Biggest Upsets in Super Bowl History

At, we put together the five biggest upsets of the Super Bowl era. Sit back, relax and take a trip down memory lane.

5. Super Bowl XXV

NY Giants 20, Buffalo 19

  • Spread: Buffalo -7
  • When: 1990 season (January 27, 1991)
  • Where: Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Ah, Buffalo and the Super Bowl, they go together as well as JaMarcus Russell and hard work. 

Despite being favored by a touchdown, after demolishing the Raiders 51-3 in the AFC Championship, Buffalo started what would be the most miserable four-year stretch of any franchise. For those who don't recall, this was the first of four consecutive Super Bowl losses (1990-1993).

Buffalo boasted a 13-3 record at the end of the regular season and the league's best offence. New York however, had Lawrence Taylor, and the best defense in the NFL, although it wasn't quite an immovable object vs. unstoppable force. 

The G-Men had a backup quarterback – Jeff Hostetler – at the helm after Phil Simms broke his foot, alongside a backup running back. 

New York controlled the game, holding the ball for twice as long as Buffalo. However, the Super Bowl came down to one play. 

A game-winning 47-yard field goal attempt from Scott Norwood famously ended wide right and Buffalo's Lombardi hopes.

MORE: Definitive List of Super Bowl First Touchdown Scorers

4. Super Bowl XXXII

Broncos 31, Packers 24

  • Spread: Green Bay -11
  • When: 1997 season (January 25, 1998)
  • Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California 

It's hard to imagine any game where John Elway and co. should be 11-point underdogs, but it was thoroughly deserved before Super Bowl 32.

Yes, Denver had a 12-4 record but they entered the playoffs as a Wild Card and had already lost three Super Bowls under Elway. 

Meanwhile, Green Bay were defending Super Bowl champions and gunslinger extraordinaire Brett Favre had incredibly won three straight MVPs. 

What's more is Denver didn't win the Lombardi on the back of Elway, rather running back Terrell Davis, who rushed for 157 yards and 3 TDs with a migraine. No matter, some of us *cough* can't get off the couch with a migraine, but Terrell decided to stomp all over the Packers' D in front of the world. We see you Terrell.

MORE: Who Has Won the Most Super Bowl MVP Awards?

3. Super Bowl XXXVI

New England 20, St. Louis Rams 17

  • Spread: St. Louis -14
  • When: 2001 season (February 3, 2002)
  • Where: Louisiana SuperDome, New Orleans, Louisiana  

Ah, before the Evil Empire was born. Yes, there was a period when the Patriots were Super Bowl underdogs and media darlings. 

Against Kurt Warner and The Greatest Show on Turf, New England were given little hope, especially with some unknown backup under centre, I think he ended up being a bust. Tom Brady, I think that was his name. 

New England controversially, surprise surprise, reached the Super Bowl thanks to the infamous Tuck Rule before scraping past Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game. Meanwhile, this was the Rams' second Super Bowl appearance in three years. 

As Bill Belichick does, he stifled Kurt Warner and the NFL's best offense before Brady drove the Pats down the field. Adam Vinatieri did his thing and drilled it from 48 yards to usher in the most dominant dynasty the National Football League has ever seen.

MORE: Best NFL Odds and Lines

2. Super Bowl XLII

NY Giants 17, New England 14

  • Spread: Patriots -12
  • When: 2007 season (February 3, 2008)
  • Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

Speaking of the Evil Empire, every villain has its kryptonite, right?

Enter Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and a helmet catch. 

David Tyree. Need we say more? The most iconic catch in the Super Bowl era allegedly still keeps Tom Brady awake at night.

New England travelled to the desert with a 17-0 record, looking to become the only team besides the 1972 Miami Dolphins to complete a perfect season. 

The prospect of a ruined New England season aside, this Super Bowl was stale for most part. Not Patriots-Rams boring, but not too far off. 

New York's front four terrorized Brady all night, allowing Manning the opportunity to win the game. 

On the Giants' game winning drive, Manning and Tyree teamed up for the most unbelievable play in Super Bowl history.

Four plays later, Plaxico Burress shot down the Pats undefeated season, scoring a 19-yard touchdown to go up 17-14 with 0:35 left.

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1. Super Bowl III

NY Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7

  • Spread: Baltimore -18.5
  • When: 1968 season (January 12, 1969)
  • Where: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

Anyone under the age of 45 may struggle to remember the greatest upset in Super Bowl history, if that's you, do yourself a favor and read on.

Yes, you read that correctly an EIGHTEEN-and-a-half-point favorite. Regardless of age, you all would know of "Broadway" Joe Namath, the legendary Jets QB. Well, in Miami was where he hooked Baltimore off stage and starred with a Super Bowl MVP performance.

Gang Green controlled time of possession, handicapping the Colts' offense while allowing Broadway Joe to work his magic.

It's safe to say no Super Bowl matchup will ever have an 18-point spread again, and with good reason too. When this article is put in a time capsule and read in 2134 – hello, Aliens – there's still never been a bigger Super Bowl upset.

MORE: Best Sportsbooks in Your State

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