NFL Rankings: Top 10 Teams to Lose the Super Bowl
As great as it feels to win the Super Bowl, losing it hurts almost double that. To get so close to the ultimate goal and fail to come out victorious is one of the toughest feelings for anyone to deal with in sports.
It doesn't matter if the game was a blowout or if it was lost by the narrowest margins. A loss is a loss regardless of how pretty the teams played and a Super Bowl loss will inevitably leave a conference champion feeling like the worst team in the NFL.
Come Sunday night, either the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers will join that club of Super Bowl losers. Though both of these teams have had great postseasons, their respective regular-season marks of 10-6 and 11-4-1 won't have them in the discussion for best team to ever lose the Super Bowl.
That distinction is reserved for other teams, some of which put together history-making regular seasons. These teams were for the most part favored on their big day, yet they somehow fell victim to an upset.
Many of them lost only two or three games that season, yet somehow they let one of those losses come in the season's most important game.
Let's take a look at the top 10 Super Bowl losers. This list will be restricted to teams that made the Super Bowl, even though it's well understood that some of the NFL's greatest teams lost earlier in the playoffs.
It's rough to lose in the Super Bowl, and revisiting that game will open up wounds for the diehard fans. Take heart, though. If you're going to lose, maybe it's just a little less painful to be remembered as one of the best losers ever.
Honorable Mentions: In Memory of the '98 Vikings
Though this list will feature teams that lost in the Super Bowl, a few teams deserve shout-outs for especially disappointing playoff losses.
These teams were juggernauts and for the most part, they were the clear Super Bowl favorites for the entire season.
Their postseason dreams became nightmares, though, when they suffered playoff losses prior to even making the Super Bowl. One postseason loss shouldn't take away from the greatness of their regular season, which is why they deserve this attention.
The obvious team that comes to mind is the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. This 15-1 team would be in the discussion for greatest team in NFL history had they taken care of business in the playoffs.
Their offense set a record for most points scored in a season with 558 points. Twelve of their 15 wins were blowouts, and under the control of Randall Cunningham, their offense was completely unstoppable. Randy Moss and Chris Carter both had Pro Bowl seasons as well, with Moss scoring a rookie-record 17 receiving touchdowns.
With the greatness this Vikings team displayed in the regular season, it stands to reason that they had an epic playoff collapse.
Sure enough, it came down to a missed field goal from Gary Anderson, who hadn't missed one all season.
The Atlanta Falcons capitalized and tied the game. They also made the game-winning field goal in overtime, preventing an epic Super Bowl collision between the Vikings and John Elway's Denver Broncos.
There aren't really any other teams that failed to reach the Super Bowl who were as great as the Vikings were.
Two other teams do, however, deserve mention for great regular seasons that were expected to end in the Super Bowl.
The 2011 Green Bay Packers made a very serious run at perfection, before slipping up once in December.
Still, with a 15-1 record, they were the odds-on Super Bowl favorites, and it seemed that with a divisional-round matchup at home against the New York Giants, they had an easy path for a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.
Instead, the Giants had a relatively easy 39-20 win. The Packers came out extremely flat after their bye week, and their one-dimensional offense came back to haunt them. It's also worth noting that their defense finished last in yards given up during the season.
The 2010 New England Patriots were another unstoppable juggernaut in the regular season.
At 14-2, they racked up 518 points in the regular season and finished 6-1 against playoff teams. Their divisional-round opponent looked easy enough as they were facing a New York Jets team that they had dominated a month earlier.
Somehow the Jets pulled out the upset, and the Patriots were left wondering what could have been.
What kills them the most is that this team was extremely well-balanced with Tom Brady winning the regular-season MVP and BenJarvus Green-Ellis finally giving them a 1,000 yard rusher.
Add in a defense that only allowed 313 points, and this team could have been one of the best Super Bowl champions ever.
Instead, they went home early and found even more reason to hate on the rival Jets.
10. 1998 Atlanta Falcons
Although many people were mad about the Vikings missing the Super Bowl in 1998, it's easy to forget that the Falcons were more than worthy replacements.
This team had coasted through the regular season with a 14-2 record, and they were on a nine-game winning streak going into the playoffs.
A 7-9 team the year before, the Falcons hadn't been expected to do very well in 1998. It also didn't help things that they were in the same division as the 49ers, one of the '90s most successful teams.
