A lot can happen in five years. Do you remember February 2014? Super Bowl XLVIII? The Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8, the copycat league was obsessing over how to build a defense like Seattle’s, Eddie Lacy had just won Offensive Rookie of the Year in Green Bay and the Texans were on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick.
It would have been hard—but probably not impossible—to guess at the time that the next five Super Bowl champions would be the Patriots three times, plus the Broncos and Eagles once each. Chip Kelly had just improved the Eagles from 4-12 to 10-6 in his first season, after all. With that in mind, I asked my MMQB colleagues to take a stab at guessing the next five Super Bowl champions. No need to line up specific teams with specific years, just give the five teams that will win Super Bowls LIV-LVIII with a quick explanation.
With so many veteran QBs still at the top of their game, and an exciting young generation coming up behind them, it’s hard to pick five and leave some out. Throw in the fact that many of these teams will have new QBs on rookie contracts in the next five years, and just about any team should be on the table. I’ll run all the answers below, and then make a few observations at the bottom about the teams that were or weren’t picked. But feel free to bookmark this page and come back to laugh at us in 2024. —Mitch Goldich
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Chiefs (2), Colts, Eagles, Seahawks
Like everyone else, I’m looking at quarterbacks first and foremost. I think Patrick Mahomes is going to be the best in the league over the next five years, and given the other pieces around him, I put the Chiefs down for two. Most five-year stretches in Super Bowl history include a repeat winner, so I’d put my money on them. I also believe in the cores around Andrew Luck and Carson Wentz and trust those front offices to build Super Bowl winners around them. I went with the Seahawks for the final slot since I think Russell Wilson still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for how good he is, and I see another Super Bowl in his future. I thought about Deshaun Watson’s Texans for the final spot, but think the NFC might offer a slightly easier path to the Big Game.
Chiefs (2), Raiders, Eagles, Steelers
First the Chiefs win the next two Super Bowls with Mahomes on that artificially cheap rookie deal and the defense getting reimagined this offseason. Then the Eagles win Super Bowl LVI behind Nate Sudfeld, filling in for an injured Carson Wentz. After that, the Steelers win SB57, followed by Ben Roethlsiberger and a never-traded Antonio Brown retiring immediately after the game. The Las Vegas Raiders are your Super Bowl LVIII champs, with a roster that includes zero players who were on the 2018 team. A five-year tanking process and the continued absurdity of the rookie wage scale allows them to load up the roster with cheap, elite young talent (Super Bowl MVP Tua Tagovailoa!), and inspires a league-wide epidemic of cynical tanking. The NFL devolves into the NBA with 14 teams competing for a title and 18 teams competing for draft position. And, like the NBA, the NFL trade deadline becomes the most anticipated part of the regular season, but also manages to disappoint annually as the moves are limited to the likes of Drew Stanton traded for a conditional draft pick.
Chiefs (2), Patriots, Saints, Broncos
It's impossible for me to look at Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid and not think they won't at least get to the Super Bowl a handful of times in the next eight years. The Saints and Patriots will get their Super Bowl victories with their current coach-quarterback combinations while they're still in this championship window, and the Chiefs may get one or both of theirs after Mahomes signs his contract extension. I think John Elway eventually figures out his quarterback quandary while he still has an elite defense to get his second ring as an exec.
Chiefs (2), Bears, Patriots, Colts
The Bears have a young defense, with the majority of starters locked up for the next few years, and a quarterback on a rookie deal for the next two seasons. Chicago is built to win now and after a shocking exit in the wild-card round, they'll be back in the postseason with even more motivation to see it all the way through. The Chiefs were one overtime coin flip away from the Super Bowl this season with a mediocre defense. Kansas City will ride the arm of Patrick Mahomes and a new defensive coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo to at least two Super Bowl wins in the five years.
Patriots, Chiefs, Eagles, Colts, Browns
These picks are about the quarterbacks. The question might as well have been: Who do you think will be the Top 5 QBs over the next five years? I could see Tom Brady winning one more before his arm deteriorates to the extent that nobody is afraid of his deep ball (Note: I don't want to rule out Brady failing to win another before retirement, and Belichick pulling off a title in 2023 with, say, Jacoby Brissett or Jimmy Garoppolo). Patrick Mahomes is too good not to have the Chiefs in the Super Bowl in the next two years. Post-Brady, his main competition in the AFC will be Andrew Luck's Colts. If Carson Wentz can stay healthy for an entire season, the Eagles should represent the NFC in the Super Bowl again soon. My deep, deep projection is the Browns. John Dorsey is the NFL's best roster builder in my opinion, and with the combination of Baker Mayfield and a fan base finally reaping the rewards of its loyalty in the dormant years, that team will be riding an emotional high for the next decade. The Rams aren't on my list, but Sean McVay will eventually get a ring, whether it’s with Jared Goff in the near future or with another QB, further down the road. I could also see the Seahawks getting dominant soon too.
