The NFL announced on Tuesday that the league will have a new playoff format beginning in 2020, one where seven teams from each conference would make the league's postseason.
While the new format helps those teams that finish with eight, nine or 10 wins and had previously been on the outside looking it, the new system also has its drawbacks. Each conference will now only have one team that earns a bye week, as the conference's No. 2 seed will now play on Wild Card weekend hosting the No. 7 seed.
Over the past seven seasons, all 14 Super Bowl participants were either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in their respective conference, meaning they had bye weeks. For the teams that made a deep run in the postseason, the extra week of rest proved to be beneficial.
So, it was worth wondering: Who was the last team was to play in a Super Bowl without having a bye week?
That would be the 2012 Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens finished the regular season 10-6 and as AFC North division champs. But Baltimore had the worst record of any division winner, giving them the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
After Baltimore dominated then-rookie Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round, the Ravens traveled to the Mile High City for a date with the Denver Broncos. The Ravens upset Denver in double overtime after quarterback Joe Flacco found Jacoby Jones on a 70-yard touchdown to tie the game with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
In the conference championship, Baltimore traveled to Gillette Stadium and cruised by the Patriots, winning 28-13 and clinching their first Super Bowl berth since 2000. In Super Bowl XLVII, Baltimore held off an epic San Francisco comeback and defeated the 49ers in a thriller, 34-31.
That team was the TRUTH https://t.co/FAMQs705z3— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) March 31, 2020
The Ravens proved that a team can win a Super Bowl without having a bye, but it hasn't happened in a long time. With the new playoff format, that will likely change.
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