A History of Super Bowl Rematches

Super Bowl LIII is the eighth rematch in the big game's 53-year history

A lot has changed since the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams met in Super Bowl XXXVI. The Rams have since moved back to their former home of Los Angeles and have gone from "The Greatest Show on Turf" to a franchise that could once again be on the verge of greatness. Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the Patriots have gone from Cinderella story to the greatest run by a quarterback and franchise in NFL history. Of the eight rematches in Super Bowl history, Super Bowl LIII between the Patriots and Rams may be the most poetic. Here is a brief rundown of the other seven.


Super Bowl XIII

Rematch: Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

The Steelers and Cowboys first met in Super Bowl X when Pittsburgh was the defending Super Bowl champion. That was before the "Mel Blount Rule" and MVP Lynn Swann's four amazing catches proved to be the difference in the Steelers' 21-17 win. When they met again, Dallas was the defending champion and Pittsburgh was sporting its best team ever. It also was the first year of the Mel Blount Rule so unlike Super Bowl X, this game was a good old-fashioned shootout. Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach threw for a combined seven touchdowns in what was the highest scoring Super Bowl to that point. In the end, the Steelers had more firepower.


Super Bowl XVII

Rematch: Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17

The Dolphins and Redskins met in Super Bowl VII, with Miami winning 14-7 to cap the only perfect season (17-0) in NFL history. They met again 10 years later in the very imperfect, strike-shortened season of 1982 and Dolphins offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg and defensive end Vern Den Herder were the only players from the '72 squad still on the roster (No Redskins from Super VII were still on the roster). This time, it was Washington's turn for greatness.


Super Bowl XXIII

Rematch: San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16

The 49ers' dynasty was launched with their 26-21 win over the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. It was cemented with this win over the Cincinnati in the rematch. When Joe Montana entered the huddle for the game-winning drive, a Bengals player said, "We got 'em." Cincinnati wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, who had played in Super Bowl XVI, asked if No. 16 was in the huddle. When the player acknowledged that he was, Collinsworth replied, "Then we haven't got 'em." He was right.


Super Bowl XXVIII

Rematch: Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13

The Cowboys and Bills are the only two teams to play each other in the Super Bowl two years in a row. In the first game, Dallas slaughtered Buffalo 52-17 in one of the biggest blowouts Super Bowl history. In the rematch, the Bills led 13-6 at halftime, but the Cowboys ran away with the game in the second half.


Super Bowl XXX

Rematch: Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

The Cowboys and Steelers met for an unprecedented third time and much of the hype around this game focused on their 1970s rivalry. This time, however, Dallas won in a game that matched the excitement of their first two matchups.


Super Bowl XLVI

Rematch: New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17

The 10-6 Giants upset the undefeated Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII thanks to a great defense and an unbelievable completion from Eli Manning to David Tyree on the game-winning drive. This time, New York was 9-7 and won again with stout defense and a slightly more believable pass from Manning to Mario Manningham on the Giants' final drive.


Super Bowl LII

Rematch: Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England Patriots 33

The Patriots beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX to win their third Super Bowl in four years. When they met again 13 years, Tom Brady was the only returning player, but New England once again had an opportunity to accomplish that same feat. But this time, Philadelphia had more firepower and brought home the first title to the City of Brotherly Love since 1960.


— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

Event Date: 
Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 08:52
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