In sports (especially in North America), a three-peat is winning three consecutive championships or tournaments. The term, a portmanteau of the words three and repeat, originated with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, during their unsuccessful campaign for a third consecutive championship during the 1988–89 season, having won the previous 2 NBA finals.

The term is a registered trademark owned by Pat Riley, the Lakers' head coach from 1981 to 1990. The original owner and assignor of the underlying THREE-PEAT "mark" was Bijan Khezri, former president of P.d.P. Paperon De Paperoni, a Delaware corporation. Khezri submitted in November 1988 a trademark application for the use of three-peat on shirts, jackets and hats. Around that time, the phrase was being used by members and fans of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, of whom Pat Riley was the head coach, regarding the Lakers' quest that season to obtain what would have been a third successive NBA championship. According to Riley, it was Laker player Byron Scott who cited the term in reference to the team's goal for that season.

After Khezri assigned the trademark to Riley, it remained an entity of Riles & Co., the corporate entity of National Basketball Association (NBA) coach Pat Riley. In 1989, Riles & Co. successfully registered the trademark under U.S. Registration Number 1552980. The Lakers did not win a third consecutive NBA championship in 1989, but the Chicago Bulls did in 1993, and Riles & Co. collected royalties from sports apparel makers who licensed the phrase for use on merchandise commemorating that accomplishment.

Riles & Co. subsequently obtained additional registrations expanding the trademark to cover many other kinds of merchandise in addition to apparel. The company then went on to reap additional profits by again licensing the phrase to merchandisers when the Bulls again won three consecutive NBA championships from 1996 through 1998, as well as when the New York Yankees won three straight World Series championships from 1998 through 2000 and when the Lakers won three straight NBA championships from 2000 through 2002. For the Lakers, it was their second in franchise history, and only the first since moving from Minneapolis. As of 2024, the Lakers are the last team of the 4 major American professional sports (NHL, MLB, NFL, & NBA) to accomplish the three-peat.

While originating in the United States, the three-peat has been replicated all over the world across different sports. In recent times, Spanish association football club Real Madrid notably became the first club of the modern era to win three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles (2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18).

The trademark registration for three-peat has been challenged over the years by those who argue that the term has become too generic in its usage for the trademark to continue to be applicable. However, such arguments have yet to succeed, with the registration continuing to be upheld by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as recently as 2001, in the case of Christopher Wade v. Riles & Co. This challenge documented the transfer of assignment from Khezri to Riles & Co., and upheld the validity of the trademark as originally conceived.

In 2005, a group of individuals attempted to trademark the phrase Three-Pete in anticipation of the (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt that year by the 2005 USC Trojans football team to win a third consecutive national championship. The change in spelling was a reference to the team's head coach, Pete Carroll. However, the Patent Office ruled that the change in spelling was not dissimilar enough from Riles & Co.'s three-peat, and denied the registration. Later that year, U.S.C. fan Kyle Bunch began selling his own "Three-Pete" T-shirts. He discontinued sales once he was notified that he was infringing upon the Riles & Co. trademark.

As of late 2007, the trademark "Three Peat" is still active for shirts, jackets, caps, etc., and for commemorative mugs, plates, etc., and also for posters, bumper sticker, etc. The similar "3 Peat" became a registered trademark of Riles & Co. for blankets and other bedding, as of June 2015. Some of the Riles & Co. trademarks are no longer in effect, e.g. keychains.[citation needed]

Origin and trademark

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In a comedic context, the same play on words, additionally incorporating the name "Pete", is known to have been used as early as 1930 on the radio program Empire Builders. The episode of that program broadcast on December 29, 1930, featured a trio of singers dubbed "The Three Visiting Firemen: Pete, Re-Pete, and Three-Pete".[1]

The Oxford English Dictionary credits an Illinois high school senior, Sharif Ford, with the earliest published use of the word in the March 8, 1989, edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ford's quote uses the term in a sporting context and serves to provide a clear etymology as well:

The Lincoln High Tigers say they want to "three-peat". "You know, kind of like repeat, except doing it for the third time", senior Sharif Ford said.

