The Super Bowl is by far the greatest sporting spectacle in this great nation, where supreme athletes can rise up and accomplish immortality by playing the game of their lives. It can also put a giant magnifying glass on someone when they fail to adequately do their job. But whose failure to do their job has been the most massive on the Super Bowl stage?

We here at 104.5 The Team have compiled 16 of the biggest Super Bowl fails of all time and have seeded them from one to sixteen, bracketed them into a March Madness style bracket, and faced them off with one another to determine which Super Bowl fail is the most embarrassing, pathetic, and hilarious to the rest of us.

Before we unveil the bracket, a few notes and rules about the tournament process:

  1. Seeding and inclusion in the field were determined entirely by myself and Mr. Brian Cady, along with the contributions of fans of the 104.5 The Team Facebook page. 
  2. The winners and losers in each matchup in the tournament were decided entirely by me through a combination of fan reaction and my reaction while rewatching the videos of each fail in my private 104.5 The Team man cave.
  3. No touching of the hair or face.

That's all you need to know. Now, here is the Super Bowl Of Super Bowl Fails tournament bracket.


First Round

In Super Bowl XXVII, the Dallas Cowboys were well on their way to defeating the Buffalo Bills en route to a championship. They managed to force Bills quarterback Jim Kelly to fumble, a fumble that was picked up by Leon Lett, whose showboating resulted in Bills wide receiver Don Beebe knocking the ball out of his hands before he reached the goal line in a play that is the prohibitive favorite to win this tournament of failure.

On the other side is a fail that took two Super Bowls to accomplish. The Indianapolis Colts reached two Super Bowls with Peyton Manning. In the first one, a win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, they allowed Bears return man Devin Hester to run the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. In Super Bowl XLIV, they allowed the New Orleans Saints to hit them with a surprise onside kick to start the second half, the beginning of the end of them in that game.

As poor as the Colts special teams were in those two games, Leon Lett's fumble was not only a bad play, but it was sheer laziness from Lett. I mean, it's only the Super Bowl, so why should he try his hardest? Lett moves on.

While a guy whose job it is to play football being unable to play the one football game that everyone wants to play seems funny, it isn't as much when you remember that Barret Robbins was struggling with a serious medical condition. A slightly pudgy quarterback known for choking away big games literally choking on his own vomit during Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots? That's more like it. McNabb moves on.

Two Patriots related fails face off in the first round here. Asante Samuel let the Lombardi Trophy bounce off of his hands in the final drive of Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants, letting the Patriots' shot at a 19-0 season drop with the ball. With that said, Samuel can at least use the excuse that he had been running all over a football field for an entire game and that he was fatigued.

John Kasay, on the other hand, had one job: kick the ball. He failed at that job, sending a late game kickoff out of bounds for the Carolina Panthers, setting up a Tom Brady drive that led to an Adam Vinatieri game winning field goal. Kicker fails are almost always the most pathetic fails. Kasay advances.

Rich Gannon's performance in Super Bowl XXXVII for the Oakland Raiders is one of the more underrated bad games in Super Bowl history. He threw FIVE interceptions in a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was so bad that Jerry Rice and Tim Brown accused Raiders head coach Bill Callahan of throwing the game!

As bad as that was, though, Jackie Smith's drop in Super Bowl XIII for the Dallas Cowboys  was one of the saddest moments in sports history. The guy was as wide open as it was possible to be, dropped a pass that could have won the game, and laid on the field wallowing in remorse afterwards. The Steelers won the game by four thanks to the dropped touchdown pass. Bless his heart, Jackie Smith moves on.

Kurt Warner shocked the world by getting the Arizona Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also shocked the world by throwing a goal line interception that James Harrison returned for a touchdown, a 14 point swing. This fail cost the Cardinals a Super Bowl and ushered in the Kolb/Skelton/Lindley era.

Scott Norwood, another kicker, blew Super Bowl XXV for the Buffalo Bills by missing a 47 yard field goal wide right, allowing the Giants to take the title. Again, YOU HAD ONE JOB. Norwood wins.

Before Super Bowl XLII, Tom Brady was very confident in his team's ability to score points. So much so that he laughed off Plaxico Burress' prediction that the Giants would win and hold the Patriots to 17 points and an 18-1 season. The clip of Brady's overconfidence became my go to clip before Super Bowl XLVI as well.

Eugene Robinson, on the other hand, decided to solicit a prostitute the night before Super Bowl XXXIII. She turned out to be a cop, he turned out to be arrested. The difference between the two: Robinson wasn't so smug about it. Brady wins.

