Biggest upsets in Super Bowl history: Largest underdogs to win

Some of the biggest upsets in sports history have come in the Super Bowl. Who were the largest underdogs to walk away with the Lombardi Trophy?

Super Bowl XLII - New York Giants v New England Patriots
Super Bowl XLII - New York Giants v New England Patriots / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

The Super Bowl is one of the most popular sporting events around the world and it has gotten a huge reputation thanks to some historic upsets. The spreads of most recent Super Bowls have been close, including Super Bowl LVIII's narrow edge for the San Francisco 49ers, but some of the most memorable upsets have seen huge underdogs entering the contest walk away with the Lombardi Trophy.

Who are the biggest underdogs to win it all? Let's look back at the five biggest upsets in Super Bowl history in terms of point spread.

Biggest Upsets In Super Bowl History



Super Bowl

Point Spread


New York Jets

Baltimore Colts


Colts -18

16-7 Jets

New England Patriots

St. Louis Rams


Rams -14

20-17 Patriots

New York Giants

New England Patriots


Patriots -12.5

17-14 Giants

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings


Vikings -12

23-7 Chiefs

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers


Packers -11.5

31-24 Broncos

The biggest upset in Super Bowl history remains the New York Jets' triumph over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III after Joe Namath guaranteed the Jets would pull the upset. New York's 16-7 win marked the first time an NFL team lost a Super Bowl and provided needed legitimacy to the upcoming AFL-NFL merger.

Tom Brady's historic run also began with a massive upset as the Patriots shocked the Greatest Show on Turf with an Adam Vinatieri walk-off field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI. The game ended a potential dynasty for the Rams and set New England off to become the league's most dominant franchise for two decades.

It may surprise some to see the New York Giants' shocking win to deny the Patriots a chance at perfection in Super Bowl XLII third on the list but the lien for that game locked in at 12.5 points. Perhaps New York's stirring performance in the regular season finale against New England lowered the spread but this upset may be second in magnitude only to the Jets-Colts Super Bowl III affair.

The Chiefs added another big upset to the AFL's ledger when they blew out the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV despite opening as 12-point underdogs. That win was the final one before the AFL and NFL merged, ensuring the AFL-NFL era ended with two Super Bowls for each league.

Another memorable upset came in Super Bowl XXXII, when the reigning champion Green Bay Packers were shocked by the Denver Broncos 31-24. The win allowed Denver to ensure future Hall-of-Famer John Elway would be able to retire with at least one Super Bowl win.

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