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.