Everybody loves a good underdog story. When it comes to the Super Bowl, you’ll find that the average fan will be pulling for the underdog almost every time unless they are actually a fan of the team playing in the game. I know I personally feel the same way about games when I don’t care much for either team. I’ll pull for the underdog just like the average fan.
Well, the average fan has had a lot to cheer about in recent years. In fact, from 2008 through 2015, the underdog has covered the point spread in seven of eight Super Bowls. Six of those underdogs actually won the game outright, including the Patriots as 1-point dogs to the Seahawks last year. The Panthers are currently 5-point favorites over the Broncos for Super Bowl 50. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
It didn’t take long for fans to see the biggest upset to ever take place in Super Bowl history. Super Bowl III saw the New York Jets come in as 18-point underdogs against the feared Baltimore Colts, and nobody gave the Jets a chance of even competing in this game. Well, with the exception of once person.
Despite the lofty spread, this game will go down in history as the best guarantee of all-time. Quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed a victory for the Jets, and he delivered with a 16-7 upset win. With the addition of the 18-point spread, the Jets covered it by 27 points, which is the largest ATS victory in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XXXVI was a matchup of one of the greatest offenses to ever step foot on a football field, and the New England Patriots. The “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams came in as two-touchdown favorites and were demolishing teams on their way.
While many gave the Patriots no shot, they were able to pull off the upset with a last-second field goal to win the game 20-17. A few players from the Super Bowl win, including quarterback Tom Brady, are still playing today.
The New England Patriots (-12) were one of the biggest favorites in Super Bowl history, and for good reason. The Patriots finished a perfect regular season at 16-0, then won two playoff games, going into the Super Bowl with an 18-0 record.
Meanwhile, the Giants came into the game at just 10-6 in the regular season and needed to win three straight playoff games on the road just to reach the Super Bowl. New York shocked the NFL by completing the 3-game road sweep in the playoffs and entered Super Bowl XLII as heavy underdogs.
The game itself was expected to be an offensive shootout, but both defenses came prepared with the teams combining for just 31 points, the 6th-lowest total in Super Bowl history. The real shocker, however, was who won the game. New York engineered one of the greatest drives in Super Bowl history to end the Patriots’ perfect season.
New York QB Eli Manning and WR David Tyree had the signature play as Manning spun and ducked under defenders, chucking the ball 33 yards downfield where Tyree jumped and was able to pin the ball on his helmet with one hand and secure the ball through the impact of his landing. With 35 seconds left, Manning then hit WR Plaxico Burress on a 25-yard touchdown pass, which sealed a 17-14 victory for New York.
The Kansas City Chiefs played the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. With the Jets’ amazing victory over the Colts the previous year, you would have thought that everyone would start to give the AFL more credit, but that wasn’t the case.
Kansas City came in as 12-point underdogs, and it was supposed to crumble at the hands of the NFL’s Vikings. By halftime, the game was pretty much locked up. The Chiefs took a 16-0 lead into intermission and wound up winning 23-7. Kansas City fans still cherish this game because it was the last time that they’d get to see their team play in the Super Bowl.
The Denver Broncos walked into Super Bowl XXXII as big-time dogs. They were facing the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. The Packers came into this game as 12-point favorites, but what had almost everyone thinking the Pack would win was that this was during a time of NFC supremacy.
With 13 straight victories for the NFC, fans were beginning to look at the AFC as undeserving of a shot at the trophy. What people didn’t understand was that they were witnessing the beginning of AFC dominance that is still going today. The Broncos shocked everyone and John Elway finally won the big game. The Broncos defeated the Packers 31-24 in their first of back-to-back Super Bowl victories.