What are the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history? Two teams from a dynastic era of football are on this list.
Earlier Super Bowls were much more competitive than modern iterations. That’s why all five listed below are from the 1980s and later.
As the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs prepare to do battle in Super Bowl LVII, we’re not expecting a blowout. But the same could have been said about Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. Ask Peyton Manning about how that turned out.
Without further ado, here’s a look at the five biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history.
Related: Biggest upsets in Super Bowl history
5. Super Bowl XXIX: San Francisco 49ers continue dynasty against Chargers
- Final score: 49ers 49, Chargers 26
The San Diego Chargers had absolutely no chance against this elite overall team. San Francisco finished the regular season at 13-3 and averaging nearly 32 points per game. Bobby Ross’ squad was just 11-5 and averaged more than a touchdown less per game.
The results showed on the field inside Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida. San Francisco took a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. It took just seven plays on offense, including a 44-yard Jerry Rice touchdown from Steve Young and a 51-yard pass from Young to Ricky Watters.
Afer San Diego got on the board midway through the first quarter, it was pretty much over. The 49ers went 70 yards on 10 plays, culminating in a William Floyd touchdown run.
Up 28-10 at the half, San Francisco wasn’t not done putting it to the Chargers. It opened the third with touchdown drives of 62 and 67 yards, respectively. When Rice caught another touchdown from Young with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth, onlookers started to pay more attention to the commercials.
Young finished the game completing 24-of-36 passes for 325 yards with a Super Bowl-record six touchdown passes. Rice caught 10 balls for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s defense forced three turnovers en route to one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history.
Related: Record-holders in Super Bowl history
4. Super Bowl XLVIII: Seattle Seahawks embarrass Denver Broncos
- Final score: Seahawks 43, Broncos 8
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos headed into Super Bowl XLVIII coming off a record-breaking regular season in which they averaged 37.9 points per game. On the other side was a Seattle Seahawks defense, led by the legendary Legion of Boom, that yielded a league-low 14.4 points per game.
Something had to give here, right? Pretty much from the onset inside New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, Denver was absolutely no match. The game actually started with Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril tackling Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno in the end zone for a safety just 12 seconds in. It came after a bad snap from center Manuel Ramirez.
Seattle would take an 8-0 lead with Steven Hauschka nailing two field goals before the first quarter came to an end. After a Marshawn Lynch one-yard touchdown run gave Seattle a 15-0 lead, eventual Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith picked off Peyton Manning and returned it 69 yards to put this one out of hand before halftime.
We’re not sure what Broncos head coach John Fox said at the intermission as Bruno Mars performed, but the team apparently didn’t listen. Percy Harvin scored on an 87-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter for a 29-0 Seattle lead. It would eventually take a 36-0 lead before Denver scored its first and only touchdown on the final play of the third quarter.
Written by experts, for sports fans who want a FREE daily newsletter worth reading. Get Sportsnaut First today!
Seattle set the Super Bowl record for holding the lead the longest in a game (59 minutes and 48 seconds). Meanwhile, the Broncos became the first team to score less than 10 points in the big game over the course of a 30-year span.
Related: Biggest blowouts in NFL Playoff history
3. Super Bowl XX: New England Patriots no contest for Chicago Bears
- Final score: Bears 46, Patriots 10
One of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history was actually expected to turn out that way. The ’85 Chicago Bears were an absolute force under colorful head coach Mike Ditka. They had personalities on the team that backed up this confidence by absolutely crushing opponents.
Boasting six Pro Bowlers and four future Hall of Famers on defense, Chicago yielded an average of 12.4 points per game. The late-great Walter Payton did his thing on the ground with nearly 2,000 total yards.
As Chicago headed into Super Bowl XX by shutting out both of its opponents in the NFC Playoffs, New England had barely escaped its two AFC Playoff opponents. Raymond Berry’s squad finished just 11-5 during the regular season, outscoring its opponents by a mere 4.5 points per game.
This game inside the Louisiana Superdome seemed to be more like a high school freshman squad practicing against a varsity state champion. That’s not hyperbole.
After New England took the quickest lead in Super Bowl history via a field goal after Payton lost a rare fumble, Chicago would score the next 44 points over the course of just 32 minutes of game time. Several of these scores came after short drives with Chicago’s defense forcing a total of six turnovers, including four fumbles.
When Henry Waechter sacked Steve Grogan in the end zone for a safety with 5:36 remaining, fans in the Windy City were busy doing the Super Bowl Shuffle after about six cold ones. The stats in this one were just astounding. New England put up 123 total yards on 54 plays. They were 1-of-10 on third downs and saw Chicago double them up on time of possession.
