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The Top 10 Best NFL Super Bowls

Thursday 02nd, February 2012 / 14:23 Written by

Super Bowl XXXIV Kevin DysonIt seems hard to believe that this will be the 46th time that the NFL will be bringing us a Super Bowl. 45 other games have been played and through the years we’ve seen a lot of stuff to make us salivate and wonder, “What can possibly top that?”

In the spirit of the big game coming up this Sunday between the AFC’s New England Patriots and the NFC’s New York Giants, I have decided to take us all down memory lane and look back at my top 10 best Super Bowls and look back at some other stuff that makes Super Sunday great.

Yes friends step right up and bring your Doritos, your buffalo wings, subs, and all the other great foods we like to feast on during the big game to the table. Don’t forget to bring lots of beer, and other beverages. Yes so much makes this event great, and most of America will all have some kind of favorite story. From Aerosmith and Britney Spears rocking to “Walk This Way” to Justin Timberlake exposing Janet Jackson’s breast in the infamous “Wardrobe Malfunction” scandal.

Don’t forget about the best of commercials, with birds forming an army to try and splatter a freshly cleaned car with “bird poo”, all the great beer commercials, and who could forget the gorgeous “Go-Daddy” girl, and the beautiful Ally Landry doing acrobatic stunts while eating puffed Doritos, forcing every man in America to laundro-mats near and far. Not to mention great half-time shows away from the game, like Howard Sterns’ half-time raunchy fest, MTV’s Celebrity Death Match, and the first ever Lingerie Bowl, which has now led to the Lingerie Football League.

Okay enough about all that, it’s time for the best of the best that led us up to here. For all of you who follow me regularly, you will remember my top Thanksgiving day games, which got rave reviews, and for that I thank you. I’m pretty sure this list will spark debates, but hey its “my” personal top 10. This is why we offer a comment section, so you can feel free to express your views. Okay so here we are starting at my number 10:

Super Bowl XIII, January 21, 1979, The Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida – Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

Two of the very best teams of the 70′s met in a rematch of the Steelers victory a few years before. The Steelers came into the game having won back to back bowls a few years ago and boasted that amazing “Steel Curtain” defense. Terry Bradshaw was the games MVP throwing for 318 yards and a record 4 touchdowns. Bradshaw’s effort spoiled a good outing by Cowboy QB Roger Staubach who tallied 3 TDs. The Steelers big 2 receivers, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth each went over 100 yards receiving, with Stallworth collecting 2 TDs, and 1 for Swann. After the Steelers scored twice in a 22 second span to start the 4th quarter, Dallas had closed out with 2 scores in the final 2 minutes. However an onside kick attempt failed, locking up the win for the Steelers. It had been the highest scoring game of its time, as Super Bowls past were mostly lower scoring affairs, or lop-sided blow outs. It marked Pittsburgh’s fourth victory in the last 6 Super Bowls.

Super Bowl XXXII, January 25th, 1998, Qualcomm Stadium San Diego, California – Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24

Two of the games most heroic, and reckless sharp shooting QB’s, Brett Favre and John Elway met on center stage in a battle of 2 very different teams. The Packers were Super Bowl winners the previous year and boasted a high flying passing attack with a stellar defense, while the Broncos were a smash-mouth, ground game offense with a decent defense. The Broncos were able to control the pace of the game led by game MVP, running back Terrel Davis, who rushed for 157 yards and 3 TDs, which is a record for running backs. They were able to out-do Favres good day of 256 yards and 2TDs. Davis’ final TD was a 2 yard walk with 1:46 left in the game after the Broncos were able to consume most of the clock in the 2nd half. Elway only contributed 125 passing yards and rushed for 1 TD, but it was enough on this day, as he managed a perfect offensive attack.

Super Bowl XXXIX, February 6th, 2005, Alltel Stadium Jacksonville, Florida – New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21

After three straight spoiled attempts in NFC Championship games, Andy Reid finally got his team to the big game where they would face the defending champs from New England. Despite striking first the Eagles could not contain Tom Brady and game MVP Deion Branch enough to pull a win out. The Pats defense collected 4 Eagles turnovers, and spoiled the return of Terrell Owens, who came back from an ankle injury to collect 9 catches for 122 yards. Donovan McNabb did manage 357 yards and 3 TDs for the Eagles, but will more be remembered for an alleged “vomiting” incident during the 4th quarter. Brady finished with 236 yards and 2 TDs, and Branch had 11 catches for 133 yards. The Eagles managed to score with 3 minutes left, then stopped the Pats on the next series, but could only muster 3 plays after that from their own 4 yard line.