Three-peats in North American leagues/championships

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There have been numerous instances of teams winning three or more consecutive championships in the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Football League, and Australian Football League, most of which occurred prior to the advent of the term three-peat.

North America: professional sports

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  • 2020–2022   Boston Pride (2020 co-champions with Minnesota Whitecaps)


Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA Finals)

North America: collegiate sports

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NACDA Director's Cup (overall collegiate athletics)

NAIA National Football Championship

NAIA National Basketball Championship

NCAA Division I Baseball

  • 1970–1974 USC (5-peat)

NCAA Division I Softball

NCAA Division I Football

Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)
Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)[6]

NCAA Division I Men's Basketball

  • 1967–1973 UCLA  (7-peat)

NCAA Division I Men's Water Polo

  • 2008–2013 USC (6-peat)

NCAA Division I Women's Basketball

NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country

NCAA Division II Women's Basketball

NCAA Division III Women's Basketball

NCAA Division I Women's Soccer

NCAA Division II Football Championship[7]

NCAA Division III Football[8]

U.S. National Collegiate Club Rugby championships

United States: tabletop games

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Warhammer 40k American Team Championships[9]

  • Team Happy 2015–2017

United States: marching arts

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Three-peats in domestic leagues/championships

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Australian Football

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Australia

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West Australian Football League

Germany

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Australian Football League Germany

Association Football

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Argentina

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First Division (association football)

Belgium

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Belgian Pro League

Brazil

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Brazilian Championship

Bulgaria

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Bulgarian A PFG

Chile

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First Division (Association football):

Costa Rica

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Costa Rica, American Football 1st Division:

Croatia

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Croatian Football League

Czech Republic

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Czech National Basketball League:

Denmark

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Danish Superliga

England

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English football First Tier

FA Cup

Football League/EFL Cup

FA Charity/Community Shield

Finland

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Veikkausliiga

  • 1998–2000 Haka
  • 2009–2014 HJK (6-peat)
  • 2020–2023 HJK (4-peat)

France

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Ligue 1

Germany

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Bundesliga

DDR-Oberliga

Iraq

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Iraq Stars League

Iraq FA Cup

Umm al-Ma'arik Championship

Iraqi Super Cup

Iraq Central FA Premier League

Iraqi Futsal Premier League

Israel

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Liga Leumit

Israeli Premier League

Italy

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Italian Football Championship

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Japan

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J1 League

Netherlands

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Eredivisie

Norway

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Tippeligaen

Portugal

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Primeira Liga

Russia

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Russian Football Premier League

Russian Futsal Super League

Scotland

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Scottish football league system first tier

Scottish Cup

Serbia

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Serbian SuperLiga

Slovenia

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Slovenian PrvaLiga

Spain

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La Liga

Copa del Rey

South Africa

South African Premier Division

South Korea

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K League 1

Sweden

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Allsvenskan

Turkey

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Süper Lig

USSR

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Soviet Top League

United Arab Emirates

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UAE Pro League

Yugoslavia

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Yugoslav First League

Baseball

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Puerto Rico

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Baseball

Japan

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Nippon Professional Baseball

South Korea

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KBO League

Basketball

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Argentina

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Liga Nacional de Básquet

France

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LNB Pro A

Germany

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Basketball Bundesliga

Iraq

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Iraqi Basketball Premier League

Iraqi Basketball Perseverance Cup

Israel

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Israeli Basketball Premier League

Italy

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Lega Basket Serie A

Philippines

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PBA

Puerto Rico

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BSN basketball

Russia

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Russian Basketball Super League 1 (1992-2010)

Russian Professional Basketball League

VTB United League

Slovenia

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Premier A Slovenian Basketball League

Spain

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Liga ACB

Spanish Cup

Spanish Super Cup

Switzerland

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Swiss Basketball League

Turkey

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Basketball Super League

Vietnam

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VBA

Canadian Football

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Canada

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Canadian Rugby Union (pre 1958) / Canadian Football League (post 1958) (Grey Cup):

Collegiate women's basketball

Cricket

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Australia

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Queensland Premier Cricket T20

India

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Indian cricket's Ranji Trophy

New Zealand

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New Zealand cricket's Plunket Shield

