The Five Worst Super Bowl Winning Teams In NFL History

By Tom Pollin
January 19, 2014 8:59 am
1,640 Views 14 Comments

How bad can any of the 47 teams to win a Super Bowl be? With a victory in the NFL’s grand finale they stood over the rest of the football world as champions of each one’s season.

Still, there are a few that no one saw coming but still managed to be holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning the Super Bowl. As unlikely as their victories were, the following five still managed to find a way to get to the game and win.

2001 NE Patriots – SB XXXVI

In 2000, their first season under head coach Bill Belichick (who was hired to replace Pete Carroll), Tom Brady Scramblingthe Patriots finished fifth in the AFC East with a 5-11 record. They reversed that record in 2001, finishing 11-5 and first in the AFC East.

New England struggled out of the gate, losing their first two games, and were only 5-5 before closing the season with a six-game win streak.

They lost starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe in Week 2 when he suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest and had to turn the offense over to Tom Brady, their sixth round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.

Their offense finished No. 19 in total yards on offense and No. 24 in yards allowed on defense but those stats were deceiving. New England finished sixth on offense and defense in points and points allowed.

In the postseason, the Patriots were losing to the Oakland Raiders 13-3 to start the fourth quarter and were still down 13-10 when the “tuck rule” call took place, allowing New England to keep possession and finish driving for a game-tying field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

The Patriots won 16-13 in overtime and then defeated the Steelers 24-17 in the AFC Conference Championship game. They closed down the St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” team in the Super Bowl 20-17 on a game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal.

1980 Oakland Raiders – Super Bowl XV

The 1980 Raiders became the first Wild Card team to win a Super Bowl.

Oakland began the season with Dan Pastorini at quarterback and stumbled out of the gate with a 2-3 record. At that point Jim Plunkett took over as starter.

Plunkett was the first overall draft pick by the Patriots in 1971 but was out of the league in 1978 and had been written off as one of the biggest first-round busts in draft history. He came back with the Raiders in 1979 and in 1980, ignited a six game win streak when he took over the offense.

Even though he won games the Raiders still went into the postseason with one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL and a tenth ranked running game. They were also tenth in points allowed on defense.

In the playoffs they dominated the Houston Oilers at home 27-7 in the Wild Card game before going on the road and barely squeezing past the Browns and Chargers to get to the Super Bowl. Against the Philadelphia Eagles in that game the Raiders jumped out to a quick lead and cruised to a 27-10 win.

2012 Baltimore Ravens – Super Bowl XLVIIJoe Flacco

Trent Dilfer may be acknowledged by most football fans as the worst quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl but you wouldn’t have to travel far on that list to get to Joe Flacco.

Eleven quarterbacks had a better season passer rating in 2012. He was also No. 19 in completion percentage, No. 17 in touchdown passes, and No. 14 in passing yards.

As a team the Ravens finished with the worst won/lost record of the four AFC division winners. They ended 2012 ranked tenth in the NFL in points scored and twelfth in points allowed.

Baltimore took control of the AFC North with a 9-2 record before coming close to collapsing in December. They lost three straight games before clinching the division in Week 16 with a 33-14 win over the New York Giants. With the title won the Ravens sat their starters for nearly the entire season finale, which they lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-17.

Once in the playoffs, Joe Flacco went on one of the best postseason runs an NFL quarterback has ever had. Against the Colts, Broncos, Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII he threw for 1,140-yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions for a playoff passer rating of 117.2.

After the season the Ravens rewarded him with a six year, $120.6 million contract.

1967 Green Bay Packers – Super Bowl II

This was the final season that Vince Lombardi coached the Packers. Green Bay dominated the NFL as usual in 1966, finishing the year with a 12-2 record and a 35-10 victory in the first Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Prior to the 1967 season, the Packers’ offense lost Paul Hornung to the Saints in the expansion draft, he retired soon after. Jim Taylor signed with New Orleans later that summer. Elijah Pitts and Jim Grabowski were lost to injury during the season which left Donny Anderson, Travis Williams and Chuck Mercein to carry the ball for the Packers.

Bart Starr began showing signs in 1967 that his Hall of Fame career was winding down. He was tenth in the NFL in passing yards and almost threw twice as many interceptions (17) as touchdown passes (9).

Green Bay was 9-2-1 but lost their final two games of the season, 27-24 to the Los Angeles Rams and 24-17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Once the postseason started the Packers were able to find their championship touch one more time. They defeated the 11-1 Rams then came from behind in the famous “Ice Bowl” game to beat the Cowboys 21-17. In the Super Bowl they easily defeated the Oakland Raiders 33-14 for the final championship of their 1960’s dynasty.


