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Let's meet again

Rams, Patriots stage 11th rematch in Super Bowl history

Posted: Tuesday January 29, 2002 2:15 AM
  Leonard Little and the Rams contained Tom Brady's Patriots in Week 10, but can they do it again? AP

By Jacob Luft,

Anyone predicting a Rams' rout of the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI might want to take a quick history lesson first, starting with Week 10 of this season.

On Nov. 18 in Foxboro, Mass., the Pats led the Rams 10-7 in the second quarter and had a 1st-and-goal before Antowain Smith fumbled away the football. The Rams would hang on for a 24-17 victory, hardly the type of blowout many experts are predicting for this Sunday.

This will be the 11th time that regular-season opponents meet again in the Super Bowl. In the previous 10, the team that won the first game went 5-5 in the Super Bowl.

So, for the most part, the first game has no bearing on the rematch. The Rams can attest to this first hand, having lost to the Titans in 1999 before defeating them in Super Bowl XXXIV.

However, there is one exception. In the three instances when the first game was decided by double-digit points, the winner of that game went on to win the rematch every time -- the 1994 49ers, the '85 Bears and the '81 49ers. But that doesn't apply to this year's Super Bowl because the Rams only won the first meeting by seven points.

Here is a closer look at the teams that had Super Bowl rematches:

SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XXXIV  St. Louis  Tennessee  23-16  Atlanta 
10/31/99  Tennessee  St. Louis  24-21  Nashville 
Noteworthy: The 6-0 Rams were the only unbeaten team remaining before falling to the Titans 24-21 on Halloween. The Titans then came within a yard of forcing the Rams into overtime in the Super Bowl, losing 23-16. 
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XXIX  San Francisco  San Diego  49-26  Miami 
12/11/94  San Francisco  San Diego  38-15  San Diego 
Noteworthy: The Chargers were never really in either game, allowing a total of eight touchdown passes to Steve Young (six in the Super Bowl) and falling behind 21-0 and 28-10 in both games, respectively. Chargers coach Bobby Ross had it right after the first game: "I don't know that we're at their talent level. I don't believe we are there." 
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XXVIII  Dallas  Buffalo  30-13  Atlanta 
9/12/93  Buffalo  Dallas  13-10  Dallas 
Noteworthy: America groaned as the Bills qualified for their fourth straight Super Bowl, and rightfully so as they proceeded to get blown out again by the Cowboys. Buffalo's Week 2 victory at Texas Stadium was tempered by the fact that Emmitt Smith was holding out. 
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XXV  N.Y. Giants  Buffalo  20-19  Tampa 
12/15/90  Buffalo  N.Y. Giants  17-13  Meadowlands 
Noteworthy: Giants quarterback Phil Simms suffered a season-ending injury in the regular-season loss to the Bills, but backup Jeff Hostetler went on to lead New York past Buffalo in the big game. 
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XXI  N.Y. Giants  Denver  39-20  Pasadena 
11/23/86  N.Y. Giants  Denver  19-16  Meadowlands 
Noteworthy: With less than two minutes remaining in their regular-season matchup, Simms gave the Broncos a sign of things to come by hitting wideout Phil McConkey on a 46-yard pass that set up Raul Allegre for a game-winning 34-yard field goal. The Giants QB blistered the Broncos in the Super Bowl, completing 22-of-25 passes for 268 yards and three TDs. 
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XX  Chicago  New England  46-10  New Orleans 
9/15/85  Chicago  New England  20-7  Chicago 
Noteworthy: The Patriots couldn't solve the Bears' 46 defense in Week 2 and had about the same level of success in the Super Bowl. The Pats had crossed midfield only once in the regular-season game before Tony Eason connected with Craig James for a 90-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.  
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XVIII  L.A. Raiders  Washington  38-9  Tampa, Fla. 
10/2/83  Washington  L.A. Raiders  37-35  Washington, D.C. 
Noteworthy: The Redskins blew a 13-point lead, fell behind 35-20, then scored 17 points in the final six minutes to edge the Raiders in their first encounter. The Raiders nearly won without the services of Marcus Allen, who would go on to be the MVP in the Super Bowl. Also, that first game marked the beginning of Art Monk's record-breaking streak of 183 consecutive games with a reception, which was later broken by Jerry Rice. 
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XVI  San Francisco  Cincinnati  26-21  Detroit 
12/6/81  San Francisco  Cincinnati  21-3  Cincinnati 
Noteworthy: When they met in the regular season, both teams were 10-3 after posting 6-10 records the previous year. After racing to a 20-0 lead in the Super Bowl, the 49ers had a combined 41-3 advantage over the Bengals over the two games. But Cincinnati scored three second-half touchdowns to make the Super Bowl interesting. 
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XV  Oakland  Philadelphia  27-10  New Orleans 
11/23/80  Philadelphia  Oakland  10-7  Philadelphia 
Noteworthy: On Nov. 23, the Eagles won a defensive slugfest that featured 11 sacks and 17 punts. Afterward, Eagles linebacker Frank LeMaster said, "It was about as physical a game as you're going to see. I don't think any of us, on either team, would like to go through that every week." Raiders linebacker Rod Martin was the difference in the Super Bowl with his record-setting three-interception performance. 
SB/Date  Winner  Loser  Score  Location 
XII  Dallas  Denver  27-10  New Orleans 
12/18/77  Dallas  Denver  14-6  Dallas 
Noteworthy: These clubs met in the final week of the regular season and again in the Super Bowl, with the same result. 

Related information
Statitudes: Bears, Pats go worst-to-first
Statitudes: Meeting at the top
Championship Weekend -- By the Numbers
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