The Patriots lost the Super Bowl last year and are back at the Super Bowl this year. That’s rare.
Even rarer is to lose the Super Bowl one year and then win it the next. In fact, the last team to do that was the 1972 Dolphins, who lost the Super Bowl after the 1971 season and then embarked on the only undefeated, untied championship season in NFL history. If the Patriots beat the Rams tomorrow, they’ll be the first team to win the Super Bowl the year after losing it since those Dolphins, 46 years ago.
Just getting to the Super Bowl after losing it is unusual enough, as Super Bowl losers often have disappointing seasons. The last team to get to the Super Bowl after losing it was the Bills, who lost four consecutive Super Bowls from the 1990 through 1993 seasons.
Whatever the reasons that Super Bowl losers so often underwhelm the next year, the Patriots have bucked the trend.