For the first time since the mid-1980s, we have two teams that lost in their respective conference championship game in a year and then both return to those same title games the following year.
Last season the San Francisco 49ers were defeated by the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game. They return to the title game this year to face the Atlanta Falcons. Also last year, the Baltimore Ravens lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The Ravens get another shot at the Pats in this year’s AFC title game.
The 49ers and Ravens are the fifth pair of teams in the history of the NFL playoffs (since 1966, the Super Bowl era) to return to the conference championship games after losing in them the previous years. The other four times it happened: Cleveland and Oakland (both lost in conference title games in 1968 and then played in those title games the following year); L.A. Rams and Oakland (1974); L.A. Rams and Oakland (1975); Washington and Cleveland (1986).