Biggest Super Bowl Shocks: Bodog’s Top Five
The Super Bowl is the single most exciting game to bet on at Bodog Sportsbook – because anything can happen. Double-digit underdogs can become champions; All-Pro athletes can fall flat on their faces. It’s all part of what makes Super Bowl Sunday the most memorable day on the sports betting calendar, and why Super Bowl betting is so popular. So let’s take trip down memory lane and discuss some of the biggest Super Bowl shocks in history.
Fans may remember Dallas Cowboys DT Leon Lett’s iconic fumble at Super Bowl XXVII in 1992-93, when he started showboating and got stripped by Buffalo Bills WR Don Beebe just before he was going to reach the end zone on a 64-yard return. But that fourth-quarter play had little bearing on the outcome: Bills 17, Cowboys 52 (DAL –6.5).
With that in mind, here are Bodog’s top five biggest Super Bowl shocks from a betting perspective, listed in chronological order and kicking off with the biggest upset in the history of the Big Game.
1. Super Bowl III: J-E-T-S
Football changed forever when the final gun sounded at the Orange Bowl in Miami, signalling that the New York Jets (+18) had just beaten the Baltimore Colts. This was the first time the phrase “Super Bowl” had been used for the AFL-NFL Championship Game; the Jets, representing the AFL, were considered a sub-par team from an inferior league, and no match for the mighty Colts.
Joe Namath proved them wrong. The charismatic New York quarterback guaranteed victory in the week leading up to the Big Game, and his team delivered – especially on defense. The Jets took a 16-0 lead into the fourth quarter and wisely ran out the clock (unlike another team that we’ll mention shortly) to secure a 16-7 win and the respect of football fans worldwide.
That loss was indeed a stunner, and is every bit deserving of its place in our biggest Super Bowl shocks: You could see it in the faces of the Colts players, who valiantly fought to the bitter end before reality sunk in. As for the NFL, it would complete its pre-planned merger two years later and see another shocking win by the AFL representatives from Kansas City (+12) at Super Bowl IV, saving the league from getting overshadowed by its younger cousin.
2. Super Bowl XX: The Fridge
Speaking of changing football forever, this game saw the introduction of the first-ever Super Bowl prop: Will William “The Refrigerator” Perry score a touchdown? The 350-pound tackle was part of the beloved 1985-86 Chicago Bears team that became famous for doing the Super Bowl Shuffle, and for breaking the game with their “46” defense under co-ordinator Buddy Ryan.
Perry was part of that defense, but Ryan wasn’t a fan – unlike head coach Mike Ditka, who used Perry as a fullback in occasional goal-line situations during the regular season. Perry scored three touchdowns this way, so naturally, people wanted to bet on it happening again at Super Bowl XX versus the New England Patriots.
The people got what they wanted. The first odds for this prop were posted in Las Vegas at 20/1, but were quickly bet down to 2/1; Perry did indeed score that touchdown on a 1-yard run in the third quarter, making NFL betting history in what turned into a 46-10 rout for the Bears (–10) at the Superdome.
3. Super Bowl XXV: Wide Right
Scott Norwood deserves better. He will always be remembered for missing that 47-yard field goal near the end of Super Bowl XXV, allowing the New York Giants (+7) to escape with a 20-19 win over the Buffalo Bills at old Tampa Stadium. The Giants were going to beat the spread anyway, but that miss denied the Bills their first Super Bowl ring, and cost their moneyline supporters as well.
Norwood’s whiff made “Wide Right” (as called by ABC announcer Al Michaels) part of the NFL lexicon, and Buffalo fans never did forgive him – especially after they went on to lose each of the next three Super Bowls. But it wasn’t Norwood’s fault; just like in the movie Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, which came out three years later in 1994, holder Frank Reich didn’t place the ball in the ideal position for Norwood to make his kick. Laces out!
4. Super Bowl XLII: The Helmet Catch
The 2007-08 Patriots were well on their way to completing the first perfect season since the Miami Dolphins pulled it off 36 years earlier. New England sailed through the regular season at 16-0 (10-6 ATS), and while they didn’t cover either of their first two playoff games as double-digit faves, the Pats were expected to fulfill their destiny at the expense of young Eli Manning and the 10-6 Giants (+12).
It didn’t happen. Trailing 14-10 late in the fourth quarter at then-University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Manning connected with little-used WR David Tyree for a 32-yard catch that saw Tyree haul it in with one hand and pin it against his own helmet.
That wasn’t the game-winning touchdown; WR Plaxico Burress did the honours four plays later as the Giants won 17-14. However, it was Tyree’s pivotal catch – the last of his NFL career – that put Big Blue in position to seal the deal and spoil New England’s bid for perfection.
5. Super Bowl LI: The Comeback
Tom Brady has seen it all at the Super Bowl. The former Patriots QB became a made man after leading New England (+14) to a surprise win over the St. Louis Rams at Super Bowl XXXVI; there would be six more rings to come for Brady, but also two gut-punch losses to the Giants, not to mention the “Philly Special” loss to the Eagles (+4) at Super Bowl LII.
This was the craziest of the bunch, and simply had to feature in our biggest Super Bowl shocks. The Atlanta Falcons (+3) famously took a 28-3 third-quarter lead over Brady and the Patriots at NRG Stadium in Houston, but they failed to learn from Joe Namath’s example, allowing New England to come back and win 34-28 in overtime on a 2-yard rush by RB James White.
According to the computers, Atlanta had a 99.8% chance of winning this contest when they were up 28-3. Like we said, anything can happen on Super Bowl Sunday. Don’t miss out on this year’s festivities. Check out our NFL odds page at Bodog Sportsbook to see what’s on tap for this year’s Big Game, and we’ll see you at the gridiron.