The city of Atlanta has hosted the Super Bowl twice previously heading into tonight’s matchup between the Rams and Patriots. The Rams will be participating in their second Atlanta Super Bowl, oddly enough, while the Patriots will be the second AFC team to make it. It will also, obviously, be the first Super Bowl in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Before we get into a quick look back at the last two, with all their weather-related drama and Dallas Cowboys, here’s your tidbit of the day: An AFC team has yet to win a Super Bowl in Atlanta. If you’re not a huge fan of the New England Patriots, you’ll hope that trend continues.
Super Bowl XXXIV: Tennessee Titans 16 vs. St. Louis Rams 23
This Super Bowl nearly launched a Rams dynasty, as St. Louis came agonizingly close to winning two Super Bowls in three years. It was a great game decided by a goal line tackle, but it was also a Super Bowl defined by the weather, and one that kept the game out of the city for nearly two decades.
First, the game: Kurt Warner and arguably the most prolific offense in the NFL managed just 23 points against a very game Titans defense, despite Warner throwing for 414 yards with no interceptions, and Steve McNair and the Titans offense did just enough to stay in it until the very end. It came down to a timely tackle by Rams linebacker Mike Jones, who stopped Titans receiver Kevin Dyson just shy of a touchdown as time expired to seal the win. The Titans would go on to make the playoffs three out of the next four seasons, falling short of a Super Bowl each time, and have been only sporadically relevant since. The Rams went four out of the next five seasons, reaching the Super Bowl again in 2001 but finding themselves upset by the Tom Brady-led Patriots, the start of that franchise’s long and annoying dynasty, before starting a decade-long playoff drought broken last year. It was their first, and so far only, Super Bowl win.
And then, the weather: Atlanta got a vanishingly rare winter storm the week of the Super Bowl. Despite the city handling things pretty damn admirably, the difficulty of getting around the city in that kind of weather appeared to scare off the NFL until Mercedes-Benz Stadium came around with all its bells and whistles.
The Rams, then, will try to become one of the few teams to win a Super Bowl multiple times in the same city, and try to get revenge for a Super Bowl they lost 17 years ago. No history there, no sir.
Super Bowl XXVIII: Buffalo Bills 13 vs. Dallas Cowboys 30
This was the final humiliation of the Buffalo Bills, a cursed mega team that dominated the early 90s but had absolutely nothing to show for it, Lombardi-wise, when their run was over.
The Bills are the only team in NFL history to make four consecutive Super Bowls and lose all of them, an incredible streak of futility for a team loaded with Hall of Famers and superbly coached. This one was one of the saddest efforts, too, as the Bills took control early and then fell apart against a Dallas team that was in the midst of its own run of domination.
The Cowboys went into halftime down 13-6 and struggling to get the offense going, but they scored 24 unanswered points in the second half and Emmitt Smith utterly dominated the Bills defense along the way.
Neither team would ever reach these heights again. The Cowboys won their third Super Bowl in four years just two seasons later, but since 1995 they’ve never even made it beyond the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Bills have fared far worse than that, with just five playoff appearances since their Super Bowl loss and only one advancement as far as the Divisional Round, becoming one of the laughingstocks of the NFL along the way. For our perspective as grumpy Falcons fans, that means the Falcons have been vastly more successful over the last 20 years than the storied Cowboys franchise, which is something.
As a side note, this was O.J. Simpson’s final sideline appearance as an announcer, as he’d be arrested months later for murder.
So there’s your Atlanta Super Bowl history. Enjoy the game today, folks.