What Is the Biggest Defeat in American Football History?

American football is a sport that has a rich history full of exciting games, memorable moments, and great victories. However, there are also occasions in which teams suffer crushing defeats that are etched into the annals of the sport’s history. In this article, we will take a closer look at what is considered the biggest defeat in American football history.

The Record-Breaking Game

The biggest defeat in American football history occurred on December 8, 1916 when Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland College by a score of 222-0. This game was so lopsided that it still holds the record for the largest margin of victory in college football history.

Georgia Tech’s Dominance

Georgia Tech’s team was coached by John Heisman, who was one of the most successful coaches in college football history. Heisman had built a powerhouse program at Georgia Tech that was feared by opponents across the country.

In contrast, Cumberland College was a small school located in Lebanon, Tennessee that did not have much of a football program to speak of. In fact, Cumberland had disbanded its football team prior to the 1916 season but failed to notify Georgia Tech.

The Game Itself

The game between Georgia Tech and Cumberland College was played on a cold and rainy day in Atlanta. From the opening kickoff, it was clear that this would be an incredibly one-sided affair.

Georgia Tech scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions and never looked back. The Yellow Jackets were led by quarterback George Griffin who threw for six touchdowns and ran for two more.

Cumberland College simply had no answer for Georgia Tech’s dominant offense or their suffocating defense. The small school managed to cross midfield only once during the entire game.

The Aftermath

The aftermath of this game was almost as remarkable as the game itself. Despite being on the losing end of a 222-0 scoreline, Cumberland College’s players and coaches refused to quit and continued to play hard until the final whistle. This display of sportsmanship earned the respect of their opponents and fans alike.

John Heisman, who was notorious for running up the score on opponents, reportedly called off the dogs during the third quarter and instructed his team to run the ball on every play in an effort to shorten the game.


In conclusion, Georgia Tech’s 222-0 victory over Cumberland College is considered the biggest defeat in American football history. While this game may seem like a footnote in the sport’s history, it serves as a reminder of both the highs and lows that can be experienced in athletics. Despite being on opposite ends of one of the most lopsided games ever played, both teams displayed remarkable character and sportsmanship that should be celebrated.