Five worst Super Bowl team performances in NFL history

The Super Bowl originated in January of 1967. It has pinned the champions of the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) since the AFL-NFL merger of 1970. The Super Bowl is one of the world's most anticipated events as fans expect a competitive game featuring the conference champions.

It doesn't always work that way. Nearly twenty-five percent of the time, the Super Bowl features one of the biggest blowouts of the entire season. Some Super Bowls were such historic blowouts that one could argue them amongst the biggest blowouts amongst all regular season and playoff contests in NFL history.

These are five of the worst team performances in Super Bowl history. Please note that these are ordered as to the most recent. Honorable mentions are also ordered by most recent. All stats from boxscores at Sports Betting Stats.

Super Bowl XXIX (San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26)

After upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship, the 1995 San Diego Chargers and Bobby Ross were hoping to captivate football fans with a major upset against the heavily favored 1995 San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers, led by Steve Young, were the premiere team of the early 1990s alongside the Dallas Cowboys.

The Chargers Super Bowl hopes were severed within ninety seconds of opening kickoff and basically eliminated with touchdown tosses to Jerry Rice and Ricky Watters, putting the 49ers up 14-0 less than five minutes into the contest. By halftime, the 49ers had a 28-10 advantage and had a 42-10 lead deep into the third quarter. The Chargers had a spark after a kickoff return and two point conversion, but they couldn't establish enough momentum for a comeback. The 49ers won 49-26, giving them their latest Super Bowl.

The game is mostly recognized for Young's six touchdown passes. Young cemented his status as a legendary NFL quarterback, and Rice added unto his legacy with 149 yards receiving and three touchdown receptions. The Chargers had no answers for 49ers offensive arsenal.

Super Bowl XXVII (Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17)

The Bills paved their road to this Super Bowl as a wildcard entrant after Dan Marino's Miami Dolphins won the AFC East. Despite trailing 35-3 against the Houston Oilers in the AFC Wildcard, being without Jim Kelly for the first two playoff games, and having to travel to Miami in the AFC championship, the Bills overcame the odds en route to their third consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

The saying goes "The third time is the charm." That phrase lost all credibility after the Bills waltzed into Super Bowl XXVII to play the 1992 Dallas Cowboys. The Bills found themselves down 28-10 at halftime and surrendered 21 points during a 2 ½ minute stretch in the fourth quarter, solidifying the 52-17 victory for the Cowboys.

Troy Aikman was the Super Bowl MVP with four touchdowns. The Bills surrendered nine turnovers in this game as Jim Kelly reaggravated a knee injury that sidelined him during the majority of the playoffs. Overall, the injuries and turnovers were just too much for the Bills to overcome.

Super Bowl XXIV (San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10)

The 1989 Denver Broncos were celebrating their third AFC championship in four seasons. However, Dan Reeves had led the Broncos to some unsatisfactory performances in the past two affairs, losing 39-20 to the New York Giants and 42-10 to the Denver Broncos just two seasons before. The NFC had won five consecutive Super Bowls and the Broncos were determined to modify that trend.

Instead, the 1989 San Francisco 49ers showcased the peak of the NFC's dominance from the mid 1980s to late 1990s. Less than halfway into the third quarter, the 49ers amassed a 41-3 advantage. Joe Montana had five touchdown passes while John Elway had a touchdown run in this 55-10 rout. Jerry Rice also had three touchdowns on nearly 150 yards receiving.

This Super Bowl was truly a domination on more than just the scoreboard. The 49ers outgained the Broncos 461-167. They had nearly forty minutes of possession and even held the fourth down advantage, going 2/2. Some enthusiasts considered Elway to be a Super Bowl choke artist until he finally defeated the Green Bay Packers for his first championship in 1998.

Super Bowl XXII (Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10)

The 1987 Denver Broncos looked like they were ready to reverse their trend of Super Bowl mishaps. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the favored 1987 Washington Redskins in the opening six minutes. The Broncos outscored the Redskins 10-7 over the first, third, and fourth quarters.

The Broncos brought the buns, but the Redskins supplied the meat and condiments. The Redskins sandwiched a 35 point second quarter extravaganza that has never been duplicated in Super Bowl history. The fireworks involved an 80 and 50 yard touchdown reception from Ricky Sanders, a 27 yard touchdown reception from Gary Clark, a 58 yard touchdown scamper from Timmy Smith, and an eight yard touchdown catch from Clint Didier.

The Broncos had converted two third downs the entire game and were outgained 602-327. The Redskins had 280 yards rushing, and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams had four touchdowns with 340 yards passing (322 net). The biggest storyline of this Super Bowl may have been Williams being the first black starting quarterback to win the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XX (New England Patriots 46, Chicago Bears 10)

The Patriots had upset the 1985 Miami Dolphins in the AFC championship, and the Dolphins were the only blemish on the Chicago Bears 15-1 regular season. The Patriots won three consecutive road match-ups en route to their first Super Bowl appearance. However, the Bears won the NFC via two consecutive playoff shutouts.

The Patriots jumped out to a 3-0 lead within seconds. However, that was about the only thing the Patriots did right after the Bears scored 44 consecutive points. The Bears defense held the Patriots to 123 yards of offense, twelve first downs, seven net yards rushing, and only twenty minutes of possession. The Bears defense was highlighted by a 28 yard interception return by Reggie Phillips.

The Bears performance captivated a season that any folks refer to as the NFL's greatest.

Honorable Mentions: Super Bowl XXXVII (Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21), Super Bowl XXXV (Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7), Super Bowl XIX (San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16), Super Bowl XVII (Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9), Super Bowl VII (Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7),

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SOURCES:

Sports Betting Stats, "Super Bowl Box Scores." Accessed January 8, 2011.

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Joshua Huffman is a member of the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Updated Wednesday, Jan 12, 2011