Kevin C. Cox
Super Bowl XLVIII provided the world one of the most one-sided football games ever witnessed. Was it the worst Super Bowl ever though?
In 1984, Super Bowl XVIII provided us with the first blowout of the post-merger Super Bowl era. In that game, the Raiders dismantled the Redskins 38-9. The 29 point victory was, at the time, the largest margin of victory in Super Bowl history. Starting with that game, only 5 of the following 20 Super Bowls had final scores within single digits. 1984 through 2003 basically represented the era of the blowout Super Bowl.
Now 30 years later, the world witnessed the third largest blowout in Super Bowl history. Super Bowl XLVIII featured a 35 point win by the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos, 43-8. In the moment, many will rush to judge this game as the worst Super Bowl ever played, but will that opinion stand after hindsight? Well, there are many Super Bowl blowouts to chose from, but here are my top five worst Super Bowls of all-time. Where will this dumpster fire of a game end up?
#5 Super Bowl XXVII - Cowboys 52 - Bills 17
In one game, Buffalo lost their starting quarterback, their pride, and their third Super Bowl in a row. Dallas built a dynasty on the back of this performance, scoring the second most points in Super Bowl history and securing the third highest margin of victory in Super Bowl history, 35 points (tied with XLVIII Seahawks). The young and loose Cowboys crushed the tense veteran Bills, and they’d do so again, in a lesser way, just one year later.
#4 Super Bowl XXXVII - Buccaneers 48 - Raiders 21
This one wasn’t even as close as the 27 point margin of victory indicated. The Raiders were dim enough to run the exact same playbook that Bucs head coach Jon Gruden created, against him, guess how that worked out? Raiders QB Rich Gannon threw 5 interceptions in that game, 3 of those were pick-sixes of 44 yards or longer. This was the first time the #1 offense (Oakland) faced the #1 defense (Tampa) and well, it looks like we know how those match ups work out. This was an absolute laugher throughout, even the Tampa defense thought the game was funny.
#3 Super Bowl XXXV - Ravens 34 - Giants 7
Giants offensive coordinator Sean Payton oversaw arguably the worst offensive performance in Super Bowl history. To be fair though, both offenses were mediocre, it was Baltimore’s historic defense that ruled that game. Giants QB Kerry Collins threw 4 INT’s against the suffocating Ravens defense, as the Giants could only muster 152 yards of total offense. The Giants’ only touchdown came on a kickoff return following a Collins pick six. That kickoff touchdown was effectively negated by a subsequent Ravens TD on the following kickoff. This was about the most boring football game I’ve ever witnessed.
#2 Super Bowl XLVIII - Seahawks 43 - Broncos 8
#1 offense in Denver vs #1 defense in Seattle, we all saw how well that worked out in the Bucs/Raiders Super Bowl. Well, this one was worse. Seattle dragged the Broncos’ lifeless carcass up and down the field for 4 quarters. The game became comical early on, even from Denver’s first play from scrimmage, this game was a disaster. Denver looked lost, intimidated, and thoroughly unprepared. Whether Seattle’s performance will lead to a Dallas-like dynasty or a Bucs/Ravens one-off, remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure, Peyton Manning’s going to catch more flak for this loss than any player has ever had to endure. The only thing that can soften the blow is that he’s won a Lombardi, as this loss could’ve put him in the Jim Kelly and pre-1998 John Elway echelon.
#1 Super Bowl XXIV - 49ers 55 - Broncos 10
I know we’re all “living in the moment”, but look at that score again. This is the granddaddy of all Super Bowl skull-draggings. San Francisco scored eight touchdowns in that game… eight. The 1988 49ers were just about as complete a football team as was ever assembled, and they were the defending Super Bowl champions. Denver QB John Elway (who is a major factor in both #1 and #2 on this list) threw for only 108 yards, no TD’s and 2 INT’s. 49er defensive players said they had to console Elway during the game, as his Broncos were being blown out for the third Super Bowl in the last four years. Denver amassed only 167 yards of total offense compared to San Francisco’s 461 yards. It was as thorough and complete a dismantling of a football team as has ever been witnessed on the world stage. If you could stand the Niners, then maybe you enjoyed this game, I cannot, and I could not. A few teams have been close, including this weekend, but it will take a special effort to eclipse the 45 point margin of victory to complete the biggest dumptrucking in Super Bowl history.
That’s how I see it, tell us what you think is the worst Super Bowl of all time. Leave us your comments and insight below. Here’s to a much better Super Bowl in 2015, preferably with the New Orleans Saints hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in the end.