The Bears set then-Super Bowl records for most points in a game, largest margin of victory and longest touchdown-scoring drive. New England set marks for the fewest rushing yards (seven), most fumbles (four) and most sacks allowed (seven). Thankfully for New England, someone by the name of Tom Brady was born eight years before this humiliating loss.
Related: Biggest upsets in Super Bowl history
2. Super Bowl XXVII: Dallas Cowboys continue Buffalo Bills misery
- Final score: Cowboys 52, Bills 17
When it comes to the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history, the Bills could find themselves on this list a couple times. But we’re going to opt for the third of four consecutive Buffalo losses in the big game.
Dallas had finished the regular season with a 13-3 record while outscoring its opponents by an average of 10 points per outing. It ranked second in scoring and fifth in points allowed. Six of Dallas’ 11 starters were Pro Bowlers with four of them ultimately making their way to Canton.
On the other side stood a Bills team reeling from two consecutive Super Bowl losses. Marv Levy’s squad lost three of its final five regular-season games before pulling off a miracle comeback against the Houston Oilers in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs. It stood no real chance in this one.
The Bills took an early 7-0 lead after special teams ace Steve Tasker blocked a Cowboys punt, leading to a Thurman Thomas touchdown run. That was pretty much the only highlight for the AFC Champions during what was an otherwise disastrous game inside the famed Rose Bowl in Southern California.
Troy Aikman hit Jay Novacek on a two-yard touchdown a short while later in the first quarter to tie this up. That came after Buffalo’s first turnover of the game — a Jim Kelly interception. On Buffalo’s next offensive play, Charles Haley forced a fumble of Kelly with Jimmie Jones returning it for a touchdown. That was pretty much game, set, match.
Early in the second quarter, Kelly injured his knee and was replaced by Frank Reich — the hero in the aforementioned win over Houston, Buffalo didn’t stand a chance from here. While it was within 31-17 after three, Dallas scored three touchdowns within a span of less than three minutes in the fourth quarter to put up one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history.
Buffalo turned the ball over a record nine times in defeat. That was the primary takeaway from this one in that other stats were pretty even.
Related: Best Super Bowl commercials of all-time
Biggest blowout in Super Bowl history
1. Super Bowl XXIV: San Francisco 49ers dismantle Denver Broncos
- Final score: 49ers 55, Broncos 10
Pretty much everyone and their mother knew that the John Elway-led Broncos head no chance against the defending champion 49ers in this one. Oddsmakers agreed with San Francisco finding itself as 13-point favorites heading in. For good reason.
In his first season taking over for the legendary Bill Walsh, George Seifert led San Francisco to a 14-2 record. It ranked first in scoring at 27.6 points per game and yielded the third-fewest points in the league. Joe Montana won NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. Jerry Rice led the league in receiving with 1,483 yards. The 49ers’ defense boasted four future Hall of Famers.
As for the Broncos, they finished the regular season with a mere 11-5 record. Dan Reeves’ squad did boast the league’s top-scoring defense. But it was absolutely no match for the dynastic 49ers.
Within the first five minutes of the game, San Francisco took a 7-0 lead on a Montana 20-yard touchdown pass to Rice. After Denver got on the board with a field goal, Montana hit Brent Jones for another touchdown to give the 49ers a 13-3 lead. The onslaught was on from there. San Francisco would score two more touchdowns to close out the first half up by 24 points.
5 best San Francisco 49ers teams of all-time
It didn’t get much better for Denver from there. After connecting for two touchdowns in the first half, Montana hit Rice on 28-yard score two minutes into the third quarter. Elway was then intercepted again on the Broncos next possession, leading to another Montana touchdown. This time, it went to the underrated John Taylor.
Down 41-3 about midway through the third quarter, Elway ran in from three yards out for a garbage-time touchdown. That’s just how big of a mismatch this one was. Garbage time with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Think about that for a second. In the end, San Francisco would score two more touchdowns in the final stanza — completing the single biggest blowout in Super Bowl history.
The numbers were staggering. The 49ers put up 28 first downs and 467 yards of offense. Denver tallied a mere 12 first downs and 167 yards. The Broncos commited four giveaways compared to zero for San Francisco.
Montana had nearly as many touchdown passes (five) as incompletions (seven). Elway completed 10-of-26 passes for 103 net passing yards. Rice went for 148 yards and three touchdowns. This wasn’t just a blowout. It was premeditated murder on national television with Pat Summerall and John Madden doing play-by-play of the crime.