History of Onside Kicks in the Super Bowl (Recent Attempts, Successes and Stats)

History of Onside Kicks in the Super Bowl (Recent Attempts, Successes and Stats)


One of the most exhilarating plays in football is the onside kick. Though this trick play has decreased in usage around the league as teams get better at covering them, that doesn't rule out seeing one in the Super Bowl.

There's been a few memorable onside kicks in Super Bowl history that are worth looking back on before this year's Big Game.

Super Bowl Onside Kick History

The two most famous onside kicks in Super Bowl history have occurred in recent memory. The first that's often mentioned is the Pittsburgh Steelers' successful attempt in Super Bowl XXX. Steelers head coach Bill Cowher used this trick play with his team trailing 27-17 and 11:48 left in the fourth quarter.

Cowher's gutsy call panned out, as Pittsburgh recovered the try on the edge of Dallas territory. The Steelers then went on a 52-yard touchdown drive to make the game 20-17, but the Cowboys responded with a TD of their own right after and went on to win 27-17.

The second, and most well-known onside kick in NFL history, was executed by the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. New Orleans took everyone -- including their opponent, the Indianapolis Colts -- by surprise attempting this trick play to open the second half.

Saints punter Thomas Morstead put just the right amount of bounce on the ball, which allowed New Orleans to recover after Colts player Hank Baskett muffed the catch. That play changed the entire game, as the Saints' TD score following the onside kick proved crucial in an eventual 31-17 win.

Onside Kick Success Rate by Year

According to The Football Database, there were 56 onside kicks attempted during the 2022-23 regular season. Only 3-of-56 (5.3%) were successfully recovered. Check out the last 10 years of onside recovery stats below:

  • 2022 regular season: 3-of-56 attempts recovered (5.3%)
  • 2021 regular season: 9-of-56 attempts recovered (16.1%)
  • 2020 regular season: 3-of-67 attempts recovered (4.4%)
  • 2019 regular season: 8-of-62 attempts recovered (12.9%)
  • 2018 regular season: 4-of-52 attempts recovered (7.7%)
  • 2017 regular season: 12-of-56 attempts recovered (21.4%)
  • 2016 regular season: 7-of-63 attempts recovered (11.1%)
  • 2015 regular season: 10-of-67 attempts recovered (14.9%)
  • 2014 regular season: 6-of-58 attempts recovered (10.3%)
  • 2013 regular season: 11-of-61 attempts recovered (18.0%)

Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.