Ranking the Top 10 Super Bowls of All-Time | Super Bowl 47 Edition
This is one of the most highly debatable sports topics. This one can spark a brawl at any moment in any place, divide life-long best friends for a month and even possibly cause a divorce. We take our NFL teams seriously and when they make it to the big game, defending your team loyalty is paramount!
I hope to cause arguments and debates so please comment and give me your top-ten and reasons. Just know, no matter what, that I’m right and you’re wrong!
Without further haste, here is my take on the Top 10 Super Bowls of all-time:
#10 – Super Bowl XXII : Washington 42, Denver 10
A lot of lists exclude this Super Bowl, but I can’t. Some exceptional records were established in this game. First, Redskins’ QB Doug Williams, who started the season as the backup, became the first African-American to start at QB in a Super Bowl. Williams amassed a then record 340 yards passing and 4 TD passes. He also set a record with 4 TD passes in a single quarter, which also led to a team record 35 points scored in the 2nd quarter. Williams was also named Super Bowl MVP.
Washington RB Timmy Smith, starting as a rookie, recorded 204 yards and 2 TD’s. This is still the Super Bowl rushing record to this day.
In the second quarter alone, QB Doug Williams had completed 9 of 11 passes for 228 yards and 4 touchdowns; RB Timmy Smith had rushed 5 times for 122 yards and a touchdown; and WR Ricky Sanders had caught 4 passes for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The records established in the game by the Redskins were:
Total Offensive Yards – 604
Total Offensive Rushing – 280
Most TD’s Scored – 6
Total Offensive Yards in a quarter – 356
Most points in a quarter or half – 35
Most TD’s in a quarter – 5
Largest deficit overcome to win – 10
This Super Bowl was historically incredible and has to be in the top 10.
#9 – Super Bowl XXXVIII: New England 32, Carolina 29
The game started out as a boring and lackluster performance by both teams for the first 25:55 of the first half. The final 3:05 of the first half saw 24 total points and a 14 – 10 Patriots lead at the half.
Then came the halftime show. You remember….Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake and the wardrobe malfunction. Need I say any more about that?
The game went tied at 29 into the fourth quater and with :04 seconds left, Adam Vinatieri kicked a 41 yard field goal for the victory.
#8 – Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31
This was the first ever Super Bowl rematch. Pittsburgh had beaten the Cowboys 21-17 in Super Bowl X. The Cowboys were also the defending Super Bowl Champions after winning Super Bowl XII.
Pittsburgh QB and MVP Terry Bradshaw threw four TD passes and overwhelmed the Cowboys. The Cowboys were only down 21-17 going into the fourth quarter but the Steelers had scored two backbreaking TD’s in a :19 second span that was too much to overcome.
Also, Dallas TE Jackie Smith, wide open in the endzone, had a perfect pass from QB Roger Staubach bounce right off his front pads for a drop. The play prompted announcer Verne Lundquist to capture the moment perfectly by saying: “Bless his heart. He’s got to be the sickest man in America.”
#7 – Super Bowl III: New York Jets 16, Baltimore 7
Everyone knows this one. Jets’ QB Joe Namath famously “guarantees” a victory over Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts.
For the “guarantee” to hold true, everything had to go right for the Jets and wrong for the Colts….AND IT DID. The Jets had a controlled ground game that worked to perfection while the defense was opportunistic and took chances; picking off QB’s Unitas and Earl Morral four times.
In the first game officially labeled “Super Bowl” Joe Namath became a legend.
#6 – Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16
49ers QB Joe Montana shows just how “cool” he really was. The Bengals took a 16-13 lead on a field goal with 3:20 left in the game. The 49ers’ ensuing possession would start at their own 8-yard line.
Joe “Cool” drove his 49ers 92 yards with crafty dump-offs to RB Roger Craig and timely crossing passes to Jerry Rice on big third downs; setting up a game winning TD pass to John Taylor with :34 seconds left. This drive elevated Montana to an elite status as a clutch and legendary QB.
#5 – Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23
The NFL’s version of a “cinderella” in the Arizona Cardinals faced the “goliath” of Super Bowls past in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Arizona QB Kurt Warner energized his new team, proving his value and his previous Super Bowl trips with the Rams.
At the end of the first half, the Cardinals were driving and in the redzone, ready to take a four point lead into halftime. Then, Warner threw an interception to James Harrison, who rumbled the other way for a half ending 100 yard TD; giving the Steelers a momentum killing ten point lead.
The Cardinals, on the shoulders of QB Warner and WR Larry Fitzgerald, clawed their way back and took a 23-20 lead. The Steelers and QB Ben Roethlisberger would drive down the field and take the lead on their final drive with an amazing tip-toed catch in the right side of the endzone; giving the Steelers a record six Super Bowl victories.
#4 – Super Bowl XXXIV – St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16
Rams QB Kurt Warner led the “Greatest Show on Turf” into Super Bowl XXXIV as heavy favorites. The Rams were shutting out the Titans and had a 16-0 lead in the fourth quarter. Then came the Titans’ rally
Behind QB Steve McNair, the Titans refused to fold and eventually tied the score at 16 in the fourth quarter with 2:12 left. The Rams responded on their next play form scrimmage with a bomb to WR Isaac Bruce to lead 23-16.