Instead, the Falcons rallied behind newly signed quarterback Chris Chandler, who threw for 3,154 yards and 25 touchdowns. They also had one of the league's top running backs in Jamal Anderson, who created the well-known "Dirty Bird" dance that is still used in Atlanta today.
The defense wasn't too bad, either.
Safety Ray Buchanan was known as "Big Play Ray," and he frequently did make big plays, getting seven interceptions. The Falcons allowed 289 points during the regular season and finished with the fourth overall defense in points allowed.
During most years, 14-2 is good enough to gain the top overall seed, but during most years, you aren't looking at a team like the 15-1 Vikings.
Between the Vikings, the Broncos and the Falcons, it's clear there were some very good teams that season.
Only one could finish it with a Super Bowl win, though.
The Falcons had a tough draw in the divisional round, when they played the 49ers. The late '80s-early '90s dynasty was over, though, and the Falcons beat the 49ers 20-18, earning the right for a trip to Minnesota.
It was here that the Falcons pulled off an all-time great upset with their win over the Vikings.
Even with an extremely loud crowd and an explosive Vikings offense, the Falcons were able to stay in the game.
They got a huge break, of course, when Gary Anderson had his first field-goal miss of the season. The missed kick would give the Falcons new life, and they tied the game before eventually winning in overtime 30-27.
Not surprisingly, the Broncos were representing the AFC. With a retiring John Elway, the defending Super Bowl champions were huge favorites in this game.
It just wasn't meant to be for Atlanta. After getting over the hump last season, there was no way Elway was going to have another Super Bowl disappointment.
A 17-6 halftime lead by the Broncos stretched into a 34-19 loss for the Dirty Birds. The Falcons frequently stalled, and one offensive touchdown wasn't going to cut in this game.
It was a brilliant season for this Atlanta team, but they just weren't up to the challenge of beating a Hall of Fame quarterback in the season's biggest game.
9. 1997 Green Bay Packers
Coming off a Super Bowl victory in 1996, the Packers were looking like they could be one of the rare teams to pull off a repeat.
They matched the 13-3 regular-season record from a year before, and again, they earned a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Their regular season was by no means the product of an easy schedule, either. A record four teams from the NFC Central made the playoffs, and the Packers had to play eight games against playoff teams.
It was when they played this gauntlet of playoff teams that the Packers proved their worth.
They went 7-1 against playoff teams.
The only playoff team to defeat them was the Detroit Lions, and that 26-15 loss was the only time that season the Packers lost a game by more than seven points.
Eight of their 13 wins came by 10 or more points. A lot of the credit has to go to regular-season MVP Brett Favre, who had one of his finest seasons with 3,867 passing yards and 35 touchdowns. Both of those numbers were best in the NFC.
Ending the season with five-straight wins, the Packers faced their division rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the divisional round. The Pack easily won 21-7, and they advanced to face perhaps the only NFC team that could lay claim to being better than them.
This game between the Packers and the 49ers was being dubbed as "The Real Super Bowl."
At this point, the NFC had won 13 straight Super Bowls, so it was very reasonable to conclude whichever team survived the NFC Championship should be the Super Bowl favorite.
Even with the game taking place in San Francisco, the Packers were able to win. After the 23-10 victory, the Packers had successfully advanced to their second consecutive Super Bowl, and they would play it against the Broncos.
The Packers were 11-point favorites, but the Broncos were clearly undaunted. This game would turn out to be an instant classic with both teams putting up points and keeping the game close.
A turning point came in the third quarter with the score tied at 17. It was third down. Elway was unable to find a receiver, so he took the ball and ran toward the first-down line with Green Bay safety Leroy Butler fast on his heels.
Butler hit Elway, and his body went hurling into the air. Elway picked up the first down, and in the process, created the iconic play known as "The Helicopter."
This play would be huge because the Broncos would score a touchdown and take a 24-17 lead. This play also clearly represents the desire that Elway had for winning a Super Bowl after falling short his first three times there.
The Packers would tie it up at 24, but the Broncos scored again.
As much as this game was about Elway, the MVP award would go to the real difference-maker, running back Terrell Davis. He scored the game-winning touchdown and would finish the day with three touchdowns and 157 rushing yards.
It's crazy to think that even though Favre went on to play for 13 more seasons, he never again reached the Super Bowl.
He kept his teams in playoff contention for the most part but never advanced past the NFC Championship again, and both of his losses there were painful ones that came off of interceptions in overtime.
As a future Hall of Famer with many NFL records, Favre's playoff struggles show just how difficult it is to win a Super Bowl and that even the best quarterbacks need a complete team if they are going to win multiple championships.
