What was the best team never to reach a Super Bowl?
1967 Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys had an explosive big-play offense with Hall of Famer Bob Hayes and an emerging Doomsday Defense with Bob Lilly, Lee Roy Jordan, Chuck Howley and Mel Renfro. They discarded the Rams in the NFC semifinals, then went to Green Bay to play a Packers teams running on fumes at the end of the Lombardi era. But weather — temperatures of a minus-15 with a wind chill of -36 — neutralized that big-play offense and the Cowboys fell in the Ice Bowl, 21-17.
1976 Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers fielded one of the greatest defenses in NFL history that season, allowing just 138 points in 14 games with five shutouts. They held three other teams out of the end zone to six points or less. But injuries cost Pittsburgh running backs Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier in the playoffs and the Steelers were no match for the Oakland Raiders (24-7) in the AFC title game.
1981 San Diego Chargers – Air Coryell was up and running as the Chargers were the highest scoring team in the league (478 points) with Hall of Famers Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner plus veteran Pro Bowlers Wes Chandler, James Brooks and Chuck Muncie. But like the 1967 Cowboys, weather neutralized the explosiveness of that offense. In temperatures of a minus-9 with wind chills of a minus-36, the Cincinnati Bengals whipped the Chargers in the Freezer Bowl, 27-7.
1998 Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings scored a then-NFL-record 566 points and quarterback Randall Cunningham was the league MVP. Minnesota breezed through the regular season 15-1 but was stunned at home in the NFC title game, losing in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons 30-27. Gary Anderson was a perfect 35-of-35 in field goals during the regular season but missed a 38-yard chip shot with two minutes left in regulation that would have put the NFC title game away for the Vikings.