We’ve finally arrived, we’re only two days away from crowning a Super Bowl champion so after we’ve looked at the different NFL games, regular season or postseason, for the last month, let’s wrap up the big countdown to the biggest NFL game of the year by looking back at the best Super Bowls of all time, these are my top 10 favorite Super Bowls of all time:
10. Super Bowl I – Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Give some respect to the first Super Bowl ever played, or as it was called back in 1967, the first World Championship Game, it set the tone for what would eventually become the Super Bowl.
You can argue that this was not a great Super Bowl, it was essentially a blowout in which the Packers destroyed the Chiefs 35 – 10 but watching that Super Bowl and seeing a stadium that’s only half full, commercials that aren’t as overbudget and jam packed, and a lack of that hype and buzz most Super Bowls do, it’s kind of amusing to watch, just a good old fashioned football game that would lead to one of the most watched events in TV history.
9. Super Bowl XLIX – New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
One of the closest Super Bowls in recent memory, the Seattle Seahawks had a chance to start up a dynasty in the NFL after winning the Super Bowl the previous year and were essentially on their way to doing it again, they actually got down the field thanks to a pretty impressive catch by Jermaine Kearse and then they were on the 1 yard line, you could’ve easily handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch to score the game winning touchdown but…we all know what happened:
One of the most baffling decisions by any team ever, you had one of the best running backs in the game available, why do you not get it to him? 20 seconds left in the game, the game could’ve been over right there but nope, Wilson had to throw it and the Patriots end up winning a championship…which we all know they shouldn’t have won because they cheated their way into that game. That’s right, I’m not going to not talk about Deflategate when bringing up this one. But hey, stupid decision on the part of the Seahawks and….I hate to admit it but, good job on Malcolm Butler for knowing where that ball was going to go. Still made for one of the most interesting Super Bowls in recent memory.
8. Super Bowl XLVI – New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
Speaking of the Patriots, it was the 2012 rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl…which we’ll talk more about a little later on…that makes its’ way on to #8 and while it certainly wasn’t as shocking or as upsetting as the Giants’ first time they tamed the dragon that was the Patriots but it certainly made for an exciting Super Bowl, Mario Manningham’s massive 40 yard catch to set up the game winning touchdown:
Who said Eli Manning never amounted to anything in the NFL? Winning two Super Bowls against the hottest team in the AFC, that’s more than sealed up his legacy as a quarterback.
7. Super Bowl XLIV – New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts
In this one, the Colts were seen as the 5 point favorite to win their second Super Bowl in three years but the Saints in 2009, as we talked about last week, were that team that was just too good to beat. Even though, the Colts lead by 4, 10-6, in the first half, it was a surprise onside kick that changed the course of the game for the New Orleans Saints:
That literally changed the entire course of the game for the Saints and they went on to win their first Super Bowl, 31- 17.
6. Super Bowl XXXVI – St. Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots
Let’s remember, folks, the Patriots were actually a team that were liked once. Long before we hated them because they kept cheating and getting away with it, there was that time when they were the underdogs of the NFL and in this Super Bowl, they were seen as 14 point underdogs going in against a St. Louis Rams that seemed unstoppable, there was a reason why they were called ‘The Greatest Show On Turf’ in the early 2000s because they were a dominant threat in the NFL.
Then in Super Bowl XXXVI, the Patriots had a 17-3 lead going into the third quarter and then the Rams came back in the fourth quarter to tie it up and it was up to Adam Vinateri to kick the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock to give the Patriots their first Super Bowl win.
It was back when it was okay to like the Patriots and not like today when this team has this feeling like if they don’t win every Super Bowl, they are going to just bitch and moan but then again, that’s mostly every NFL team when you think about it but the Patriots are just utter jerks about always being the best ones. That’s why a lot of people want the Falcons to win this Sunday, not just so Atlanta can get a Super Bowl win but to just quit all the Patriots dicksucking that happens everytime this team goes to a Super Bowl, it’s frustrating…
…but anyway, Patriots of 2001…you’re alright.
5. Super Bowl XXXII – Green Bay Packers vs. Denver Broncos
Two of the definitive quarterbacks of the time, Brett Favre vs. John Elway, in the biggest game of the year, how could you not have anything better? This was another one where one team was seen as the heavy favorites, the Packers were 11 point favorites going in this game but it just felt like the Broncos were finally ready to win one for John Elway who had been in three Super Bowls prior to this one and losing…BADLY…on average, the Broncos in those three Super Bowls they lost with Elway averaged a total of 13 points and for a team with an elite quarterback like Elway to only average just 13 points in three Super Bowls, that’s pretty pathetic.
But hey, in this game, John Elway finally got the Super Bowl trophy he long deserved, the Broncos beat the Packers 31-24.
4. Super Bowl XXV – Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants
One of the definitive Super Bowls where all expectations were pushed out the door, the Bills were the hottest team going into that game, 13-3 on the season and coming off a massive AFC championship win where they just destroyed the then Los Angeles Raiders 51 – 3 going up against a New York Giants team with a backup quarterback in Jeff Hostetler filling in for Phil Simms who was injured at the time. Surely, the Bills would come in and actually destroy them right? Well, not so much, the Bills had a 12 – 7 lead going into the half but the Giants had a 75 yard drive that took up 9 minutes of the game to score the touchdown that would seal the win for them but, let’s be honest, we all know why this game is such a classic:
Poor Buffalo, that’s the perfect example of a disappointing end to a really great season of football and it’s a shame that the Bills never had that chance to be that close in a Super Bowl again because the Bills of the early 90s were a pretty dominant team. In fact, the 1990 Bills have often been named the greatest NFL team to never win a Super Bowl, that’s how good they were. But hey, leave it to a Giants team to blow all expectations out of the water to win the game. Speaking of underdog stories…
3. Super Bowl III – Baltimore Colts vs. New York Jets
We all know the story, then Jets quarterback Joe Namath made a bold statement for the time promising a win against the heavily favorite Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, his team backed up his words by controlling most of the game, and built a 16–0 lead through the fourth quarter off of a touchdown run by Matt Snell and three field goals by Jim Turner. Colts quarterback Earl Morrall threw three interceptions before being replaced by Johnny Unitas, who then led Baltimore to its only touchdown during the last few minutes of the game. Namath, who completed 17 out of 28 passes for 206 yards, was named as the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player, despite not throwing a touchdown pass in the game or any passes at all in the fourth quarter. The Jets are the only Super Bowl team to score only one touchdown (either offensive, defensive, or special teams) and still win. Since then, the fewest number of touchdowns a Super Bowl winning team has scored is two.
Not only was that such a big game because of Namath’s promise but it also helped to launch the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, the Colts were one of three teams that moved to the newly formed American Football Conference (AFC), the same conference as the Jets. The former Super Bowl combatants became divisional rivals in the AFC East until the 2002 realignment shifted the Colts, who by then had moved to Indianapolis, to the new AFC South. Somewhat ironically, the teams would not meet in the AFC playoffs until the 2002 season (they have since met three times, with the Jets holding a 2-1 edge). As of the end of the 2016 season, the Colts have gone 41-28 against the Jets in regular season play.
Not only was it a big game for Joe Namath to develop his reputation in the football world but it also set a change in the NFL that we’ve become accustomed to today. One of the biggest Cinderella stories in Super Bowl history.
2. Super Bowl XLII – New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
I mean, what more do you even need to say? It was the biggest upset in Super Bowl history. You had a Giants team that, as we talked about last week, nobody believed could make it in the playoffs let alone a Super Bowl where you had a team trying to be the first 19-0 team in NFL history but the Giants just kept it as close of a game as they could and just when you think the Patriots had everything they needed to seal the win, that catch happens, and not even the catch but Eli Manning trying to make that catch. When you watch that play, it looks like Manning was down because he had two guys tackling him but he just found a way out and David Tyree made that impressive catch to keep the ball in his hands and lead to the Plaxico Burress touchdown to seal the win and pull off such an amazing upset. The ultimate underdog story defined in this one matchup.
and the #1 best Super Bowl of all time is…
Super Bowl XLIII – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals
When I think of the definitive Super Bowl, a matchup that was so close between two really good teams, this is the one that I always point back to. Both the Steelers and Cardinals in 2008 were so good, it was hard to decide who had the better shot of winning the big game. And in this game, there was never a moment when you thought you had it figured out. From the James Harrison 100 yard interception return for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter to the Cardinals’ comeback in the fourth quarter all the way down to Ben Roethlisberger’s final throw to Santonio Holmes for that epic game winning touchdown, all of it coming down to the wire until the Steelers sealed it with an interception mere seconds left in the game and becoming the first team to win six Super Bowls in the process.
This is a prime example of a definitive Super Bowl matchup, two very good teams duking it out down to the very end to get that win and head home with the Vince Lombardi trophy, this is what the Super Bowl is all about, and Super Bowl XLIII is the best Super Bowl of all time.
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