Super Bowl? No way.
There wasn’t anything super about this game. Not even the performance of the Seahawks, which rose to the level of superb.
They scored 12 seconds into the game, and the rout was on. Before the 43-8 shellacking mercifully drew to a close, Seattle had scored almost every way imaginable.
They also forced four turnovers, and reduced one of the best quarterbacks in history to a quivering jelly. Peyton Manning couldn’t even engineer a scoring drive until the end of the third quarter. By then his team trailed, 36-zip.
To paraphrase the immortal Dizzy Dean, if this wasn’t the worst Super Bowl of all time, it sure was amongst ‘em. Such a putrid non-contest that we got to thinking: just where does this disaster rank on the Top Ten List of Worst Super Bowls?
10. Broncos 34, Falcons 19, 1999: This one was much worse than the final score. The Falcons trailed, 31-6, in the fourth quarter. But they trailed only 10-3 in the second quarter, when the reliable Morten Andersen missed a 26-yard field goal. John Elway then hit Rod Smith for an 80-yard touchdown. Smith beat the Falcons Pro Bowl safety, Eugene Robinson, on the play. The same Robinson who, the night before the game, was arrested for solicitation of prostitution. The same Robinson who, the day before the game, received the Bart Starr award for high moral character. Seriously.
9. Ravens 34, Giants 7, 2001: The Giants offense could have stayed on the field for two weeks and never scored on the Ravens defense. New York’s touchdown came on a kickoff return, and they surrendered a touchdown right back on their ensuing kickoff. The Ravens held the Giants to 152 yards. Total. Giants quarterback Kerry Collins hurled four interceptions, and was sacked four times. The Giants amassed a single first down over their final four possessions.
8. Raiders 38, Redskins 9, 1984: The most lopsided game of the first 18 featured the Raiders taking a 7-0 lead five minutes in on a blocked punt. With seven seconds left in the half and the Redskins still in the shadow of their own goalpost, Jack Squirek intercepted Joe Theismann and sauntered five yards for a score. That made it 21-3 at the half. Marcus Allen finished off the Redskins with two third quarter touchdowns, the second one the oft-replayed 74-yard jaunt through the entire Redskins defense.
7. Bucs 48, Raiders 21, 2003: The Bucs nabbed six interceptions, and returned half of them for touchdowns. They ran off 34 straight points. The Raiders first ten possessions resulted in two first downs, and their offense never advanced beyond the Bucs 40-yard line. Oakland’s leading rusher, Charlie Garner, amassed 10 yards on seven carries. Meanwhile, the Raiders allowed the memorable Michael Pittman to gain 124 yards on 29 carries.
6. Cowboys 52, Bills 17, 1993: The Bills secured their third straight Super Bowl loss with a record nine turnovers, which the Cowboys converted into 35 points. Two turnovers allowed the Cowboys to score two touchdowns within 1:36 late in the first quarter. They topped that by scoring two within 18 seconds in the second quarter. Incredibly, they topped that by scoring three touchdowns in a 2:33 span in the fourth quarter.
5. 49ers 49, Chargers 26: Steve Young threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice 1:24 into the game. They went 79 yards in four plays on their second possession, scoring on a 51-yard pass to Ricky Watters. Young threw two more touchdown passes for a 28-7 halftime lead, and the Chargers never got closer than 18 points the rest of the way. Oh, yes. Young was also the game’s leading rusher, with 49 yards on five carries.
4. Seahawks 43, Broncos 8: Nuff said.
3. Redskins 42, Broncos 10, 1998: The Broncos actually led this game, 10-0. Elway threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Nattiel on the first play from scrimmage. But the Redskins scored 35 points on five possessions—in the second quarter. Doug Williams threw 80 yards to Ricky Sanders, 27 yards to Gary Clark, Timmy Smith ran in from 58 yards out, Sanders caught a 50 yard pass, and Clint Didier caught a measly eight yard touchdown pass. The five touchdowns took only 18 plays and 5:47. Washington rolled up 602 yards for the game.
2. Bears 46, Patriots 10, 1986: Ahh, the Chicago Bears. Monsters of the Midway. Thanks to a fumble recovery, the Patriots took a 3-0 lead 1:19 into the game. At the half, the Bears led, 23-3, and the Patriots had minus 19 yards of offense. By the end of the third quarter it was 44-3. The Patriots would finish with 123 yards of offense, despite seven sacks. They rushed 11 times for seven yards.
1. 49ers 55, Broncos 10, 1990: The Niners scored two touchdowns in the first quarter. And the second. And the third and fourth. They gained 461 yards to Denver’s 167, had 28 first downs to Denver’s 12, and doubled up the time of possession (39:31 to 20:29.) This explosion remains the record for most points scored in a Super Bowl.