One Great Season
The OGS Worst Super Bowls list below is a great list in terms of identifying hyped Super Bowl matchups that bombed to a particularly considerable extent. If a bad- or worst-game rankings list or hierarchy is based on the extent to which a game fizzled, the list is excellent.
I would only point out that it's worth exploring other dimensions of "bad games." Another school of thought — not inherently better or worse than the OGS list — would say that a bad game is not based on the "dud-to-pregame-hype ratio," but on the sheer (lack of) quality displayed over four quarters of competition.
If one were to list the most deficient displays of football in Super Bowl history and use that as the metric for the worst Supes of all time, here would be the five leading candidates:
- Super Bowl VII: Miami 14, Washington 7 — Garo Yepremian alone makes this game a horror show. Washington's inability to score a single point on offense doesn't enhance the reputation of SB 7.
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- Super Bowl XXVIII: Dallas 30, Buffalo 13 — Dallas was flat as a pancake. Troy Aikman got concussed. This was the one non-Norwood Super Bowl in which Buffalo had a real chance to win, especially entering the second half. But the Bills fell flat. This was a game that meant so much to the Bills, yet generated a meager performance. At least when Buffalo got crushed in Super Bowl 27 the year before, the Bills were a wild-card team that ran into a burgeoning juggernaut. This rematch with Dallas was completely different. It's the one Supe that should indeed generate disappointment among Bills fans.
- Super Bowl IX: Pittsburgh 16, Minnesota 6 — Pittsburgh had not yet become a champion when this game started. The Steelers were just as nervous as the Vikings for most of the day, and the two teams played 60 very sloppy minutes of football. Only a late, bold touchdown drive by the Steelers lent some championship prestige to a horrid game played in miserably wet and windy conditions at Tulane Stadium, which was used as the site for SB 9 when the Superdome — the intended location for the event — was not ready in time for kickoff.
Minnesota's only score (like Washington's in Super Bowl VII) came on special teams, thanks to a blocked punt. The Vikings missed the PAT. Pittsburgh scored a safety on a silly fumble by the Vikings. This was a brutal game, BUT ...
MORE SUPER BOWL COVERAGE
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+ GUEST COLUMN: 7 Things We Hate About The Super Bowl
+ LIST: Super Bowl MVPs
+ LIST: Super Bowl Winners
- Super Bowl XII: Dallas 27, Denver 10 — ... there were two Supes that made Super Bowl IX look good by comparison. Super Bowl 12, in the words of John Facenda on the official NFL Films recap, "was fiercely fought but frightfully flawed." The two teams put the ball on the carpet at least 10 times and committed gobs of turnovers. This was a train-wreck game, an unending parade of miscues.
- Super Bowl V: Baltimore 16, Dallas 13 — This game was nicknamed "The Blunder Bowl," and it featured two sorry spectacles: A) A Baltimore fumble inside the Dallas 10 being bobbled by several players before going out of the back of the end zone, and B) Dallas center Dave Manders recovering a Cowboy fumble on the Colts' 1 but having the refs rule that Baltimore recovered the ball. Moreover, this was a Super Bowl in which a losing player — Cowboy linebacker Chuck Howley — was the MVP. Yeah, this game was that bad.