As fans, we tend to put teams that win the Super Bowl on a pedestal, but what about the best Super Bowl losing teams?
After all, in a one-game scenario, the best team doesn’t always win. That means that there are a lot of great teams that never won the Lombardi Trophy.
Along the same lines of the worst Super Bowl-winning QBs, the other side of the coin has the greatest teams to not win a Super Bowl.
Best Super Bowl losing teams
Keep in mind that there have been some great teams that just had a bad day when they got to the Super Bowl. Perhaps the immense pressure got to them or there were other circumstances that got the best of them.
There have also been great Super Bowls when neither team deserved to lose, leaving the losing side among the greatest teams to not win a Super Bowl. That’s why we wanted to put together a ranking of the 10 best Super Bowl losing teams because almost champions deserve a little bit of recognition too.
10. 2017 Patriots
Heading into their game with the Eagles, the Patriots seemed like a safe bet to win. They had gone 13-3 during the regular season and were five-point favorites over Nick Foles and the Eagles.
If New England had won, it would have been the second of a three-peat and allowed the Pats to win four Super Bowls in five years.
That’s how good Tom Brady was during the mid-2010s.
This team might have lacked Pro Bowlers, but he had some serious players on defense. However, Foles somehow had the game of his life and saved the rest of us from having to experience an even greater New England dynasty.
9. 1967 Raiders
Oddly enough, the Packers were favored by 14 points when the Raiders got to the Super Bowl. But they still put together an outstanding 13-1 regular season.
That was followed by a 40-7 thrashing of the Oilers in the AFL Championship. However, they were no match for the Packers in a 33-14 loss in Super Bowl II.
8. 1984 Dolphins
This was Miami’s second trip to the Super Bowl in three years and Dan Marino’s best chance at winning a ring in his career.
Marino won MVP honors in 1984 while leading the Dolphins to a 14-2 record. In fact, Miami started the year 11-0 with one loss coming in overtime and another one coming by a single point.
The Dolphins were surely the best team in the AFC that year, winning their two playoff games by a combined score of 86-38. Alas, Marino struggled while Joe Montana threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns. It was a tough loss for Miami and sadly the closest Marino got to winning a championship in just his second season.
7. 1990 Bills
One measly field goal is all it would have taken to take the Bills off our list of the best Super Bowl losing teams. Buffalo cruised to a 13-3 record during the regular season and was beyond dominant in a 51-3 win over the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game.
They were a touchdown favorite over the Giants in the Super Bowl and seemed destined to win. But Scott Norwood’s last-second field goal sailed wide right, becoming the first of four consecutive losses in the Super Bowl and spoiling Buffalo’s best team of that era and best chance to win a Super Bowl.
6. 1969 Vikings
The 1969 Vikings aren’t the only team on our list to lose the first game of the season, falling 24-23 against the Giants. From there, Minnesota rattled off 12 straight wins until losing again in the regular-season finale.
Only a few of those games were close, as the Vikings were clearly the dominant team in the league. But things didn’t go their way in a 23-7 loss to the Chiefs, which is part of the reason Vikings’ fans feel a little extra pain every time they come close to a championship but fall short.
5. 1968 Colts
There are reasons why Baltimore was favored by 19.5 points against the Jets in the Super Bowl. Even with Earl Morrall stepping in for an injured Johnny Unitas, the Colts went 13-1 during the regular year and outscored their two playoff opponents 58-14, including a 34-0 win over the Browns in the NFL Championship.
But they couldn’t figure out the Jets in the Super Bowl with Joe Namath’s guarantee coming to fruition.
4. 2001 Rams
If only we knew then what we know about Tom Brady now, this game wouldn’t have been such a surprise.
That being said, this was the final year of “The Greatest Show on Turf,” making the 2001 Rams one of the best Super Bowl losing teams.
Kurt Warner won his second MVP this season, one year after Marshall Faulk won MVP. Both maintained a high level of playing while carrying the Rams to a 14-2 record, scoring at least 30 points in 11 of those 16 games.
They were supposed to keep it rolling against the upstart Patriots and were favored by two touchdowns. However, Warner threw two interceptions, including a pick-six. Even after the Rams erased a 17-3 deficit, the Pats got a field goal at the buzzer to send the Rams home with just one Super Bowl trophy in three utterly amazing seasons.
3. 1983 Redskins
Behind MVP Joe Theismann and Coach of the Year Joe Gibbs, Washington looked ready to win its second straight Super Bowl. Despite opening the season with a one-point loss to the Cowboys, Washington ended up going 14-2 during the regular season.
In fact, Washington’s only other loss that season also came by a single point.
Imagine, just a couple of points away from 16-0. But then the Super Bowl ended up being an unexpected blowout.
The Raiders dominated Washington from the start, winning 38-9 and proving how tough it is to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
2. 2015 Panthers
This team went 15-1 during the regular season and had an offense that looked almost unstoppable at times. The Panthers didn’t lose for the first time until Week 16 when they started to ease off the gas. But they got their foot back on the gas in the playoffs, dominating the no. 2 seed Cardinals 49-15 in the NFC Championship Game.
Cam Newton was league MVP and at the peak of his career. However, the unstoppable train that was the Carolina offense hit a brick wall in the form of a historically good Denver defense in the Super Bowl. Newton was befuddled and the Panthers never got it going in a 24-10 Super Bowl loss as their amazing offense couldn’t get it done against one of the best defenses in NFL history.
1. 2007 Patriots
Forget about the best Super Bowl losing teams, the 2007 Patriots might be one of the best teams in NFL history, period.
Behind nine all-pro selections, the Patriots swept through the regular season 16-0. Only four of those 16 games were decided by less than 10 points, as the Pats just steamrolled everybody all season.
While their two playoff wins weren’t blowouts, both were multi-score games, putting New England on the verge of history in the Super Bowl. But a perfect 19-0 season eluded them thanks to the Giants, who sprang the upset and left the Patriots to think about what could have been.