Five Wide: Heartbreaking Super Bowl losses

Imagine being so close only to have victory snatched right out of your grasp. A loss is definitely a loss, but not all losses hurt the same. Here are my top heartbreaking Super Bowl losses (in no particular order)

Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 49ers 20 Cincinnati Bengals 16

These two teams met 7 years earlier in the Super Bowl, which ended with the 49ers winning their first Super Bowl. The 49ers still had the same head coach and quarterback from the first meeting, but the Bengals looked different. 

Sam Wyche spent 1979-1982 on the 49ers sideline as an assistant coach. He was there for Super Bowl XVI. This is one reason why I consider this Bengals loss is even more painful. 

This is arguably Joe Montana’s coldest drive of his career. He went all surgical on the Bengals defense and he made it look so easy. This game would also go on to be Bill Walsh’s final game as a head coach in th NFL. 

The Bengals haven’t returned to the Super Bowl since. 

Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants 20 Buffalo Bills 19

Out of all 4 of the Bills teams to make the Super Bowl, this was by far the best team.

This was also the only game they had a realistic shot to win as well. They were 6 1/2 point favorites heading into the game. They boasted the league’s highest scoring offense and the team was filled with stars. But Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick came up with one of the greatest gameplans ever and there is no Super Bowl upset without him. 

Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams 23 Tennessee Titans 16

If there was ever a game that represented Jeff Fisher and everything he is as a coach, Super Bowl XXXIV is that.

Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants 17 New England Patriots 13

Some would argue the second loss is to the Giants in the Super Bowl is worse but I’m not buying that. This Patriots team was a fluke David Tyree catch away from being the undisputed greatest football team ever. 

Maybe greatest sports team ever? But oh well, we’ll never know.

Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Arizona Cardinals 23 

The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense was one of the greatest defense’s ever to ever play yet Kurt Warner threw for 377 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

Nobody expected the Cardinals to make it to the Super Bowl and that that makes the loss forever sting. Entering the 4th quarter trailing 20-7, they scored 16 straight points including Larry Fitzgerald’s 64 yard go ahead touchdown with over 2 minutes ago in the game. Then you know what happened 


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