Super Bowl XXXV

Ranking the 10 worst Super Bowls of all-time

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While most fans would probably prefer to debate the best Super Bowl ever, it’s only fair to do the same for the worst Super Bowl ever.

Let’s face it, there have been plenty of boring Super Bowl games over the years. We’re talking about games that aren’t worthy of the prestige that accompanies the Lombardi trophy. But what game qualifies as the most boring Super Bowl ever?

Worst Super Bowl ever

Naturally, any game that gets decided early and turns into a blowout will be in contention for the worst Super Bowl ever. But there are also games that didn’t have a lot of points or exciting plays.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of good candidates when deciding on the worst Super Bowl ever. But when there’s been over 50 of them, that’s bound to happen. With that said, let’s take a look at our countdown of the worst Super Bowls in NFL history.

10. Super Bowl XXII – Redskins 42, Broncos 10

Sadly, this won’t be the first time the Broncos make our list of the worst Super Bowls ever in a losing effort. For whatever reason, they just haven’t been able to be competitive in these games, at least outside of the three that they’ve won.


To Denver’s credit, they went up 10-0 in this game. But the wheels fell off in the second quarter with Washington scoring five touchdowns.

That part of the game was exciting, as Doug Williams threw four touchdown passes, including three that were 50 yards or more. But the second half was a snooze fest with the Broncos showing no signs of being able to make this a good game.

9. Super Bowl XX – Bears 46, Patriots 10

Come on, who didn’t know how this game was going to unfold ahead of time? The Chicago defense was too good for words, not allowing a single point in the two playoff games the Bears won on their way to the Super Bowl. The Patriots being 10-point underdogs was generous because they didn’t have a chance.

To their credit, they managed to score 10 points. But there was no drama in this game and while the Chicago defense was impressive, it was fully expected.

8. Super Bowl XL – Steelers 21, Seahawks 10

It’s hard to pinpoint what made this such a bad Super Bowl. It was only 14-10 heading into the fourth quarter, so the game was still up in the air. There was just no spark or life to this game.


Perhaps it was because it was all about the running backs. Ben Roethlisberger was terrible, completing nine passes and throwing two picks, despite his team winning. Matt Hasselbeck wasn’t much better in a losing effort. For whatever reason, this game just didn’t pop.

7. Super Bowl XVIII – Raiders 38, Redskins 9

There wasn’t much to see in this game, as the Raiders were dominant in all areas of the game.

Joe Theismann threw two interceptions and John Riggins was held in check all night. This Super Bowl took place during a time when the Raiders were a dominant franchise and nothing Washington threw at them was going to bother them. Even the Raiders losing a couple of fumbles couldn’t make this game interesting. 

6. Super Bowl XXXV – Ravens 34, Giants 7

To be fair, fans should have been more excited to watch some a dominating defensive effort by the Ravens. But even before the game, there wasn’t much excitement surrounding this one.

Who’s lining up to watch Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins square off as the starting quarterbacks.

Somehow, Dilfer ended up being the better quarterback.

The problem with this game is there were just two offensive touchdowns in this game. The two kickoff returns for a touchdown were nice, but they didn’t make this a compelling game for fans to watch. 

5. Super Bowl XXVII – Cowboys 52, Bills 17

The third time was not the charm for the Bills. In fact, it was the worst of times for Buffalo fans. To be fair, of their four straight trips to the Super Bowl, the team in 1992 was the worst of the bunch and listed as 6.5-point underdogs against the Cowboys.

It was over when the Bills fumbled in the second quarter to set up an 18-yard touchdown catch by Michael Irvin to make it 28-10. After that, the rout was on and this became one of those Super Bowls that didn’t live up to the pre-game excitement unless you were rooting for the Cowboys.

4. Super Bowl XXIV – 49ers 55, Broncos 10

With a spread of 12 points, most people didn’t expect this game to be close. Remember, this was San Francisco’s fourth Super Bowl win of the 80s. The 49ers had won the previous Super Bowl and gone 14-2 during the regular season.

They were always going to beat Denver, despite the Broncos being at the third Super Bowl in four seasons. But the hope is that the Broncos could at least make things interesting for a couple of quarters, which didn’t happen. The game was more like a clinic than a Super Bowl with the 49ers leading 27-3 at halftime before pouring it on in the second half.

3. Super Bowl LV – Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9

The disappointment for fans after this game was palpable. This could have been a great passing-of-the-torch moment between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. But Kansas City’s porous offensive line made it impossible for Mahomes to do anything.

The Chiefs never even scored a touchdown.

If nothing else, the game got to the third quarter before everyone realized with certainty that Kansas City’s offense wasn’t going anywhere. However, there were no points scored at all in the fourth quarter, making the pre-game hype and expectations for this game an utter waste.

2. Super Bowl XLVIII – Seahawks 43, Broncos 8

The problem with this Super Bowl is that our expectations were too high. In a way, this could have and perhaps should have been one of the best Super Bowls of all time.

Peyton Manning was with a new team and leading a high-scoring offense against one of the league’s premier defensive teams. How is that not going to make for a compelling game?

