2016 was, by most accounts, a rotten year. 1999 may have been even worse — and nothing exemplified the overt crappiness of those 365 days quite like Super Bowl XXXIII.
In fact, the two awful years and their awful Super Bowls have plenty of parallels. 1999’s game was the swan song for a legendary Broncos quarterback; it allowed John Elway to retire on top after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy one last time. 2016’s game did the same for another Denver passer — Peyton Manning. Each game’s halftime show featured inexplicably popular bands no one really wanted to see; Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Coldplay.
And each Super Bowl featured a current NFC South team falling apart at the seams. In 1999, Jamal Anderson’s fumble late in the fourth quarter ended the Falcons’ slim chances of staging a comeback. Ditto for Cam Newton last year.
An awful game wasn’t the only thing that set the bar so high for a year’s abject awfulness. 1999 was a pop culture wasteland, spawning disappointments like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and the rise of Limp Bizkit. 2016 gave us ... two Justin Bieber songs at the top of the year-end charts and the return of the guy who sang that "Cooler Than Me" song.
2017’s still young(ish), but at least it didn’t have a terrible Super Bowl. Unless you’re a Falcons fan. Sorry.