By JOSEPH QUESADA
The NFL’s 100th season came to an end with the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on February 2, 2020.
The amount of excitement that characterized this past season was due in part to the staggering amount of upset wins pulled off by underperforming or surprising teams, especially when the postseason playoff period began. Over the past 10 years of football, teams like the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers have dominated the NFL’s postseason, leading to a proverbial drought in excitement for fans of other teams. The 2019-2020 season finally saw a stirrup in the competition which is what made this season so thrilling.
However this is not to dismiss the sheer dominance of teams such as the Baltimore Ravens, who racked up 14 wins with MVP winner Lamar Jackson at the helm, or the wrecking ball that was the San Francisco 49ers who pounded teams with their top notch defense and impressive run game. But the NFL’s 100th playoff saw a slew of teams surprise fans with upsets that no one could have possibly predicted.
Superbowl LIV caps off the NFL’s historic 100th season with Kansas City’s victory over San Francisco. (Kevin Dotson and Darran Simon / CNN)
The drama began on January 4 when the Tennessee Titans took on the New England Patriots in the Wild Card round in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots ended the regular season with some struggles on offense as questions surrounding the performance of their quarterback, Tom Brady, began to arise. However, history has shown that the Patriots would surely be able to overcome the Titans, especially during a home game in the playoffs where this team has been historically dominant.
Backed by the NFL’s leading running back, Derrick Henry, and a strong performance by their defense, the Titans were able to knock out the Patriots at home in an incredible upset victory with a 20-13 final score.
The trend continued the very next day, January 5, with the Minnesota Vikings defeating the New Orleans Saints. According to CBSSports, the Saints entered the contest as definitive favorites with an estimated -7.5 point advantage over the visiting Minnesota team. Fresh off a 42-10 statement victory over the Carolina Panthers in the regular season, the Saints were slated to run away with this Wild Card victory. However, the Vikings came out on top with a walk-off touchdown scored on the final play of the overtime period, prematurely ending the Saints’ season.
The Baltimore Ravens rolled into the postseason with a 14-2 record and the number one seed in the American Football Conference after their regular season run. The Titans, on the other hand, barely secured a playoff spot. Regardless, Tennessee defeated the Ravens in their own stadium with a 28-12 statement victory. Coming into the playoffs as strong Superbowl favorites, the Ravens’ loss by double digits to the 6th seed Titans was a rarity in itself.
The Kansas City Chiefs added two comeback wins in the postseason. The first of which came against the Houston Texans in the divisional round of the postseason. The Texans came out strong, reaching a 24 point lead within the first 20 minutes of the game. But, once the Chiefs found their pulse, the game spiraled out of control in Kansas City’s favor and the Chiefs’ won by a score of 51-31, the biggest comeback win in the team’s history.
The Chiefs found a way to come back from yet another deficit on February 2 when they rallied late and scored three touchdowns within a six minute span, defeating the San Francisco 49ers for this year’s Superbowl. Down 10 points going into the 4th quarter, the Chiefs high-powered offense closed the gap within minutes and secured a Superbowl victory. This comeback win was a perfect end to a postseason filled with upsets and strange victories throughout.
CBS Sports Staff. “49ers Vs. Chiefs Odds, Line: Super Bowl 2020 Picks, Predictions from Top Expert Who Went 12-3 on Niners Games.” CBSSports.com, 2 Feb. 2020, www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/49ers-vs-chiefs-odds-line-super-bowl-2020-picks-predictions-from-top-expert-who-went-12-3-on-niners-games/.
CBS Sports Staff. “Saints vs. Vikings Odds, Line: NFL Picks, Wild Card Round Predictions from Advanced Model on 96-65 Roll.” CBSSports.com, 5 Jan. 2020, http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/saints-vs-vikings-odds-line-nfl-picks-wild-card-round-predictions-from-advanced-model-on-96-65-roll/.
“Real-Time NFL Scores.” NFL.com, National Football League, 26 Feb. 2020, http://www.nfl.com/scores.