But the NFL ruined it ahead of time by scheduling the game to be played in an outdoor stadium in a cold climate. That gave the team with the better defense a huge advantage, especially with Manning being somewhat averse to cold weather.

Frankly, this thing was over after one play when the snap went past Manning and Denver had to cover up for a safety. If it wasn’t over then, it was definitely over by halftime with the second half becoming a chore to watch.

1. Super Bowl LIII – Patriots 13, Rams 3

It’s odd because this game was only decided by 10 points. This game was very much in the balance deep into the fourth quarter, which should have made this a more compelling game.

Watching that game was like having a tranquilizer dart cracked open and poured into your pre-game beverage.

The Rams spent all season amazing us with their offense, only to fall flat in the biggest game of the year. Tom Brady and the New England offense weren’t much better. In short, this game went nowhere, and it went there remarkably slowly, which is why we believe this to be the worst Super Bowl ever.

2 thoughts on “Ranking the 10 worst Super Bowls of all-time”

  1. The author did not research any of the earlier Super Bowls. He should have considered Super Bowl V played in January 1971, where the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13. According to Wikipedia, this game is often referred to as the “Blunder Bowl,” “Blooper Bowl,” or “Stupor Bowl” due to it being marred with poor play, a blocked PAT, missed opportunities, penalties, turnovers, and officiating miscues. The two teams combined for a Super Bowl record 11 turnovers, with five solely in the fourth quarter.

    The Colts made seven turnovers, the most ever by a Super Bowl champion, and the Cowboys set a Super Bowl record with 10 penalties, costing them 133 yards. At least the game’s result went down to the final seconds, as it was settled by a game-winning 32-yard field goal by Colts rookie kicker Jim O’Brien with five seconds left in regulation time.

    A strange thing about this game was that the MVP was a member of the losing team – Cowboys’ linebacker Chuck Howley, who had two interceptions.

  2. thunderislander

    A ‘worst’ Super Bowl doesn’t necessarily have to be the most-lopsided final score which you, Bryan, seem to see as well. However, a game that was still in the balance late-enough really shouldn’t qualify. Yes, perhaps not exciting games, but Steelers-over-Seahawks and Pats-over-Rams not really top 10 material for this list at all in my opinion.

    And to ‘Anonymous’…yes, SBV has a rap for being an ugly game, but on-the-scoreboard-wise it was one of the closest SBs ever. “Ugly” game, but couldn’t it have been the tough, hard-hitting defenses led by Lily and Curtis respectively that CAUSED all those turnovers? Football, of all things, isn’t supposed to be ‘pretty’. A game that I would love to see in its entirety! Now if that darn 4TH QUARTER can be made available (someone who recorded it back then finding a good-conditioned copy of it in the attic)!

    Bears-over-Pats, SF-over-Denver, the first Cowboys-over-Bills, SF-over-Chargers not necessarily the “worst” with me because at least there’s something to get “excited” about for each. “How many more points will the winner score before it’s all over”? Sure enough, unless you’re a fan of the losing team, that is, that could be seen as SOMETHING to keep you watching. The Legion of Boom utterly shutting down the high-octane Peyton-led Broncos…with the score being 36-0 in the 3rd Q! Many may have been sticking around to see if a SHUTOUT may happen (and, yes, how many more points will the Hawks score)! Same can be said for Dolphins-over-Vikings which was 24-0 going into the final period! And then – going WAY back – you got the 1940 NFL Championship Game: Chicago 73, Washington 0! “Can the Bears make it…EIGHTY points??” Yeah, not too boring. Not a candidate for “worst”.

    Simply a lopsided-enough game throughout as well as boring and unremarkable (no reason AT ALL to keep watching) are the key ingredients with me for “worst”-ever. How about Super Bowl III? Yes, the Namath “guarantee”, and AFL-over-NFL, one of the biggest upset in sports history, etc, is what makes this one popular and historically important. However, the game itself was real boring. Seeing a Colossal upset unfolding and/or waiting for the heavy-favorites to finally “wake-up” would have been the only reason to keep wanting to watch thus WAS the reason everyone kept watching! Yeah, SBIII looks to be off the schneid! The following year’s Chiefs-over-Vikings game, however, not quite. Real boring game! Count this as a legit ‘candidate’! Others with me include Raiders-over-Vikings, Raiders-over-Eagles, yes Raiders-over-Washington, Washington-over-Buffalo, Broncos-over-Falcons, yes Ravens-over-Giants, and yes Bucs-over-Chiefs!

    Yes, plenty of other bad Super Bowls I skipped, but those mentioned last paragraph are among the worst with me based on my suggested criteria. For example, SBs I & II, at least the halftime score with the former was 14-10, the latter “just” 13-7 right before the the half (ah, I don’t know; maybe I should throw II in there). Dallas-over-Denver? For what it’s worth, a ten-point game it still was going into the 4th quarter. GIANTS-over-Denver? Broncos were up at the half! Bucs-over-Raiders? Oakland WERE coming back in the end, cutting 34-3 to 34-21 (before, of course, surrendering 14 unanswered from there).

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