Late-game comebacks are not a novelty at the Super Bowl, but perhaps none are more memorable than the 2017 matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. Tom Brady and the Patriots overcame an unprecedented 25-point deficit and ultimately won in overtime, a first in Super Bowl history.
While not every matchup ends in a second-half surge, it’s not uncommon for the winning team to trail at some point. In fact, 19 teams have won the Super Bowl despite not scoring first and 30 of 56 champions have trailed at some point in the game. Even the playoff GOAT himself, Brady, has trailed in six of his seven Super Bowl victories.
Last year the Los Angeles Rams trailed just once -- by three -- before outscoring the Cincinnati Bengals 10-3 down the stretch to secure the win. Now all eyes turn to the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. Could we have a comeback on our hands?
Here are the biggest comebacks in Super Bowl history and what records fans should look out for ahead of Super Bowl LVII.
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What are some of the biggest comebacks in Super Bowl History?
Few know the heartbreak of watching a seemingly surefire win slip through their fingers like Atlanta fans.
When Lady Gaga took the stage for her halftime performance, Falcons fans couldn’t anticipate the twist that unfolded. Instead of being memorialized as the franchise’s first NFL championship, the game became remembered more for the memes it inspired.
Headlined by quarterback Matt Ryan, Atlanta took a commanding 28-3 lead into halftime, capped off by an uncharacteristic interception by Brady that resulted in an 82-yard return by Robert Alford. The Atlanta victory wasn’t to be as the Patriots rattled off 25 unanswered points in the second half and forced overtime, winning 34-28. This game is largely considered one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time.
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Before the ball snaps on Super Bowl Sunday, get inside the game with these facts and insights about the Rams and Bengals.
The next biggest comeback is 10 points, occurring three times in Super Bowl history. Washington (XXII), New Orleans (XLIV) and New England (XLIX) all hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy after falling behind 10 points.
Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 was full of blockbuster moments. Two future hall of famers – Drew Brees and Peyton Manning – faced off five years after Hurricane Katrina, with the Saints representing an entire city’s rebuild from destruction. The Colts took an early 10-0 lead, but the Saints hung in there, eventually going up 13-10 late in the third quarter. After the Saints pulled ahead once again midway through the fourth, Peyton Manning found himself in position to lead the Colts to a game-winning touchdown. Instead, he threw an interception and the Saints won their only Super Bowl 31-17.
Five years later, the Seahawks and Patriots once again brought the drama in Super Bowl XLIX. Trailing 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter, the Patriots became the first team to overcome a double digit deficit in the second half. However, this game is hardly remembered for the comeback or even the offense, uncommon for a game that features Tom Brady. Rather, this Patriots victory came down to an unlikely here – rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler.
With 27 second remaining in regulation, the Seahawks offense lined up on the 1-yard line. Quarterback Russell Wilson took the snap and ran a routine play to receiver Ricardo Lockette into the end zone. Butler jumped the pass and went down on the 2-yard line, ending Seattle’s chances.
What is the record for most points scored by a team in the first half?
The Washington Redskins hold the record for most points scored in the first half of the Super Bowl at 35, set in a comeback over the Broncos (Super Bowl XXII). While Denver took a 10-0 lead, Washington wasted no time getting ahead. The team entered halftime up 35-10 and shut out the Broncos for the remainder of the game.
What is the record for most points scored by a team in the second half?
The Broncos once again find themselves on the wrong side of this record. Just a year prior, the New York Giants set the record for highest scoring second-half performance, posting 30 points to beat Denver 39-20. Opening the second half, the Giants successfully converted on fourth-and-short by faking a punt. They capitalized with a touchdown to give them a 16-10 lead and never looked back.
What is the largest margin of victory at the Super Bowl?
For the third time in four years, the Denver Broncos ended up on the losing side of a lopsided matchup. In 1990, the San Francisco 49ers posted a record 55 points in a 45-point rout of the Broncos. In addition to being the largest margin of victory, this game also set the record for most points scored by a team in the Super Bowl.