A good comeback is a part of what makes sports so great. As fans, we all love the feeling of cheering after being on the edge of your seat. Whether it’s football, basketball, tennis, or golf, we love to see our favorite athletes pull off an unexpected victory. So, what are some of the best Super Bowl comebacks in history?
Besides showing support for your favorite team, a lot of people get excited for the yummy party snacks. Everyone has their favorite pick. A recent poll finds you might want to load up on meatballs this year — instead of gameday classics like nachos and chicken wings! The meaty, bite-size treats rank as the number one food football fans are searching for online. Shockingly, pizza isn’t even on the list!
For years, there’s been chatter in sports circles about how the NFL could benefit from moving the big game to Saturday. A recent poll of 2,000 NFL fans shows that 48 percent of them would like to see the Super Bowl moved to Saturday. For a lot of us, the thought of working Monday morning after the Super Bowl is just painful. And, moving the game to Saturday would help curve the 14 percent of Americans who call out sick every Monday after the Super Bowl.
Snacks and debates aside, the real focus in on the game. The biggest Super Bowl comebacks are things discussed in the sports world for years. StudyFinds did the digging, consulting 10 expert sports reviews and websites in an effort to bring you the best Super Bowl comebacks in history. Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
The List: Best Super Bowl Comebacks, According to Sports Historians
1. Super Bowl LI: Patriots Historical Victory Over Falcons
The discussion of the biggest Super Bowl comebacks starts with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots rallying from down 25 points to beat the reigning MVP Matt Ryan and his Atlanta Falcons. This Super Bowl looked to be a blowout until midway through the third quarter when the GOAT came to life.
“The most miraculous comeback in Super Bowl history. The Patriots were down 28–3 with 8:31 to go in the third quarter after a Tevin Coleman touchdown,” explains Sports Illustrated.
“Brady and company went on to score on five straight drives—including two touchdown drives with two successful two-point conversions—to send the game to overtime with the game tied at 28. The Patriots would go on to win the coin toss, elected to receive the ball, and James White scored on a 2-yard touchdown to give the Patriots the unbelievable win,” adds Sports Illustrated.
On this day back in 2017, the @Patriots completed an astonishing Super Bowl comeback over the Falcons 😮
— NFL (@NFL) February 5, 2023
Sports and football historians are torn between calling this game the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history and the most monumental collapse in the history of pro sports. Regardless of what side you were on, this was an undeniably great performance by the legend – Tom Brady.
“Tom Brady and the Patriots managed to score 25 unanswered points to take the game to overtime. The comeback was improbable: the Patriots forced the first Matt Ryan turnover in two months and scored a pair of two-point conversions in the fourth quarter alone,” furthers Fanduel.
“It is just as much an incredible comeback as it was an epic collapse. New England ran 93 offensive plays to Atlanta’s 46, gassing the Falcons’ defense. It was the perfect storm. One team executed their game plan to perfection, and one sputtered out when it needed it the most. Without a doubt, no Super Bowl comeback conversation can start without mentioning the simple phrase: 28-3,” explains Pro Football Network.
2. Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots Stun Seattle
We promise not every spot on the list involves Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. But, the second spot on the list once again features the legend and his Pats coming back to take an improbable victory late in the Super Bowl. Simply put, Brady wasn’t going to be denied.
“The Seattle Seahawks were looking for a repeat. The Patriots were trying to end their title drought, one that had already hit a decade. Seattle led 24-14 in the fourth quarter, and Brady and the Patriots were tasked with scoring twice on the Legion of Boom,” explains Primetime Sports Talk.
The Legion of Boom is the nickname given to the Seattle Seahawk defense, and it was well warranted, too. Seattle’s defense was the real deal, dismantling Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the prior year’s Super Bowl.
Marshawn Lynch is stopped at the one, setting the stage for one of NFL history's most shocking moments.
As Seattle eschews the run, Russell Wilson's pass is picked off by rookie Malcolm Butler
8 years ago OTD pic.twitter.com/ZSKIyEsCof
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) February 1, 2023
“The Seahawks had a chance to win on a go-ahead touchdown at the one-yard line, but Russell Wilson threw an interception to Malcolm Butler in one of the most infamous play calls of all time. Patriots won 28–24,” adds Sports Illustrated.
Every epic comeback story can be told through the eyes of the team that blows a big lead late in the Super Bowl. However, Tom Brady still had to score two tough touchdowns against one of the best defenses of all time.
“Until this point, no team in Super Bowl history had come back to win after facing a fourth-quarter deficit of more than 7 points. Yet, as history tells us, the Patriots did just that,” writes Pro Football Network.
3. Super Bowl XXII: Washington’s Rise Against Denver
Okay, enough of the Patriots and their epic comebacks. The next entry on the list of the best Super Bowl comebacks takes us back to the 1980s and a matchup between Washington and Denver. Denver jumped out to an early 10 to zero lead before Washington woke up and took the game over.