8. 1984 Miami Dolphins
A decade after their undefeated 17-0 season, the Miami Dolphins finally returned to good times again. The main catalyst for Miami's improvement came with their selection of Dan Marino in the 1983 NFL draft.
In his rookie season, Marino led the Dolphins to a 12-4 record and a playoff run that ended with a close loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round.
It was a disappointing loss, but Miami fans had the feeling that with Marino at quarterback, good things were around the corner.
Sure enough, the 1984 season was even better. The Dolphins finished 14-2, with 10 of their victories coming by 10 or more points. They scored 513 points that season, finishing only 28 points behind the record at the time, which had been set one year earlier by the Washington Redskins.
Marino would also set the then-record for touchdown passes in a season with 48. It would stand all the way until 2004, when Peyton Manning beat it by one touchdown.
The Dolphins easily got a first-round bye, and they opened the playoffs with revenge against the Seahawks, securing a 31-10 win. The Dolphins advanced to the AFC Championship, which they hosted at home against the Steelers.
Like the previous game, this one was never really close. The Dolphins won 45-28, and only in his second season, Marino was in the Super Bowl.
Their competition was the 49ers, the Super Bowl champions from three seasons ago. They were the only team to have a better season than the Dolphins with a 15-1 regular-season record.
Five NFL teams have finished the regular season with a 15-1 record. However, only two of those teams have won the Super Bowl.
The 1984 49ers were one of those two teams, and they are one of those teams that really has to get mentioned when discussing the greatest NFL teams of all time.
The game wasn't all that close, either, with the 49ers pulling away after a 21-point second quarter.
Marino wasn't up to the challenge of making a comeback as he threw one touchdown to two interceptions. This is a big reason why the game ended as a 38-16 blowout in favor of the 49ers.
Infamously, Marino never returned to the Super Bowl. He got the Dolphins to the playoffs eight more times, but he never advanced beyond the AFC Championship. He is still by most accounts the best quarterback to never win a Super Bowl, even though that distinction does leave a pretty big mark on an otherwise stellar resume.
7. 1990 Buffalo Bills
The 1990 Buffalo Bills arrive on this list as one of the more complete teams in football history. They finished the season with a 13-3 record and the best scoring offense that year.
In the same draft class that produced John Elway and Dan Marino, the Bills got their winner in Jim Kelly. He started 14 games in the 1990 season and had a decent year with 24 touchdowns to only nine interceptions.
On the other side of the ball, Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith came very close to the NFL record with 19 sacks. The defense allowed 263 points and finished sixth in points given up that season.
The Bills started their playoff run with a third game against the division-rival Dolphins. It was a high-scoring game, but the Bills came out on top with a 44-34 win.
Next week would be even more high scoring and, honestly, excessively embarrassing for the other team. The Bills smashed the Los Angeles Rams by a final score of 51-3, one of the biggest blowouts in conference championship history.
The Bills were now in their first Super Bowl, and lining up on the other side was the 13-3 Giants. They had the top overall defense in football, thanks to the work of one Bill Belichick as defensive coordinator.
It was going to be a tough task for them to stop this explosive Bills offense, especially considering that the Giants offense was very middle of the pack. It looked like the Bills could win easily.
Instead, the Giants were able to hold the Bills offense in check and keep the game fairly low-scoring. Though at one point the Bills led 12-3, the Giants worked their way back into the game, even taking the lead in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Thurman Thomas scored a 31-yard rushing touchdown to give the Bills a 19-17 lead. The Giants responded with a 21-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to give them a 20-19 lead.
The Bills' final possession began at their own 10-yard line, with only 2:16 left in the game.
Kelly masterfully led his team down the field, and with less than a minute to go, the Bills found themselves in field-goal range.
All they needed was a 47-yard field goal from Scott Norwood to make them Super Bowl champions.
Instead, the Bills found themselves on the wrong end of one of the most embarrassing plays in NFL history. Norwood's kick was wide right, and the Giants were Super Bowl champions.
Usually, losing a Super Bowl like that can bring a team down. However, the Bills were a resilient bunch, and they made the next three Super Bowls. Unfortunately, they lost all three of those games, and none of them were as close as this one.
6. 2001 St. Louis Rams
Only one franchise has ever topped 500 points for three straight seasons. That franchise, believe it or not, is the St. Louis Rams. For three years, their "Greatest Show on Turf" offense dominated the NFL and got them to two Super Bowls.
