Defending a title is very common around the sports world, we’ve seen Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona do it numerous times down the years in football but why is it so difficult to do it in the NFL?
Well there are quite a few reasons for this and the most crucial one is free agency.
Many teams go through major changes to their squads from year to year because of free agency; this year the Baltimore Ravens come into the season with no real expectations of defending their Super Bowl crown due to a large change in their personnel.
Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, three vital cogs in the Super Bowl run gone from the team a very tough situation to overcome.
In the last 20 years only two teams have ever been able to successfully retain their crown, the Dallas Cowboys in 93 and 94, Denver Broncos in 98, 99 and finally the New England Patriots in 03 and 04.
This shows how difficult it is to keep a team together for a sustained period of success. I doubt anyone will have picked the Ravens to repeat last year’s performance and last years defending champions, New York Giants, failed to even qualify for the playoffs
The fact that there is only one trophy to win every season means that it’s all or nothing for every team, the effort required to capture that prize can often result in a drop of the next year.
Almost as if the pressure to succeed, which wasn’t there for many teams while they were winning it, was now too much and many cannot live up to that.
I mentioned the New York Giants earlier and they are classic example of winning it all when no one expected them to and failing when the spotlight is on them and no where is more pressure filled than playing for a New York sports team.
It is unlikely that we will see the Ravens lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at MetLife Stadium in February, but the whole league has to be aware that this is the same team that was written off last year and we all know how that ended.
image: © pleeker