While close games are exciting and all, there’s nothing like watching an impressive comeback. No matter the reason it happens, whether it’s because one team collapses or the other finally gets its act together, these games take on a life of their own and define how we view these teams.
It has been proven time and time again that falling behind in the Super Bowl is not a death sentence, as 17 teams have managed to win despite not scoring first, and even 27 of the 51 Super Bowl champions were behind at some point in the game.
Throughout its history, the Super Bowl has not seen many incredible, miraculous comebacks. Of the four comebacks of 10 points or more, three have occurred in the last 12 years. That’s not to say comebacks are impossible.
We’ve put together a list of the best comebacks in Super Bowl history to remember all those thrilling moments in football, so without further ado, let’s jump right to it!
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Super Bowl XLVI (8-Point Comeback)
Sure, an 8-point comeback is no big deal to many people, but that changes when the Super Bowl title is at stake. In the rematch of the Super Bowl XLII, the New York Giants again were heading as the underdogs against Tom Brady’s New England Patriots and, once again, it all came down to the final moments of the game.
While being down 17-9, the Giants were able to minimize the deficit to 17-15 during the fourth quarter after a couple of field goals. The Giants defense held Brady and company to allow a late Eli Manning touchdown. The Patriots were unable to respond with just over a minute left and ended up losing 21-17.
Super Bowl XXV – (9-Point Comeback)
It doesn’t matter what you call this unfortunate event, “Wide Right” or “The Miss,” everyone knows exactly what ended up happening. The Giants came back from a 12-3 deficit during the second quarter to score a 75-yard touchdown. However, no one remembers this amazing Super Bowl comeback for good reason.
With just 8 seconds left in the game, the Buffalo Bills lined up for a 47-yard field goal. It’s hard to deny that this would have given them the win in the end. Scott Norwood lined up on the right sideline and set up for the kick, even though it was not a comfortable spot for him. Norwood was only 1-for-5 on field goal attempts of 40+ yards on the grass in his career up to that precise moment. His longest field goal was just 48 yards, a number that is really below the NFL standards.
On a leg sweep, Norwood’s miss still resonates in the minds of every single Bills fan out there. On top of that, this unfortunate event also started a streak of four consecutive Super Bowl losses for Buffalo, a record that still stands. Even though the Giants rebounded and won the Super Bowl, it’s still a very infamous win.
Super Bowl XXII (10-Point Comeback)
We need to press the rewind button on the tape and go all the way back to 1988 to know what happened in this Super Bowl. For some strange reason, this comeback is barely mentioned, as there are other narratives that took over the season. First of all, it was the year of replacements. Labor disputes forced a delayed start to the season.
The replacement players played three games until everything was finally resolved. Next, a larger issue revolved around Washington quarterback Doug Williams. He became the very first black QB to start in an NFL championship game and Super Bowl.
With a young John Elway leading Denver, they went hard and picked up 10 points during the first quarter. They maintained the 10-point lead heading into the 2nd quarter. This was also the moment when Denver couldn’t score anymore. What ended up happening shortly after that was absolute domination from Williams, Gary Clark, Timmy Smith and Ricky Sanders.
Washington went on and scored 42 unanswered points, including a 35-points record during the second quarter alone. After their victory, Williams was named Super Bowl MVP and became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for 4 TD in a half and in a single quarter. Williams was also the first black QB to score a win in a Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XLIV (10-Point Comeback)
Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts kicked off things in a great way, picking up a 10-0 advantage just in the first quarter. However, they were unable to keep the momentum going, allowing Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, to grant a 10-6 scoreline by halftime. After an unexpected onside kick to begin the second half, New Orleans managed to secure a 13-10 lead.
Indianapolis did retake the game with a Joseph Addai TD run, but the Saints closed up the game by scoring 18 unanswered points to complete the amazing comeback that included a 74-yard pick-six by Tracy Porter. Drew Brees became Super Bowl MVP and also a franchise legend for rallying the Saints to their only championship so far.
Super Bowl XLIX (10-Point Comeback)
With all the drama that occurred at the very end of the game, it might be a bit too easy to not remember that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were down 24-14 with just 12:10 to go. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, in search of two consecutive championships, seemed to have done enough. Then, Tom Brady drove the Patriots down the field two times in 10 minutes to secure a 28-24 lead.
But the Seahawks would not give up that easily even after witnessing such a comeback from the opposition. They went back on the attack, aided by an incredible reception by Jermaine Kearse. But when the Seahawks reached the two-yard line, they infamously threw the ball instead of passing it to Marshawn Lynch. Then, Malcolm Butler intercepted the ball in what was a game-winning play and completed the comeback.
Super Bowl LI (25-Point Comeback)
While trailing 28-3 with only 8:31 left in the third quarter, Tom Brady and the Patriots managed to score on five consecutive drives that included two TD drives and two 2-point conversions that ended up taking the game into overtime.
Once overtime kicked off, it wasn’t hard to predict who was going to score the victory long before James White scored from 2 yards out. Both Atlanta’s offensive and defensive sides made huge mistakes late into the game, along with some questionable decisions by the coaching staff.
It was both an incredible comeback and a catastrophic collapse. New England ended up running 93 offensive plays to Atlanta’s mere 46, gassing the Falcon’s defense. It was the perfect demonstration of chaos.
On one hand, the Patriots executed their game plan to perfection, and on the other hand, the Falcons completely fell apart. It’s undeniable that no conversation about Super Bowl comebacks can finish before mentioning the simple phrase: 28-3.