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One and Done?

Packers_Green_Bay_700_Rodgers
12/19/2011
The Green Bay Packers lost their bid for a perfect season this past weekend when they fell 19-14 to the Kansas City Chiefs. Although there are probably many unhappy Packers fans this morning they should take note that a one-loss regular season is almost as rare as going undefeated. If the Packers win their final two games of the regular season, they would become only the sixth franchise since the AFL-NFL merger (and fifth since the league adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978) to finish the year with only one mark in the loss column. Every team that has lost only one game since 1970 has advanced at least to their conference championship while three have won the Super Bowl.

Who were the teams that gave this "one-loss crew" their only defeat? A few didn't even make the playoffs but most were legitimate title contenders. Perhaps the most interesting is the the 1976 Oakland Raiders who were able to take revenge on the team that handed them their only loss.

That year the New England Patriots walloped Oakland 48-17 in a Week 4 matchup in Foxboro, Mass. Things looked the same for the Patriots who again met the Raiders, this time in Oakland, in the divisional playoff. Led by quarterback Steve Grogan, the Patriots entered the fourth quarter with a commanding 21-10 lead. Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler refused to give up and led his team to an incredible comeback. He first moved his team on a 70-yard drive capped by a touchdown run by Mark van Eeghen. Then in the closing moments of the game, Stabler scored on one-yard TD plunge with 10 second left to give the Raiders a 24-21 victory. Oakland cruised through the rest of the playoffs to win their first Super Bowl.

Year Team Record Playoff Result Lost in Reg. Season to Opponent Record Playoffs
2004 Pittsburgh Steelers 15-1 Lost in AFC Championship Baltimore Ravens 9-7 no
1998 Minnesota Vikings 15-1 Lost in NFC Championship Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-8 no
1985 Chicago Bears 15-1 Won Super Bowl XX Miami Dolphins 12-4 Lost in AFC Championship
1984 San Francisco 49ers 15-1 Won Super Bowl XIX Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 Lost in AFC Championship
1976 Oakland Raiders 13-1 Won Super Bowl XI New England Patriots 11-3 Lost in Div. Playoff to Oak
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