The best of the worst Super Bowl meltdowns

The best of the worst Super Bowl meltdowns

Atlanta safety Eugene Robinson played in Super Bowl XXXIII the day after he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. He gave up two big plays in the Falcons’ loss, including this 80-yard touchdown by Broncos receiver Rod Smith.


Getting to the Super Bowl takes years of hard work and sweat for the players who reach the game.

Surviving the week of lead-up before the game proved too challenging for a handful of players. Off-field transgressions led to Stanley Wilson and Barret Robbins missing the biggest games of their careers. Eugene Robinson played the Super Bowl after his arrest, but allowed two big plays that did in the Atlanta Falcons.

FULL COVERAGE: The Road to Super Bowl 50



Stanley Wilson

Bengals running back Stanley Wilson carries the ball during a game against the Browns on Sept. 25, 1988.

(Allen Steele / Getty Images)

Wilson had already served two suspensions for drug use when he was found in his Miami hotel room in a cocaine-induced stupor the night before his Cincinnati Bengals lost to San Francisco 20-16 in 1989. Wilson was immediately suspended and never played again, while his teammates were left to wonder whether the absence of Cincinnati’s third-leading rusher played a role in a loss that went down to the final minute.


Rod Smith, Eugene Robinson

Broncos receiver Rod Smith scores on an 80–yard touchdown pass play in front of Falcons defender Eugene Robinson during the first half of Super Bowl XXXIII.

(Tony Ranze / Getty Images)


Ten years after Wilson’s relapse, Robinson was arrested the day before the Falcons lost to Denver for soliciting a prostitute. The Falcons safety had just received the Bart Starr Award for “high moral character,” with his family in attendance. Robinson played the game but might wish he hadn’t. He allowed an 80-yard TD pass to Rod Smith and missed a tackle on a long run by Terrell Davis.


Barret Robbins

Former Oakland Raiders center Barret Robbins, left, awaits a hearing at the Miami-Dade courthouse in Miam on Sept. 23, 2005.

(J. Pat Carter / Associated Press)

Oakland’s All-Pro center disappeared the day before the game in 2003 from the team’s San Diego hotel and headed to Tijuana, Mexico. He returned that night disoriented, spent game day in the hospital, and his life and career spiraled downward into substance-abuse clinics and jail time. The Raiders’ offense struggled in his absence, committing five turnovers and rushing for just 19 yards in a 48-21 loss to Tampa Bay.

Dishonorable mention:

— Defensive end Bruce Smith’s diatribe about racism before the Bills lost Super Bowl 26.

— Receiver Terrell Owens’ consistent complaining about his quarterback, Donovan McNabb, after the Eagles fell to New England in Super Bowl 39.

— Patriots coach Bill Belichick prematurely walking onto the field with time left and the clock stopped before the Giants made their final kneel-down in Super Bowl 42.


Can you think of a bigger meltdown? Let us know in the comments

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