Though the full slate of opponents for each season are known as soon as the prior regular season ends, sometimes the significance of the 256 games isn’t fully appreciated until the games are played. Lately, for example, I’ve noticed a lot of Super Bowl rematches. (This weekend, the Giants and Pats will get together for a reunion of Super Bowl XLII.)
So I whipped out the full schedule, and I started counting. Of the 45 prior Super Bowls, 19 of the matchups will be played again this year.
In Week Two, the Seahawks visited the Steelers. As in Super Bowl XL, the Steelers won.
In Week Three, the 49ers and Bengals squared off in Cincinnati. And the same outcome arose as it did in Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XXIII.
In Week Four, the Packers hosted the Broncos. This time, the team that lost Super Bowl XXXII won the rematch. That same day, the Chiefs and Vikings got together, more than 40 years after Super Bowl IV, with the same result. (Also in Week Four, the Jets faced Baltimore in a quasi-rematch of Super Bowl III, even though the team in Baltimore isn’t the same as it was in 1969.)
In Week Six, the Giants beat the Bills, just like they did in Super Bowl XXV.
The next Sunday, the Steelers once again beat the Cardinals (as they did in Super Bowl XLIII), and the Saints beat the Colts by a touchdown more than the total points scored in Super Bowk XLIV.
Last week, the Redskins and Bills played in a different northern dome, 20 years after Super Bowl XXVI.
Still to come? In Week 10, Bills-Cowboys, a rematch of Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII, and Dolphins-Redskins, a rematch of Super Bowls VII and XVII. On Thanksgiving, the Dolphins and Cowboys primarily will conjure memories of Leon Lett in the snow, with less focus on the fact that they played in Super Bowl VI. That same weekend, the Eagles and Pats will square off, nearly seven years after Super Bowl XXXIX.
In Week 14, Super Bowl II will be played again, with the Raiders visiting the Packers. The following Sunday, it’s a Super Bowl I reunion, with the Chiefs facing the Packers. On Christmas Eve, Super Bowl XIV will be played again in Pittsburgh, with the Rams facing the Steelers.
That’s 19. There’s a chance I missed one. If I did, feel free to point it out in the comments.
As if you needed an engraved invitation.
UPDATE 9:30 a.m. ET: And I was correct about being incorrect. The Raiders and the Vikings will meet this season, a rematch of Super Bowl XI. So that’s 20.