As sports fans, there are few more satisfying things than watching the title game of any given sport. After all, that is the biggest stage – where glory and legacies will be defined. And while we always hope for close and exciting games to close out a season, the reality is that there will always be instances where one of the contenders has a bad day and is utterly dominated, or occasions when a team rises above its normal level and simply manhandles the opposition.
Even as these games tend to be anti-climactic, at least they give us the chance to see great teams perform at the highest level and win deserving championships. Starting today, we present the worst blowouts in the four major American sports, starting with the Super Bowl and then following with different games #7 from the NHL, MLB and the NBA.
While the memory is still fresh from Seattle's dismantling of the Broncos, the 35-point margin wasn't enough to be crowned the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history, but it is still among the top 5.
Denver entered the game as a 3-point favorite and had a young John Elway in his prime, while the Redskins had a big X-factor in eventual MVP Doug Williams. The Broncos seemed to assert their dominance early, jumping to a 10-0 lead that covered all expectations. However, the Redskins simply went off in the second quarter, scoring 35 points behind 4 passing touchdowns from Williams. The second half was a dud, as the Broncos were unable to recover from the shock of the second period and simply laid down for a Washington squad that won their second Super Bowl.
35 points: Super Bowl XXVII and XXLVIII
On the first such game, The Bills were facing the prospect of making it "third time's a charm" after having lost the previous two Super Bowls by a combined 14 points. Unfortunately for Buffalo, they caught the Cowboys at the start of their eventual dynasty. Dallas was favored by 6.5 points and covered easily, with Troy Aikman throwing four TD's and the Bills being unable to muster much resistance. The following year, a rematch of this game took place, with the Cowboys winning again, though only by 17.
21 years after the first 35-point victory in the Super Bowl, history repeated itself with the Seahawks riding their historic defense against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Again, Denver was favored by 3 points and was the consensus favorite heading into the game, but all the magic evaporated quickly with the first opening safety in Super Bowl history, followed by 4 turnovers and one of the most dreadful performances we'll ever see. Denver's 8 points were the lowest output since the Giants scored only 7 against the Buccaneers in SB XXXV.
If the Seahawks have a historical comparison in terms of defense, it has to come from the 1985 Chicago Bears. Coached by the legendary Mike Ditka and also remembered by the infamous “Super Bowl Shuffle”, the Bears completed one of the most dominant seasons in NFL history by dominating the Patriots. Chicago was favored by 11 points, and after falling 3-0 to start the game, they scored 44 unanswered points to establish their dominance. It is not surprising that the '85 Bears are constantly mentioned among the best teams in history.
Denver's third appearance on this list, and one record that will be very difficult to surpass. Even as the Joe Montana-led 49ers were heavily favored (by 12), nobody expected such a difference in the final game. San Francisco jumped to an early 13-3 lead that became 27-3 by halftime, and then simply kept scoring at will. Montana threw 5 scores, including 3 to Jerry Rice, and was named MVP. This Super Bowl closed the 80's, a decade that was marked by Super Bowl blowouts, and the average margin of defeat was at a staggering 21.9 points, compared to 14.2 in the 90's and 10.7 in the 00's.
Interestingly, the Denver Broncos have been a part of 3 of the 5 Super Bowl blowout games - each time on the losing side.