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The Super Bowl is the biggest game in America’s biggest sport. Or at least it’s supposed to be. Many times, the most anticipated sporting event of the year turns into a one-way romp that’s over by halftime. Only 18 of 49 Super Bowls have been decided by seven points or less and half of those have occurred since the year 2000. For most of the Super Bowl’s history, the final quarter of the game has been highlighted by announcers trying to find ways to keep you interested enough to watch the rest of the commercials. But it didn’t have to be this way. From 1933 to 1966, the NFL almost always had the best team from each conference square off in the NFL Championship game. Unfortunately, right around the dawn of the Super Bowl in 1967, the NFL decided to put this silly obstacle course in front of their championship game called “the Playoffs”. Many years, while one team is humiliating an inferior, overmatched opponent in front of hundreds of millions of viewers, another worthy challenger is sitting at home wondering what might have been if a few things could have been changed. 

Well, wonder no more! Starting tomorrow, every day up until the Super Bowl I will attempt to fix a bad Super Bowl by substituting the pathetic loser with a stronger team that was available that season. I will then analyze the new hypothetical matchup and make a completely baseless prediction. That sounds fun right!? But first…
In selecting the best replacement Super Bowls, I had to set some ground rules. The first rule is I can only change Super Bowls that were bad games. As much as I would have loved to have seen the 1990 49ers take on the 1990 Bills, the real Super Bowl XXV was a classic, and worthy of the stage it was on. The only games I will propose changes to are ones that were not competitive or if mildly competitive, not very entertaining (I’m looking at you Super Bowl XL!).

The second rule is I cannot remove the actual Super Bowl champion from the game. Certainly, the 1993 49ers and 1993 Chiefs (and the resulting Steve Young vs. Joe Montana matchup) would have been a better Super Bowl XXVIII than a Dallas vs. Buffalo rematch. However, any 1993 matchup not including the Cowboys would likely have been better, since Dallas was the best team in the NFL that year with the second-best scoring offense, the second-best scoring defense, and three dominant playoff wins over some of the best other teams 1993 had to offer. 

But I am going to apply this rule even in situations where the real Super Bowl champion wasn’t the best team. Maybe the 2010 Packers weren’t the best team in the NFL, but four of that year's best were given a chance to eliminate them and none of them could. That evidence is too hard for me to ignore. So here’s to you, 1980 Raiders, 2000 Ravens, 2005 Steelers, and even those pesky 2011 Giants. You get to keep your titles…for now.

The final rule is I cannot alter a Super Bowl in which the loser was clearly the best opponent for the eventual winner. Super Bowl XXIV may have been a 55-10 San Francisco destruction of Denver, but the 1989 Broncos had the best scoring defense in the NFL and won two more games than any other team in the AFC. If they couldn’t stay within six touchdowns of the 49ers, no AFC team from 1989 could have made Super Bowl XXIV competitive. So, sorry football fans from 1976, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2005 (consider yourself lucky Super Bowl XL), and 2013; you are stuck with your Super Sunday snoozer. 

I will break down each situation by giving a brief account of the Super Bowl that actually occurred. Then I will substitute a new team from that season that I think would have provided the Super Bowl winner a greater challenge. I will also provide what I call the Reality Displacement Index. This section will explain just how much history we will have to change to get this new team to the Super Bowl. This rating will be on a scale of 1 to 10; with 1 only needing a few plays to get this team to the big dance, and 10 practically requiring a miracle, as multiple playoff games will have to be re-imagined. 

I will then give you a breakdown of this new matchup and pick a winner. Remember, this is just my opinion. As some of the real-life Super Bowls have shown, picking the correct winner can be more luck than logic. If you disagree with my predictions, which many of you will, give me your pick and explanation in the comments below. 

Finally, I have ranked each game by how good I think these new substitute Super Bowls would have been. Things I took into account are the expected quality of game, the players involved, and the quality of the two teams involved. Many of these new games will have some of the greatest teams in NFL history squaring off and would have decided just who is among the greatest Super Bowl champions in history. 

Check back tomorrow for number 10 on the list! Let’s start by trying to fix the worst Super Bowl of them all…

The List:

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