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Reasons for hope for every non-Super Bowl team

Broncos and Panthers fans are living the dream right now, but there's always another side to the story.

Especially if you root for one of the 30 other teams left watching Super Bowl 50 from the godforsaken couch.

For most fans, the big game is a bittersweet dish: A heightened celebration of the sport we love, but also a painful reminder of how our favorite club fell short -- again.

With a week's full of Broncos-Panthers hype ahead, here's a gift for the rest of you: A reason for hope for every team that won't play again until September, in the order they'll draft this spring. 

Let's roll:

1. Tennessee Titans: Hiring Mike Mularkey was the opposite of inspiring, but take heart, Titans fans: You have the makings of a legitimate franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota, allowing Tennessee to add a game-plan wrecking terror on defense with the No. 1 overall pick. Roster building picks up speed once you find a signal-caller, putting the Titans in a better place than plenty of teams on this list.

2. Cleveland Browns: Ridiculed for years as a swarming hive of dysfunction, Cleveland pulled off a coup with the hiring of coach Hue Jackson. Pairing one of the NFL's most creative play-callers with the quarterback the Browns will ultimately pick at No. 2 -- Jared Goff? Carson Wentz? Tim Couch III? -- might finally put an end to the misery by the lake.

3. San Diego Chargers: This one's tough. Battered Chargers fans have been through hell supporting a franchise that would rather play elsewhere. Too many cities have watched teams relocate -- it's ridiculous -- but one final playoff push by Philip Rivers would go a long way toward a happy final chapter in San Diego.

4. Dallas CowboysHere's what you do: (1) Place last year's horrid game tape in a paper bag. (2) Set the bag on fire. (3) Throw the flaming mess off a cliff into the abyss. Cowboys fans can forget about last season and pray for an injury-free 2016. If Tony Romo can stay healthy, Dallas remains a favorite to win the NFC East.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: I feel like a fool. I've been predicting a Jaguars turnaround for years -- and I'm doing it again! I believe in the young playmakers around Blake Bortles. And with Dante Fowler returning after a lost rookie season, Jacksonville's defense adds a promising sack artist to the mix. We've said it all before, but the Jaguars have the talent to be a nice surprise in the AFC.

6. Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco is returning. Steve Smith ditched his retirement. Terrell Suggs will be back and first-round wideout Breshad Perriman joins the mix. This past season was a car wreck, but a clean bill of health makes Baltimore a playoff threat all over again.

7. San Francisco 49ers: At very least, Chip Kelly makes the Niners interesting again. If he can flip the switch on Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco is back in business. And if it all goes horribly wrong, the fallout will be fascinating to witness. Everybody wins.

8. Miami Dolphins: Beefcake Dan Campbell is out the door, but Adam Gase was seen by many as the league's hottest coaching candidate. After Gase worked magic with Peyton Manning and made Jay Cutler less of a hot mess, there's hope yet for the blasé Ryan Tannehill.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I'm sold on Jameis Winston. It's not just his play. The Bucs fell in love with his leadership, too, and made the wise decision to keep him paired with coach Dirk Koetter. Re-signing Doug Martin is the next move for an offense with plenty of promise heading into 2016.

10. New York Giants: Wait ... why did Big Blue fire Tom Coughlin? It's been a weird offseason for the Giants, but New York fans can take heart in Odell Beckham's decision to become a network television thespian. That's all I've got for you.

11. Chicago Bears: Matt Forte has one foot out the door, but Chicago already has his replacement on the roster in second-year runner Jeremy Langford. With first-round receiver Kevin White also set to be unleashed, Bears fans can look forward to major returns on last year's draft class.

12. New Orleans Saints: It was a painful campaign for this loyal fan base, but at least the Saints didn't ditch the duo of Sean Payton and Drew Brees. After watching three old-as-the-wind quarterbacks reach their respective conference title games last week, New Orleans still has hope under center.

13. Philadelphia Eagles: While Chip Kelly makes the Niners more intriguing, his exodus from Philly is the best thing about the new-look Eagles. This franchise needed a fresh start and they got one. Now it's up to Doug Pederson to make Sam Bradford something other than one of the NFL's most boring quarterbacks.

14. Oakland Raiders: Not long ago, Reggie McKenzie was the constant butt of jokes. Today, Raiders fans can smile about what their general manager has put in place, with Derek Carr looking like the answer under center and Khalil Mack emerging as a generational wonder on defense. After a string of draft hits, Oakland has the talent to make a playoff run.

