There’s been plenty of amazing moments in Super Bowl history. Instead of dwelling on those, I want to focus in on the not so good performances. I’ve compiled what I believe to be some of the worst Super Bowl chokes. The list is compiled of both teams and players who failed on the biggest stage to add their names to the list of all-time winners.
Top 5 Worst Chokes in Super Bowl History
Super Bowl LI – Atlanta Falcons
There’s a decent chance that we won’t see a bigger choke than what the Atlanta Falcons did in Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots. Atlanta took a 21-3 lead into halftime and it couldn’t have looked much worse for Brady and the Pats at that time. It got even worse for New England, as the Falcons increased their lead to 28-3 in the 3rd quarter. Given that no team had ever rallied from more than 10 down to win a Super Bowl, just about everyone thought this game was in the books. Then came the greatest comeback in history, as the Patriots scored 25 unanswered to force overtime, where they sealed the deal with a TD and a 34-28 win.
Super Bowl XLVIII – Denver Broncos
The Broncos were only a slim 2-point favorite against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. However, most expected Denver to runaway with the game. The Broncos proceeded to lay one of the biggest eggs in Super Bowl history. It started with a safety on the very first play of the game. It only got worse. At one point in the 3rd quarter, they were down 0-36. They ended up losing 43-8. It was the first time the winning team scored more than 40 points, while also allowing fewer than 10 points.
Super Bowl XLII – New England Patriots
You can’t talk about Super Bowl chokes without mentioning the 2007 New England Patriots. The Patriots finished the regular season a perfect 16-0 and had a chance to become the first team to ever go 19-0. The high-powered Patriots offense didn’t come to play and lost 14-17 to the New York Giants. Keep in mind this wasn’t suppose to be close. New England was a massive 14-point favorite.
Super Bowl XXV – Scott Norwood (Buffalo Bills)
The Buffalo Bill’s Scott Norwood had a chance to win Super Bowl XXV, but instead choked away his chance. BUffalo was trailing 19-20 with just seconds remaining in the 4th quarter. Norwood’s had a chance to win the game with his leg. Instead, his 47-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right. It was the beginning of what turned out to be a run of bad luck for the Bills. They would return and lose the Super Bowl in each of the next three seasons. Just to be fair. You could arguably put anyone who was associated with those four Super Bowl losses on this list.
Super Bowl XXXVII – Rich Gannon (Oakland Raiders)
Rich Gannon won win the regular season MVP during the 2002-03 campaign. Unfortunately for the Raiders, he didn’t play like the league MVP in the Super Bowl. Oakland lost 21-48 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gannon certainly deserved a big chunk of the blame. He threw an astonishing five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.
More Memorable Super Bowl Failures & All-Time Collapses
Super Bowl XLIV – Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts)
You don’t exactly think of Peyton Manning as a choke artist. There’s no questioning he’s one the greats of all-time. Unfortunately the future Hall of Fame quarterback played a big role in the Colts loss. Down 17-24 late in the 4th quarter, Manning drove the ball down deep into Saints territory. That’s when things went wrong. Manning threw an interception to Tracy Porter that was returned 74-yards for a touchdown.
Super Bowl XXXVIII – John Kasay (Carolina Panthers)
John Kasay went from hero to zero in a matter of no time in the Panthers loss to the Patriots. Most remember New England’s game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri. They forget how the Patriots got the chance to win the game. Kasay connected on a 50-yard field goal with just over a minute left to play. Everything was good until he shanked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. It allowed Tom Brady to orchestrate the offense down the field for the winning 41-yard kick.
Super Bowl XIII – Jackie Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
If you that watched Super Bowl XIII, you are well aware of the infamous dropped pass by Jackie Smith. With Dallas trailing by a touchdown, Roger Staubach found a wide open Smith in the endzone. Only to watch his wide out completely biff the catch. Dallas would go on to lose the game 31-35.
Super Bowl XXXIX – Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia Eagles)
After losing in the NFC Championship Game in the previous three seasons. Donovan McNabb finally got the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately he didn’t deliver when it mattered most. While McNabb threw for 357 yards and 3 TDs, his three interceptions were the difference in the game. Philadelphia would go on to lose the game 21-24 and have not been back to the Super Bowl since.
Super Bowl XXX – Neil O’Donnel (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnel rarely made a mistake. O’Donnel went into Super Bowl XXX the NFL all-time leader in fewest interceptions/pass attempt. He didn’t just throw one pick in the Steelers 17-27 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX, he threw three.