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The ACC And Super Bowl Sunday

A cool tradition nearly gone.

North Carolina State David Thompson, 1974 ACC Tournament
NC State and David Thompson, shown here after defeating Maryland in the legendary 1974 NCAA Tournament finals. The two teams also had a brilliant game earlier in 1974 on Super Bowl Sunday.
SetNumber: X18478 TK3

Talk about a handsome going-away present, arguably even better than a custom-designed Louisville slugger or a handmade rocking chair.

Sadly, for the second straight season the linkage is broken between a featured ACC men’s basketball game and the playing of the NFL’s Super Bowl. But there will be a link of sorts. Super Bowl LVI will be played on Feb. 13, Mike Krzyzewski’s LXXV birthday.

As we know, the man with more wins than anyone in college basketball history has announced 2022 is his final season as Duke coach. The Chicago Bears fan’s teams were 3-3 in contests preceding the NFL championship game.

This will also be the latest Super Bowl ever in the calendar year, the season propelled toward spring by the addition of a wearing and largely meaningless — but lucrative — 17th regular-season game for the NFL and its financial partners.

This is the first time since 1991 that, presumably because the Super Bowl is being held in mid-February, the year’s first meeting in the Duke-Carolina basketball series is being played before the Main Single-Day Sports Event of 2022.

Meanwhile the ACC has chosen to forgo its once-prominent Super Bowl tie, whose historic nature received scant attention anyway from the conference, its TV water-carriers, other media, and sponsors. This scheduling choice is consistent with a quiet practice of avoiding Sunday games in calendar year 2022.

Just another example of ACC traditions fading fast.

The round-robin is gone. Keeping league headquarters in Greensboro, a constant since the ACC’s founding nearly 70 years ago, is under active review. The postseason ACC Tournament continues in an elongated version, this year wandering to Brooklyn, that hotbed of ACC devotion.

The pool of commonality with the NFL has similarly grown increasingly shallow, the drought now the longest since 1984 and 1985.

The ACC’s bond with the Super Bowl dates to January 1973. That year two great ACC teams met first: undefeated and second-ranked NC State led by David Thompson and Tom Burleson, which edged a No. 3 Maryland team spearheaded by Tom McMillen, John Lucas and Len Elmore, 87-85. Thompson, the ACC’s greatest player to date, tipped in a miss at the buzzer to seal the outcome in a rare national college telecast in that pre-dunk, pre-cable era.

When contemporary college players artfully and routinely set up big men for lob-dunks, recall the still-electrifying move started with the 6-4 Thompson, the three-time ACC player of the year (1973-75), fed by guard Monte Towe.

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 to the lackluster Super Bowl VII that followed. The Miami Dolphins won handily despite a deceptive 14-7 final score, concluding the only undefeated NFL season (17-0) since the 1967 advent of the Game Of Multimillion Dollar Commercials.

Washington, now the Commanders (Commies?), remains among 10 competitors that failed to score in double digits in the first LIV Super Bowls. So do the LA Rams. In the 2019 game at Atlanta their supposedly groundbreaking offense was outplayed by Tom Brady and New England and tallied a measly field goal.

Jared Goff, then LA’s featured quarterback of the future, was traded away in Jan. 2021. Now the Rams play behind talented retread Matthew Stafford, an escapee from the Detroit Lions, in the eighth L.A.-area Super Bowl.

Back on the collegiate side NC State, at 10-5, remains the most successful and prolific ACC team playing in tandem with the Largest Halftime Show on Earth. That despite not appearing as a Super accouterment since 2008.

Boston College’s 2018 inclusion in the day’s warmup game reduced to four (Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech) the number of former Big East teams that have yet to participate as ACC members in Super Festivities.

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel twice played for Duke on Super Sundays, splitting with Maryland as an upperclassman in 1996 and 1997. NFC teams followed with wins both times.

NC State participated in five of the ACC’s Super Hors D’Oeuvre encounters at the L.A. Coliseum or Rose Bowl. The Wolfpack won in ’73 and ’93, lost in 1977, 1980 and 1987.

Super Bowl LVI is slated for Inglewood, California’s brand-new Sofi Stadium, a nice boost for the Rams. The franchise won one previous Super Bowl, in 1999, before betraying the fans of St. Louis and returning to LA, which it had betrayed previously to relocate to Missouri.

A recent legal settlement required owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL to pay a nearly $800 million penalty for the manner in which they fled their once-welcome Midwestern home.

Long-languishing Cincinnati is 0-2 in Super competition, losing in 1982 and 1989. Virginia won on the same day the Bengals lost in Michigan’s Pontiac Dome in ’82 and Georgia Tech dropped a two-overtime encounter with Illinois in 1989. San Francisco was the NFL champ both times.

The Rams in both their incarnations are 1-3 in the Super Bowl, their sole victory coming in 2000 after Virginia defeated Wake Forest.

ACC Records When Playing Same Day As Super Bowl
Team W-L W Pct.
Boston College 1-0 1.000
Clemson 1-3 .250
Duke 4-3 .571
Florida State 5-5 .500
Georgia Tech 3-7 .300
Louisville* 0-1 .000
Maryland$ 5-6 .455
Miami 2-2 .500
North Carolina 9-5 .643
NC State 10-5 .667
Notre Dame 0-0 .000
Pittsburgh 1-1 .500
Syracuse 0-0 .000
Virginia 5-4 .556
Virginia Tech 0-0 .000
Wake Forest 3-7 .300
* Prior to ACC membership.
$ Prior to ACC departure.

Date Super Bowl Result Basketball Result
2/13/22 Cincinnati vs. LA Rams NO ACC ACTION
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- LA Rams 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 Rams 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 Rams 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
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-LA 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