The Super Bowl is arguably the greatest sporting event of the year in America, as the NFL takes over millions of TV sets. Though every matchup in theory should be exciting from start to finish, there have been some definite duds along the way. What makes a Super Bowl worthy of the worst list? Unequal matchups resulting in boring games, poor playing, poor officiating, or sometimes a combination of it all may end in a fiasco the likes of which is rarely seen, but always remembered. We decided to check out what the pros have to say, and compiled a list of the worst Super Bowl games in history according to 10 expert websites.
It’s certainly not what you would expect out of a championship game, meant to pit the last two teams against each other and crown the best, but it is the nature of competition. For whatever reason, sometimes it’s just not competitive. Maybe that doesn’t sound like fun, but for the majority of Super Bowl Party-goers who are just in it for the snacks, the commercials and the social gatherings, a dumpster fire of a game can be just as entertaining to watch as a competitive one. In fact, there is even a movement to switch the game to Saturday, so that fans can recover from the revelry without calling in sick to work.
For diehard fans who may even end friendships over team rivalries though, watching a debacle of a championship game can be heartbreaking. It’s painful enough when your favorite team loses, but how much worse when they get blown out. The sting from those games lingers and has haunted the fanbases of storied teams for years, even decades. Teams like the Vikings, Bills and Broncos have languished after getting embarrassed in their last or only shot, or failing to ever reach the top of the mountain after many tries.
So what’ll it be this year? Will we get a great storyline, perhaps a team exorcising some demons, maybe a legacy cemented? Will it be a stinker? More pain for an oft-cursed franchise? Let’s just hope it’s a fun one, unlike these letdowns from across the Super Bowl’s 56-year history. Read on for our list of the five worst Super Bowl games, according to the experts!
The List: 5 Worst Super Bowl Games Ever, According to Experts
1. Super Bowl XXIV, San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10
The Miami Herald ranks this as the worst Super Bowl in history, writing simply, “Everybody knew what was going to happen and it did.”
The NFL agrees, “If the Pleiadians or some other alien race finds our planet in 200 years and discovers NFL Films, let’s hope this isn’t the one film canister they discover. Super Bowl XXIV was brutal from start to finish. Really, it was never a game. It was 27-3 at halftime. Get excited.”
Super Bowl XXIV Studs#49ers QB Joe Montana hits Jerry Rice for their third TD connection of the evening.
Montana becomes the then-career leader in Super Bowl TD passes with 10.
Rice sets a SB single-game record with three receiving TDs, a record he would later tie in SB XXIX. pic.twitter.com/Xix3bxrkxz
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) January 29, 2022
“One team that didn’t have great Super Bowl luck during the ’80s? The Denver Broncos. Although they made the Big Game quite a bit during the decade, they failed to ever really compete in one. Super Bowl XXIV was no different, as the Broncos couldn’t stop the San Francisco 49ers’ vaunted offense, getting blown out on the biggest stage and setting an NFL record for the largest point margin in the Super Bowl history,” says Ranker.
2. Super Bowl XXVII, Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17
About this muddle, Men’s Journal laments, “The Bills’ four-game losing streak in the big game is one of modern sports’ abiding tragedies. Certainly they were a wonderful team that happened to run into better ones. In any event, this was a crime scene and hard to watch.”
CBS News writes, “After their 15-year Super Bowl drought, the Cowboys absolutely manhandled the Bills in 1993, forcing a Super Bowl-record nine turnovers, and knocking hard-luck Buffalo QB Jim Kelly out of the game in the second quarter.”
Super Bowl XXVII, OTD in 1993
MVP Troy Aikman's stellar day (22-30, 273 yds, 4 TD) and a Super Bowl record 9 takeaways by the defense stake Dallas to a 52-17 win over the Bills at the Rose Bowl.#Cowboys' 3rd SB title
• Emmitt Smith: 135 total yds, TD
• Michael Irvin: 6-114-2 pic.twitter.com/i6ydEUabAl
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) January 31, 2022
“Troy Aikman was the game’s MVP for the six-point favored Cowboys and it was really never close,” adds Bleacher Report.
3. Super Bowl VIII, Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7
Among the five worst Super Bowl games is 1974’s Dolphins vs. Vikings. “The Dolphins led 17-0 at the half and 24-0 midway through the third quarter. Never had a game so important been so boring. Even NFL Films, the great propagandists of the pigskin, could not save this stinker. Its highlight film was basically a 20-minute interview with Dolphins coach Don Shula about running misdirection plays. Please, someone, save us!” Sportscasting pleads.
All of the Super Bowls were different kinds of heartbreaks – a stunning upset, a frustrating messy game, and a couple of total blowouts. Super Bowl VIII just felt like the world marched past the Vikings. Like it had better things to do. pic.twitter.com/GrubJQLoe4
— Luke Braun (@LukeBraunNFL) September 10, 2022
Touchdown Wire describes the beatdown, “Remember … when Miami quarterback Bob Griese threw just 11 passes in Super Bowl VII? That was a veritable aerial attack in contrast to Super Bowl VIII, when Griese attempted just seven passes against Minnesota. He completed six of them for 73 yards, but the Dolphins did most of their damage on the ground. Larry Csonka bulldozed his way to 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Jim Kiick added a third rushing touchdown for Miami. Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton helped Minnesota avoid the shutout by scoring on a 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter.”
4. Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8
The first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a cold-weather city (East Rutherford, New Jersey) didn’t give anyone the warm fuzzies. Perhaps this one can be blamed on the weather. At least, that’s what Franchise Sports argues: “But the NFL ruined it ahead of time by scheduling the game to be played in an outdoor stadium in a cold climate. That gave the team with the better defense a huge advantage, especially with Manning being somewhat averse to cold weather.”
The Washington Post gives no such clemency, writing, “…the rest of us had to sit through a game in which the Seahawks led 36-0 late in the third quarter, as the expected close game between the two No. 1 seeds — just the third such game in Super Bowl history at that point — never materialized.”
"Is it all right if we scored more points? – @MoneyLynch
All the sights and sounds from Super Bowl XLVIII, presented by @Bose!
Premieres at 12 p.m. PST » https://t.co/967bO84wlV pic.twitter.com/2JYec7psN0
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) February 9, 2022
5. Super Bowl XXXV, Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7
What a yawn. CBS News says, “In a matchup of mediocre QBs — the Giants’ Kerry Collins and the Bucs’ Trent Dilfer — it was no surprise that the suffocating Ravens defense controlled the entire game. The result was another low-suspense Super Bowl.”
“Every once in a while there’s a team that is just destined to win the Lombardi Trophy, and after watching Super Bowl XXXV, it was clear that the Baltimore Ravens was that team,” declares Ranker.
After being named the Super Bowl XXXV MVP, Ray Lewis talked about how the Ravens defense would forever be known as the "best ever." pic.twitter.com/zbMua9Dpd6
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) July 28, 2018
So what do you think are the worst Super Bowl games ever played? Let us know in the comments which was the biggest dud! And then check out our list of the 5 Best Super Bowls Of All-Time!
- Miami Herald
- CBS News
- Bleacher Report
- Men’s Journal
- Touchdown Wire
- Franchise Sports
- Washington Post
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