The 10 Most Surprising Playoff Runs in the Super Bowl Era

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NFL history is full of rag-tag teams that limped into the playoffs and did some serious damage.

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"Tebow Time" was over almost as soon as it began.

Tim Tebow's surprising first season as an NFL starting quarterback had its highs and lows but reached a peak when the controversial quarterback led his Denver Broncos to an improbable Wild Card round victory over the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Tebow hype spread nationwide, but it lasted only a week. Denver traveled to New England, Tebow struggled, the Broncos lost, 45-10 and, as his detractors would argue, order was restored. After all, Cinderellas aren't supposed to make it long in the ultra-competitive NFL playoffs.

But some do. Some stick around beyond their astonishing first victories and go on a run. They hang around. They baffle the pundits and bewilder the fans. They force themselves into the Super Bowl picture.

And some keep winning until there's nothing left to win, and no one else to beat.

Here are the 10 most surprising runs of the Super Bowl era. Most are from recent years because the field has increased, allowing more teams in. It's easier for teams with mediocre records to enter the party and, therefore, crash it.

These teams gave their fans something to cheer about for at least a few weeks, when no one else expected them to.

This post also appears on Bleacher Report, an Atlantic partner site.


Image credit: AP

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Drew Bonifant is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

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