A few ACC traditions endure. The league’s headquarters remains in Greensboro. The postseason ACC Tournament continues despite last year’s abortive ending, although there’s talk of teams assured of NCAA bids skipping this year’s event to avoid COVID exposure.
And, for a while, it appeared there would still be an ACC men’s game on Super Bowl Sunday, a pairing whose historic nature receives scant attention from the conference, its TV partners or regional media. Now that quiet tradition has gone the way of the round robin, at least for this season.
Miami was slated to play Pitt this Sunday, Feb. 7, the second straight Biggest Game Day appearance by the Panthers. A like privilege was previously enjoyed by Miami in 2015 and 2016.
But then the Boston College basketball program was beset by COVID complications, causing Pitt’s visit to BC on Jan. 23 to be postponed. The Panthers’ Super Sunday visit to Wake was moved up two weeks to fit that schedule slot; Pitt lost at Wake 76-75, blemishing an 8-2 start, its best under Jeff Capel.
The shift left Feb. 7 as an unused playing date, barring a last-minute schedule scramble. That ended, at least for this year, the link between the ACC and America’s football holiday. The league previously skipped its tie-in opportunity as a prelim to the Big Bowl in 1975, 1984, 1985 and 1992.
The ACC’s bond with the Super Bowl dates to January 1973. That year undefeated and second-ranked NC State led by David Thompson and Tom Burleson edged a No. 3 Maryland team spearheaded by Tom McMillen and Len Elmore, 87-85. A late score on a tip-in of a missed shot at the buzzer, executed by Thompson, the ACC’s greatest player to date, sealed the outcome in a rare national telecast of college ball featuring ACC heavyweights in that pre-cable, pre-dunk era.
Given the formidable stature of the opponent, the Wolfpack’s win at Maryland also marked a crucial step in maintaining the second and last unblemished season record in conference history. (On probation in 1972-73, NC State was banned from amplifying its 27-0 mark in postseason play. Previously UNC turned in a 32-0 record in winning the 1957 NCAA championship.)
The ‘73 ACC contest brimmed with drama, in sharp contrast with the lackluster 14-7 Super Bowl VII that followed. The Miami Dolphins won handily despite the close final score, concluding the only undefeated NFL season (17-0) since the 1967 advent of the Game Of Multimillion Dollar Commercials.
The football game included one of the most memorable, and comic, plays in Super Bowl history. The Dolphins’ left-footed kicker, Garabed “Garo” Yepremian, had his 41-yard, late-game field goal blocked, recovered the ball and tried a pass, only to have his flaccid attempt intercepted and run back for a touchdown.
That was it for scoring by Washington, among 10 teams that failed to reach double digits in the first LIV Super Bowls. Among that group were the LA Rams, a supposedly groundbreaking offensive force who tallied a field goal and were outplayed by Tom Brady and New England in 2019. LA’s featured quarterback of the future, Jared Goff, was traded away in Jan. 2021.
NC State, at 10-5, remains the most successful and prolific ACC team playing in tandem with the Largest Halftime Show on Earth, although it last appeared as a Super accoutrement in 2008.
Boston College’s 2018 inclusion reduced the number of former Big East teams to four that have yet to participate as ACC members in pre-Super festivities (Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech).
Pitt head coach Jeff Capel played twice for Duke on Super Sundays, splitting with Maryland as an upperclassman in 1996 and 1997. NFC teams won both times. Capel is now 1-0 as a coach after last year’s 62-57 win.
Super Bowl LV is at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium in 2021, the area’s fifth time hosting. Both the NFC and AFC champs have each won twice in Tampa Bay, with the NY Giants appearing in three of the four games, winning two titles. Only Miami, New Orleans and LA have been Super Bowl sites more often.