Handball

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Iraq

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Iraqi Handball Premier League

Slovenia

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Slovenian First League of Handball

  • 1991–2001 Celje (10-peat)
  • 2002–2008 Celje (6-peat)
  • 2013–2020 Celje (7-peat)

Spain

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Liga ASOBAL

Copa del Rey

Ice Hockey

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Australia

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Australian Ice Hockey League

Rugby

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Australia

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New South Wales Rugby Football League/Australian Rugby League/National Rugby League

United Kingdom

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Super League Super League Grand Final

English rugby union

Volleyball

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South Korea

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V-League

Three-peats in continental and international championships

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Olympics

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Athletics

Basketball

Fencing

Field Hockey

Football

Handball

Swimming

Volleyball

Water polo

Curling

Ice Hockey

Chess

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Unofficial Championships (before 1886)

Pre-FIDE World Championships (1886–1946)

FIDE World Championships (2006–present)

Association Football

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National team competitions Club competitions
Men

AFC Asian Cup

Africa Cup of Nations

CONCACAF Gold Cup

CONCACAF Nations League

CONMEBOL Copa América

Men

FIFA Club World Cup

UEFA Champions League

UEFA Europa League

CONCACAF Champions League

CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores

Athletics

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World Athletics Championships

Cricket

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Cricket World Cup

  • 1999–2007   Australia (ICC ODI World Cup every 4 years)

ICC Women's T20 World Cup

Darts

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BDO World Darts Championship

PDC World Darts Championship

  Gary Anderson could have made a three-peat in 2015–2017 but lost 7-3 to   Michael van Gerwen in the final of the 2017 World darts championship.

Esports

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Counter Strike

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Competitive eating

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  • 1988-1990   Jay Green (1990 tied with   Mike DeVito)
  • 1993-1994   Mike DeVito (1993 Independence Day, 1993 One-on-one Challenge with Japan, 1994 Independence Day)
  • 1996-1998   Hirofumi Nakajima (1996 One-on-one Challenge with Japan, 1997 and 1998 Independence Day)
  • 2001-2006   Takeru Kobayashi (6-peat)
  • 2007-2014   Joey Chestnut (8-peat)
  • 2016-2023   Joey Chestnut (8-peat)
Women
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Golf

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Handball

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National team competitions Club competitions
Men

IHF World Men's Handball Championship

IHF World Men's Outdoor Handball Championship

European Men's Handball Championship

Women
IHF World Women's Handball Championship

European Women's Handball Championship

Men

IHF Super Globe

EHF Champions League

EHF European Cup

EHF Cup Winner's Cup

EHF Men's Champions Trophy

Women
Women's EHF Champions League

International rules football

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International Rules Series

International rules football games are held sporadically, hence the eight-year gap between 1990 and 1998.

Motorsports

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Formula One World Drivers' Champion

Champ Car World Series auto racing

Motorcycling

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MotoGP

Motorboat racing

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Formula 1 Powerboat World Championship

Rugby

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Rugby Union

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Women's Rugby World Cup

Rugby League

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Rugby League World Cup

Women's Rugby League World Cup

Surfing

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IPS World Circuit World Champion

ASP World Tour World Champion

ASP World Tour World Champion

Winter X Games

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Winter X Games SuperPipe

Tennis

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  • 1903–1906   British Isles
  • 1907–1911   Australasia[11]
  • 1920–1926   United States
  • 1927–1932   France
  • 1933–1936   Great Britain
  • 1946–1949   United States
  • 1950–1953   Australia
  • 1955–1957   Australia
  • 1959–1962   Australia
  • 1964–1967   Australia
  • 1968–1972   United States
  • 1976–1982   United States
  • 1983–1985   Czechoslovakia
  • 1993–1995   Spain
Men's singles
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Women's singles
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Men's doubles
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Women's doubles
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Men's singles
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Women's singles
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Men's doubles
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Women's doubles
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Gentlemen's singles
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Ladies' singles
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Gentlemen's doubles
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Ladies' doubles
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Men's singles
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Women's singles
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Men's doubles
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Women's doubles
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Singles
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Doubles
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Singles
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Men's singles
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Men's doubles
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Men's singles
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Women's singles
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Men's doubles
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Women's doubles
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Men's singles
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Men's singles
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Men's singles
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Men's singles
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Men's singles
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Men's singles
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Men's singles
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Men's singles
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The National Football League

