The Super Bowl is one of the most watched sporting events on the planet. Pitting the two most successful teams in the National Football League up against one another, it is the pinnacle of the American football season and is beloved of millions. Sometimes, the game and the half-time show are both roaring successes, seeing plenty of points scored and a huge amount of entertainment take place. On other occasions, however, there is less to shout about on the pitch and a good half-time show is needed to rescue the event.
Sometimes, one team absolutely dominates the other, meaning that they are able to rack up point after point whilst the opposition can do nothing but sit back and admire the show. Most of the time, though, the two teams are well-matched, so it is more likely that they will shut each other out and produce a low-scoring game as a result. It isn’t as if all teams that head into the Super Bowl are defensively-minded, though, so sometimes you can get a real barn-burner of a match that results in points being scored for both sides.
What Are The Highest and Lowest Scoring Super Bowls?
The highest scoring Super Bowl, up to and including the 2022/23 season, was Super XXIX in 1995 where 75 points were scored in total. Champions, the San Francisco 49ers scored 49 points, with runners-up the San Diego Chargers scoring 26 points.
Just 16 points were scored at Super Bowl LIII in 2019, the lowest number of points scored in Super Bowl history. In the game, New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 with the score tied at 3-3 going into the final quarter.
How Points Are Scored In American Football
Before we get into the nitty gritty of the high scores and low scores achieved by teams during Super Bowl matches, it is worth exploring how a team even goes about scoring a point in the first place. There is a very good chance that you’ll be watching the Super Bowl for the first time and wanting to have a sense of how to bet on the Over / Under, for example, but without any real idea of the ways in which the two teams that face each other can even get on the scoresheet in the first place. That is a fair question for novices to ask.
Part of the reason why British sports fans struggle with American football is that the game rules can seem quite convoluted. This notion probably isn’t helped by the fact that there are six different ways that points can be scored during a National Football League game, which are as follows:
- Touchdowns – 6 points
- Field Goals – 3 points
- Safety – 2 points
- Extra Point (Field Goal) – 1 point
- Two-Point (touchdown) Conversion – 2 points
- Defensive Safety – 1 point
Touchdowns are the most obvious way of scoring a point, which happens when a player has legal possession of the ball and it goes over the vertical plan above the opposition’s goal line. The scoring team can then attempt to get an extra one or two points by opting for a try play. This differs from a field goal, which is scored when the ball is either place-kicked, drop-kicked or free-kicked after a fair catch and the ball goes between the goalposts behind the opponents end-zone. You’ll know this has happened when an official extends their arms vertically above their head.
Offensive teams have a chance to score an extra point if the ball goes through the goal posts from the 15-yard line, which is usually chosen over a two-point conversion attempt because it is less risky. That involves the offensive team attempting to pass or run the ball into the end-zone, similar to how a touchdown is scored. Safeties involve a defensive team gaining control of the ball and advancing it before retreating. There is an uncommon safety, which happens when a players causes the ball to go dead in their own end-zone.
Highest Scoring Super Bowls
As you might expect for one of the world’s most-watched sports, there have been some classic Super Bowls over the years. A classic doesn’t always mean high-scoring, of course, but the reality is that most sports fans want to see points on the board as often as possible. Indeed, there is certainly an argument that one of the reasons why some of our American friends struggle to get into ‘soccer’ is because there can often be a game that finishes 0-0. That can still be exciting, but not as thrilling as when there are goals aplenty.
Super Bowl XXIX (29th January 1995) – 75 Points
|AFC Champion||Score||NFC Champion|
|San Diego Chargers||26 – 49||San Francisco 49ers|
If you’re going to spend time talking about the highest scoring Super Bowls of all time then there really is only one place to start. Super Bowl XXIX pitted the San Diego Chargers, who had won the American Football Conference, up against the National Football Conference winners the San Francisco 49ers in what turned out to be a game for the ages. Having existed in the shadow of his predecessor, Joe Montana, for many years, Super Bowl XXIX saw Steve Young emerge into the light and earn his stripes for the 49ers.
