4. Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots (2017)
The Falcons threw away a Super Bowl win in 2017. It appeared as though Dan Quinn’s men were on course for a famous victory. They were blowing the Patriots away with a 28-3 lead before they had a meltdown. Maybe they didn’t like the Lady Gaga Halftime show, because something went seriously wrong.
Atlanta allowed the Patriots to maintain momentum as they sent the game to overtime. It also didn’t help that Quinn and his staff made some questionable calls. Then, New England won the game in overtime after they won the coin toss. It was a brutal way for the Falcons to lose but it was their fault (via Sporting News).
3. Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots (2020)
The Chiefs came off on the wrong side of a coin toss in 2020. This overtime defeat kickstarted the debate over whether the current system is fair. After all, Patrick Mahomes, the most talented young quarterback in the NFL, didn’t get to step onto the field.
It’s to Tom Brady’s credit that he remained ice-cold. He helped his team score a walk-off touchdown on their first possession. But this was soul-crushing for the long-suffering Chiefs and their fans. Next, Kansas City proposed a rule change to the NFL after this loss but they didn’t happen (via Business Insider).
This was one of the greatest games in NFL postseason history. Both quarterbacks were sublime as Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes waged a duel for the ages. It looked like the Bills had done enough to seal a win. But then the Chiefs kicked their way into overtime in the dying moments.
Then, the Chiefs won the coin toss. Mahomes was clinical as he sealed victory in 13 seconds. He found Travis Kelce for the game-winning touchdown. This was soul-destroying for the Bills because they poured their souls into this performance. It also reignited a debate about the fairness of the overtime coin toss (via Sportsnet).
1. Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots (2015)
This soul-crushing defeat haunts Pete Carroll’s dreams. Seattle played the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX and was inches away from victory. They were a yard away from the Pats’ goalline when Russell Wilson opted to throw a pass. The other option was to offload Marshawn Lynch, the five-time Pro Bowl running back.
New England rookie Malcolm Butler infamously intercepted Wilson’s pass. It was a harrowing moment because many fans instantly criticized Carroll’s call. However, statistically, he made the right choice (via Sports Illustrated). But it was soul-crushing because they were so close to another elusive ring.