With key players in their prime, the Carolina Panthers seem like a decent bet to return to the Super Bowl next season. As tight end Greg Olsen said after his team's loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50, Carolina is built for the long haul.
But history suggests the Panthers will have a tough time getting back to the Super Bowl in the upcoming year. Since the Buffalo Bills made four consecutive trips, culminating with Super Bowl XXVIII in January 1994, no losing Super Bowl team has gone back to the big game the following season. Here's a look at how far those runner-ups made it in the season after dropping the Super Bowl:
How Super Bowl Losers Fare Next Season
2015 Seattle Seahawks
Lost Super Bowl XLIX to Patriots 28-24 on Feb. 1, 2015.
2015 regular season: 10-6, second in NFC West.
2015 playoffs: Won at Minnesota 10-9 in wild-card game. Lost at Carolina 31-24 in divisional round.
Notable: Overcame 2-4 start to earn wild-card spot.
2014 Denver Broncos
Lost Super Bowl XLVIII to Seahawks 43-8 on Feb. 2, 2014.
2014 regular season: 12-4, first in AFC West.
2014 playoffs: Lost at home to Colts 24-13 in divisional round.
Notable: Broncos were the AFC's only unbeaten team at home in the regular season and the only NFL team with its offense and defense ranked in the top five.
2013 San Francisco 49ers
Lost Super Bowl XLVII to Ravens 34-31 on Feb. 3, 2013.
2013 regular season: 12-4, second in NFC West. 2013 playoffs: Beat Packers 23-20 in wild-card game. Beat Panthers 23-10 in divisional round. Lost at Seattle 23-17 in NFC championship game.
Notable: 49ers reached the Seahawks' 18-yard line in final minute of NFC championship game, but Seattle held on with an interception in the end zone.
2012 New England Patriots
Lost Super Bowl XLVI to Giants 21-17 on Feb. 5, 2012.
2012 regular season: 12-4, first in AFC East.
2012 playoffs: Defeated Houston Texans 41-28 in divisional round. Lost at home to Ravens 28-13 in the AFC championship game.
Notable: Tom Brady passes for 320 yards but throws two interceptions in Ravens' territory.
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers
Lost Super Bowl XLV to Packers 31-25 on Feb. 6 2011.
2011 regular season: 12-4, second in AFC North.
2011 playoffs: Lost to Broncos 29-23 in the wild-card game.
Notable: The playoff loss at Denver is also the peak of Tebowmania. The Broncos win on the first play of overtime as Tim Tebow connects with Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard touchdown pass.
2010 Indianapolis Colts
Lost Super Bowl XLIV to Saints 31-17 on Feb. 7, 2010.
2010 regular season: 10-6, first in AFC South.
2010 playoffs: Lost at home to Jets 17-16 in the wild-card game.
Notable: The playoff loss to the Jets is Peyton Manning's final game as a Colt.
2009 Arizona Cardinals
Lost Super Bowl XLIII to Steelers 27-23 on Feb. 1, 2009.
2009 regular season: 10-6, first in NFC West.
2009 playoffs: Defeated Green Bay Packers 51-45 in wild-card game. Lost at New Orleans 45-14 in divisional round.
Notable: The playoff loss to the Saints is the last game of Kurt Warner's career.
2008 New England Patriots
Lost Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants 17-14 on Feb. 3, 2008.
2008 regular season: 11-5, second in AFC East.
2008 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: The Patriots lose QB Tom Brady for the season to an ACL tear sustained in the opening game when hit by Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard.
2007 Chicago Bears
Lost Super Bowl XLI to the Indianapolis Colts 29-17 on Feb. 4, 2007.
2007 regular season: 7-9, fourth in NFC North.
2007 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: Devin Hester ties the NFL single-season record with four punt returns for touchdowns.
2006 Seattle Seahawks
Lost Super Bowl XL to Steelers 21-10 on Feb. 5, 2006.
2006 regular season: 9-7, first in NFC West.
2006 playoffs: Beat Cowboys 21-20 in wild-card game. Lost at Chicago 27-24 in divisional round.
Notable: The playoff win against Dallas is perhaps best remembered for Tony Romo's botching the hold on a short field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter.
2005 Philadelphia Eagles
Lost Super Bowl XXXIX to Patriots 24-21 on Feb. 6, 2005.