Heading into the game, there was a general feeling that the 49ers were the favourites after finishing the regular season with the best record in the division, which was 13 – 3. The Chargers, meanwhile, were considered to be something on a Cinderella team, on account of the fact that they ended the season with a record of 11 – 5 and needed to come from behind in both of the play-off victories. If the 49ers fans had been expecting a procession, however, then they ended up disappointed, with both teams scoring in all four quarters for the first time in Super Bowl history.
Here’s how the game panned out:
The 49ers scored 14 points in three of the four quarters, winning all of those, with the Chargers taking the last quarter. It ended 49 – 26 to the 49ers.
Total Points Scored: 75
Super Bowl LII (4th February 2018) – 74 Points
|AFC Champion||Score||NFC Champion|
|New England Patriots||33 – 41||Philadelphia Eagles|
Super Bowl LII in 2018 is the second highest scoring Super Bowl to date. That pitted the winners of the National Football Conference, the Philadelphia Eagles, up against the New England Patriots, who had won the American Football Conference. Mirroring what had happened in the regular season before Super Bowl XXIX, the Patriots ended their regular season with a record of 13 – 3, whilst the Eagles ended their regular season with the same number of wins and losses.
The big difference was that Tom Brady was the MVP for the New England Patriots, but the Philadelphia Eagles went into their play-offs as underdogs when they lost their quarterback, Carson Wentz, to an injury late in the regular season. He was replaced by Nick Foles, who was widely under-estimated before the game got underway. You might think that this was set up to be a tight game and you would be exactly right to have such a thought process, with the game going on to be considered one of the best Super Bowls ever.
Here is how the scoring panned out:
The game saw the Eagles take a slender 29 – 26 lead into the fourth quarter, having lost the third 14 – 7. The Patriots will still have believed that they could win it, given the fact that they went into the match as the defending Super Bowl champions. In the end, though, the Eagles held on and won the match 41 – 33.
Total Points Scored: 74
Super Bowl LVII (12th February 2023) – 73 Points
|AFC Champion||Score||NFC Champion|
|Kansas City Chiefs||38 – 35||Philadelphia Eagles|
Currently, there have only been three Super Bowls that have seen more than 70 points scored. The third of those came in 2023 at Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Both the Chiefs and the Eagles posted a regular season record of 14 wins and 3 losses and both were the top ranked teams in their conference. Kansas defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game, with Philadelphia overcoming the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
The stage was set for a clash between the best two teams in the NFL, and Super Bowl LVII didn’t disappoint the watching millions. Here’s how the game played out:
After a level first quarter, the Eagles took charge in the second, taking a 10 point lead into half time. The Chiefs outscored the Eagles 7-3 in a tight third quarter but it was still advantage to the Eagles going into the fourth.
In the final quarter, Kansas star quarterback Patrick Mahomes turned on the style, throwing for two touchdowns to put the Chiefs in charge. Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts then scored his third rushing touchdown of the game and followed up with a 2-point conversion to draw the scores level at 35 points each. The final scoring play came from the boot of Harrison Butker who kicked the game-winning field goal with just 8 seconds left on the clock.
As a result, the Kansas City Chiefs picked up their third Super Bowl win, with the Philadelphia Eagles scoring the most points by a losing team.
Total Points Scored: 73
Lowest Scoring Super Bowls
The two matches we’ve told you about are, unsurprisingly, considered to be amongst the most entertaining games that the NFL has ever witnessed. Sometimes, though, games do not live up to the hype and are not ones for the neutrals. Though low-scoring games can, of course, be lots of fun, it isn’t always the case that cancelling each other out means a thrill-fest for the watching audience. When you add in the huge number of adverts that are shown during National Football League matches, it is easy to see why a British watcher tuning into the wrong game might struggle to be entertained.
