Getting to the Super Bowl is an arduous task. However, winning it all on the NFL’s brightest stage is a whole new level altogether. Although some teams won the big game as expected, others have caught football fans off guard by pulling off the impossible. For this piece, let’s take a look at the 10 most unlikely Super Bowl winners ever.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Super Bowl LV
The Bucs were in the midst of a 13-year playoff drought before the arrival of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. With the acquisitions, Brady immediately made his presence felt by not only ending the postseason drought but also winning the Super Bowl. The Bucs got through the Washington Redskins in the Wild Card Round, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers before defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9, in surprisingly dominant fashion.
9. New York Jets: Super Bowl III
After the AFL-NFL merger, teams from the NFL dominated the league as the Green Bay Packers went on to take the first pair of Super Bowls. However, those were put to rest after the New York Jets defeated the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, 16-7 at Super Bowl III. With the Jets’ victory, football fans probably wouldn’t be enjoying the much-loved Super Bowl today.
8. Denver Broncos: Super Bowl 50
The Carolina Panthers were fresh off pf a 15-1 season that saw them trash the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game, 49-15. But despite the Broncos coming in as huge underdogs, they shocked the world with their suffocating defense forcing the Panthers to absorb seven sacks and four turnovers. But more importantly, the Broncos held them to a measly 10 points to seal the victory at Super Bowl L.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Super Bowl XVI
The 49ers stumbled to a losing season in 1980, posting a 6-10 record. However, it was the perfect storm for the 49ers in the following season. Joe Montana made his rise to superstardom, while Dwight Clark and Freddie Solomon registered impressive seasons. All the while, Ricky Patton dominated in rushing. The 49ers got through the New York Giants before narrowly escaping the Dallas Cowboys via an iconic, game-winning touchdown that saw Montana connect with Clark. The 49ers would go on to take a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Super Bowl XVI.
6. Green Bay Packers: Super Bowl XLV
During the season, the Green Bay Packers posted a 10-6 record and needed victories in the last stretch of the season to punch a ticket to the postseason as a sixth seed. Nevertheless, the Packers went through the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, and the Chicago Bears before pulling off the upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers are only one of two teams to emerge victorious at the Super Bowl as the sixth seed, the lowest to win it.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowl XL
Aside from the Packers, another sixth seeded team that got the job done was the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite entering the postseason as underdogs, the Steelers pieced together a magical run that saw them pull off victories against the top seeds in the form of the Cincinnati Bengals, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Denver Broncos. And during Super Bowl XL, the Steelers had enough gas in the tank to beat the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, becoming the first sixth seeded team to defy the odds.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Super Bowl LII
Winning the Super Bowl is already difficult, but going up against an NFL dynasty like the New England Patriots makes it much more difficult. The Eagles hadn’t won the big game since the merger. Fortunately, Nick Foles stepped up when it mattered most by outplaying Tom Brady en route to a 41-33 victory at the expense of the Patriots.
3. New England Patriots: Super Bowl XXXVI
Before the Patriots were an NFL dynasty in 2001, the franchise entered a dark chapter that even saw them post a 5-11 record in 2000. Nevertheless, a young Tom Brady certainly made a difference, alongside the fine play of Adam Vinatieri. The Patriots escaped the Raiders in the Divisional Round after pulling off a 16-13 overtime victory. Afterwards they pulled off the upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers before Tom Brady put together an excellent MVP performance to shockingly defeat the juggernaut St. Louis Rams.
2. St. Louis Rams: Super Bowl XXXIV
Underdogs are always fun to watch. Despite registering a string of losing seasons, that all changed in 1999 when the Rams became the Greatest Show on Turf. The Rams put together a 13-3 record. They easily dispatched the Minnesota Vikings in the Divisional Round before taking care of business against the Bucs with a 11-6 victory via a game-winning play. But more importantly the iconic 73-yard connection between QB Kurt Warner and Isaac Bruce would give the Rams a Super Bowl victory, 23-16.
1.New York Giants: Super Bowl XLII
When it comes to upsets, there’s no denying that the Giants’ victory at Super Bowl XLII is arguably the greatest. With the Giants going up against Tom Brady’s 16-0 Patriots, a lot of football fans were already looking forward to the victory party. However, the Giants did the unthinkable, pulling off the Helmet Catch by David Tyree in the final frame before a game-winning play to pull the rug out from under New England’s perfect season. The Giants showcased a tough defense that kept Brady uncomfortable, as the Patriots only registered 14 points the whole game.