San Francisco 49ers Are 8th Team To Blow Double-Digit Lead in Super Bowl — What Became of the Others?

Teams that blow double-digit leads late in the Super Bowl rarely recover, but the San Francisco 49ers already are taking steps to break the trend.

The ramifications from blowing a 10-point lead in the Super Bowl — again — went from internal angst to transactional shrapnel this afternoon when San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks less than 72 hours after the team’s 25-22 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Blown Big Leads in Super Bowls Have Lasting Effects

Devastation follows any team that comes up short in the biggest game of the year, but there is an elevated level of torture that hammers the mind and soul when that loss comes after blowing a double-digit lead.

It hasn’t happened often. But when it has, it has tended to have long-lasting effects.

Before Sunday, only seven of 57 Super Bowl losers led by at least 10 points before blowing it.

Only three of the seven held that double-digit lead as late as the fourth quarter. The first two teams to blow such a big, late lead have not been back to the Super Bowl since.

But the 49ers actually bucked history before they repeated it.

San Francisco became the third team to blow a 10-point fourth-quarter lead four years ago, falling 31-20 to the Chiefs in Super Bowl 54 despite leading 20-10 with less than seven minutes remaining.

The year after that collapse, the 49ers went 6-10 and finished last in the NFC West Division. They bounced back and reached the NFC Championship Game in the two seasons after that before finding their way back to the Super Bowl this year, only to blow another 10-point lead, although this year’s team never led by more than four in the second half.

The first team to blow a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl was the 2016 Atlanta Falcons, who authored the largest collapse in Super Bowl history.

Atlanta, with Shanahan as head coach Dan Quinn’s offensive coordinator, led by 25 with less than three minutes left in the third quarter. The Falcons still led by 16 with less than six minutes remaining, but the New England Patriots would go on to win 34-28 in overtime.

Days after the loss, Atlanta fired defensive coordinator Richard Smith and defensive line coach Bryan Fox. Shanahan left to be the head coach of the 49ers, and the Falcons have never been the same.

Not only has Atlanta not been back to the Super Bowl, but the Falcons have only made the playoffs once in the seven seasons since the meltdown.

The other team to squander a 10-point fourth-quarter lead was the 2014 Seahawks. They led 24-14 with less than eight minutes to play and wound up losing 28-24 to the Patriots when New England cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson at the goal line in the closing seconds.

Seattle has been back to the playoffs six times since but has never sniffed another Super Bowl, going 3-6 in the postseason without advancing past the Divisional Round.

The 2009 Indianapolis Colts blew a 10-point second-quarter lead to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl 44.  Indianapolis has only made the playoffs in six of the last 14 seasons while reaching just one AFC Championship Game.

The 1987 Denver Broncos led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter before giving up 35 points in the second quarter to the Washington Redskins. While technically a blown 10-point lead, the 42-10 defeat didn’t come with the same type of devastation as the others. The Broncos were back in the Super Bowl two years later when they again were blown out, this time 55-10 against the 49ers.

It’s too soon to tell how blowing a 10-point third-quarter lead in last year’s Super Bowl will affect the Philadelphia Eagles. They were back in the playoffs this year, but they lost six of their final seven games, including a 23-point blowout against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round.

KEEP READING: Steve Wilks Aiming to Prove NFL Teams Wrong After Being Passed Up for NFL Head Coaching Jobs

Philadelphia waited a year to start firing coordinators.

San Francisco got a jump on the finger-pointing and scapegoating three days after its collapse.

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