O’Donnell is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in NFL folklore. That’s because of a pair of costly interceptions in Super Bowl XXX. The Steelers had a great chance to beat the Cowboys. However, this was one of the most painful quarterback choke jobs in living memory. Larry Brown stole O’Donnell’s thunder because he picked the QB off twice.
The interceptions were bizarre because they were so aimless. One of them went directly to Brown despite no receivers being in the zone of play. Many analysts criticized O’Donnell after the game. If this happened in the regular season, nobody would remember it. Unfortunately, the Super Bowl is a different story. Perhaps the pressure overcame him or he was just unlucky (via Irish Times).
John Mackey scored a controversial and possibly illegal touchdown in this game. It came from a Johnny Unitas pass and also gave the Cowboys something to complain about. However, for all of their excuses, Dallas was sloppy and ineffective. Jim O’Brien kicked the winning field goal with five seconds left to play. In truth, the Colts earned the win.
Dallas held a 13-6 lead at halftime but had one of the worst choke jobs in their history. A pair of interceptions proved crucial as both set up Baltimore scores. Tom Landry admitted that the Cowboys were their own worst enemy. This went down as one of the least-entertaining Super Bowl games ever because both teams were sloppy (via N.Y. Times).
Football is a cruel sport as the Bengals discovered in this game. It may seem harsh to call this one of the biggest choke jobs in history. That’s a fair point because the 49ers had Joe Montana as their starting quarterback. However, given the context of the Bengals’ next 30 years, they wasted the chance to become iconic. Instead, they missed their only shot at the title.
It was an intriguing match-up because Boomer Esiason was in the best form of his life. This was a tight game and the Bengals led 16-13 with three minutes ticking away. However, they were unable to hold on as Joe Montana led his team downfield. The result was inevitable. Within a couple of years, Cincinnati was in severe decline. Finally, in 2022, they appeared in a Super Bowl again (via Mercury News).
The Patriots have lost a couple Super Bowls under Bill Belichick. However, this one hurts the most because they came so close to completing a perfect season. Including the playoffs, they entered the game with an undefeated 18-0 record. There was a chance to go completely unbeaten against the New York Giants. Most people hated the Pats but believed the result was inevitable.
However, Eli Manning and his teammate had something to say about that. If any result haunts Tom Brady and Belichick it’s this one because it shouldn’t have happened. Plaxico Burress scored a late touchdown before a Brady sack sealed the deal. The Patriots won so many accolades throughout that season but it felt like they meant nothing after this (via Boston Globe).
Pete Carroll says that statistically, Seattle made the right call in XLIX. However, this doesn’t change one fact. Marshawn Lynch was just four yards from the endzone. Instead, Russell Wilson attempted to find Ricardo Lockette. But the Patriots blocked him and rookie Malcolm Turner intercepted the ball. Wilson’s dream of a second Super Bowl ring instantly died (via Sports Illustrated).
Some say that Lynch had a poor record from similar positions throughout the regular season. However, a lot of critics maintain that the offensive coaches delivered one of the worst choke jobs ever. They say that this was a time to be brave and go for the kill. In the end, the Patriots gleefully ruined Seattle’s dream. They haven’t returned to a Super Bowl since.
For several minutes, Kasay was a Carolina hero. The Panthers made their first Super Bowl appearance against the Patriots. This went down as one of the most dramatic games ever. However, it’s a painful memory for Kasay. After an intense and even contest, Kasay kicked the teams level with a minute left. But he didn’t have much time to enjoy the adulation (via 247 Sports).
Next, Kasay had kickoff duties to attend to. But then the nightmare struck. He sent the ball out of bounds. This incurred an illegal procedure penalty. The scheming Patriots were able to bring the ball back downfield. Finally, Adam Vinatieri scored the winning field goal. It was a horrible moment for Kasay’s legacy because his mistake killed their dreams.
The Chicago Bears ran through the Patriots like a knife through butter in Super Bowl 20. It was a nightmarish result for New England but potentially avoidable. Firstly, Raymond Berry made the controversial decision to start Tony Eason. This left veteran Steve Grogan as his backup. However, this was a terrible choice because Eason went 0-for-6 before Berry pulled him.
Meanwhile, the Bears ran rampant. Grogan suffered four sacks after entering the field of play. The Patriots also turned the ball over six times as they delivered one of the worst choke jobs ever. Finally, the game mercifully ended and Chicago won 46-10. This was all the more surprising because the Pats were excellent before this. They won all of their previous playoff games on the road (via SBNation).
Robinson was one of the Falcons’ most important players. They knew that they required him to be at his best if they hoped to win the Super Bowl. At the time, he was the NFL’s active career interception leader. However, things became murky when the Miami police intercepted him. Robinson solicited an undercover police officer because he believed she was a prostitute.
Unfortunately for Robinson and his team, this wasn’t the case. He enjoyed the precinct’s hospitality until 4 am before they finally released him. The Falcons made the fatal decision to start him the next day. However, Robinson wasn’t at his best after an exhausting night. He was also culpable for an 80-yard Terrell Robinson touchdown (via AP News).
The Eagles played the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. Their offense included quarterback Donavon McNabb as well as the mercurial Terrell Owens. There was no doubting the latter’s talent but he had a volatile relationship with QBs. This was a bad day for head coach Andy Reid because two of his most important players let him down. The Eagles played hard but didn’t have enough to win.
McNabb threw some key interceptions but later blamed Terrell for being out of position. Meanwhile, Terrell claimed that McNabb vomited on the field because he was hungover. It was a mess but at least Reid received redemption when he won a ring with the Chiefs almost two decades later. Unfortunately, McNabb never lived this down but it wasn’t entirely his fault (via Bleacher Report).
Norwood’s miss continues to haunt his dreams. The Bills placekicker displayed outstanding consistency throughout the regular season. He had the opportunity to become an instant Buffalo icon. 47-yards stood between him and a Super Bowl ring. Instead, he sealed immortality but not for the reason he wanted. He kicked the ball ‘wide-right’ and the Bills lost the game (via Yahoo).
Some believe it’s unfair to call this one of the biggest choke-jobs ever. But Norwood had one job. His only task was to kick the ball between the posts. This wasn’t even the most challenging distance. However, this was the Super Bowl and the pressure was too much. Instead, the Giants won the ultimate prize.
In 2017, the Falcons performed one of the worst choke-jobs ever. They led the Patriots in Super Bowl LI by a score of 28-3. This 25-point lead haunts the dreams of Dan Quinn because they should have won. Furthermore, the aforementioned Kyle Shanahan was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. He took a lot of heat because they went into meltdown (via FOX Sports).
Many casual Super Bowl followers stopped watching because it appeared to be over at halftime. The Patriots were about to suffer a blowout before they came storming back. They sent the game to overtime and an ice-cold Tom Brady sealed victory for his team. It sealed his status as the greatest ever but it was also a major humiliation. After this loss, Atlanta went into a freefall and have not gotten out since.