Steve McNair would drive the Titans all the way to the Rams’ 10 yard line with six seconds remaining. On the next play, McNair hit WR Kevin Dyson on a crossing pattern only to be stopped a yard short by Rams’ linebacker Mike Jones, as Dyson stretched the ball out, inches from the goal line.
#3 – Super Bowl XXXVI – New England 20, St. Louis 17
The Patriots went into this game as huge underdogs to the high scoring Rams. If you watched the game, you might remember how the teams were introduced. The Rams came out individually to their roll call introduction. When it came the Patriots’ turn, they were introduced as “a team” and carrying the American Flag, as it was the Super Bowl following 9/11. From that moment, you could just sense it was going to be special for the Patriots.
So bagan the legend of Patriots’ QB Tom Brady; who took over for Drew Bledsoe after an injury during the season. Though the offensive stats showed the Rams at 427 to the Patriots’ 267, the game was tied with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter. After watching the Rams tie the score and with no timeouts, Brady calmly drove his team down the field while masterfully utilizing the sideline.
Adam Vinatieri would boot a game winning 48 yard field goal as time expired. It would be the first Super Bowl to be won on the final play of the game. So began the Patriots’ run and Tom Brady’s legendary lore.
#2 Super Bowl XXV – New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19
The stage for the 25th Super Bowl was set with American Flags in the stands and Whitney Houston’s amazing rendition of the National Anthem. The US was in the midst of the Gulf War and the Super Bowl, played at the “Old Sombrero” in Tampa, had given the country a relief and sense of patriotism.
The game showcased the Bills’ faced paced no-huddle offense led by QB Jim Kelly, RB Thurman Thomas and WR Andre Reed. How could the Giants’ defense slow the Bills down? They couldn’t; and head coach Bill Parcells knew it.
What the Giants did was control the ball. They knew the only way they could stick with the Bills was to keep their offense off the field and control the clock. QB Jeff Hostetler (who took over after an injury to starter Phil Simms) made the plays he had to to WR’s Stephen Baker (the touchdown maker) and Mark Ingram while relying on the running game in eventual MVP Ottis Anderson.
The Bills offense was off of the field for a combined 40:33 yet the Giants were still in jeopardy. The Bills drove down the field and had set up their reliable kicker, Scott Norwood, for a game-winning 47 yeard field goal.
“Wide Right” will live infamously with Bills fans as the Giants would hold on to win the smallest margin of victory in a Super Bowl. It is the only game ever to be decided by one point and a missed field goal on the final play. This would also be the first of four straight Super Bowl losses for the Buffalo Bills.
#1 Super Bowl XLII – New York Giants 17 New England Patriots 14
The Patriots came into this game perfect; literally. They had not lost a game and were trying to become the second team since the ’72 Dolphins to go undefeated.
The Giants had squeaked into the playoffs as a wild-card team and won three straight road games over Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay to make it to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots were heavily favored heading into Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. The Patriots had pretty much demolished any oppontent who stepped in their way. However, these two teams met in the last game of the regular season, which saw the Patriots overcome a 12 point third quarter deficit and squeak out a 38-35 win.
After a sluggish start for both teams in the first half, a 7-3 lead for the Patriots, the third quarter came and went with no scoring.
The Giants first drive of the fourth quarter saw a 45 yard pass and catch from QB ELi Mainning to TE Kevin Boss. The Giants would cap the drive with a 5 yard TD pass from Manning to WR David Tyree to take a 10-7 lead.
After back to back three-and outs the Patriots had the ball with 7:54 to play on their own 20. Brady would drive his offense to the Giants’ six yard line. After two incomplete passes, Brady found a wide open Randy Moss after the Giants’ Corey Webster had slipped and fell on the play; giving the Patriots a 14-10 lead with 2:42 remaining.
The Giants started their next possession at their own 17. After netting a first down to Amani Toomer and a 4th and 1 run by Brandon Jacobs, the Giants were facing a 3rd and 5 on their own 44 yard line. The next play would become the “greatest play in Super Bowl history.”
On 3rd and 5 from his own 44, Eli Manning would take the snap and have the pocket collapse quickly by Patriots’ defenders. Patriots’ defenders Richard Seymour and Jarvis Green each had Manning by the jersey but Manning was able to break free of their grasp, find open space to the right, set his feet and heave the ball down the middle. Giants’ WR David Tyree and Patriots’ safety Rodney Harrison both went up for the ball. Tyree had outjumped and was in front of Harrison, grabbing the ball, when Harrison swiped at the ball, only to help press the ball between Tyree’s hand and helmet. Tyree somehow, on the way down, clutched his other hand on the ball and held on for the catch at the New England 44, keeping the drive alive. It was nothing short of miraculous!
The Giants would eventually score on a lob from Manning to Plaxico Burress in the back corner of the end zone, giving the Giants a 17-14 lead. The Giants would survive a few final “hail mary” attempts from Tom Brady and pull off one of the greatest upsets in sports history; leaving the Patriots with 18 wins and 1 “giant” loss.
There are my top ten Super Bowls of all-time. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter!