In honor of the playoffs kicking off next week. I think that numbers 5 and 1 will meet this year, but I've been making that prediction for about five years now, so we'll see.
5. San Diego Chargers
What puts the Chargers ahead of teams with longer histories, such as the Lions and the Cardinals, is that they have two periods of excellence in the Super Bowl era: the old Dan Fouts/Kellen Winslow teams; and the current run begun by Marty Shottenheimer and Drew Brees, and continued by Norv Turner and Philip Rivers. I would be willing to bet my mortgage that the Chargers will beat the Colts (if they face them) in the AFC title game this year.
4. Buffalo Bills
Mostly an NFL also-ran, the Bills accomplished one of the great feats in NFL history, reaching four straight Super Bowls. Of course, they lost all four, by increasingly large margins. So they have somehow become synonymous with losing and failure, which seems wholly unfair, but them's the breaks. Buffalo's first loss was immortalized in Vincent D'onofrio's Buffalo '66, so there's that.
3. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have a couple of unfortunate firsts in their history: they were the first team to reach four Super Bowls and loose them all; and they were the first team with a record of 15-1 or better to not even reach the Super Bowl. That year, 1998, might be the ultimate bitter pill, as kicker Gary Anderson went all year without missing a kick-- until the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game, when he missed a field goal that would have put the Vikings up by two possessions. Atlanta scored the tying touchdown and won in overtime.
2. Cleveland Browns
The asterisks to the Browns lack of Super Bowls are well known to any Browns fan. Cleveland was the dominant franchise in the pre-Super Bowl years, winning ten titles. And the Browns suffered the ultimate indignity of having owner Art Modell move the team to Baltimore when Cleveland refused to build him a new stadium, only to watch the newly-christened Ravens win Cleveland's rightful Super Bowl within five years, and the city build a new stadium anyway for an expansion Browns. Oh, and in between there was The Drive. And The Fumble. Why does God hate the Cleveland Browns?
1. Philadelphia Eagles
What, you were expecting someone else? If the Eagles weren't always one of the NFL's showcase franchises, they sure are now. The Eagles do have one NFL title to their credit, back in 1960, and two Super Bowl appearances, getting shellacked by the Raiders in 1981 and coming up three points short of the Patriots in 2005. Keep in mind that I FULLY EXPECT Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb to change this, perhaps as early as this February. Hope springs eternal and all that.