The Biggest Upsets in Super Bowl History

The Biggest Upsets in Super Bowl History
Image © Gary Cosby Jr. via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Frank Weber
Author:
Frank Weber
Updated: 
August 26th 2022 - 08:24 AM

Everyone loves an underdog story.

Rocky.

Rudy.

Million Dollar Baby.

I mean truly nothing is better than an underdog finding succe–wait I have more.

A League of Their Own.

Kung Fu Panda.

Legally Blonde.

Where was I? Oh right. NOTHING is better than an underdog finding success. And sometimes the best kind of underdog stories are the ones that are unscripted.

Of the 55 Super Bowls played, the favorite has lost outright 19 times. Last year was the most recent example of this, when the Chiefs were three-point favorites over the Buccaneers and lost the game 31-9.

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Anyway, here are the five biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.

1. New York Jets (+18) over Baltimore Colts: Super Bowl III

Super Bowl III cemented the legacy of ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath, the best (and really only significant) quarterback in NFL history. Despite the record-tying 18 point spread, Joe Namath GUARANTEED a Jets victory before his Super Bowl matchup against the Colts.

The Colts came into the game on a 10 game winning streak and were fresh off a 34-0 victory in the Championship game, but quickly fell to the Jets in the Super Bowl 16-0.

The Colts were able to score a late touchdown to make it 16-7, but it was too little to0 late.

2. New England Patriots (+14) over St. Louis Rams: Super Bowl XXXVI

Kurt Warner and the Rams were looking for their second Super Bowl championship in three years, but ran into a kid in a Patriots uniform that ruined it all (Kids are baby goats. Not bad right?). Super Bowl XXXVI was Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl appearance, and he led the Patriots to a 20-17 victory.

3. New York Giants (+12.5) over New England Patriots: Super Bowl XLII

The unbeaten Patriots were trying to keep their perfect season alive against the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, and all things were pointing in their direction before the game even started.

Tom Brady was expected to stomp on the Giant's throat, and take his next Super Bowl ring with ease. Fast forward a bit, and four quarters and one helmet catch later and we have a different reality on our hands.

The Giants ended up winning this on 17-14 after a textbook two-minute drive down the field (assisted by one of the best catches in Super Bowl history by David Tyree) led them to a game-winning touchdown.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (+12) over Minnesota Vikings: Super Bowl IV

The line on this one still makes you scratch your head. Sure, the Vikings were better in the regular season–but once the Super Bowl between these two started, the Chiefs put their foot on the gas and never let up.

They jumped to an early 16-0 lead, and then rode that momentum to an easy 23-7 victory.

5. Denver Broncos (+11.5) over Green Bay Packers: Super Bowl XXXII

The defending Champion Packers, led by Brett Favre and his Levis, were huge favorites over 37-year old John Elway and the Broncos. Elway was 0-3 in Super Bowls before this one, so its fair to assume he felt a lot of pressure to prove himself on his fourth go at it.

This game is mostly remembered for Elway’s helicopter dive to get the first down in the third quarter. While a fantastic play, it often overshadows the true MVP of the game, Terrell Davis. Davis had three touchdowns in the game, which led the Broncos to a 31-24 victory.

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