If NFL Teams Were Tech Companies...

Are the 49ers the Samsung of football? Is Apple the tech version of the Patriots? Do Microsoft and the Cowboys share the same fate? We've been thinking about NFL teams and tech companies that have had similar histories, expectations, triumphs and defeats. Here's our list.

San Francisco 49ers and Samsung

San Francisco 49ers and Samsung

These two versatile organizations are both at the top of their game right now. Samsung has been rolling out dynamic mobile products--such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II smartphones, along with tablets, ultrabooks, HD TVs and more--that have Apple's top brass losing sleep. Like Samsung, the 49ers attack the competition from all fronts: running game, passing, strong defensive line and defensive backfield. The 49ers may have fallen short in this year's Super Bowl against the Ravens, but this squad has too many weapons to stay number 2 for long.

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Baltimore Ravens and Twitter
Adam Hunger/Reuters

Baltimore Ravens and Twitter

Twitter and the Baltimore Ravens may both have a bird for a mascot, but the similarities go deeper. Both have been performing with remarkable consistency over the past few years, but have not been a clear-cut champion. Well, the Ravens are now the Super Bowl champs, beating the 49ers with guts and persistence. And Twitter, once considered a social media fad, is now the subject of IPO talk as it has become integral to promoting a business (or yourself). At this point you'd be crazy to second-guess either of these birds.

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New England Patriots and Apple
Gary Hershorn/Reuters : Apple

New England Patriots and Apple

Both Apple and the New England Patriots became dynasties starting in 2001. The past decade has been very good to both as Apple, led by surly genius Steve Jobs, redefined industries with the iPod, iPhone and iPad -- and the Patriots, led by surly genius Bill Belichick, went to five Super Bowls, winning three. But these days the Patriots are the masters of not getting to or losing the Super Bowl and Apple hasn't released a new product since Steve Jobs passed away in Oct. 2011 (Ok I suppose the iPad Mini counts as new). Both organizations are still highly successful, but has the magic vanished?

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Dallas Cowboys and Microsoft
John Amis/Reuters : Microsoft

Dallas Cowboys and Microsoft

Both Microsoft and the Dallas Cowboys are juggernauts from the '90s that have struggled to reinvent themselves. Both organizations are flush with cash but have stayed stuck in "good enough" mode for the past decade. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have many similarities: Both are hard-working, enthusiastic guys who mean well but can't get out of their own way to let their team win.

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Seattle Seahawks and Facebook
Robert Sorbo/Reuters : Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Seattle Seahawks and Facebook

The young, strong and scrappy Seahawks led by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and youthfully energetic, though 61-year-old, coach Pete Carroll seem like a team of the people, much like the built-by-the-people social media sensation Facebook. The Seahawks surprised many by going deep into the playoffs in 2012. At home games at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks crowd is so loud that opposing teams can't hear each other. This is a team of young players with a bright future backed by a huge base of fans. Sound like Facebook?

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Oakland Raiders and AOL
Andrew Innerarity/Reuters

Oakland Raiders and AOL

The Oakland Raiders aren't the worst team and AOL is not worst tech company, yet both have rich legacies but seem to be forever rebuilding lately. The Raiders can rely on star running back Darren McFadden (if he's healthy) and should pick up some good defensive players in the draft and from free agency; AOL now has TechCrunch, the Huffington Post and Engadget under ownership as it reinvents itself as a digital media company. So there is room for improvement. But will next year be the same old story for these two?

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Philadelphia Eagles and RIM
Darryl Webb/Reuters

Philadelphia Eagles and RIM (now BlackBerry)

RIM and the Eagles have shared the same ebb and flow. The Eagles finished first in their division from 2000-2005. They even went to the Super Bowl in 2004. Up until the iPhone's release in 2007 RIM's BlackBerry was so popular it was coined "CrackBerry." Between 2007-2010, both organizations still had small victories, but the past two years have been brutal. RIM got pummeled by the popularity of Android and iPhones, losing market share, and the Eagles have missed the playoffs in the past two seasons as younger, better-coached teams have passed them by.

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New York Giants and Hewlett-Packard
Chris Keane/Reuters : Thierry Roge/Reuters

New York Giants and Hewlett-Packard

Both Hewlett-Packard and the New York Giants are capable of greatness but suffer from inconsistencies. One year the Giants win the Super Bowl, the next year they don't even make the playoffs. HP is a tech giant with products such as printers, laptops and servers along with software and services to support IT infrastructure. With all these assets, you'd think the company would be a champ. But HP has had three CEOs in three years and issued massive layoffs as the PC is replaced by mobile devices. It's just never clear which HP or which New York Giants team will show up.

Atlanta Falcons and Dell
Sean Earoner/Reuters

Atlanta Falcons and Dell

Dell and the Atlanta Falcons are both winners: successful and efficient organizations that deliver good numbers. Yet neither are very inspiring organizations. You could even call them boooooring. Dell quietly delivers traditional laptops, networking and storage equipment and IT services. You still awake? The Falcons deliver consistent winning seasons under conventional quarterback Matt Ryan and by-the-book coach Mike Smith, but year after year they lose the big game in the playoffs to more gutsy and dynamic teams.

Green Bay Packers  and
Darren Hauck/Reuters

Green Bay Packers and LinkedIn

The resemblances here are about strong performance and consistency. The Packers are not perfect (defense and offensive line need work) but they are an exciting team with a Pro Bowl quarterback that will give you a winning record and playoff prowess. Similarly, LinkedIn, once considered just a Web site for connecting with colleagues, has become a powerhouse for networking, job searches, company profiles, content promotion and more. LinkedIn filed for an IPO in 2011 and has healthy revenues and 200 million registered users worldwide. Both LinkedIn and the Packers face encroaching competition, but for now they are Winning.

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Carolina Panthers  and Groupon
Chris Keane/Reuters : IDGE

Carolina Panthers and Groupon

Overrated and over-hyped would describe both deal-of-the-day Web site Groupon and the Carolina Panthers, led by dazzling but too-often disappointing second-year quarterback Cam Newton. Despite predictions of being at least a 10-win playoff team the Panthers struggled to finish the 2012 season with a 7-9 record. Groupon was initially a phenomenon as users scooped up online coupons, but its business model proved shaky and since its IPO in Oct. 2011 Groupon has consistently missed revenue estimates and its stock has plummeted. Don't believe the hype!

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Google
Shannon Stapleton/Reuters : Wikipedia

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Google

Big Brother anyone? Both the NFL Commish and search giant Google are powerful forces and both have been criticized for ruling with a heavy hand and putting profits over safety and integrity.

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