| Of all the buzzwords that get thrown around in today's media, "contender" seems to be the one that generates the most debate. It's usually a reference to whether or not a team has the tools in place to qualify for the Super Bowl.
While I can appreciate a good, quality discussion regarding various franchises and their current position in the NFL food chain, I've never been one for blanket statements. Put bluntly, there is no such thing as a Super Bowl contender. At least not until the playoffs, whereupon every team that has earned a playoff berth is in contention to claim the Lombardi Trophy.
But let's not let semantics (or self-contradictions) stand in the way of our purpose here. After all, it wasn't long ago that many media pundits considered the Dallas Cowboys
to be, in fact, Super Bowl contenders. They were often paired as the NFC equivalent of the San Diego Chargers, destined with preseason hype to storm the conference and reach the Super Bowl before even so much as earning a first down.