Super Bowl LIII (3rd February 2019) – 16 Points
|AFC Champion||Score||NFC Champion|
|New England Patriots||13 – 3||Los Angeles Rams|
What goes up must come down, so it is perhaps no surprise that one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever was followed up with an absolute bore-fest. Perhaps it was because Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, had seen his side entertain but lost the previous year and figured he’d rather be dull and win the next time around. Whatever the reason, Super Bowl LIII was not the most fun event that most NFL fans have had the pleasure of watching over the years, seeing the Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams.
Sean McVay was the youngest head coach to make it to the Super Bowl when he took the Rams there with a 13 – 3 regular season record. Belichick, of course, was at the opposite end of the experience spectrum, having already taken the Patriots to the Super Bowl five times as head coach. The two teams had faced each other in the first Super Bowl win for Belichick and the Patriots, back in 2001. This time around, there was only one touchdown scored in the entire match, which was the only time that has happened in Super Bowl history.
The scoring happened as follows:
In many ways, the final quarter disguised just how dull the match was, adding points to the overall scoreline that were perhaps entirely unjustified. Regardless, it saw the Patriots win out 13 – 3, though how many were still awake to see it is unclear.
Total Points Scored: 16
Super Bowl VII (14th January 1973) – 21 Points
|AFC Champion||Score||NFC Champion|
|Miami Dolphins||14 – 7||Washington Redskins|
Nowadays, the NFL team from Washington has been renamed as the Commanders, which is much more tasteful than the Redskins. They still had their politically incorrect name when they took part in Super Bowl VII, however, which is worth flagging up for historical accuracy. The Dolphins had won the American Football Conference with a perfect record of 14 – 0, whilst the Redskins ended the National Football Conference with their record standing at 11 – 3. It is fair to say, therefore, that the Dolphins were the favourites.
As you can imagine, the game was not a thriller, perhaps because the temperature at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at the time of kick-off was 29 degrees centigrade, making it the warmest Super Bowl ever. Maybe, as with Belichick years later, the Dolphins losing the previous year’s Super Bowl to the Dallas Cowboys made them keen to forgo excitement in favour of victory. Regardless of the reasoning, it was another Super Bowl that will never be described in the pantheon of thrilling contests between the AFC and NFC winners.
The scoring for the match was as follows:
The Dolphins managed to keep the Redskins at bay until the final quarter, but failed to score themselves in the second half of the natch. In the end, the Miami side won 14 – 7.
Total Points Scored: 21
The Super Bowl Through The Ages
Now that we’ve looked at the two highest scoring and the two lowest scoring Super Bowls ever, here’s a look at the total number of points that have been scored in every Super Bowl from its inception through to 2022:
Total Points Scored in the Super Bowl – 1967 to 2023
|Year||Super Bowl||Total Points||Champion (Points)||Runner-Up (Points)|
|1967||I||45||Green Bay Packers (35)||Kansas City Chiefs (10)|
|1968||II||47||Green Bay Packers (33)||Oakland Raiders (14)|
|1969||III||23||New York Jets (16)||Baltimore Colts (7)|
|1970||IV||30||Kansas City Chiefs (23)||Minnesota Vikings (7)|
|1971||V||29||Baltimore Colts (16)||Dallas Cowboys (13)|
|1972||VI||27||Dallas Cowboys (24)||Miami Dolphins (3)|
|1973||VII||21||Miami Dolphins (14)||Washington Redskins (7)|
