Super Bowl 50 won’t go down as one of the best ever. At times, it was harder to watch than Puppymonkeybaby.
Some of the best all-time Super Bowls have come in the last decade or so.
There also have been some snoozers, however, and some Super Bowls that just weren’t great aesthetically.
If you’re going through your memory bank and trying to think of the worst Super Bowls since 2000, here’s a hint. If a defensive player is named MVP, it’s usually a sign that it wasn’t a great Super Bowl.
Where does the Broncos’ 24-10 win over the Panthers rank among the worst Super Bowls of the 21st century?
No. 5: Super Bowl XLI
Colts 29, Bears 17
This wasn’t a terrible Super Bowl, but the first of Peyton Manning’s two Super Bowl wins was a ragged, rain-soaked affair in Miami.
The Colts and Bears combined for eight turnovers, with the Bears committing five of them. There was a missed extra point. The Bears went 25 minutes without a first down at one point.
Perhaps the game’s most entertaining moment came when Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. This was a one-possession game for more than three quarters until Rex Grossman (his presence alone decreased this game’s watchability) threw a 56-yard pick-six to Kelvin Hayden with 11:44 left in the game. That increased the Colts’ lead to 29-17.
There was no scoring and the Bears didn’t even get into Colts territory the rest of the way. There have been plenty of Super Bowls since 2000 with more suspense.
No. 4: Super Bowl 50
Broncos 24, Panthers 10
Unlike Super Bowl XLI, this game could have gone either way in the final minutes. The Panthers began a potential game-winning drive trailing 16-10 with less than five minutes left.
However, this mistake-filled game just wasn’t very entertaining. Maybe it’s a good thing the NFL officially eschewed letters in naming Super Bowl 50, because there might have been a lot of Zs.
The Broncos’ 194 yards of offense was a record low for a Super Bowl winner and the two teams combined to convert 13.8 percent of their third downs, another record low for a Super Bowl according to ESPN.com.
The ball was fumbled seven times in the game and Peyton Manning and Cam Newton combined to complete less than half of their passes (31 of 64). Neither of them threw a touchdown pass. It’s the first time there were no touchdown passes thrown in a Super Bowl since the Cowboys beat the Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII. The game’s two touchdowns came on 1- and 2-yard runs. Not exactly the kind of stuff that lives forever on NFL Films.
Newton was sacked seven times. Von Miller earned MVP honors with 2.5 of those sacks.
Super Bowl 50 will be fondly remembered by defensive junkies. If Peyton Manning retires this offseason, it will be remembered for his victorious ride into the sunset. Five years from now, however, it will be hard for anyone to remember any moments from the game itself.
No. 3: Super Bowl XXXVII
Buccaneers 48, Raiders 21
This is one of two Super Bowls since 2000 with a 27-point differential. This one ranks a little lower (and therefore not as bad) as the other because it took a while for the Buccaneers to take control of the game and the Raiders made somewhat of a run in the fourth quarter.
Dexter Jackson was named MVP with interceptions in the first and second quarter. Unlike teammate Dwight Smith, he didn’t return his two picks for touchdowns but the first one set up what turned out to be the winning points in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay broke it open in the third quarter when Keenan McCardell caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Brad Johnson and two plays later Smith intercepted Rich Gannon and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown to make it 34-3.
The Raiders pulled to within 34-21 when Gannon threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice with 6:14 left in the game, but the Raiders failed on their third straight two-point conversion. Had they made them, it would have been a seven-point game.
Tampa Bay sealed the win with a little flair. Derrick Brooks returned a Gannon interception 44 yards for a touchdown with two minutes left and Smith scored his second TD on a 50-yard pick-six with 12 seconds left.
No. 2: Super Bowl XXXV
Ravens 34, Giants 7
It was hard to get excited about a Super Bowl that featured quarterbacks Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins, and Super Bowl XXXV fulfilled its promise as a clunker.
Ray Lewis was the MVP. He didn’t make any one memorable play but earned the honor as the leader of a defense that held the Giants offense to 152 yards and no touchdowns.
The game was uneventful for the first 41 minutes. The Ravens led 10-0 when Duane Starks intercepted Collins and took it back 49 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 Ravens lead.
Ron Dixon answered on the ensuing kickoff with a 97-yard return to make it 17-7, but Jermaine Lewis trumped that with an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Those 21 points in 18 seconds were an oasis of excitement in an otherwise barren Super Bowl.
It was a game befitting of the wrinkle in NFL history between the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf and the Patriots’ era of dominance. The Ravens went 12-4 that season despite not scoring a touchdown in any of their five October games. It didn’t take a great quarterback to win the Super Bowl during that time.
No. 1: Super Bowl XLVIII
Seahawks 43, Broncos 8
Somehow Peyton Manning seems to find his way into the worst Super Bowls of the 21st century.
His 280 yards passing is almost double the 141 yards he produced in Super Bowl 50. Of course Manning had to throw against the Seahawks because more than any other Super Bowl since 2000 this one was over by halftime, or at least a few seconds into the third quarter.
The game’s opening snap sailed over Manning’s head into the end zone for a safety, and the Seahawks scored on all their first-half possessions except for the final one. Two field goals made it 8-0. Marshawn Lynch’s 1-yard touchdown run made it 15-0. Game MVP Malcolm Smith returned an interception 69 yards to make it 22-0 and that was the score at halftime.
Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff of the second half 87 yards for a touchdown to squash any thoughts the Broncos might have had for a Super Bowl-record comeback.
The Broncos did make an impact in the record books in this game. Manning set a record for pass completions with 34 and Demaryius Thomas set a record with 13 receptions, but most of those catches came in garbage time of a game that’s tied for the third biggest point differential in Super Bowl history.