Thurman Thomas had a ritual where he placed his helmet at the 34 yard line leading up to games. Before Super Bowl XXVI, it was moved to set up for a pregame performance. While he searched for it, he missed the Bills' first two plays against the Washington Redskins.

Wes Welker was wide open with a chance to catch a ball that would have made it incredibly difficult to drive down the field for a game winning score in Super Bowl XLVI against the Giants. He dropped it, Eli Manning hit Mario Manningham, and the Giants improved to 2-0 against the Patriots in Super Bowls.

Personally, I find the Thurman Thomas gaffe to be overrated. The dude missed two plays and there was no real impact on the game. Welker actually helped his team blow the game in a crucial late game situation. I'll take the upset here. Welker wins.

Garo Yepremian kicked for the Miami Dolphins against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII, which ended up being the coronation of Miami's perfect season. However, Yepremian will always be remembered for his blocked kick/attempted pass/pick six combo that led to the Redskins' only score of the game. Again, YOU HAD ONE JOB.

The 'One Yard Short' game never stood a chance, it's a better defensive play than it is an offensive fail anyway. Garo is into the "Fail-ite Eight."

Alright, round one is over. Let's check out the updated bracket:

Fasten your seatbelts, the Fail-ite Eight starts now.

(1) Leon Lett vs. (9) Donovan McNabb's Puke

The fact that Donovan McNabb's Super Bowl vomiting session is the best representation of someone's career that I've ever seen has earned that moment some points, but Leon Lett was on the cusp of joining the elite fraternity of fat guys who have scored Super Bowl touchdowns, and stopped trying. Lett wins, preventing McNabb from winning yet another tournament.

(5) John Kasay vs. (4) Jackie Smith

This matchup is a battle of two guys who get paid to do one specific thing and failed to do that one specific thing in the biggest possible moment. However, only one of them happened in the endzone and directly cost their team the big game. Jackie Smith, that's you. You advance to the Fail-tastic Four.

(6) Tom Brady vs. (3) Scott Norwood

An AFC East fail-off in this matchup, and two fails that would have met in the finals if demand for each of them by our Facebook fans and others that I consulted didn't match them up in the round of eight.

With that said, let's look objectively at the Scott Norwood field goal. Norwood, in his career, was successful on just 61% of his field goal attempts from 40-49 yards. The kick that defined his career was barely of better probability than a coin flip.

On the other hand, Tom Brady is a pompous ass and was incredibly unsuccessful in talking smack and maintaining a perfect season. Hubris wins! Brady is in the semifinals!

(2) Garo Yepremian vs. (10) Wes Welker

I think that the worst part of the Garo Yepremian play was the fact that he continued to try and fix his mistake, only to make it worse. With that said, he didn't have an impact on the outcome of the game. Welker cost his team a championship, essentially, with his drop. A ten seed over a two seed gets Welker into the Fail-tastic Four.

We are down to four, and here is the bracket.

The Fail-tastic Four is upon us. Let's get down to it.

(1) Leon Lett vs. (4) Jackie Smith

Both of these fails took place right in the end zone area, robbing the Dallas Cowboys of scoring plays. However, Lett's gaffe came after the Cowboys had the game well in hand, whereas Smith lost a Super Bowl for his team. He was so wide open that the broadcasters of the game proclaimed that he had scored a touchdown before he even secured the ball, which he never did do. Jackie Smith is in the Fail-a-rific Finals.

(10) Wes Welker vs. (6) Tom Brady

I love these two moments, especially because they allowed my Giants to win championships. While Welker's drop was egregiously terrible, but Brady invoked something way bigger than points and yards when he laughed off the prospect of the Giants defense. He brought himself and the Patriots bad karma, something they have been unable to shake since. Brady is in the finals.

Here we go: the final two. Jackie Smith vs. Tom Brady. Let's break this thing down.

  • More on the line at the time of the fail: Jackie Smith (in game vs. pregame)
  • Better fan reaction to fail: Smith (Brady's quote is vastly underrated, honestly)
  • More embarrassing: Smith (everyone talks smack, even Tom Brady)

We're calling this off! I'm stopping the fight! Jackie Smith wins! He is the king of Super Bowl fails. Bless his heart, he must be the sickest man in America, indeed.

Enjoy the game on Sunday, everyone, and keep your fingers crossed for more great Super Bowl fails.