The biggest collapses in Super Bowl history

Profile Picture: Danny Howard

Danny Howard

January 31st, 2022

They almost had it all. There is no worse time for an NFL team to lose its composure than the Super Bowl, and these five teams found a way to snatch defeat from the hands of victory. Let’s take a look at the most devastating collapses in Super Bowl history.

5. Super Bowl XXII: The Broncos blow it

The early goings in Super Bowl XXII suggested John Elway was about to win his first Super Bowl. The Denver Broncos jumped to a 10-0 lead against a Washington Redskins team starting backup quarterback Doug Williams. Then the first quarter ended and so did the Broncos’ title aspirations.

Williams went off in the second quarter, with four touchdown passes, and running back Timmy Smith added two more in the 42-10 massacre. No team had ever overcome a 10 point deficit to win a Super Bowl.

4. Super Bowl XLVIII: The Broncos blow it again

Peyton Manning came in as the 2013 MVP and a powerful Broncos offense going up against the unproven Seattle Seahawks. Though Manning was expected to earn a second ring, Seattle didn’t get the memo. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch tore up Denver’s defense, and the relentless Seattle defense battered the vaunted Broncos offense. Manning was a non-factor, as the league’s best offense could only muster one score in the 43-8 blowout.

3. Super Bowl XXV: Wide right

There is no better example of championship futility in the NFL than the Buffalo Bills losing four consecutive Super Bowls, but their first loss is one that still stings 30 years later. The Bills and New York Giants played a hard-fought game that came down to the wire, and Buffalo was in field-goal range, down 20-19 ,with Scott Norwood heading to the field for a 47-yard shot with four seconds to go. Norwood’s kick sailed wide right. The historic gaffe cost Buffalo the game and haunted Norwood.

2. Super Bowl XLIX: "Beast Mode" takes a back seat

The Patriots held a 28-24 lead when Seattle was at the goal line, with 26 seconds left and a timeout to spare. Marshawn Lynch had run for 102 yards and was averaging four yards per carry, but Seattle opted for a pass instead. Russell Wilson proceeded to toss the ball into the hands of Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler for a game-sealing interception.

1. Super Bowl LI: 28-3

Perhaps the first time a score of a game became meme-worthy, the Atlanta Falcons were destroying the Patriots, to the point where it was all but certain they would win. Turns out a 28-3 lead wasn’t enough, as Tom Brady and the Patriots closed the gap to send the Super Bowl to overtime for the first time. Atlanta had nothing left to offer, and New England completed the comeback to ensure Atlanta’s choke job would stand for all time.