15. Los Angeles Rams: St. Louis has nothing to smile about, but longtime Rams fans in Southern California are ecstatic about the return of their long-lost team. With a punishing defense and Todd Gurley anchoring the ground game, this perennially 7-9 club has a shot to make noise by the Pacific.

16. Detroit Lions: Three words: Jim Bob Cooter.

17. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan caught a ton of flack in 2015, but he'll only improve with another offseason tied to play-caller Kyle Shanahan. It's under-reported how much of a challenge it is to dive into a new offense. Continuity will help.

18. Indianapolis Colts: Like a bunch of teams on this list, Colts fans get their starting passer back come September. Andrew Luck endured a weird season, but shame on anyone who sees him as less than a star-in-the-making. Especially if GM Ryan Grigson can finally piece together a functional O-line.

19. Buffalo Bills: The in-fighting and lack of buy-in on defense tore the Bills apart, but that doesn't take away from what this big-play offense achieved under coordinator Greg Roman. Buffalo has an exciting young quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. Finding a legitimate wideout to pair with Sammy Watkins could be enough to make the Bills one of the league's top attacks in 2016.

20. New York Jets: Dumping Rex Ryan had the potential to go very wrong for the Jets. Instead, they have a superior coach in Todd Bowles and one of the NFL's most underrated team-builders in Mike Maccagnan. After watching Gang Green wisely swap for Brandon Marshall last offseason, Jets fans can rest easy at night about what Bowles and Mac are putting together in Florham Park.

21. Washington Redskins: Most expected this club to crash and burn with a vengeance last season. Instead, Washington has a talented coach in Jay Gruden, a promising passer in Kirk Cousins and one of the league's top talent evaluators in Scot McCloughan. With the Robert Griffin III drama behind them, the 'Skins finally feel like a team with direction.

22. Houston Texans: Brian Hoyer's playoff implosion comes with a silver lining: The Texans now know for sure that drafting a quarterback is an absolute must. In a division with Luck, Bortles and Mariota on the rise, Houston fans can look forward to coach Bill O'Brien finding his hand-picked passer in the draft.

23. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings endured a crushing playoff loss, but Minnesota has the talent -- especially on defense -- to serve as a long-term playoff threat in the NFC. It starts with Mike Zimmer, quietly one of the best coaches in the NFL. Good times are ahead.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Say what you will about the tough-luck Bengals, but this team looked like the AFC's top franchise for much of last season. Losing Hue Jackson won't help, but with so many stars returning -- and Andy Dalton turning into a formidable passer -- Cincy's a near lock to get back to the playoffs in 2016.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Take what we said about the Bengals and apply it to the Steelers. With a healthy Le'Veon Bell back in the mix, the sky's the limit for Big Ben and friends. With more organizational consistency than 90 percent of the league, Pittsburgh remains a Super Bowl threat until Roethlisberger retires.

26. Seattle Seahawks: The 'Hawks remain an NFC powerhouse, especially after Russell Wilson developed into one of the NFL's most dangerous passers. Marshawn Lynch is likely gone, but Seattle won't skip a beat in the backfield with tackle-breaking Thomas Rawls in the lineup. Throw in a healthy Jimmy Graham, and the 12s have plenty to smile about.

27. Green Bay Packers: P90X guru Tony Horton has promised to whip Eddie Lacy into shape, which might be enough to make the Packers back a top-five runner next autumn. There's also plenty of promise at wideout after watching future Making the Leap candidates Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis explode in the playoffs. Plus: Jordy Nelson returns.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: There's plenty of hope for a defense that helped the Chiefs to 11 straight wins. Fifth-year end Jaye Howard and third-year pass rusher Dee Ford add strength to an enticing front seven, while Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Marcus Peters gives Andy Reid one of the AFC's most promising young cover men.

29. New England Patriots: Let's not panic, New England. Your team came within a hair of the Super Bowl with one of the AFC's most battered rosters. Until Bill Belichick walks away -- and until the space ship returns to retrieve non-human quarterback Tom Brady -- the Patriots are headed for another 12-4 campaign in 2016.

30. Arizona Cardinals: Cards fans have a top-shelf coach in Bruce Arians and at least another two seasons from Carson Palmer. After coming within a game of Super Bowl 50, Arizona isn't about to fade away, especially with uber-talented Tyrann Mathieu returning at safety. Now go find a pass-rusher.

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