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Five biggest Super Bowl choke jobs of all time, ranked

There are plenty of Super Bowl comebacks and iconic performances, which means there has to be an equal amount of choke jobs. We ranked the biggest Super Bowl chokes ever.

There are tons of iconic Super Bowl moments that have led to great games at the championship stage in the NFL. Game-winning drives, epic comebacks, and underdog wins will be remembered forever and are a part of what makes the Super Bowl so great.

For those memorable moments to happen, though, someone has to fail, as there is only one team that walks away with the Lombardi Trophy every year. Many fantastic Super Bowls only occurred because a team or player choked.

Most recently, the San Francisco 49ers lost Super Bowl LVIII despite leading the majority of the game. The Kansas City Chiefs came back and beat them in overtime, which made us wonder if the 49ers’ loss was one of the biggest choke jobs in Super Bowl history?

In this article, we will answer that question as we look at the five biggest chokes in Super Bowl history.

5. Super Bowl XLVIII, Denver Broncos

The 2013-14 Denver Broncos had arguably the greatest offense in NFL history. Peyton Manning threw an NFL record 55 touchdowns en route to Denver scoring 606 total points, the most in league history.

The Broncos were going to be challenged against a great Seattle Seahawks defense known as the Legend of Boom, but no one expected Denver to lay such an egg. Seattle proved they had one of the best defenses ever and gave further evidence to the idea the defense wins championships, as the team won 43-8.

The defensive masterclass started from the first play of the game when Seattle forced Denver into a safety after the Broncos center, Manny Ramirez, snapped the ball over Peyton Manning’s head and into the end zone.

It wasn’t just Seattle’s defense that was elite, as Russell Wilson’s offense put up 43 points, but this game is one of the biggest disappointments ever because of how badly the Broncos failed in comparison to expectations. Their choke job started literally from the first play, and they were never able to mount any sort of comeback despite all of the talent on the roster.

4. Super Bowl XLIV, Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning,left,spoke with offensive line coach Howard Mudd,right, in the fourth quarter ofa game afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Matt Kryger/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Peyton Manning is known as one of the most clutch players in NFL history, yet he finds his teams on this list twice. Manning won Super Bowl XLI, and he seemed destined to capture his second ring against the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.

Manning’s Indianapolis Colts were up 10-0 at halftime, and the Colts prevented the Saints from getting anything going. Sean Payton made a gutsy call by starting the second half off with an onside kick, though. The Saints recovered, and the momentum in the game quickly changed in favor of New Orleans.

The Saints eventually went up 24-17, but Manning still had a great chance of coming out victorious. He was orchestrating a potential game-tying or game-winning drive, and the Colts’ offense was humming. Manning then threw a costly interception to Tracy Porter.

The cornerback returned the interception to the end zone, and the Saints won 31-17. The interception was arguably the worst moment in an otherwise incredible career for Manning.

3. Super Bowl XXV, Buffalo Bills


The Buffalo Bills’ entire existence in the Super Bowl can be considered one big choke job. The team went to the big game four straight times, and they lost all four of those games. The first one of those losses was against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV, and Scott Norwood had perhaps the biggest single-play choke in NFL history.

Buffalo had a great offense and were favorites in this game, but the Giants were able to control the ball and limit the damage the Bills could do. Still, Buffalo was able to keep the game close and put themselves in a position to win it. Norwood had a chance to win the Bills their first championship with a 47-yard field goal.

Norwood’s kick missed wide right as time expired, though, which gave the Giants the 20-19 victory. Norwood was an incredibly talented kicker, but he would forever be remembered for this failure.

David Tyree, Rodney Harrison, and Tom Brady

Tom Brady is the greatest Super Bowl player of all time, but he wasn’t always perfect at the biggest stage. His team nearly was perfect in 2007-08, though, as the New England Patriots were undefeated in the regular season and postseason heading into Super Bowl XLII.

That version of the Patriots had the makings to be the greatest team in NFL history, and it seemed like a foregone conclusion that they were going to beat the New York Giants in their final game of the year.

Eli Manning and his team had other plans, though. The game was closely contested throughout, but the miraculous helmet catch by David Tyree led to the Giants winning late.

It was more the Giants’ impressive play than any single players choking that led to the Patriots losing, but the fact that New England was so heavily favored and expected to win makes this one of the biggest choke jobs ever.

Everyone probably expected Super Bowl LI to be at the top of the list for the biggest choke jobs in NFL history, and there isn’t really much competition. The Atlanta Falcons led the Patriots by a score of 21-3 at halftime, and their lead bloomed to 28-3 in the third quarter.

New England looked like they were going to suffer one of the biggest blowout losses ever, but the team mounted the greatest comeback in sports history.

The Patriots were eventually able to tie the game and send it to overtime, which was the first time a Super Bowl ever went to overtime. Everything that could go wrong for Atlanta did go wrong. Most notably, Robert Alford narrowly missed an interception that instead landed in the hands of Julian Edelman.

New England scored 31 unanswered points, and the Falcons lost in a more disappointing fashion than we have ever before seen in football.

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