Super Bowl III, January 12th, 1969, The Orange Bowl Miami, Florida – New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7

We all know by now that a cocky young QB named Joe Namath came out on the Thursday before the game and boldly predicted that the Jets would upset the Colts. What we did not expect was how well the Jets would control the game. Star QB Johnny Unitas did not start for the Colts do to an injury and the Jets defense was able to intercept QB Earl Morrel 3 times. The Jets also did big things in the running game and controlled the pace throughout. Namath was the MVP, throwing for 208 yards. The Colts coming in had dominated all year losing just once in 16 games. The win was the first for the AFL, now known as the AFC, and a win that put Namath on the map. Meanwhile a weakend Unitas played the 4th quarter and managed a TD pass.

Super Bowl XXXVI, February 3rd, 2002, The Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana – New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17

The Patriots came into this game riding high behind the arm of a young unproven kid named Tom Brady, who took over earlier in the season for the much famed QB Drew Bledsoe, who was lost to an injury. The Rams brought in their “greatest show on turf” offense,led by Kurt Warner, who came from nowhere to lead them to victory just 2 years earlier. It was the first time we would see the masterful defensive mind of Bill Belichick truly befuddle a high scoring offense. The Rams could muster just 267 total yards and turned the ball over 3 times, while MVP Brady worked his magic and the Pats collected 427 yards of offense while committing no turnovers. The game was capped with Brady leading the Pats down field and placing Adam Vinatieri in position for a 48 yard field goal as time expired,marking the first time in history a Super Bowl was decided on the last play. The win began the great legacy of Brady, who was the MVP, Vinatieri who became known as “Mr Clutch” and Belichick, and ended the reign of the mighty Rams. The vision of a stunned Brady, hands on head and shaking his head as if to say “I can’t believe it” is still an iconic piece shown in many Super Bowl history videos.

Super Bowl XXXVIII, February 1st, 2004, Reliant Stadium Houston, Texas – New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29

Seen by many as a potential mismatch, Panthers head coach John Fox brought in his unlikely cast of winners led by Jake Delhomme, a former Saints back up and Louisiana guy. Delhomme was very Brady-like in his outing recording 322 yards and 3 TD’s, while game MVP Brady threw for 354 yards and 3 TD’s. The Panthers fought it tooth and nail and gave the now mighty Patriots more then they could handle. Delhomme connected on bombs of 55 and 85 yards to keep his team in the game. However the downfall came after the Panthers last score. Delhomme had thrown a 14 yard TD pass to receiver Ricky Proehl to tie the game up, but kicker John Kasay sent the following kick off out of bounds, giving it to New England at the 40 yard line. Brady just needed 3 plays to set up Adam Vinatieri for his 2nd consecutive Super Bowl winning kick with just 4 seconds left. It would be the 2nd of 3 Super Bowls for the Patriots.

Super Bowl XXV, January 22nd, 1991, Joe Robbie Stadium Miami, Florida – New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19

A fully loaded Bills team with loads of talent came in to face a banged up Giants team who was playing without star QB Phil Simms. What happened was back up Jeff Hostetler playing an excellent game of management and game MVP Ottis Anderson working his battering ram running style into a Super Bowl record 41 minutes of time possession and controlled the game through out. Anderson ended with 102 yards and a TD, and Hostetler also had a TD. Thurman Thomas was the main guy for the Bills as he collected 190 yards of total offense. The Bills did get a last chance to win this game however, despite only seeing the ball for 7 minutes in the second half. After Giants kicker Matt Bahr gave the Giants a 20-19 lead, the Bills marched the ball downfield and got kicker Scott Norwood into position for a game winning 47 yard field goal. The rest, well quite simple, a historic miss known as “wide right” that haunts the fans of Buffalo and Norwood to this day. It was the Giants 2nd Super Bowl win in 5 years, and the beginning of a run that would see the Bills make 4 straight Super Bowls only to lose them all.

