On ESPN’s NFL Live Monday, Herman Edwards, Jeff Saturday and Tim Hasselbeck all said its not an overreaction to call Super Bowl XLIX the best of all time. I’ll call them and other talking heads that are making this claim prisoners of the moment.
Super Bowl XLIX will be called many things, but “Greatest Super Bowl Ever”? There are a few other Super Bowls that are more memorable and deserve to be mentioned before Super Bowl XLIX. For those who may have forgot, here’s a few that would get my vote before the Patriots and Seahawks.
Holmes catch sealed the Steelers 6th Lombardi Trophy, the most in NFL History.
Remember Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa? It took awhile for the major fireworks to go off, but with the Steelers up 10-7 headed into Halftime and Arizona on the verge of tying or taking the lead; Steelers Linebacker and NFL Defensive Player of the year, James Harrison intercepted Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner and returned it a record 100 yards for a touchdown as time expired for the “greatest play in Super Bowl history.”
The fourth quarter is where this game was made. The Cardinals erased a 20-7 deficit with a safety and two Larry Fitzgerald touchdowns, the second a 64 yarder with with 2:37 left in the game to give them a 23-20 lead.
This game will be remembered for Ben Roethlisberger leading the Pittsburgh Steelers on a 78 yard drive that ended with a miraculous 6 yard touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left. The Steelers top ranked defense which had been shredded by Quarterback Kurt Warner and the Cardinals offense in the fourth quarter, still needed a Lamar Woodley sack-fumble at midfield to seal the victory.
David Tyree’s 32 yard “helmet catch”, helped the Giants end New England’s undefeated season.
Another great candidate is Super Bowl XLII, also in Arizona. The 18-0 New England Patriots lost their bid to be the “Greatest Team of All-Time” when the New York Giants defense, led by future Hall of Famer Michael Strahan, smothered the Patriots high powered record setting offense to 14 points, 22 below their then NFL record 36.8 average (The 2007 New England Patriots set records for total points (589), 75 TDs and point differential at + 315).
Eli Manning led the Giants on two fourth quarter touchdown drives; the second with the help of the “helmet catch” by David Tyree and a 13 yard touchdown pass from Manning to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left to finish off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XXXVIII was the second win for the Pats off the foot of Vinatieri.
Super Bowl XXXVIII with the Patriots and the Carolina Panthers in Houston has been called the “Greatest Super Bowl of all time” by Sports Illustrated’s long time Senior NFL writer Peter King.
The teams combined for 868 yards and 61 points. The game began with a Super Bowl record 26:55 without a point, then both exploded late in the second quarter to combine for 24 points before halftime. Oh, speaking of halftime, that was the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” performance from Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
The teams combined for another record, 37 points in the fourth quarter capped off by a game winning 41 yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with four seconds remaining. Both Tom Brady and Panthers QB Jake Delhomme threw for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns.
Vinatieri won Super Bowl XXXVI with a 48 yard field goal as time expired to give the Pats their first Super Bowl title. Courtesy: NY Daily News.
You could even choose Super Bowl XXXVI between the Patriots and the St. Louis Rams in New Orleans. This game set Tom Brady and the Patriots on their run of four Super Bowls victories out of six tries in 14 seasons. The Patriots forced the high powered Rams offense into two turnovers, including a pick six by defensive back Ty Law.
It took a last second field goal by Adam Viniteiri to finish off the “Greatest Show on Turf” as one of the most historic offenses in NFL History never returned to the Big Game.
Kevin Dyson and the Tennessee Titans came 1 yard short of forcing the first overtime in Super Bowl history. Courtesy: The Tennesseean.
The most heart stopping definitely was Super Bowl XXXIV between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans in Atlanta. The first half was a defensive struggle, with the “Greatest Show on Turf” only able to muster a 9-0 halftime lead on three field goals.
The Rams added a touchdown in the third quarter to take a 16 point lead. It appeared St. Louis relaxed and gave up two rushing touchdowns to Eddie George and a field goal as the Titans rallied to tie the score. It took a 73 yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Isaac Bruce to regain the lead.
The iconic image from this game is Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackling the Titans Kevin Dyson at the 1 yard line as time expired to give the Rams the 23-16 win and avoid the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XXV is still the only Super Bowl decided by 1 point.
Super Bowl XXV in Tampa—what is it about Tampa?—The New York Giants historic defense led by Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks and a young Bill Belichick as the defensive coordinator stifled the NFL’s top scoring no huddle offense led by future Hall of Famer Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills.
The Giants offense played ball control and possessed the ball for a Super Bowl record 40:33. But, it still took a missed 47 yard field goal wide right by Scott Norwood to give New York the win. It’s still the only Super Bowl decided by 1 point.
John Taylor caught the game winning touchdown pass with 34 seconds remaining. Courtesy: ESPN.com
Super Bowl XXIII between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals is sure to get a large share of votes for Greatest Super Bowl ever.
The XXIII edition was the first to go into halftime tied. Both defenses were stellar yielding on 3 points each. The Bengals held a 13-6 lead going into the 4th quarter.
But the signature moment of this game was 49ers quarterback Joe Montana leading San Francisco on a 92 yard drive with 3:10 and capping it off with a touchdown pass to John Taylor on the skinny post with 34 seconds left for the win.
Don’t get me wrong Super Bowl XLIX was very good, but it will be known more for the “worse call ever” or the game that solidified Brady as the best quarterback ever. It may even be the game that ended a dynasty in the making depending on how Seattle responds going further. Only time will tell, but for now, let’s quit throwing that phase “greatest ever” around so loosely.