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Previous Comments (14)

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20 months ago
Tom-what an interesting article. I have charts on S.B. teams and 4 of your 5 teams are at the top of 1 chart. That chart-the Worst Teams (statistically speaking) to ever win the S.B. I added up the 4 Major Team Rankings (Off. Pts. scored, off. yds. gained, Def. Pts. Allowed, and def. yds. given up) and the worst ever was Eli's '11 Giants that added up to 69. Both Flacco's '12 Ravens and Brady's '01 Pats added up to 55, or 2nd worst ever, and Plunkett's '80 Raiders came in at 44, or 7th worst ever.
20 months ago

Just a side-note, the 3rd worst was Eli's '07 Giants at 54, followed by Peyton's '06 Colts at 49, and Brees' '09 Saints at 47.
20 months ago

To finish it-the average S.B. winning team added to 26, and the best ever was my '72 Dolphins that added up to only 4.
20 months ago

Hey Bob...interesting rating system. It took me a little bit bit to understand what you were doing with your system then I got it. You're counting their league rankings in all four categories. In this instance it's true, can't get better than first across the board the way the '72 Dolphins did.

I looked at those four rankings as I was evaluating teams for the list but also took some player performance into account. That's why the '67 Packers don't show up on your radar but are on my list. Their point total in your system would be 22.

Again, interesting feedback. Thank you for sharing.
20 months ago
Every team in the league would LOVE to be on any list containing the phrase,"Super Bowl winnig team" regardless of the adjective "worst". Did enjoy the read.
20 months ago

Paul-what a great point. And for the QB of that "worst" team to win goes a lot of extra credit-IMO. Take Eli Manning for example-he had the worst ever to win and the 4th worst ever. That's amazing as far as I'm concerned.
20 months ago

I think Bob was throwing a compliment Eli's way with his comment. In other words, Eli had to do more as a quarterback to make up for a defense that was 25th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed.
20 months ago
Sorry Bob, you're treading on thin ice here. New Orleans boy and pecking order dictates 1.Brees, 2. Peyton, 3. Eli.
20 months ago

I'm an old Marino fan, so you can imagine the fun I have watching Brees play. I thought Dan was a stat compiler, but Drew is an even bigger stat compiler and he plays better in the playoffs than Marino. These yardage stats that Brees keeps posting are mind boggling.
20 months ago
Tom-yeah, I guess I should explain things better. But you are right on both things where you helped me out. I really admire a QB that can play good enough to help statistically bad teams to win it all. My guy (Marino) certainly wasn't able to do it.
20 months ago
BALONEY in capital letters, Lombardi's SB II Champions may have been one of his BEST coaching efforts ever with the loss of Taylor and Hornung from his backfield and injuries among his starters as well as adjusting to new players plugged in as replacements. The Packers were beaten only by a blocked punt against the Rams before opening playoffs by dominating them 28-7 just two weeks later for the Western Conference Championship. It was heart and determination by his team that succeeded on that last drive in the "ICE BOWL", probably the most famous Championship game of all time, before dominating the Raiders in the Super Bowl in Lombardi's last game for Packers and the last game for some of his veteran players who helped make his time in Green Bay the most successful of any NFL coach ever. There's a reason why the Super Bowl Trophy is called the "Lombardi Trophy" and it was more than just his roster of players.
20 months ago
I hate these kinds of list. It just makes those fans from teams that have never won a Superbowl feel better about themselves. The purpose of the Superbowl is to crown a CHAMPION, NOT to anoint the BEST TEAM IN FOOTBALL. Funny, the best team rarely wins the damn thing anyway. Every team that has won it, has earned it and these kinds of articles are just stupid.
20 months ago
Terp Man: I still think it's an interesting topic and fun to debate which teams were the best and which SB winners were the worse.

Bob: Interesting way to rank the teams. I guess this is a different debate, but if it weren't for the undefeated mark the 72 Dolphins had, I would not rank them No. 1. I think you have to since they didn't lose a game. The 73 team was arguable more dominate than the 72 team.

Back to this debate, love the list Tom, but I agree with Shavager Sports that the 1967 Packers were better than you give them credit for. If I remember correctly, Donny Anderson and Travis Williams, the road runner, were highly touted rookies and 2nd year players in 1967. Plus, Mercein had a good season and in particular a fantastic game in the Ice Bowl.

Sorry Giants fans, I would probably say the 2007 team would make my "Worst" list over the 67 Packers.
20 months ago

David-I think ranking teams by using their own strengths and weaknesses is about as fair as it gets. By using all 4 Major Rankings it gives us a more rounded ranking, IMO. That is rather ironic that my '72 Dolphins have the best ranking total ever and happen to still be the only totally undefeated team. Brady's '07 undefeated team added up to only 10 by the way.

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