Patriots (2), Saints, Bears, Rams
If Tom Brady is the quarterback of the Patriots and Bill Belichick is the head coach of the Patriots, then never bet against the Patriots. Brady will continue to play for the next five years, and New England will continue to dominate the AFC, winning two of the next four Super Bowls. After winning his eighth ring, Brady will announce that he’s retiring after one last season and go on a season-long farewell tour, which will allow the Rams to finally, FINALLY get the Super Bowl victory that Sean McVay and Jared Goff have been chasing. The Saints and the Bears will win one too because, well, why not.
Patriots, Chiefs, Rams, Browns, Jets
Mark Mravic failed to type up his blurb before leaving for his post-Super Bowl European vacation, but he did quickly dictate his thoughts on his way out the door. “Give me the Jets, with Sam Darnold,” he said. “But Adam Gase will be gone by then.”
Patriots (3), San Antonio Buccaneers, New Pangea Polar Bears
Projecting anything five years into the future is difficult, especially with the ever-present threat of both franchise and global realignment in this age of uncertainty (hence, New Pangea taking home the 2024 title in the first year of the realigned FOOTBALL Суперлига. One thing is for certain, though: A majority of the Super Bowls will be won by the New England Patriots. When Tom Brady walks off into the sunset after next season, co-head coaches Bill and Steve Belichick will transform the roster into an uptempo laser show headed by two different quarterbacks playing at the same time. Kyler Murray and Brian Hoyer will share each of the three MVP awards in a display of solidarity with their schematic genius head coach.
Chiefs (2), Chargers, Saints, Rams
Call me a softie, but I say Philip Rivers breaks through and wins one Super Bowl before he retires. The supporting cast around him is just too good, and if the Chargers continue drafting well, it’ll only get better.
Also, Andy Reid will break through for his first (and second) Super Bowl titles, cementing his status as one of the best coaches of this era, if not all time. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes starts throwing no-look passes on every play. By the end of this five-year period, he and Reid supplant Brady and Belichick as the premier quarterback-coach duo in the league.
Chiefs (2), Patriots, Chargers, Eagles
Friday evening before the Super Bowl, I was walking through the lobby of the Patriots' team hotel. Tom Brady was walking one direction with his family, just trying to get through the horde of people rapidly closing in on him. Walking in a different direction was Patrick Mahomes, headed toward the elevator bank. They did not see each other until it was too late to say hello, but they did try to yell a greeting across the throng of people. It was a reminder of how deep the respect between the two QBs is, and also how their roles that week could have very easily have been reversed. The Chiefs' going toe-to-toe with the Pats in the AFC Championship Game, with the difference perhaps being simply the opening coin toss in overtime, is even more impressive in retrospect given that no other team was able to do so against New England in the playoffs this year. I'll give the GOAT one more title; the most exciting young QB in the game two; the coach who beat Bill Belichick last year, Doug Pederson, a second ring; and one for Philip Rivers before he retires.
Here’s a chart showing all of our picks.
The interesting stats to me:
• Out of 10 voters, not only do eight expect the Chiefs to win a Super Bowl but six actually have them down for multiple Super Bowls.
• The Patriots came in second, despite Tom Brady going into his age-42 season, and seven voters think the Pats have another one in them (though some acknowledge they could come post-Brady).
• We have 15 current franchises (plus the New Pangea Polar Bears, thanks Conor) winning a Super Bowl, with 17 franchises coming up empty handed.
• Count the Green Bay Packers among the teams that none of us picked to win the Super Bowl. Despite the emphasis on quarterback, zero voters picked the team that currently has Aaron Rodgers on its roster.
• Other teams that got shut out include Matt Ryan’s Falcons, Cam Newton’s Panthers, Deshaun Watson’s Texans, and Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers. Of course, who knows how many of them will still be with their current team in 2024.
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