Ten worst blown coverages in Super Bowls

Posted Jan. 11, 2010 @ 9:21 a.m.
Posted By Bob McGinn

First in a series of 10 Super Bowl top-10 lists excerpted from "The Ultimate Super Bowl Book" by Bob McGinn.

1. Eddie Brown, S, Rams, XIV: The Rams were leading the favored Steelers, 19-17, early in the fourth quarter and had them in a third-and-8 hole at their 27. Brown took the blame for leaving the middle of the field and giving WR John Stallworth room to haul in a 73-yard touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw.

2. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Cardinals, XLIII: In the final minute, Rodgers-Cromartie short-circuited and vacated the left corner of the endzone, but Steelers WR Santonio Holmes dropped the ball. On the very next play, the rookie made an even more egregious error and left Holmes open again. This time, Holmes made the game-winning catch.

3. Danieal Manning, FS, Bears, XLI: On third and 10 with the Bears up, 6-0, Manning surged forward in man coverage on TE Ben Utecht when everyone else was correctly playing zone. That enabled WR Reggie Wayne to be wide open deep for a 53-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning.

4. Aaron Kyle, CB, Cowboys, XIII: Kyle lined up across from John Stallworth to take an outside release when his help from FS Cliff Harris was sitting inside. Harris had no chance to get over, and the result was a 28-yard touchdown.

5. Shaun Williams, FS, Giants, XXXV: On second and 7 in a scoreless first quarter, Williams was supposed to help CB Jason Sehorn double-cover WR Brandon Stokley in the slot. When Williams jumped TE Shannon Sharpe, Stokley was wide open for a 38-yard touchdown pass from Trent Dilfer.

6. Etric Pruitt, FS, Seahawks, XL: Early in the fourth quarter and Pittsburgh leading 14-10, WR Antwaan Randle El moved from left to right and then threw deep to Hines Ward. Pruitt, an injury fill-in, had no clue and let Ward cross his face flying in the other direction. Ward's 43-yard touchdown catch completed the scoring.

7. Kent McCloughan, CB, and Rodger Bird, S, Raiders, II: Early in the second quarter, Boyd Dowler ran a quick post, caught Bart Starr's pass 20 yards downfield, and strode in for a 62-yard touchdown. The plan was to switch off the coverage, but neither McCloughan nor Bird played it properly.

8. Ricky Manning Jr., CB, Panthers, XXXVIII: With the score tied at 29, the Patriots had the ball at the Carolina 40 with 14 seconds left. On the right side, Manning was playing Cover 2 with a receiver in front of him and another receiver, Deion Branch, behind him. Manning moved up, giving the more dangerous receiver, Branch, ample room to catch Tom Brady's pass for 17 yards. As a result, Adam Vinatieri's game-winning kick was from 41 and not 51 yards.

9. Eugene Robinson, FS, Falcons, XXXIII: Leading 10-3 with 5:07 left before halftime, the Broncos ran a deep bootleg pass off a play-action fake by John Elway. When Elway pump-faked, Robinson got turned around and was burned deep by Rod Smith for an 80-yard touchdown.

10. Bernard Jackson, FS, Broncos, XII: On third and 10 in the third quarter, the Cowboys were leading, 13-3. Roger Staubach had seen Jackson take chances and leave the middle of the field. When Jackson crept in too shallow, Butch Johnson ran by him for a 45-yard touchdown pass.


Wednesday: Ten costliest dropped passes in Super Bowl history


Bob McGinn, the author of "The Ultimate Super Bowl Book," has covered the Green Bay Packers and the NFL for 30 years, including the last 19 for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He has been Pro Football Weekly's correspondent in Green Bay since the early 1980s. McGinn spent 4½ years interviewing more than 150 head coaches, assistant coaches, players, general managers, scouts and owners, as well as studying tapes of every game, in preparation for writing his book. His objective was to break down why each game was won. "The Ultimate Super Bowl Book," published by MVP Books, is available at mvpbooks.com, Amazon.com and book stores across the country. It contains more than 25 top-10 lists, a comprehensive statistical summary of each game and a list of Super Bowl records.