come the postseason, the Cardinals finished with a 10-6 mark in 2013.

So who's next on the first-time Super Bowl winners list? All guesses are welcome.

Russell S. Baxter has been covering the NFL for 30-plus years on all platforms. He is the founder of ProFootballGuru.com, writes for numerous websites and publications across the country and is blessed with an encyclopedic memory. Ready to talk NFL? Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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