After the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead in Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel
reached out to college and professional coaches to talk to them about their worst losses as head coaches.
One of those men was former Florida and South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier said his most devastating loss came at Florida in 2001 when the No. 2 Gators were upset 34-32 to No. 4 Tennessee. It was Spurriers last game at the Swamp...the team would have gone on to play in the National Championship vs. Miami had they beaten the Vols.
“We had such a super, super team that year,” Spurrier said. “That’s why the loss was so hard to take. Tennessee ran it right down our throats.”
Travis Stephens ran for 226 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Vols to a 34-32 upset. The Gators went on to destroy Maryland 56-23 in the Orange Bowl.
“We finished third in the nation that year and didn’t win anything,” Spurrier said. “That Tennessee loss was so crucial, because I really thought we had a team that could go all the way. Losing that game hurt a lot. I don’t know if you ever completely get over a loss like that.”