Animal Bowl III

Last year I wrote a lengthy post about the possibility of the 2012 NFL season culminating in a “Bird Bowl” between the Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons. Alas, the Har-Bowl prevailed and the Ravens remained the only “bird” team to win the Super Bowl and became the first bird team to win it twice.

2013 left us without an opportunity for a Bird Bowl as the defending champion Ravens failed to make the playoffs. However, the Seahawks and Eagles made it to the postseason and, of course, the Seahawks will play in the Super Bowl on Sunday. They are the eighth bird team to make the Super Bowl after the Eagles (1980, 2004), Falcons (1998), Ravens (2000, 2012), Cardinals (2008) and of course the Matt Hasselbeck-led Seahawks team (2005).

Notably, the Seahawks will be facing the Denver Broncos, another animal team. This is the third ever “Animal Bowl.” The first was in 1998 (Broncos over Falcons) and the second was in 2006 (Colts over Bears). I guess it’s just a thing for Elway and Manning.

While I obviously recommend you read the original Bird Bowl post (it has aged well after a year, if I do say so myself), I’ll copy this little bit from the end of that entry for your reading pleasure:

–Notable Super Bowl matchups between teams with similar/related names:

  • Colts over Cowboys (1970) – the Chisholm Trail Bowl
  • Raiders over Vikings (1976) – the Marauder Bowl
  • Cowboys over Broncos (1987) – the Rodeo Bowl
  • Redskins over Bills (1991) – the Wild West Show Bowl
  • Cowboys over Bills (1992 & 1993) – the Double Redundant Bowl
  • Ravens over Giants (2000) – the Game of Thrones Bowl
  • Buccaneers over Raiders (2002) – Brad Johnson’s finest hour
  • Patriots over Eagles (2004) – the Murrica Bowl
  • Packers over Steelers (2010) – the Blue Collar Bowl

[and, particularly apropos given the recent attention to Washington’s NFL team]

–While the Washington Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs both made the playoffs in 1971, 1990, 1991 and 1992, the closest we’ve come to an “Insensitivity Bowl” was in 1991 when the Redskins won the Super Bowl and the Chiefs lost in the divisional round.

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The Bird Bowl

I know it’s premature to write about the Super Bowl when the Conference Championships have yet to be played, but I couldn’t resist posting about this topic, particularly since sharing it with you almost justifies the time I wasted looking all of this stuff up. I don’t promise 100% accuracy, but I should be pretty close on my numbers and dates. Against scholarly standards, I relied almost entirely on Wikipedia for research.

With the NFL Conference Championship games set (49ers/Falcons, Ravens/Patriots), my friend Ben sent me a text message reminding me that possible matchups for the Super Bowl now include the Harbaugh Bowl (or Har-Bowl as I like to call it, featuring 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh vs. his brother John, coach of the Ravens) and the Bird Bowl (it’s obvious, nothing clever there). Sorry Patriots, but here’s hoping it’s not your year. That got me thinking: How unbearable is the media coverage going to get if the Har-Bowl happens? More importantly, it got me thinking: there are a few NFL teams with bird mascots, have we ever had a Bird Bowl before?

The bulk of my research is concerned only with the Super Bowl era, after all, it wasn’t a Bird Bowl if it wasn’t even called the Super Bowl. The actual name “Super Bowl” was apparently mentioned by Lamar Hunt during AFL-NFL merger meetings in 1966. It was picked up by the media and became the official name of the title game for the third AFL-NFL Championship Game. The title was retroactively applied to the first two AFL-NFL Championship Games.

I started my quest for Bird Bowl info by considering the number of bird teams in the NFL during the Super Bowl era. Continue reading