“The Broncos were up 10–0 over Washington after just one quarter and it was all smooth sailing. Then future Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway threw two interceptions in the second quarter that set in motion a cataclysmic meltdown. Denver didn’t score another point and Washington won 42-10,” explains Sports Illustrated.
Elway eventually went on to enjoy two Super Bowl victories in back-to-back seasons to close out his career, but this was not his day.
“The Broncos held a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but they wouldn’t score a single point more as Washington rattled off an incredible, record-breaking 35 points before halftime. Doug Williams, who began the season as the back-up QB, threw four touchdowns in the second quarter as Washington turned the Super Bowl on its head,” adds The Twinspires Edge.
It was the day that Doug Williams made history by becoming the first Black starting QB to win a Super Bowl.#OTD in 1988, Washington trailed the Broncos 10-0 after the first quarter of Super Bowl XXII, before roaring back for 35 second quarter points and winning 42-10.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) January 31, 2023
Doug Williams will forever live in Super Bowl lore for his outstanding performance that day. When you combine Williams’ performance with that of lockdown defense, it’s a recipe for a Super Bowl blowout, which is what this game eventually turned into. Doug Williams broke records in more ways than one in Super Bowl XXII.
“Williams, the first Black quarterback to start a Super Bowl game, was the MVP of the game. He gave the Washington Redskins their second Super Bowl title in six seasons,” adds Bet US.
4. Super Bowl XLIV: Saints Recover Against Colts
Fast forward back to recent memory when the New Orleans Saints celebrated their victory over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterback Drew Brees’ first and only Super Bowl appearance made for an exciting storyline heading into this game, but it was an epic call by head coach Sean Payton that truly turned the tables.
“The Colts did come out of the gates hot against the Saints, going up 10-0 in the first quarter. Down 10-6 out of the half, head coach Sean Payton pulled off one of the gutsiest calls in Super Bowl history, spurring the comeback. On the second half’s opening kickoff, New Orleans attempted an onside kick and recovered,” explains Pro Football Network.
This Super Bowl seemed like it was going to be a back-and-forth game in the first half, and we were all treated to fireworks in the second half. “It was also a tale of two halves – the Colts took control of the game early on before the Saints mounted an incredible comeback. The Colts took a 10-0 lead during the first quarter of the game, but the Saints wouldn’t go away,” writes Gambling Sites.
"IT'S PICKED OFF! IT'S PICKED OFF – IT'S TRACY PORTER AGAIN!!"
13 years ago today, the #Saints won Super Bowl XLIV 🙌
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) February 7, 2023
This Super Bowl was everything you’d expect from two of the most proficient passers in NFL history.
“After trading a pair of touchdowns, the Colts were down 24–17 and Peyton Manning had a chance to lead his team down the field for a potentially game-winning drive. Instead, he threw a pick-six to make the final score 31–17,” explains Sports Illustrated.
5. Super Bowl XXV: Giants Defeat the Bills
Rounding out the most major comebacks features the New York Giants fighting back from down nine points to defeat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. This Super Bowl is well-known in football circles as the game that featured the kick heard “round the world” but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
“The Giants built their season in 1991 on a rock-solid defense. However, Buffalo was still able to build a lead, and with less than 30 seconds left of the first half, the Bills were up 12-3. However back-to-back touchdowns from Stephen Baker and Ottis Anderson gave the Giants a 17-12 lead and the Bills offense didn’t touch the ball in two hours of real time,” explains The Twinspires Edge.
This was a close fought game all with an exciting fourth quarter. “Giants gave themselves the 20-19 lead in the fourth quarter but Jim Kelly was able to give his kicker, Scott Norwood, a chance to nail a 47-yarder with nine seconds to go,” adds Sports Illustrated.
1990: Super Bowl Week- Plenty of post game interviews after Super Bowl XXV. @CarlBanksGIII as happy as #NYGiants fans have ever seen him. @GaryReasons holding his son on the field. Hoss in front of slew of microphones. #TogetherBlue pic.twitter.com/voZ2hjFlqO
— BigBlueVCR (@BigBlueVCR) February 9, 2023
As a fan, you can’t ask for much more than an opportunity to win the Super Bowl in the final seconds. What seemed to be shaping up as a storybook ending, was the first of four straight Super Bowl losses for the Buffalo Bills. Still, this Super Bowl is best known for the missed opportunity than a gritty comeback by the New York Giants.
“Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly led the Bills down the field to the Giants’ 29-yard line with 0:09 on the clock. Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood attempted a 47-yard field goal that went wide right,” states Primetime Sports Talk.
- Sports Illustrated
- Primetime Sports Talk
- Fanduel – The Duel
- The Twinspires Edge
- Essentially Sports
- Gambling Sites (.com)
- Bet US
- Gambling Sites (.net)
- Pro Football Network
- Sports Lens
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