Why We Shouldn’t Be Surprised the Rams Missed the Playoffs

Previous years’ conference champions often have bad luck

LA Rams
Wide receiver Robert Woods #17, wide receiver Cooper Kupp #18 of the Los Angeles Rams and teammates huddle with heads down before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Santa Clara, California.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

If you were hoping for a deep postseason run from the Los Angeles Rams…well, there’s always next year. Last night, the Rams lost to the 49ers 34-31 — a loss which eliminated them from the NFL playoffs for this season. It’s a crushing blow for a team that made it to the Super Bowl less than a year ago. 

You might assume that a Super Bowl team failing to make the playoffs in the subsequent season would be an earth-shatteringly rare event. As it turns out, it’s more common than you might expect. A few weeks ago at The Athletic, Rich Hammond delved into the Rams’ playoff chances at the time — and noted that them potentially missing the postseason would be far from unprecedented.

As Hammond stated, nearly half of all conference champions fail to make the playoffs the following season:

Since 1990, when the NFL expanded to its current 12-team playoff format, 20 of the 58 conference championship teams have missed the playoffs the following season. The trend has been more pronounced since 1999, with 17 of the 40 champions (42.5 percent) taking early vacations the following season.

Hammond also noted that from 2001 to 2008, the team that lost the Super Bowl failed to make the playoffs 7 times in 8 seasons. 

Some sports narratives are inspiring and build on the past. Others, like this one, exist in opposition to it. What’s next for the Rams? Hopefully for their fans, this will spark a sense of rebuilding.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!