Take a look below to see past margins of victory by decade in the Super Bowl and by each corresponding spread in the Superbowl time.
Super Bowl Margins of Victory By Decade
The Super Bowl is the biggest football game of the year and receives the most attention too. As the culmination of a long regular season and playoff system, everyone looking forward to the Super Bowl hopes that it is at least a good game. In the past there have been close games as well as blowouts, and like everything else in sports the margins of victory in Super Bowls appears to be cyclical as well. Let's take a look at the margins of victory in Super Bowls by decade.
- The 1960's
Super Bowls one through four were held during the last part of the 1960's. This was the first interaction between the champion of the NFL and the champion of the AFL. The NFL, behind the strength of the legendary Green Bay Packers organization, won the first two Super Bowls in dominant fashion. Shocking the world of professional football though, the AFL teams won the final two Super Bowls of the decade. The average margin of victory of the 1960's Super Bowl winning teams was 17 points per game. That's a pretty significant point spread and is indicative of some games that had one team all but dominated of the other.
- The 1970's
With the coming of the 1970's came a newfound parity in the National Football League. There were still blowouts and dominations during Superbowls, but there were also games that were much closer. With three Super Bowls during the decade decided by four points or less and the biggest spreads being the 24-3 win by the Dallas Cowboys over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, the margins of victory were decidedly closer. The average winning Super Bowl team in the 1970's won by a score of just 11 points.
- The 1980's
High powered offenses were the signature of the best teams of the 1980's and this held true not only during the regular season, but also during the playoffs and Superbowls. This obviously led to larger spreads during the Super Bowl and less close games. Behind blowout victories like the Raiders defeating the Redskins 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII, the 49ers beating the Dolphins 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX, the Bears defeating the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX, the Redskins win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII by a score of 42-10, and finally the decade ending 55-10 blowout win by the 49ers over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, the margin of victory shot through the roof. The average margin of victory in the Super Bowl during the 1980's was 22 points.
- The 1990's
The dominant Super Bowl performances of the 1980's went away when the 1990's came to be. The 1990's Super Bowls had their share of blowouts, the largest being the 52-17 Super Bowl XXVII victory by the Dallas Cowboys over the Buffalo Bills, but overall the games were much closer. The average winning margin that 1990's Super Bowl champions won by was 14 points. This downturn in margin of victory shows that defense became more of a focus of NFL teams during this decade.
- The 2000's
Through Super Bowl XLII with the 17-14 shocking victory of the Giants over the much favored Patriots, the 2000's have proven a very competitive era of Super Bowl matchups. The average margin of victory in these games was back down to 11 points, matching the margin of victory in the 1970's and being half that of what the average margin of victory in the 1980's was. This closer margin of victory has made for some very popular games as well as some of the more memorable contests in Super Bowl history.
Tracking the margins of victory of the Super Bowls by era, you can see the different emphasis as well as the different times where there were teams that were just that much more dominant over other teams. While fans of the winning teams enjoy blowouts and big spreads, football fans in general prefer to have a more competitive Super Bowl matchup which makes the game more enjoyable. The margins of victory show that there is a lot more parity in the NFL these days. It shows that we are entering into one of the more competitive eras of professional football that there has been in a long time.