ACC Records When Playing Same Day As Super Bowl
|* Prior to ACC membership.|
|Date||Super Bowl Result||Basketball Result|
|2/7/21||Kansas City @ Tampa Bay||NO ACC ACTION|
|2/2/20||Kansas City 31- San Francisco 20||Pittsburgh 62-Miami 57|
|2/3/19||New England 13- Los Angeles 3||Clemson 64-Wake Forest 37|
|2/4/18||Philadelphia 41-New England 33||Boston College 80-Georgia Tech 72 (OT)|
|2/5/17||New England 34-Atlanta 28||Florida State 109-Clemson 61|
|2/7/16||Denver 24-Carolina 10||Miami 75-Georgia Tech 68|
|2/1/15||New England 28-Seattle 24||Florida State 55-Miami 54|
|2/2/14||Seattle 43-Denver 8||Virginia 48-Pittsburgh 45|
|2/3/13||Baltimore 34- San Francisco 31||Georgia Tech 66-Virginia 60|
|2/5/12||N.Y. Giants 21-New England 17||Miami 78-Duke 74 (OT)|
|2/6/11||Green Bay 31-Pittsburgh 25||North Carolina 89-Florida State 69|
|2/7/10||New Orleans 31-Indianapolis 17||Maryland 92-North Carolina 71|
|2/1/09||Pittsburgh 27-Arizona 23||Duke 67-Virginia 49|
|2/3/08||N.Y. Giants 17-New England 14||NC State 67-Wake Forest 65
North Carolina 84-Florida State 73 (OT)
|2/4/07||Indianapolis 29-Chicago 17||Florida State 68-Duke 67|
|2/5/06||Pittsburgh 21-Seattle 10||NC State 62-Maryland 58|
|2/6/05||New England 24-Philadelphia 21||North Carolina 81-Florida State 60|
|2/1/04||New England 32-Carolina 29||NC State 81-Maryland 69
Florida State 88-Savannah State 73
|1/26/03||Tampa Bay 48-Oakland 21||Wake Forest 71-Florida State 60
NC State 86-North Carolina 77
|2/3/02||New England 20-St. Louis 17||Maryland 89-NC State 73
Missouri 81-Virginia 77
|1/28/01||Baltimore 34-N.Y. Giants 7||North Carolina 60-NC State 52|
|1/30/00||St. Louis 23-Tennessee 16||Virginia 76-Wake Forest 67|
|1/31/99||Denver 34-Atlanta 19||Wake Forest 85-Maryland 72
North Carolina 75-Georgia Tech 66
|1/25/98||Denver 31-Green Bay 24||Wake Forest 74-Missouri 65
NC State 56-Georgia Tech 51
|1/26/97||Green Bay 35-New England 21||North Carolina 61-Clemson 48
Maryland 74-Duke 70
|1/28/96||Dallas 27-Pittsburgh 17||Duke 83-Maryland 73
Connecticut 76-Virginia 46
|1/29/95||San Fran 49-San Diego 26||Georgia Tech 81-Florida State 68|
|1/30/94||Dallas 30-Buffalo 13||North Carolina 85-Wake Forest 61|
|1/31/93||Dallas 52-Buffalo 17||NC State 72-Clemson 70
Florida State 96-Georgia Tech 77
|1/26/92||Washington 37-Buffalo 24||NO ACC ACTION|
|1/27/91||N.Y. Giants 20-Buffalo 19||Georgia Tech 88-North Carolina 86|
|1/28/90||San Fran 55-Denver 10||Virginia 71-Wake Forest 70 (OT)
Duke 88-Georgia Tech 86
|1/22/89||San Fran 20-Cincinnati 16||Illinois 103-Georgia Tech 92 (2OT)|
|1/31/88||Washington 42-Denver 20||NC State 71-DePaul 66|
|1/25/87||N.Y. Giants 39-Denver 20||Kansas 74-NC State 60|
|1/26/86||Chicago 46-New England 10||North Carolina 73-Notre Dame 61|
|1/20/85||San Francisco 38-Miami 16||NO ACC ACTION|
|1/22/84||L.A. Raiders 38-Washington 9||NO ACC ACTION|
|1/30/83||Washington 27-Miami 17||Arkansas 68-Wake Forest 65|
|1/24/82||San Fran 26-Cincinnati 21||Virginia 74-Louisville 56|
|1/25/81||Oakland 27-Philadelphia 10||Virginia 89-Ohio State 73|
|1/20/80||Pittsburgh 31-L.A. Rams 19||Maryland 92-North Carolina 86|
|1/21/79||Pittsburgh 35-Dallas 31||Duke 75-NC State 69|
|1/15/78||Dallas 27-Denver 10||North Carolina 71-Wake Forest 69|
|1/9/77||Oakland 32-Minnesota 14||Maryland 87-NC State 80|
|1/18/76||Pittsburgh 21-Dallas 17||NC State 68-North Carolina 67|
|1/12/75||Pittsburgh 16-Minnesota 6||NO ACC ACTION|
|1/13/74||Miami 24-Minnesota 7||NC State 80-Maryland 74|
|1/14/73||Miami 14-Washington 7||NC State 87-Maryland 85|