The key to that offense was the unlikely Kurt Warner. He was thrust in the quarterback role when Trent Green was lost for the season in the 1999 preseason.
Rams fans were initially scared, but Warner showed them there was no reason to fear.
With Marshall Faulk in the backfield and Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce at the wide receiver positions, there were few teams that matched up well against the Rams.
The Rams won the Super Bowl after 1999, and it seemed like with an offense that explosive, this team could create a dynasty. Instead the defense declined significantly in 2000, where the Rams lost in the Wild Card Round.
In 2001, the Rams improved their defense with the acquisition of defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. The Rams would then roll to a 14-2 regular-season record, with both of their losses coming by a touchdown or less.
Warner won NFL MVP, making this the third year in a row that a Rams player had won the award. With 503 total points and a 6-1 record versus playoff teams, the Rams were the unquestionable Super Bowl favorites going into the playoffs.
They got the playoffs started on a good note, with a blowout 45-17 victory against the Packers. Even Brett Favre couldn't keep the Packers in the game, and the improved Rams defense would force eight turnovers.
For the NFC Championship, the Philadelphia Eagles provided a greater threat for the Rams. The game was extremely close, but the Rams prevailed 29-24. After a defensive stop, the Rams were back in the Super Bowl.
Their opponent was the upstart Patriots, and the Rams were favored by 14 points. Nevertheless, the game was close and, by the Rams standards, very low-scoring.
The Patriots led 14-3 at halftime, and it took a crazy fourth quarter for the Rams to get back in the game. Warner led them back in the game with both a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown during the fourth quarter.
The second touchdown tied the game at 17 late in the fourth quarter, making it seem like this game was destined to be the first Super Bowl to end in overtime.
A young Tom Brady would prevent that from happening, though. In only his 17th career start, Brady calmly led the team into field-goal range.
As time expired, Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal, and the Patriots had shocked the world with their 20-17 victory.
This game would also mark the end for "The Greatest Show on Turf."
The Rams made the playoffs in two of the next three seasons, but they didn't make it back to the Super Bowl.
Presently, the franchise has now missed the playoffs for eight-straight seasons.
5. 1967 Oakland Raiders
Now it's time to take a look at one of the most underrated and under-appreciated teams to lose the Super Bowl: the 1967 Oakland Raiders.
This team went 13-1 over the regular season, giving them their first Western Division title. The Raiders got there on the strength of an impressive vertical passing game, led by free-agent acquisition Daryle Lamonica.
Nine of their 13 victories came by 10 or more points. Their only loss during the regular season was a 27-14 loss to the New York Jets.
Their defense was nightmarish for opposing quarterbacks. They led the league with 67 sacks and an NFL-record 665 yards from tackles for a loss.
With 233 points allowed during the season and only 16.6 per game, the Raiders finished the year with the second best defense in the AFL. They also had a point differential of 235, which was best in the league.
For the AFL Championship, the Raiders smashed the Houston Oilers by a final score of 40-7. The win qualified them for the second-ever Super Bowl, which was at the time more of an exhibition game between the NFL and AFL champions.
In the '60s, the NFL was by far the superior league. That's why even with their 13-1 record and stingy defense, the Raiders were underdogs to the 9-4-1 Packers.
By halftime, the Packers were up 16-7, and it only got uglier from there. A rushing touchdown from Donny Anderson and an interception return from Herb Adderley saw the Packers build a comfortable lead on the Raiders. Even a late Raiders touchdown couldn't save this one as the Packers won 33-14.
There's no denying that the 1967 season was an important one for the Raiders.
This team would build itself into a powerhouse during the 1970s and early 1980s, where they won three Super Bowls and were constantly contending for the playoffs.
4. 1969 Minnesota Vikings
When looking at the most-tortured franchise in NFL history, two teams seem to always come up: the Bills and the Vikings.
While other teams like the Cleveland Browns and the Lions have never played in a Super Bowl, the Bills and Vikings have tortured fans by having great seasons that were wasted with brutal playoff losses.
The Bills and Vikings have both never won Super Bowls, despite appearing in four each.
At least the Bills have semi-recent Super Bowls to look back on. All four of the Vikings Super Bowl appearances came in the 1960s or '70s.
That first loss came in 1969, the final year before the NFL and AFL merged.
The 1969 Vikings established the "Purple People Eaters" defense, which was the nickname of their fearsome defensive line. This defense is easily in the discussion for greatest defense of all time, allowing only 133 points all year and 9.5 points per game.
