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Biggest Super Bowl Upsets: Largest Underdogs to Have Won Ahead of Rams vs. Bengals

Biggest Super Bowl Upsets: Largest Underdogs to Have Won Ahead of Rams vs. Bengals article feature image
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Photo by Mark Kauffman/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Namath

Football fans of literally any age, no matter how casual, know about Joe Namath’s pregame guarantee that the New York Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

The Jets had been ridiculous 18-point underdogs that night and still eked out a 16-7 victory on the back of Namath’s exploits.

That Jets team is still the biggest underdog to ever win a Super Bowl.

While that was no doubt a famous victory, non-boomer fans may consider more recent upsets more significant.

Take the 2007 season for example, when the New England Patriots were looking to cap off an undefeated season for just the second time in NFL history.

New England were 12.5-point favorites over the New York Giants, who were a 10-6 wild card. You probably know the rest of that tale.

Or perhaps you prefer that game where a backup quarterback — inserted into the line of duty after a midseason injury to their starter, then an MVP favorite — dropped 41 points against a Patriots team destined to win their sixth Super Bowl.

That upset doesn’t have quite as much weight on paper — the Eagles were just 4.5-point underdogs — but emotionally, that was as big an upset as any post-Namath matchup.

Alternatively, if you’re from New England, maybe 2000 was the greatest post-Namath upset. That’s when a sixth-rounder by the name of Tom Brady took a 14-point underdog all the way in what seemed at the time like a one-off Cinderella story. Then he became the greatest quarterback of all-time.

Below is a list of the top 15 biggest Super Bowl upsets of all-time. They’re ranked by how big of an underdog the champion was before the game started — not by point differential. Had this list been ranked in the latter form, the Seattle Seahawks would take the top spot after beating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII by 35 points as only 2-point underdogs.

Biggest Upsets in Super Bowl History

Team Odds
1969: New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7 Colts -18
2000: New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17 Rams -14
2008: New York Giants 20, New England Patriots 17 Patriots -12.5
1998: Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24 Packers -11
1991: New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19 Bills -6.5
2016: Denver Broncos 24, Carolina Panthers 10 Panthers -5
2018: Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England Patriots 33 Patriots -4.5
2013: Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31 49ers -4.5
2010: New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17 Colts -4.5
2003: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21 Raiders -3.5
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