Super Bowl Upsets: Anything’s Possible in the Big Game
No matter how lopsided the matchup may appear when looking to make your Super Bowl 57 picks, there are no locks in the NFL’s championship game. Read on to learn about the biggest Super Bowl upsets in history.
NFL bettors are all too familiar with the saying “Any Given Sunday”, meaning that any team in the league is capable of winning every time it takes the field — even when you least expect it. That’s especially true in the Super Bowl, which has seen underdogs emerge victorious in five of the last 10 matchups with double-digit point spreads.
Here are the biggest Super Bowl upsets in history to know as you head to our best Super Bowl betting sites before the 2023 Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.
Biggest Super Bowl upsets
|1969||18||New York Jets||Baltimore Colts||16-7|
|2002||14||New England Patriots||St. Louis Rams||20-17|
|2008||12.5||New York Giants||New England Patriots||17-14|
|1970||12||Kansas City Chiefs||Minnesota Vikings||23-7|
|1998||11.5||Denver Broncos||Green Bay Packers||35-21|
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Jets vs. Colts in 1969 (+18)
After the Green Bay Packers romped to easy victories over the Chiefs and Raiders in the first two NFL-AFL championships, everyone expected a similar result when the 13-1 NFL champion Colts took on the AFL’s 11-3 Jets. Everyone except New York quarterback Joe Namath, who famously guaranteed his Jets would win during a public appearance three days before the game.
Namath lived up to his word, earning MVP honors as New York jumped out to a 16-0 lead en route to a 16-7 victory. Legendary Baltimore quarterback Johnny Unitas threw the Colts’ lone touchdown pass in the fourth quarter but perhaps should have come into the game earlier, as Colts starter Earl Morrall was intercepted three times.
Patriots vs. Rams in 2002 (+14)
It’s hard to believe now, but not many had heard of Tom Brady when the second-year starter led the Patriots to a date with the powerful St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Despite entering the game on an eight-game winning streak, New England was a two-touchdown underdog against a 14-2 Rams squad that featured Kurt Warner, three-time NFC Offensive Player of the Year Marshall Faulk, and Hall of Fame receiver Isaac Bruce.
New England’s bend-but-don’t-break defense held the powerful Rams to three points until the fourth quarter, when LA’s league-leading attack struck for a pair of touchdowns to tie the game with 1:30 left. But Brady then drove the Patriots down the field in the closing seconds, setting up a game-winning 48-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri on the final play — and sparking a New England dynasty that would go on to win five more Super Bowls in the next 17 years.
Giants vs. Patriots in 2008 (+12.5)
Six years after authoring one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, Brady found himself on the other side of a stunning result in Super Bowl XLII. New England looked poised to complete the first unbeaten season since the 1972 Dolphins, especially against the Giants — a 10-6 wild card team the Pats had beaten during the regular season.
Although New England broke NFL records that year in points per game (36.8) and point differential (+315), the Giants’ defense helped New York hang tough into the fourth quarter, trailing 14-10 with less than three minutes to go. That’s when Eli Manning led one of the most memorable drives in NFL playoff history, highlighted by David Tyree’s third-down “Helmet Catch” when he pinned the ball against his head — inches away from the turf — and Plaxico Burress’ go-ahead touchdown catch with 35 seconds to go.
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