UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning leaves the field after being defeated by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, February 2, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL) - RTX185TF REUTERS
Denver and Seattle were evenly matched with 15-3 records going into Sunday's Super Bowl, but the Seahawks pummelled the Broncos 43-8 in a game that paled in comparison to the event built around it.
For a team that had the highest-scoring offence in NFL history, it was a shockingly poor effort by the Broncos in what could be the swan song for Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.
But Denver isn't the only team to lose big when it counts the most.
Here is a look at seven other epic sports blowouts in big games:
Super Bowl XXIV: San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10
Denver has been on the wrong end of a Super Bowl blowout more than once.
In 1990, quarterback John Elway and his Broncos faced an even worse defeat than this year's debacle, falling by a whopping 45 points, still a record for Super Bowl futility.
San Francisco, led by quarterback Joe Montana, won its second straight NFL final after scoring two touchdowns in every quarter.
Super Bowl XXII: Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10
Guess who? Two years earlier, the Broncos had a slightly less humiliating defeat, this time at the hands of the Redskins.
The Redskins outscored the Broncos 35-0 in the second quarter alone.
By the early 1990s the Broncos had made the finals four times, losing each and leading to one of the all-time great Simpsons jokes, when Homer is disappointed to learn he has received the Denver Broncos from a wealthy benefactor.
"I think owning the Denver Broncos is pretty good," Marge says.
"You just don't understand football, Marge," Homer replies with a sigh.
Hockey's 1981 Canada Cup: Russia 8, Canada 1
The history of Canada and Russia in international hockey is usually characterized by memorable battles and last-second goals.
Not so during the second Canada Cup, the only tournament at the time where the world's top players took part.
The Russians dominated the one-game final in Montreal. Sergei Shepelev had a hat trick as the Russians scored five goals in the third period alone.
The Montreal Gazette wrote that Canada's hockey pride had been "stabbed in the heart."
Canada may have enacted a bit of historic revenge during the 2010 Olympics, dominating the Russians 7-3 in a quarter-final elimination game.
1996 Stanley Cup finals: Colorado Avalanche 8, Florida Panthers 1
The Stanley Cup finals have had their fair share of four-game sweeps in every era, but in the last 20 years, few have been more mismatched than this championship series.
The series — between a heavily favoured Avalanche squad and an upstart Florida club that was a surprise to have made the final — went according to script and included a huge blowout in Game 2.
Colorado scored four power-play goals on its way to an easy 8-1 victory.
Though the deciding fourth game was a thrilling 1-0 win in triple overtime, the series was never in doubt. Florida held a lead in the series for fewer than 30 minutes combined.
UEFA Euro 2012 final: Spain 4, Italy 0
In the widest margin of victory in soccer's European championship, Spain trounced Italy to win its third consecutive major tournament.
Struck by an injury after using all three of its substitutions, Italy was forced to play with 10 players for the final third of the game.
Things got so bad for Italy that Spain's captain and goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, pleaded with an assistant referee to blow the whistle.
"Respect for the rival," he said, according to the Guardian. "Respect for Italy. It's 4-0, yes?"
1998 NBA finals: Chicago Bulls 96, Utah Jazz 54
Michael Jordan won his sixth and final championship with the Bulls in a 4-2 series victory over Utah.
The Jazz players should be happy the series will be remembered as Jordan's last hurrah, because their team set records for ineptitude in Game 3.
The game was the worst loss in NBA finals history, and the Jazz scored what were then the fewest points in any NBA game since the shot clock was introduced in 1954-55.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Utah's radio play-by-play man, Rod Hundley, dealt with it by switching sides.
"I just became a Bulls fan for the second half," he joked.
1989 World Series: Oakland A's 13, San Francisco Giants 7
This matchup is remembered as the series hit by the "World Series Earthquake." Game 3 was delayed 10 days when a deadly earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area.
When the game was finally played, it was a blowout for Oakland — just like the other three games in the series.
Oakland never trailed in the October classic, and outscored the Giants 32-14 over the four games.