|1974||VIII||31||Miami Dolphins (24)||Minnesota Vikings (7)|
|1975||IX||22||Pittsburgh Steelers (16)||Minnesota Vikings (6)|
|1976||X||38||Pittsburgh Steelers (21)||Dallas Cowboys (17)|
|1977||XI||46||Oakland Raiders (32)||Minnesota Vikings (14)|
|1978||XII||37||Dallas Cowboys (27)||Denver Broncos (10)|
|1979||XIII||66||Pittsburgh Steelers (35)||Dallas Cowboys (31)|
|1980||XIV||50||Pittsburgh Steelers (31)||Los Angeles Rams (19)|
|1981||XV||37||Oakland Raiders (27)||Philadelphia Eagles (10)|
|1982||XVI||47||San Francisco 49ers (26)||Cincinnati Bengals (21)</td|
|1983||XVII||44||Washington Redskins (27)||Miami Dolphins (17)|
|1984||XVIII||47||Los Angeles Raiders (38)||Washington Redskins (9)|
|1985||XIX||54||San Francisco 49ers (38)||Miami Dolphins (16)|
|1986||XX||56||Chicago Bears (46)||New England Patriots (10)|
|1987||XXI||59||New York Giants (39)||Denver Broncos (20)|
|1988||XXII||52||Washington Redskins (42)||Denver Broncos (10)|
|1989||XXIII||36||San Francisco 49ers (20)||Cincinnati Bengals (16)|
|1990||XXIV||65||San Francisco 49ers (55)||Denver Broncos (10)|
|1991||XXV||39||New York Giants (20)||Buffalo Bills (19)|
|1992||XXVI||61||Washington Redskins (37)||Buffalo Bills (24)|
|1993||XXVII||69||Dallas Cowboys (52)||Buffalo Bills (17)|
|1994||XXVIII||43||Dallas Cowboys (30)||Buffalo Bills (13)|
|1995||XXIX||75||San Francisco 49ers (49)||San Diego Chargers (26)|
|1996||XXX||44||Dallas Cowboys (27)||Pittsburgh Steelers (17)|
|1997||XXXI||56||Green Bay Packers (35)||New England Patriots (21)|
|1998||XXXII||55||Denver Broncos (31)||Green Bay Packers (24)|
|1999||XXXIII||53||Denver Broncos (34)||Atlanta Falcons (19)|
|2000||XXIV||39||St. Louis Rams (23)||Tennessee Titans (16)|
|2001||XXXV||41||Baltimore Ravens (34)||New York Giants (7)|
|2002||XXXVI||37||New England Patriots (20)||St. Louis Rams (17)|
|2003||XXXVII||69||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (48)||Oakland Raiders (21)|
|2004||XXXVIII||61||New England Patriots (32)||Carolina Panthers (29)</td|
|2005||XXXIX||45||New England Patriots (24)||Philadelphia Eagles (21)|
|2006||XL||31||Pittsburgh Steelers (21)||Seattle Seahawks (10)|
|2007||XLI||46||Indianapolis Colts (29)||Chicago Bears (17)|
|2008||XLII||31||New York Giants (17)||New England Patriots (14)|
|2009||XLIII||50||Pittsburgh Steelers (27)||Arizona Cardinals (23)|
|2010||XLIV||48||New Orleans Saints (31)||Indianapolis Colts (17)|
|2011||XLV||56||Green Bay Packers (31)||Pittsburgh Steelers (25)|
|2012||XLVI||38||New York Giants (21)||New England Patriots (17)|
|2013||XLVII||65||Baltimore Ravens (34)||San Francisco 49ers (31)|
|2014||XLVIII||51||Seattle Seahawks (43)||Denver Broncos (8)|
|2015||XLIX||52||New England Patriots (28)||Seattle Seahawks (24)</td|
|2016||50||34||Denver Broncos (24)||Carolina Panthers (10)|
|2017||LI||62||New England Patriots (34)||Atlanta Falcons (28)|
|2018||LII||74||Philadelphia Eagles (41)||New England Patriots (33)|
|2019||LIII||16||New England Patriots (13)||Los Angeles Rams (3)|
|2020||LIV||51||Kansas City (31)||San Francisco 49ers (20)|
|2021||LV||40||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31)||Kansas City Chiefs (9)|
|2022||LVI||43||Los Angeles Rams (23)||Cincinnati Bengals (20)|
|2023||LVII||73||Kansas City Chiefs (38)||Philadelphia Eagles (35)|
In the history of the Super Bowl, the only game to go into Over-Time was the match between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in 2017. The Patriots were trailing 28 – 9 before winning the fourth quarter 19 – 0 to force Over-Time, so you could argue that the total points scored were 56 in normal time, if you wanted to line it up with the other Super Bowls we’ve looked at. The comeback by the Patriots is considered to be one of the best in Super Bowl history.