The 10 Greatest Super Bowls Of All-Time
(Photo Credit: Bob Rosato)
In a game that featured the play known as “The Tackle”, and a team labeled “The Greatest Show On Turf”, the St. Louis Rams held the Tennessee Titans out of the endzone on a potential game tying touchdown to force overtime. LB Mike Jones, who? Mike Jones!!!…tackled Kevin Dyson on a short slant route from Steve McNair to give the Rams the 23-16 victory in the Georgia Dome.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
I was not alive when this game was played, but you might have seen the replay of this game on NFL Network’s “Greatest Games”. It was “The Rematch” between Terry Bradshaw and the Steel Curtain vs. Roger Staubauch and the “Doomsday Defense”. Bradshaw threw for 4 TDs and won MVP honors. The Steelers dethroned the defending champion Cowboys 35-31, and the next year won their 4th Super Bowl in 6 years, and cemented their place as a dynasty becoming the “Team of the 70’s”.
(Photo Credit: NFL/AP)
In what would be Coach Bill Walsh’s last pro game coached, the 49ers of 1988, like the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978, knocked on dynasty’s door and they answered. Joe Montana spotted John Candy on the sidelines on the game winning drive, and then spotted John Taylor in the end zone with 34 seconds left. Jerry Rice dominated the game, especially on the last drive, and was awarded MVP honors. The 49ers won the game 20-16, and repeated next year for their 4th Super Bowl in the 80’s and were crowned as the “Team of the 80’s”.
(Photo Credit: John W. McDonough)
If not for a snooze fest 1st quarter, and a botched kickoff that went out of bounds by Carolina late in the 4th quarter, this game would definitely be higher. After the score was scoreless in the 1st, and 14-10, New England at the end of the 3rd. Both teams combined to score a Super Bowl record 37 points in the 4th quarter, and the lead changed numerous times, but the Patriots prevailed 32-29. Adam Vinatieri kicked his 2nd game winning FG in three years from 41 yards out and Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the 2nd time in three years.
6) Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals
(Photo Credit: Al Tielemans)
This game featured Super Bowl winning QBs for the first time against each other since Super Bowl XIII (Bradshaw vs. Staubach) and although Kurt Warner had the better numbers overall in the game, he threw a game changing interception to James Harrison right before halftime who took it 100 yards in arguably the greatest play in Super Bowl History. Warner seemed to redeem himself when he hit Larry Fitzgerald for a 64- yard score to take the lead with 2:37 to play. Ben Roethlisberger however, had the last laugh, as he drove the Steelers 78 yards and threw MVP Santonio Holmes to a toe tapping game-winning TD with 35 seconds left, and the Steeler defense held on for a 27-23 win.
5) Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Many might think this game should be higher since by all accounts it was a great game, and that is the only OT game in Super Bowl history. It is also the game that featured the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. In terms of excitement though, the game was a tale of two halves. If you are a Falcons fan you were hyped in the 1st half and shocked in the second, and vise versa for Patriots fans. Atlanta pulled a “Seattle” (more on that in a moment) and decided to pass the ball instead of running the ball and icing the game after a fantastic catch by Julio Jones, that looked to be another “big game grab” vs. New England.
Julian Edelman might have had the more impressive catch though in what is arguably one of the most improbable catches of all time in a Super Bowl. In the end, Atlanta blew a 25 point lead, and Tom Brady threw for a Super Bowl record 466 yards in an MVP performance for his 5th Super Bowl (most by a QB ever). The only OT game in Super Bowl history ended with the Patriots getting the ball and James White scoring for the 34-28 win.
4) Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams
(Photo Credit: John Biever)
This was supposed to be the game that started a dynasty. It was and it wasn’t. The Rams were heavily favored over the Patriots, and were playing “indoors” to boot. The Rams had won a Super Bowl just two years prior, and had MVPs Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk, wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and the Greatest Show on Turf. But they were dealing with forces they could not foresee, as the real dynasty was getting started.
Tom Brady took over duties at QB when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury earlier in the season, then led the Patriots to an AFC East division title, a win in the “Tuck Rule game” vs. the Raiders, an AFC Championship on the road in Pittsburgh, and ultimately the Super Bowl, as he methodically drove down the field that many believed he should have just taken a knee and played for overtime. Adam Vinatieri booted the game winner to upset the Rams 20-17, which eventually started the dynasty today which is the New England Patriots.
3) Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
(Photo Credit: Damian Strohmeyer)
Tom Brady couldn’t be the winning QB on all of these Top 10 games unfortunately. This epic game pitted the undefeated Patriots vs. the Giants who narrowly lost to the Pats in Week 17. The Patriots were labeled as the greatest football team ever, and were one win a way from joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only team to go undefeated in NFL History. Eli Manning and the G-Men however had other plans, and those plans were to play the ultimate spoiler.
Brady threw a go ahead TD to Randy Moss late in the 4th quarter and it looked like perfection was to be made. An amazing Eli Manning to David Tyree/helmet catch later, the Giants were knocking on the door step of the biggest upset in Super Bowl history. Plaxico Burress caught the game winning TD pass from Eli Manning and the pass rush from the Giants sealed the deal as the Patriots last drive ended the hopes of perfection and the result was 17-14 Giants, and for the Patriots 18-1.
2) Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills
(Photo Credit: Walter Iooss Jr.)
I still remember watching this game as a kid. So much drama…So much tension. The game was played with an immense amount of emotion stemming from the Gulf War and Desert Storm that was taking place. Before the game even started, tears were flowing after the late Whitney Houston’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner touched our hearts. The tears would not end there though unfortunately, as the Buffalo Bills fans would endure their first of four consecutive Super Bowl losses.
Scott Norwood infamously went “Wide Right” and Bill Parcells was carried off the field for the second time as the Giants captured the Vince Lombardi trophy in thrilling fashion 20-19.
1) Super Bowl XLIX: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
(Photo Credit: John Iacono/Sports Illustrated/The MMQB)
Why this game? Could it be #2? Sure. #5? Possibly. I picked this game because the ending was so amazing and thrilling that I could not comprehend what was taking place, even after it was over. Seattle had the “Legion of Boom” defense, and Russell Wilson, who were the defending Super Bowl champions. The year before in Super Bowl XLVIII they shut down the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning’s record breaking offense embarrassing them 43-8. This game would be much different.
The Seahawks were trailing 28-24, after giving up a 10 point lead in the game. They were driving and Jermaine Kearse caught a ridiculous catch in which he was seated as the ball was tipped and fell in his lap. Wittingly, Malcom Butler recognized Kearse made the catch and made the play to avoid Kearse walking into the end zone for the go-ahead score. What transpired next is what I referenced in my #5 game ranking of pulling a “Seattle”.
The Seahawks gave Marshawn Lynch, aka “Beast Mode” the ball and he plowed his way to the 1-yard line. Instead of calling a timeout, Bill Belichik decided to let the clock run, and on 2nd down instead of “Feeding the Beast” again, the Seahawks inexplicably decided to run a slant route to much of everyone’s surprise. That pass was picked off by Malcolm Butler who made the play earlier to save the day.
The game was won by the Pats 28-24, and although Butler was not named MVP of the Super Bowl, Tom Brady gave him the keys to the vehicle awarded to the MVP. The New England Patriots drove away as champions winning their first title since 2004, dismantling another possible dynasty in the Seahawks, and winning the greatest Super Bowl I ever saw.