The Super Bowl is one of the most watched programs on TV and typically the best teams face off in this game to decide who will lift the Lombardi Trophy and be crowned the world champions of football. There have been a lot of great teams that have won the Super Bowl throughout the years. Franchises such as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, and Dallas Cowboys have won multiple Super Bowls and these teams have all had their own dynasties. Other teams in the NFL are still searching for their first Super Bowl and occasionally the best team doesn’t even win the big game.
There have been a number of 14 and 15 win teams that have failed to win the Super Bowl throughout the history of the NFL. Sometimes a great team just gets unlucky playing an inferior team in the Super Bowl, but there are other times where they fail to even reach the biggest game of the season. This sometimes occurs to teams that are rusty coming off a first-round bye in the playoffs. On other occasions, the lesser team makes the superb team one dimensional and this can cause chaos on the sidelines, leading to the better team not winning.
Here are 15 Times The Best Team Didn't Win The Super Bowl.
15 2007 Season - New England Patriots
The New England Patriots dominated football throughout 2007 and rode this dominance to a perfect 16 win year at the end of the regular season. They averaged a mind-boggling 36 points per contest and they outscored their opponents by 19 points per game. So, when they reached the Super Bowl, it was a forgone conclusion that they would complete the perfect season against the Giants. The New York Giants failed to even win their division that season and they barely even got to the Super Bowl. Had it not been for incredible errors by their opponents in the NFC, the Giants would not have even reached the big game. At the big game, the Giants forced the Patriots to be one-dimensional on offense, as they played a superb defense the entire game. A miracle catch by David Tyree on the Giants final drive put the Giants in a position to win the game and the final touchdown catch by Plaxico Burress sealed the upset.
14 1998 Season - Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings had one of the highest powered offenses the NFL had ever seen back in 1999. Randall Cunningham revived his career in purple and Randy Moss, the rookie from Marshall, was proving he was already one of the best receivers in football. The Vikings won 15 games in 1998 behind their stellar offense and above average defence and they met the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship. The Falcons had also had a successful year by winning 14 games, but the Vikings were still huge favorites to reach and win the Super Bowl. The Vikings held a 20-7 lead at one point in the game, but they played a poor second half which led the game to go to overtime. The Falcons converted a field goal in overtime to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.
13 2013 Season - Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos offense was setting records left and right during the 2013 NFL season. As an offense, the team set records for most touchdowns and points scored in a season. Peyton Manning had a phenomenal year as well by setting records for yards and touchdowns by a quarterback and the Broncos number one ranked offense was set to face off against the Seattle Seahawks number one ranked defense. The Broncos at the beginning of the season were the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but against the stout Seahawks defence, the Broncos high-flying offense faltered and shockingly was routed by a final score of 43-8. The Broncos were doomed from the beginning when their first offensive snap sailed over Peyton Manning’s head and resulted in a safety.
12 2015 Season - Carolina Panthers
Defense has been said to win championships and Super Bowl 50 featured two of the best defensive teams in football in the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. The Panthers had won the first 14 games of the regular season, as they finished the year 15-1 and seemed destined to capture the franchise’s first title. The Panthers also had a pretty explosive offense led by the league MVP, Cam Newton. The Broncos were five and a half point underdogs against the Panthers and Peyton Manning was playing at a below average level. The game ended up being very defensive oriented which favored the Broncos. The Panthers were down six points at the half, but only managed to score three points in the second half which culminated in the Broncos winning 24-10.
11 2009 Season - Indianapolis Colts
The Colts, led by Peyton Manning, looked like the team to beat when they won their first 14 games of the NFL season, en route to a 14-2 final record. The Colts offense was known for its efficiency, but what surprised many around the league was how great the defense was that year, as the defense was ranked eighth in the NFL during the 2009 NFL season. The Colts won both of their playoff games rather easily and were favored against a Saints team that was not used to success. Sadly, the offense and defense failed the Colts in the Super Bowl. Drew Brees was able to put up 31 points on the Colts defense and the offense failed to look as spectacular as it had looked during the regular season, leading to a 31-17 defeat.
10 2002 Season - Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders had the second best-ranked offense in the NFL in 2002, due in large part to a monstrous season by Rich Gannon. Gannon threw for over 4,500 yards and was named the league MVP, as the team's passing attack was capable of shredding almost any defense that came its way. Unfortunately for the Raiders, there was one team that was up to the challenge of containing the Oakland offense and that team was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In their two playoffs games, the Raiders outscored their opponents by over two touchdowns, but when the Super Bowl was over, the Raiders had been routed by a team that was not strong offensively, losing 48-21. The Bucs defense was one of the best in the NFL that year and wreaked havoc in the most important game of the year.
9 2000 Season - St. Louis Rams
The Greatest Show on Turf was in its final season and the team reeled off 14 wins during the 2001 NFL season to become the number one seed in the NFC. Kurt Warner was playing at his usual high level and Marshall Faulk was good enough to win the NFC Offensive Player of the Year award. The offense was dominant the entire year, but when they reached the Super Bowl. they would run into an outstanding defense and a soon to be great quarterback in Tom Brady. Despite the offense only scoring 17 points in the game, the team still had a chance to win the game at the end. However, Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired to clinch the Patriots a Super Bowl victory.
8 1968 Season - Baltimore Colts
The Baltimore Colts were headed by one of the greatest coaches of all time in Don Shula, and one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Johnny Unitas, and were expected to win the Super Bowl in convincing fashion. They had won the NFL championship game against the Cleveland Browns 34-0 and were favored by 18 points against the New York Jets. Despite that, Jets quarterback Joe Nameth guaranteed a victory against the Colts in the Super Bowl. Many saw these comments as comical, but the Jets were up 13-0 in the third quarter and never looked back. Johnny Unitas is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play footballl, but unfortunately, in 1968, he failed to help his team perform to the level that was expected of them.
7 1983 Season - Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins had a tough first game of the season when they lost to their division nemesis in the Dallas Cowboys. However, the team went on to only lose one more game during the 1983 NFL season and many assumed that they would lift the Lombardi trophy after the end of the Super Bowl. They reached the Super Bowl, but what took place that day would shock many around the country. The Redskins offense was ineffective against the Los Angeles Raiders throughout the entirety of the game, as Joe Theismann completed less than 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions. The Washington defense also failed to play at even an average level, giving up 38 points in the most important game of the season.
6 2004 Season - Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles had proven that they were a dominant team in the early 2000s by making it to four straight NFC championship games. The first three ended in heartbreaking losses, but the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles had a new weapon at wide receiver in Terrell Owens to exploit opposing defenses. The team finished the season with a 13-3 record. This great season gave the team the best record in the NFC and after cruising through the NFC playoffs, the New England Patriots were all that stood between the Eagles and that elusive Vince Lombardi Trophy. The offense and defense were equally dominant being led by legends such as Donovan McNabb and Brian Dawkins. Unfortunately, the Eagles were unable to beat the Patriots and with 46 seconds remaining, and down by three, McNabb threw an interception to end the game.
5 1984 Season - Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins had a 23-year-old quarterback in Dan Marino who had one of the best passing seasons of any signal caller in the history of the NFL. Marino threw for over 5,000 yards and 48 touchdowns, and those type of statistics were unreal at that time in the NFL. Football was much more balanced between the run and the pass during Marino’s playing days. The Dolphins ended up winning 14 games in 1984 and made it all the way to the Super Bowl to face San Fran. The San Francisco 49ers were led by Joe Montana and had a tough task in stopping Marino, but the 49ers won 38-16 and proved that on the day of Super Bowl XIX, they had the recipe to limiting Marino and the Dolphins offense.
4 1990 Season - Buffalo Bills
The Bills led by Jim Kelly had reached the Super Bowl for the first time in their team’s history and it looked like they were poised to also win their first Super Bowl championship. The Bills had the best offense during the 1990 NFL season and also had the AP Defensive Player of the Year, Bruce Smith, on their roster. When they reached the Super Bowl they would face off against the New York Giants, who they had defeated during the regular season. The game was neck and neck throughout the entire game and the game would ultimately come down to a field goal kick. The Bills had the ball deep in their own territory to start the drive, but drove down the field. With seconds remaining Scott Norwood attempted a 47-yard field goal that sailed wide right to give the Giants a 20-19 victory.
3 1969 Season - Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings won the final NFL championship before the AFL and NFL merged. The Super Bowl had been played between the NFL champion and the AFL champion before the merger, and, in 1969, The Vikings were the NFL champions and the Kansas City Chiefs were the AFL champions. The Vikings had one of the greatest defensive lines in the history of football. The line was nicknamed “The Purple People Eaters” and the defense collectively only gave up 133 points during the regular season. The Vikings lost their first two games of the season, but they won their final 12 to have the best record in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs upset the Vikings in the Super Bowl and the Vikings who exceeded 50 points in numerous games during the regular season only managed to score seven in the big game.
2 2006 Season - San Diego Chargers
Typically when a team goes 14-2 in the regular season, it can almost be guaranteed that the coach will have job security and the team will go far in the postseason. This did not come to fruition for the San Diego Chargers in 2006. The Chargers that year had the best offense in the NFL and the seventh-ranked defense in the NFL and the offense was led by the young quarterback Phillip Rivers and the legendary running back LaDainain Tomlinson. In the divisional round, the Chargers would square up with the New England Patriots who were led by Tom Brady. The number one ranked offense in the NFL only managed to score three points against the Patriots and Marty Schottenheimer lost his job as a result of the disappointing result.
1 2011 Season - New England Patriots
The New England Patriots under Tom Brady’s tutelage have been one of the best teams in the NFL throughout the 21st century, but there has been a nemesis of the Patriots in the Super Bowl. That team is the New York Giants. The Patriots during the 2011 NFL season won 13 games and were in pursuit of tying the Steelers, Cowboys, Packers, and 49ers for most Super Bowls won. Instead, the Patriots after having a great run in the playoffs would be heartbroken again by the Giants. Eli Manning completed a 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham on the Giants final drive and this set the tone for the Giants to take the lead, 21-17, with just under a minute remaining. The Patriots could not get into the end zone ending their season with a Super Bowl loss.