10 Biggest Upsets in Super Bowl History

Posted by Peter Boysen on February 2, 2017 in

If you plan to bet on Super Bowl LI, you’ll be one of legions of bettors all over the world trying to make some money out of the most watched sporting event on the planet. This year, the New England Patriots are favored to win by just three points, as bookmakers project one of the closer matchups in the history of the sport. When you get to the championship round of professional sport, and when you’re looking at one game to settle the whole thing instead of a best-of- 7 series, you get upsets now and then. In fact, the underdog has won 7 of the last 10 Super Bowls. Let’s take a look at the ten biggest upsets in the history of the NFL’s biggest game.

10 Biggest Upsets in Super Bowl History

#1 — Super Bowl III: N.Y. Jets (+18) vs Baltimore

Result: N.Y. Jets 16, Baltimore 7

The Jets have never made it back to the Super Bowl since Joe Namath guaranteed their victory in their title tilt against Baltimore, an audacious boast that he backed up — and rode all the way to the Hall of Fame.

#2 — Super Bowl XLII: New England (-14) vs N.Y. Giants

Result: N.Y. Giants 17, New England 14

That “helmet catch” was David Tyree’s last as an NFL wide receiver. It kept alive a fourth-quarter drive for the Giants, who then would score when Eli Manning found Plaxico Burress in the end zone.

#3 — Super Bowl IV: Kansas City (+12) vs Minnesota

Result: Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7

This game tied the Super Bowl series at 2-2 between the NFL and the AFL, setting the stage for the merger in the offseason.

#4 — Super Bowl XXXII: Denver (+11) vs Green Bay

Result: Denver 31, Green Bay 24

This point spread may have had more to do with underestimation of John Elway, as he would lead his team to a title in this game and then repeat the next year.

#5 — Super Bowl XXXVI: New England (+14) vs St. Louis (Rams)

Result: New England 20, St. Louis 17

This game brought Tom Brady his first Super Bowl ring, and their success in shutting down “The Greatest how on Turf” was one early sign of Bill Belichick’s brilliance.

#6 — Super Bowl XXXVII: Oakland (-4) vs Tampa Bay

Result: Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21

Jon Gruden hasn’t coached anymore since leaving the Buccaneers, but on this night he turned the tables on his former employers, turning a 4-point underdog into a 27-point rout.

#7 — Super Bowl XV: Oakland (+3) vs Philadelphia

Result: Oakland 27, Philadelphia 10

This was the Eagles’ first appearance (out of two total) in the title game, but quarterback Ron Jaworski lost a duel against Jim Plunkett as the Raiders’ defense shut down the Birds.

#8 — Super Bowl XVIII: L.A. Raiders (+3) vs Washington

Result: L.A. Raiders 38, Washington 9

Jim Plunkett had lost his starting job to Marc Wilson in the season after Super Bowl XV, but the Raiders would not return to glory until Plunkett took his job back and the Raiders steamrolled Washington.

#9 — Super Bowl XLVIII: Denver (-2) vs Seattle

Result: Seattle 43, Denver 8

The Legion of Boom demolished Peyton Manning’s high-powered offense in Denver. GM John Elway learned, and the team put defense first — and won Super Bowl 50.

#10 — Super Bowl XXII: Denver (-3) vs Washington

Result: Washington 42, Denver 10

The Hogs feasted on the Denver defense, gashing holes for the running game and keeping Denver on the run all night long.