The Nine Biggest Super Bowl Fails of All Time
4. Barret Robbins Skips Practice to Go Exercise Some Demons
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Two days before the Oakland Raiders were set to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII, the team’s All-Pro center, Barret Robbins, decided to take a quick vacation. The only problem was, he didn’t make it back in time for the game.
Due to some mental health issues that were later diagnosed as bipolar disorder, Robbins disappeared hours before the big game started and was unreachable by the coaches. He ultimately missed the Super Bowl and his team lost badly (48-21).
Years later in an interview with ESPN, Robbins admitted that his erratic departure may have hurt the team’s chances. “I felt that if I had played that game, we had a lot better chance to win. I felt we would have been able to win that game. It was an extremely exhausting event and put me down as far as I probably ever had to go at that point in my life."
3. Jackie Smith Can’t Catch a Break, or Even a Short Touchdown Pass
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Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jackie Smith is a Hall of Fame football human with some of the most impressive accomplishments ever seen in the sport. It just so happens that the only one people remember is a less-than-triumphant end zone drop in Super Bowl XXIII.
Trailing 21-14 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the biggest game of the year, Roger Staubach found Smith wide open in the middle of the end zone for what would have been the tying score. Sadly, it didn’t quite work out. The pass deflected off Smith’s chest, dropped to the ground and forced America’s Team to kick a field goal. ‘Dem Cowboys ultimately lost the game by four points and would have to wait 14 years until they brought the hardware back to Texas.
2. Scott Norwood Makes Buffalo a Slightly More Unbearable Place to Live
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Every little boy who wasn’t athletic enough to play a regular position dreams of the day he can strap on a custom-built nerd helmet and kick a game-winning field goal in front of 90 million people. While most scrawny (and often foreign) children never get to realize this dream, Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood had the opportunity to do just that in Super Bowl XXV against the New York Giants.
With time expiring in the fourth quarter, Jim Kelly drove the Bills deep into Giants territory, setting up a 47-yard field goal attempt. Although critics are quick to point out that Norwood was 1-5 in similar attempts that year, most Bills fans contend that the kick should've been a sure-fire score.
Here’s Bills radio announcer Van Miller with the retro-call:
Here we go, the Super Bowl will ride on the right foot of Norwood. Waiting for the snap, Reich arms extended, puts it down, on the way, it's long enough and it is no good. He missed it to the right with four seconds to play.
The missed kick would subsequently become the subject of football lore and inspiration for a transsexual villain in a popular pet detective movie years later. Since the fabled day Norwood has since been ex-communicated from the football world and still refuses to talk about the kick.
1. The Buffalo Bills…. You Know, in General
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It’s not about whether you win or lose… it’s about how many times you lose in a row before you give up and just stop trying.
For the Buffalo Bills, the magic number was four.
From 1991-94, the Bills lost four straight Super Bowls to three different NFC opponents. To be fair, they did make things interesting by putting a unique twist on each soul-crushing loss (blowouts, last second field goals… it was a real nice variety) and kept things interesting for their hometown fans.
Yes, it’s an impressive accomplishment to win the AFC four straight times. But this is a list about Super Bowl failures, and nobody failed in Super Bowls quite like the Buffalo Bills.