2005 regular season: 6-10, fourth in NFC East.
2005 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: Midway through the 2005 season, the Eagles suspend Terrell Owens for detrimental conduct, and he never plays for the team again.
2004 Carolina Panthers
Lost Super Bowl XXXVIII to Patriots 32-29 on Feb. 1, 2004.
2004 regular season: 7-9, third in NFC South.
2004 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: The Panthers compile a five-game winning streak at one point, but a 1-7 start is too much to overcome.
2003 Oakland Raiders
Lost Super Bowl XXXVII to Buccaneers 48-21 on Jan. 26, 2003.
2003 regular season: 4-12, third in AFC West.
2003 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: The Raiders' 2003 home finale becomes a memorable NFL moment as Brett Favre throws for 399 yards and four touchdowns on the night his father dies.
2002 St. Louis Rams
Lost Super Bowl XXXVI to Patriots 20-17 on Feb. 3, 2002.
2002 regular season: 7-9, second in NFC West.
2002 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: A hand injury to Kurt Warner leads to friction between his wife, Brenda, a nurse, and coach Mike Martz.
2001 New York Giants
Lost Super Bowl XXXV to Ravens 34-7 on Jan. 28, 2001.
2001 regular season: 7-9, third in NFC East.
2001 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: The Giants play the last NFL game before the 9/11 attacks, returning from a Monday night game in Denver just hours earlier.
2000 Tennessee Titans
Lost Super Bowl XXXIV to Rams 23-16 on Jan. 30, 2000.
2000 regular season: 13-3, first in AFC Central.
2000 playoffs: Lost at home to Ravens 24-10 in divisional round.
Notable: The Titans defense allows no touchdowns in the final three regular-season games, and in the playoff loss, it gives up just one as Ravens score TDs on special teams and interception return.
1999 Atlanta Falcons
Lost Super Bowl XXXIII to the Broncos 34-19 on Jan. 31, 1999.
1999 regular season: 5-11, third in NFC West.
1999 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: Atlanta scores more than 20 points just once its first 10 games of the 1999 season.
1998 Green Bay Packers
Lost Super Bowl XXXII to the Broncos 31-24 on Jan. 25 1998.
1998 regular season: 11-5, second in NFC Central.
1998 playoffs: Lost at San Francisco 30-27 in the wild-card game.
Notable: Playoff loss to the 49ers comes on what San Francisco fans call "The Catch II" as Terrell Owens grabs a 25-yard touchdown pass from Steve Young in the end zone on the final play.
1997 New England Patriots
Lost Super Bowl XXXI to Packers 35-21 on Jan. 26, 1997.
1997 regular season: 10-6, first in AFC East.
1997 playoffs: Beat Dolphins 17-3 in the wild-card game. Lost at Pittsburgh 7-6 in divisional round.
Notable: This was Pete Carroll's first season as Patriots coach, replacing Bill Parcells, who had gone to the Jets.
1996 Pittsburgh Steelers
Lost Super Bowl XXX to Cowboys 27-17 on Jan. 28, 1996.
1996 regular season: 10-6, first in AFC Central.
1996 playoffs: Beat Colts 42-14 in the wild-card game. Lost at New England 28-3 in divisional round.
Notable: This is Jerome Bettis' first season in Pittsburgh after being traded from the Rams, who consider the Bus to be expendable because they drafted Lawrence Phillips.
1995 San Diego Chargers
Lost Super Bowl XXIX to San Francisco 49ers 49-26 on Jan. 29, 1995.
1995 regular season: 9-7, second in AFC West.
1995 playoffs: Lost at home to Colts 35-20 in the wild-card game.
Notable: The playoff loss to the Colts features Indianapolis quarterback Jim Harbaugh throwing for two touchdowns and running for another.
1994 Buffalo Bills
Lost Super Bowl XXVIII to Dallas Cowboys 30-13 on Jan. 30 1994.
1994 regular season: 7-9, fourth in AFC East.
1994 playoffs: Missed playoffs.
Notable: The Bills return to the playoffs in 1995, but they have not qualified since 1999.
Just seven teams have ever made it back to the Super Bowl after losing the big game the previous season. And of those seven teams, only two won in their return to the Super Bowl -- the 1971 Dallas Cowboys and the 1972 Miami Dolphins.