By the numbers, the No. 1 AFC team faced off against the No. 1 NFC team in this year’s Super Bowl. So, that makes it the best teams playing each other, right? Objectively, looking at the Eagles, they didn’t seem like a Super Bowl quality team. In fact, the Eagles may be one of the worst teams to ever enter the Super Bowl contest, much less win the whole thing. But we’ll get to that later.
This all begs the question: Who are the worst teams to ever play in the Super Bowl? We pulled out all the stops and looked back over the last 52 years of the Super Bowl. Here are the 10 worst teams to have ever played in it.
11. The 2003 Carolina Panthers
The 11-5 Carolina Panthers ended up winning the NFC South in 2003, but it wasn’t impressive at all. If you remember, Jake Delhomme was their quarterback. Despite having incredible offensive weapons in Steve Smith and Stephen Davis, Delhomme was nothing more than mediocre, and the team didn’t score more than 27 points until the last game of the regular season. Suffice it to say, their 32-29 loss to the New England Patriots wasn’t all that unexpected, albeit closer than most thought it would be.
Next: This seems like an appropriate place for them.
10. The 2017 Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles were set up to be the best team in the NFL midway through the 2017 season. However, fate had other plans. Star quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending ACL tear late in the season, throwing their playoff hopes into turmoil. They had to turn to back-up Nick Foles as a replacement, and despite impressive play down the stretch, there’s no doubting that he was a significant downgrade. All this being said, the Eagles are definitely one of the worst teams to enter (and win) the Super Bowl, but they aren’t the worst overall.
Next: It’s hard to imagine this team without their current quarterback.
9. The 2000 New York Giants
The 2000 Giants were an OK team, pretending to be a great team. When they entered the Super Bowl, they were only slight underdogs. However, Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens gave them a spanking, that led to the Giants losing 34-7. The Giants gave up four interceptions and fumbled twice for one loss in that game as well. It turns out they were no match for the formidable Baltimore Ravens defense.
Next: They ranked right in the middle of the league.
8. The 1994 San Diego Chargers
The 1994 San Diego Chargers were nothing electric. Their total offense and defense for that season were ranked right in the middle of the entire NFL. Ultimately, that sort of mediocrity wasn’t able to do anything for them. They ended up losing, 49-26, to the San Francisco 49ers.
Next: They just weren’t buckin’.
7. The 1986 Denver Broncos
Even though Jon Elway is a legend in his own right, the 1986 Broncos were very similar to the 1994 Chargers, in that they were just OK, and barely skirted their way into the Super Bowl with a couple of narrow wins. The Broncos ended up losing to the Giants 39-20.
It is worth arguing that the 1987 Broncos were pretty terrible as well, but they had the advantage of an easier early half of the season due to strikes in the NFL. Because of the severity of the strikes, we are striking that season from the ranks.
Next: This team will come up a few times, but that’s because they’ve played in so many Super Bowls.
6. The 1996 New England Patriots
Before Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, there was Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe. This team relied heavily on their defense, and more specifically their run defense. Even with Bledsoe’s 27 touchdowns and 4,000 yards, they just weren’t an all-around team. The gave up just as many yards in passing as they gained. They barely skirted by and were practically handed the AFC title after Jacksonville upset the Broncos early in the playoffs. Eventually, that all caught up with them when they were routed by the Green Bay Packers in a 35-21 loss.
Next: More like the Titan … ic.
5. The 1999 Tennessee Titans
The 1999 Titans were a team that was the definition of doing just enough. Altogether, they cruised through the entire season with some unimpressive statistics. In every overall category, they just barely beat their opponents. On top of that, they really just got lucky with the Music City Miracle, and rode through the playoffs into mediocrity. It all adds up in the end, because they were defeated by the Rams, 23-16.
Next: They were a team that was inexplicably in the playoffs.
4. 2008 Arizona Cardinals
The 2008 Cardinals were a quagmire of a team. They had absolutely no rushing abilities to speak of, and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Their defense was about as porous as they come, and they gave up losses by three or more touchdowns on three separate occasions. How they ended up in the Super Bowl is nothing short of maddening.
Then again, that was one of the more exciting Super Bowls, and they fought to the end. The Pittsburgh Steelers took home the trophy and defeated the Cardinals, 27-23.
Next: There they are again.
3. The 2001 New England Patriots
Here’s another instance where the New England Patriots just limped into the Super Bowl with a sub-par team. The Patriots were beginning their dynasty under Brady and Belichick, thanks to an injury to Drew Bledsoe. However, they were still figuring things out.
Somehow, even with an incredibly average team, the Patriots were able to pull off a victory. That victory came from the foot of Adam Vinatieri, their kicker. Vinatieri was also the one who got them the AFC championship after a technicality saved the day. The Patriots won that Super Bowl 20-17 and their best player was their kicker; let that sink in.
Next: This is the worst team to have ever won the Super Bowl.
2. The 2007 New York Giants
The 2007 Giants were about as normal and vanilla as they come. In the playoffs, they were able to take advantage of Tony Romo falling apart in spectacular fashion (as he was often wont to do), and an equally sad performance by Brett Favre and the Packers in the following round. From there, they still managed to slip through to a victory over the Patriots with a score of 17-14.
Next: Although, the Patriots still hold the top spot.
1. 1985 New England Patriots
Like we’ve said before, if you play in enough Super Bowls, you’re bound to get mentioned a few times in these lists. The Patriots have made 10 appearances in the Super Bowl.
They rode that whole season on the back of their defense, and barely made it into the playoffs as a wild card. Then, their defense caused 16 turnovers in every postseason game, including six against the Miami Dolphins. Don’t let that fool you though, because their season had an amazingly easy schedule coupled with a weak AFC. But that hot streak broke down once they got to the Super Bowl, and they lost miserably to the Chicago Bears, to the tune of a 46-10 beat-down.