No matter how the NFL spins it, the reality is that most of the previous Super Bowls have been duds. The fact is that the game can never live up to the hype. The case can be made that prior to Super Bowl XXIII, in which the 49ers beat the Bengals for the second time in seven years, there was only one very good game. In my opinion, that was the game when Joe Namath led the Jets to win Super Bowl III.
So enjoy with me the best games of the “Big Game.” I hope these bring back some memories for you as they did for me. If you have a favorite Super Bowl, let us know on our Facebook page or respond to us on Twitter.
5.) Super Bowl III: Orange Bowl in Miami, Jan. 12, 1969
New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7
Three days before this game, Jets’ quarterback Joe Namath boldly stated, “We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.” What transpired is one of the greatest upsets in sports history. No one gave the Jets, champions of the “inferior” AFL a chance, but they came up with four interceptions and held Baltimore out of the end zone until the final four minutes of the game. A Nate Snell touchdown and three Jim Turner field goals gave the Jets a 16-7 win. This was the first game that was called the “Super Bowl,” as the previous two were dubbed the “AFL–NFL Championship Game.” The image of Namath jogging off the field while wagging his finger in the air has become one of the most iconic scenes in American sports history. He was right, the Jets were number one. Namath was named MVP after going 17-of-28 for 206 yards. But the real star for the Jets that day was running back Nate Snell, who ran for 121 yards and scored New York’s only touchdown.
4.) Super Bowl XXXVI: Superdome in New Orleans, Feb. 3, 2002
New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17
Both teams entered the game with two of the top quarterbacks, Tom Brady of New England and Kurt Warner of St. Louis. The Rams, under Warner, had won the Super Bowl two seasons prior and were favored to win the game. This was the third Super Bowl for New England, and with the win, it became the garrison for one of the most successful NFL franchises of all time. The Patriots held a late 17-3 lead before two fourth quarter St. Louis touchdowns tied the game at 17-17. New England got the ensuing kickoff and with less than 1:30 to go in the game, with no time outs, Brady and the offense pushed down the field into range for kicker Adam Vinatieri. Vinatieri kicked the game winner, a 48-yard field goal as time expired. Brady was named game MVP.
3.) Super Bowl XLIX: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Feb. 1, 2015
New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24
The Seahawks, the defending Super Bowl champions, took a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter, but a Tom Brady touchdown pass to Danny Amendola at the 7:55 mark cut the lead to 24-21. Five minutes later, and with only 2:02 to go in the game, Brady found Julian Edelman in the end zone to give New England back the lead. However, it was what happened at the :26 mark that will live in Super Bowl lore. With the Seahawks sitting on the New England one yard line, Seattle decided to pass the ball instead of hand the ball off to their highly touted running back Marshawn Lynch. The play backfired. The Patriots’ Malcolm Butler intercepted the pass from Russell Wilson giving the ball back to New England and preserving the win. The decision to pass instead of run has become one of the most heavily criticized play calls in Super Bowl history. Brady was once again named the game’s MVP.
2.) Super Bowl XXV: Tampa Stadium, Jan. 27, 1991
New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19
Aside from a thrilling finish, another moment made this night unforgettable. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” performed by Whitney Houston and the Florida Orchestra, was a rousing moment in face of the U.S. involvement in the Gulf War. Her rendition is regarded as one of the best National Anthem’s in our country’s history. The game had thrilling moments as well, but none bigger than the end. With :08 to go in the game, Bills’ field goal kicker Scott Norwood attempted a 47-yard field goal for the win. His kick sailed wide right. The Giants won the game 20-19. Giants’ running back Ottis Anderson, who had 102 yard rushing and one touchdown, was named MVP. Also noteworthy, neither team had a turn-over in the game.
1.) Super Bowl XXXIV: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Jan. 30, 2000
St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16
Yes, in my opinion, the best Super Bowl every played happened right here in Atlanta. The high-octane offense of quarterback Kurt Warner’s St. Louis Rams came into this game sporting a 13-3 mark, as did the Tennessee Titans. The Rams led throughout most of the game and were up 16-0 midway through the third before Tennessee made its move. Two touchdowns by running back Eddie George and a 43-yard field goal by Al Del Greco tied the game at 16-16. With 1:54 to go in the game, Warner hit Isaac Bruce with a 73-yard bomb for a touchdown to move ahead 23-16. The Titans went on the move and brought the ball all the way down to the Rams 10 yard line with :06 seconds left in the game. On the final play, Titans quarterback Steve McNair hit Kevin Dyson with a pass. Dyson seemed to have a clear route to the end zone, but Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Dyson around the legs and brought him down just shy of the goal line. Dyson attempted to get the ball across with an outstretched arm, but was just feet short. Warner, with 24-of-45 passes for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, was named MVP.