Part two of our Super Bowl Series is here. In our first edition I rated the best and worst coaching performances in Super Bowl history. It is now time to look at the most iconic games that took place on Super Sunday. These games are the ones that are most memorable to me, I am 27 years old so I will only be picking games from my lifetime. Obviously I would like to include “Wide Right” or “The Guarantee” or “Montana to Rice” but for these purposes we will be looking at the games from Super Bowl XXVII and beyond. Honestly, my generation has been privileged to some of the greatest games in Super Bowl history, I easily came up with about ten games that could be argues as the best game in the history of the sport. Throughout the 80’s we had some real duds in the big game but starting in the mid-90’s we have had only a few blowouts, the rest have been either solid games or incredible life changing football experiences.
Lets start with the honorable mentions (#’s 8-6). Any of these games could arguably be put in the top 5 but they just barely missed. So lets get to it with
#8 1/25/98 Super Bowl XXXII Broncos Defeat Packers 31-24
As I have mentioned before on the blog, this is the second Super Bowl that I remember watching. The Packers were the defending champs and I was rooting for Favre to repeat as champions. Elway and the Broncos were able to pull one of the biggest upsets in the games history and it was capped off with Elway’s memorable helicopter play. The old, rugged, QB scrambled away from Packers defenders and ran for the first down when he leaped for the mark he was crushed by a group of Packer defenders, spinning him in the air and landing on the right side of the first down marker. “This Ones For John”.
#7 2/1/15 Super Bowl XLIX Patriots defeat Seahawks 28-24
This game is one of the most memorable games that I can remember. I was an Assistant College Baseball Coach at the time and we were traveling back from South Carolina during this game. The dish or cable on the bus was not working so the bus driver pulled up the game on his portable TV and said he had an idea. I was sitting directly behind him on the bus and he handed me the portable TV and the bus microphone and said announce the game. I called the entire second half of this classic game to a bunch full of college kids on the way back to upstate New York. I wish we had the audio of that call, I was a mix between Al Michaels, Luther Vandross and Pat Summerall, just absolutely electric. This game is memorable for Pete Carroll’s boneheaded play call and not running Marshawn Lynch on the goal line to preserve their second straight title. Instead, the Pats would go onto win and dynasty part deuce was back on.
#6 2/5/12 Super Bowl XLVI Giants defeat Patriots 21-17
This is my second most memorable game on the countdown, as a Giants fan this was the ultimate, beating the Patriots for the second time. Manning to Manningham, perhaps the most clutch and perfect throw in Super Bowl history. The Giants took the lead late and Brady had one last chance to answer, he threw a Hail Mary to the end zone where the ball was batted around and then finally fell to the ground, just out of the reach of a diving Rob Gronkowski. This was an unbelievably exciting feeling, seeing your team win a Super Bowl for the second time in four years, this solidified Eli’s place in Canton.
#5 1/30/00 Super Bowl XXXIV Rams defeat Titans 23-16
You gotta love this game, Dick Vermil crying all over the place, Jeff Fisher’s sweater vest, Kurt Warner who two years earlier was bagging groceries as an Arena League QB and most famously, the Kevin Dyson stretch for the goal line. “The Greatest Show On Turf” would get their championship and for the first time ever, the St. Louis Rams were the Super Bowl winners.
#4 2/5/17 Super Bowl LI Patriots defeat Falcons 34-28
The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, the first OT game in Super Bowl history, the greatest coach/quarterback duo in Super Bowl history and arguably the greatest choke in the history of sports. The Patriots trailed 28-3 in the 3rd quarter and then the Tom Brady Experience was in full effect, a couple of two point conversions, Edelman with a spectacular catch and Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan making some of the worst calls in football history. The Pats win and bring their fifth Lombardi trophy back to Foxboro.
#3 2/3/02 Super Bowl XXXVI Patriots defeat Rams 20-17
The first Super Bowl following 9/11 and America was behind the up and coming Patriots who represented America. This was the beginning of the greatest dynasty in the history of football. The Rams were the huge favorite, this was an improved version of the “Greatest Show On Turf”and Bill Belichick, in his first Super Bowl as a Head Coach was able to slow the Rams down and win on a last second field goal by Adam Vinatieri.
#2 2/3/08 Super Bowl XLII Giants defeat Patriots 17-14
The upset of the century. The undefeated Patriots vs the road warrior Giants. The most iconic play in the history of football occurred in this game, Eli Manning escaped the Patriots rush and heaved it down the field to David Tyree who made a miraculous catch by pinning the ball against his helmet, dubbed, “The Helmet Catch”. The giants pass rush was unbelievable in this game, they got to Brady all night long and held the greatest offense in the history of the game to only 14 points. Plaxico Burress who predicted victory in this game hauled in the game winning touchdown pass on a “sluggo” route to the end zone.
#1 2/1/09 Super Bowl XLIII Steelers defeat Cardinals 27-23
I went back and forth between this game and Super Bowl XLII but this game was back and forth and had electric plays throughout. Kurt Warner who was supposedly washed up led the Cardinals out of nowhere to their first ever Super Bowl appearance where they would take on the gold standard of NFL franchises, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 100 yard interception return for a TD by James Harrison, the streaking Larry Fitzgerald running to the endzone to secure the lead for the Cardinals, Big Ben’s final drive with an absolute perfect throw to win the game. This Super Bowl had it all, Bruce Springsteen played the halftime show and rocked the house. This was the perfect Super Bowl. It is #1 on our countdown.
There you have it, the eight greatest Super Bowl’s in my lifetime. Get ready for Super Bowl LIV, it is officially Super Bowl week.