With their 12-2 record, the Vikings had a solid team across the board. Their offense led the league in scoring with 379, and on three separate occasions, they topped 50 points.
They also had 12 consecutive victories at one point, which was the longest such streak at the time.
The 1969 NFL Championship was just a typical Vikings game. They easily dispatched of the Browns by a final score of 27-7.
They were now going to Super Bowl IV, where they were initially 12.5-point favorites over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Instead of the Vikings defense dominating, it was the Chiefs defense that had a field day. They excelled in the game's wet conditions, forcing three interceptions and recovering three fumbles.
The game turned into a rout with the Chiefs winning 23-7. The only Vikings touchdown came in the third quarter, and it was a four-yard run by Dave Osborn.
With the AFL winning the last two Super Bowls, it was now clear there wasn't a huge gap between the leagues, so in 1970, both leagues merged into two conferences, which created the NFL that we know today.
The Vikings technically were NFL champions in 1969, but it's little consolation given the Super Bowl loss. It also set a trend for terrible Super Bowl performances by the Vikings, who have lost in all of their Super Bowl appearances by 10 or more points.
3. 1968 Baltimore Colts
Three of the top five teams to lose in the Super Bowl played in the late 1960s. Out of these three, the best has to be the 1968 Baltimore Colts, a 13-1 team that was denied their Super Bowl title in one of the biggest upsets in all of sports history.
Even though Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas only played in five games because of injury, his backup Earl Morrall stepped in with no problem. He finished the season with 26 touchdowns to 17 interceptions, and he would win 13 of his 14 starts. This was also enough for him to win the NFL MVP that season.
The Morrall-led offense finished second in the league with 402 points scored during the season. Their defense was the best in the league with only 144 points allowed.
For the playoffs, the Colts rolled in their first two games. In the NFL Conference Championship, they beat the Vikings 24-14. The next week in the NFL Championship, they shut out the Browns 34-0.
The Colts were now in Super Bowl III, where they would face the 11-3 New York Jets. The Packers had dominated in the first two Super Bowls, and it was considered common knowledge that the NFL was by far the superior league. In many people's eyes, the Jets didn't have a prayer.
This was reflected in the pregame line where the Colts were 18-point favorites. This didn't daunt Joe Namath or the Jets, though, and only three days before the game, Namath guaranteed they would pull off the upset.
No one believed them, but the Jets were confident in a game plan that emphasized running the ball and completing short passes, so they could prevent the Colts offense from being on the field. It worked to perfection during the first half where the Jets shut out the Colts and took a 7-0 lead.
That four-yard touchdown run by Matt Snell would be the Jets' only touchdown the entire day. Over the second half, they added three field goals, which pushed their lead to 16-0 and slowly drained hope out of the Colts.
The Colts' only score came late in the fourth quarter, and at that point, they were fighting just to avoid a shutout. The Jets had pulled off the epic upset, and the 13-1 Colts were left wondering what had gone so wrong.
This game was influential in the AFL-NFL merger since the Jets had proven that the two leagues could compete with each other. It also led to a decline in the Colts that would eventually send Don Shula to coach the Dolphins, and in only 16 years, the Colts would leave Baltimore.
It's definitely amazing to look at the impact that one upset had on the future of the NFL.
2. 1983 Washington Redskins
Like the 1997 Green Bay Packers, the 1983 Washington Redskins were seeking to defend their Super Bowl title from the previous year.
Despite the difficult-to-repeat success of that 1982 team, the 1983 Redskins would go on to be a history-making team that came so close to setting up a Washington dynasty.
The Redskins offense was extremely balanced. Joe Theismann would win MVP during a breakout season where he threw 29 touchdowns. They also had Hall of Fame running back John Riggins, who was equally difficult to stop.
Teams who faced the Redskins would typically have to pick their poison, and it usually backfired horribly as the 'Skins finished with a 14-2 record and set a then-record for points scored during a season with 541.
While that record no longer stands, the Redskins have the record for the best turnover margin in NFL history with plus-43.
It's also worth noting that the Redskins were the first team since the merger to record more than 60 turnovers.
This high-powered offense was vastly superior to that of the Los Angeles Rams, who they routed 51-7 in the divisional round. The 49ers would prove to be slightly more difficult in the conference championship, but the Redskins still disposed of them with a 24-21 win.
