Fan Essentials: Best Super Bowl Comeback Ever

Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports

When the lights went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during Super Bowl XLVII, the Harbaugh Bowl (or the Harbowl, for those who prefer to eliminate as many letters as possible), it was quite fitting. Baltimore were trouncing San Francisco 28-6 in the third quarter. Lights out, game over, everyone have a safe trip home.

But when the lights restarted, the fortunes of the 49ers did, too. The Niners cut the deficit to five points then had the ball just seven yards away from the goal line and an epic comeback around the two-minute warning.

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They failed to score, turned the ball over on downs and lost 34-31 after an intentional safety sacrificed by Baltimore.

That would’ve been the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, according to CBS Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb had it came to fruition. But, because the comeback fell short, Gottlieb was forced to choose New England’s comeback (and subsequent goal line stand) in Super Bowl XLIX against Seattle as the best comeback in Super Bowl history.

The Patriots were down 24-14 at the start of the fourth quarter. Prior to that game, no team had overcome a double-digit fourth quarter hurdle to win the Super Bowl.

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From one dynasty to another, CBS NFL analyst Rich Gannon picks a modest comeback as the greatest ever. A game more associated with a word such as “dominating” rather than “comeback”, by definition, it was a comeback. Buffalo scored the first touchdown of the contest to lead 7-0, then the Cowboys would score two touchdowns in the span of 15 seconds to take the lead 14-7 and never look back, en route to a 52-17 victory in Super Bowl XXVII.

Another game that ended lopsided but constituted as a revival was Super Bowl XXII between Washington and Denver, in which Washington won 42-10. Brian Jones, CBS Sports Radio, chose Washington’s turnaround as the best of all time.

The Redskins went down 10-0 after the first quarter, but scored 35 unanswered points in the second quarter to seal the game by halftime.

The very next Super Bowl got a pair of nods. CBS 2 sports anchor Steve Overmyer and Steve Beuerlein, CBS NFL Analyst, pick San Francisco’s Super Bowl XXIII comeback against Cincinnati as the best of all time.

In a back and forth contest that’d eventually finish 20-16, Cincinnati was beating Joe Montana’s 49ers 13-6 heading into the fourth quarter. Overmyer cites a story that Montana loves to tell right before his final drive, a drive that would culminate with a game-winning 10-yard touchdown throw with 26 seconds left.

Montana was huddled with his teammates before the drive, pointed into the stands at actor John Candy, who was filling his mouth to max capacity with popcorn. Overmyer loves how Montana lightened the mood before an iconic win.

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