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In the National Football League (NFL), a Super Bowl championship three-peat has not been accomplished. Two-time defending Super Bowl champions who failed to three-peat include the Green Bay Packers (1968), Miami Dolphins (1974), Pittsburgh Steelers (twice: 1976, 1980), San Francisco 49ers (1990), Dallas Cowboys (1994), Denver Broncos (1999), and New England Patriots (2005). All of these teams failed to return to the title game in the third season (indicated in parentheses).

The Kansas City Chiefs are currently two-time defending Super Bowl champions following their wins in Super Bowl LVII in 2023 and Super Bowl LVIII in 2024.

The Buffalo Bills went to 4 consecutive Super Bowls as the AFC champions from 1990 to 1993, which is a feat unmatched in NFL history; however, they lost in every appearance.

The New England Patriots are the most recent team to play in three consecutive Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl LI in 2016 and Super Bowl LIII in 2018, but losing Super Bowl LII in 2017.

In the early years of the NFL, decades before the introduction of either the term three-peat or the Super Bowl, the Packers won three consecutive NFL titles from 192931. This was achieved without playing any postseason playoff games, as the league title was determined at that time from the season standings. In addition, the Packers won the NFL championship in 1965, at a time when the rival NFL and AFL played separate exclusive championships. They then followed that 1965 championship with their first two Super Bowl victories in 1966 and 1967 (their Super Bowl berths were earned by winning both the 1966 NFL Championship Game and 1967 NFL Championship Game), thereby winning championships three years in a row.

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There have been efforts to come up with a similarly clever name for the potential fourth consecutive championship in the year following a three-peat. But attempts such as quat-row have thus far failed to catch on, and most fans simply use the term four-peat. Since the term three-peat came into usage, however, only one team in major American sports has been able to achieve it – Hendrick Racing/Jimmie Johnson NASCAR team, who won 5 championships in a row.

The wordplay of three-peat is clearer if repeat is stressed on the first syllable; this pronunciation is uncommon outside North America. Other English-speaking people may instead talk of a hat trick of championships, or simply a three-in-a-row.

There are also terms for winning three trophies in the same season:

References

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  1. ^ radiomemories 23248 Wizzard Media
  2. ^ Curtright, Austin (June 6, 2024). "Oklahoma softball wins fourth straight championship: Social media reactions to Sooner dynasty". The Oklahoman. Retrieved June 6, 2024.
  3. ^ Toledo Cup — National Collegiate Football Championship (Trophy). Gibson-Nagurski Athletic Center, University of Minnesota. January 6, 2023. Archived from the original on May 6, 2023. Retrieved May 6, 2023. 1934, 1935, 1936 — University of Minnesota
  4. ^ Emerson, Seth (August 20, 2023). "College football's last 3-peat: The Minnesota national title history Georgia is chasing". The Athletic. Minneapolis. Retrieved September 14, 2023.
  5. ^ Army football National Champions '44, '45, '46 (Stadium Sign). Michie Stadium: United States Military Academy. 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  6. ^ "NCAA FCS Football Championship History". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  7. ^ "NCAA Division II Football Championship History". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  8. ^ "NCAA Division III Football Championship History". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  9. ^ "ATC Home". ATC American Team Championships. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  10. ^ "Hamilton wins record-equalling seventh title". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  11. ^ 1910 competition was walked over.
  12. ^ 4-peat if her pre-World War II 1940 title is included.
  13. ^ a b c The Australian Open was not held in 1941–1945 due to World War II, indeed if the 1940 and 1946 tournaments are counted as straight versions Adrian Quist scores a ten-peat and John Bromwich an eight-peat.
  14. ^ The December 1977 title was shared with their final rivals.
  15. ^ The Australian Open was not held during 1986 due to date changes.
  16. ^ a b This is a rare example of a three-peat across the Amateur and Open Eras.