Their Super Bowl opponent was a 12-4 Los Angeles Raiders team. The Redskins were easy favorites, though, and NFL historians couldn't wait for this game to be over so they could discuss where the Redskins fit in with the greatest NFL teams of all time.
The only thing is this game wasn't great at all for the Redskins. The day would forever go on to be known as Black Sunday, as the Raiders poured it down on the Redskins all day long, eventually winning 38-9.
The enduring memory from this Super Bowl came in the third quarter. Raiders running back Marcus Allen had just taken a handoff, and he was going to run left as the play had been designed.
Instead, Allen saw an opening, and he went up the middle. No Redskin could stop Allen, and he rumbled into the end zone, scoring a then-Super Bowl record 74-yard touchdown run. Allen would finish the day with 191 rushing yards, two touchdowns and a Super Bowl MVP.
Like so many other good offensive teams, the 1983 Redskins' journey fell short of a Super Bowl title. The '98 Vikings, the '84 Dolphins and the '01 Rams are just some of the offensive juggernauts to fail to win the Super Bowl, and that's not even including the final team on this list.
1. 2007 New England Patriots
Hands down, the 2007 New England Patriots are the greatest NFL team to lose in a Super Bowl.
They joined the 1972 Dolphins as the only team to complete an undefeated regular season, and even with their Super Bowl loss, their 18-1 record is tied for the most NFL wins in a season.
Starting with the upset over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, the Patriots were well on their way to becoming the NFL's next dynasty. In both 2003 and 2004, they finished 14-2 and won the Super Bowl.
Three Super Bowl titles in four years had this team looking like it could be one of the NFL's greatest dynasties.
The magic faded, though, in 2005 and 2006, where the Patriots lost in the playoffs before they could reach the Super Bowl.
Then, just before the 2007 regular season, allegations of cheating arose. Supposedly, the Patriots had cheated by filming the opposition's defensive coaches' signals.
Roger Goodell came down hard on the Patriots, and Bill Belichick would be fined $500,000. The Patriots organization was fined $250,000, and they were stripped of their first-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft.
All this really served to do was make the Patriots really angry. Watching them play, you sensed that they wanted to dominate every game by a score of 45-7.
The Patriots kept winning and winning and winning. They ran the table that season, finishing 16-0, with 12 of their wins coming by 10 or more points. They also broke the record for points in a season with 589 points.
Tom Brady broke the record for most touchdowns in a season with 50. Twenty-three of these were thrown to Randy Moss, which broke the single-season record for receiving touchdowns.
The Brady-Moss connection was excessively dangerous, but in the rare case where teams shut down Moss, Brady could just as easily have success with Wes Welker or Donte' Stallworth.
Even their defense was good that season. They finished fourth in the NFL and only allowed 274 points. It seemed like there was no way any team could stop the Pats in the 2007 postseason.
The AFC Playoffs were essentially a breeze for the Patriots with both of their wins coming by nine or more points.
They were now 18-0 going into the Super Bowl, where they would face the Giants, the team they had beaten in their regular-season finale.
The general consensus was that the Giants didn't have a chance, even though they only lost by three to the Patriots in the regular season.
Embracing their underdog role, the Giants planned to use their relentless pass rush and a tough running game to pull off the upset.
This was not at all a typical 2007 Patriots game.
It was low scoring until the fourth quarter, when there were three touchdowns that resulted in lead changes.
Right before the two-minute warning, the Patriots had just scored to take a 14-10 lead that it seemed would hold and give them the perfect season. They just had to stop the Giants' likely finally drive with only 2:39 left in the game.
That drive did not go as planned though. One play after Asante Samuel missed a game-ending interception, Manning miraculously escaped a sack and completed a 32-yard pass to David Tyree.
Tyree would catch the ball off his helmet, creating one of the most amazing plays in NFL history.
Later in that drive, the Giants scored and took a 17-14 lead. There was only 35 seconds left, and the Patriots were just unable to move fast enough to score. A turnover on downs sealed the loss, and the stunned Patriots left the field with an 18-1 record.
There is no doubt that with a Super Bowl win, the 2007 Patriots would be considered one of the best NFL teams of all time.
Their story proves that it is insanely difficult to pull off the perfect season, and it's very doubtful we'll ever have anyone shut up those insufferable 1972 Dolphins.
At the same time, it also shows that anything can happen in the Super Bowl. This list showcased four history-making offenses that lost in the Super Bowl.
Upsets are going to happen, whether it's in the playoffs or the Super Bowl, which is why it's so rare for these great regular-season teams to seal the deal and win a championship.