It's been parroted to the point of becoming a cliche in football circles, and you're sure to hear it plenty over the next two weeks: The hardest thing to do in the NFL is repeat.
Sure, there's some merit to that sentiment generally, but what about teams that have already survived the gauntlet to return to the Super Bowl? Of the previous 54 Super Bowl winners, just over a quarter of those squads reached the grand stage the following year. Should bettors be concerned about a letdown from those teams?
Perhaps they should. In 12 days when the Chiefs (-3.5) take on the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, they'll be just the 14th club to play in the Super Bowl a year after winning it all. The previous 13 teams went 6-7 against the spread and have won just eight straight up, despite being heavy favorites in most of those games.
Here's the full list of teams to reach the Super Bowl a season after winning a championship:
|Super Bowl (Year)||Matchup||Result||SU||ATS|
|LII (2018)||Patriots (-4.5) vs. Eagles||33-41||L||L|
|XLIX (2015)||Seahawks (-1) vs. Patriots||24-28||L||L|
|XXIX (2005)||Patriots (-7) vs. Eagles||24-21||W||L|
|XXXIII (1999)||Broncos (-7.5) vs. Falcons||34-19||W||W|
|XXXII (1998)||Packers (-11) vs. Broncos||24-31||L||L|
|XXVIII (1994)||Cowboys (-10.5) vs. Bills||30-13||W||W|
|XXIV (1990)||49ers (-12) vs. Broncos||55-10||W||W|
|XVIII (1984)||Washington (-3) vs. Raiders||9-38||L||L|
|XIV (1980)||Steelers (-10.5) vs. Rams||31-19||W||W|
|XIII (1979)||Cowboys (+3.5) vs. Steelers||31-35||L||L|
|X (1976)||Steelers (-7) vs. Cowboys||21-17||W||L|
|VIII (1974)||Dolphins (-6.5) vs. Vikings||24-7||W||W|
|II (1968)||Packers (-13.5) vs. Raiders||33-14||W||W|
Fittingly, each of the previous three examples involved Tom Brady, the last quarterback to lead his team to back-to-back titles. Since guiding his Patriots to consecutive Super Bowl wins in 2004-05, Brady spoiled the Seahawks' return trip in 2015 before falling short of his own repeat bid in 2018 against the Eagles.
He'll try to foil the Chiefs' run at two straight rings this year, and if Brady is successful, that would fit the recent trend. Early Super Bowl champions experienced success during a second go-around, winning six of eight with a 5-3 ATS record. Since then, teams in that spot have gone 1-4 ATS with just two outright wins, both coming as big favorites.
In fact, that's been the story throughout the Super Bowl era. Either a team is a clear favorite to win its second title, or its repeat bid is doomed to fail.
That may seem simple, but it really has been that clear-cut over the last five decades. Of those 13 squads, the nine favored by at least 6.5 points went 8-1 SU and 6-3 ATS, outscoring their opponents by an average of 13.9 points. The other four teams - all giving 4.5 points or less - have gone 0-4 SU/ATS, losing by a combined 45 points.
Of course, the Chiefs could still buck those trends as short favorites. Still, as the old adage goes, they'll be trying to pull off the hardest feat in football in a way no team has done before.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.