Super Bowl XLIII, February 1st, 2009, Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Florida – Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

Last years game became an instant classic. Many had felt that the Cardinals, seen as much the lesser team, would be blown out of the building by the mighty Steelers led by coach Mike Tomlin and a very ferocious defense. What they got instead was a great game filled with great plays and lots of offensive fireworks. It marked the coming out party of Cardinals superstar receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who collected 9 catches for 131 yards and 2 TDs. One of those being a long gain in which Fitzgerald was seen infamously watching the jumbo-tron to see the location of Steelers defenders behind him. The second was thought by many as the game winner with a minute remaining. Of course we all remember QB Ben Roethlisberger leading that final drive and game MVP Santonio Holmes becoming a miracle worker as well. Another big highlight was linebacker James Harrison scoring the longest TD in history taking a Cardinals turnover 99 yards right as the first half ended. The game however will always be remembered for Holmes and his skin of his toes 10 yard TD catch in the very back corner of the end zone with just 35 seconds left to play. It was the 2nd straight year a Super Bowl had been decided by a corner end zone catch with 35 seconds left and gave the Steelers the franchises 6th Super Bowl win, most in the league today.

Super Bowl XXIII, January 22, 1989, Joe Robbie Stadium Miami, Florida – San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16

In a rematch of a game played some 7 Super Bowls before, the Bengals were out to stop the legendary Joe Montana and take revenge for a loss years back. The 49ers escaped the previous meeting with a 26-21 win, and many of the experts saw this as a better Niners team. The Bengals managed to stay tight through the whole game and at the half it was just 3-3, the lowest half-time score in Super Bowl history. The Bengals started the 3rd quarter with a 93 yard kick return TD by Stanley Pritchard, only to see Montana strike back and connect with the games MVP Jerry Rice to tie it up. Rice had ended the day with 11 catches for a Super Bowl record 215 yards and a TD. The Bengals were able to get the next 2 scores on field goals and held a 16-13 lead with just under 3 minutes left. 3 minutes? Perhaps they never heard of Mr. Montana. The 49ers got the football back on their own 4 yard line, then Montana went to work. He gently dissected the Bengals secondary, picking it apart and doing brilliant time management as well as a perfect display of field leadership. In what is my rendition of “the drive”, Montana completed the comeback with a 10 yard TD pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds remaining and sealing another Super Bowl for the 49ers, making them the first NFC team to win 3 Super Bowls.

Super Bowl XXXIV, January 30th, 2000, Georgia Dome Atlanta, Georgia – St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16

A new century was upon us and a new era of football had come forth. In the pre-season the Rams had lost starting QB Trent Green, and with tears in his eyes at a press conference soon after, head coach Dick Vermeil had announced that an untested and unknown QB by the name of Kurt Warner would try and get them through this season. Warner had been an Arena football player, cut from several NFL teams and was working at a grocery store before the season. Through some miracle, the Rams had discovered the legendary “Greatest Show On Turf” led by Warner and loaded with talents like Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk. “The Show’ jumped out early and held a 16-0 halftime lead over the Titans, led by QB Steve McNair. The Titans were out gained 280 to 98 in the first half but managed to keep it close. Over the next quarter the Titans managed to climb back in it, and became the first team in Super Bowl history to overcome a 16-0 deficit. McNair’s passing was near flawless as he completed 22 out of 26 passes for 214 yards, and RB Eddie George got the score tied at 16 with a 1 yard TD rush. Warner, not to be denied led the Rams down field on the next series and managed to drive them to a TD and got them on top 23-16. McNair and his team then took their turn on the field. McNair, playing with a fearless demeanor connected on passes of 23 and 16 yards, working his team down the field. After getting inside the 10 yard line, McNair failed on his next 2 attempts. His last effort seemed to be a Super Bowl miracle, as he danced around pass rushers and found receiver Kevin Dyson opened on a slant. Dyson caught the ball at the 7 yard line and broke for pay dirt, only to be met by Rams linebacker Mike Jones. After being hit Dyson stretched with all his might and reached for the goal line, only to have the ball stop 1 yard short and they watched time expire. Clearly the best finish in Super Bowl history, the Rams won their first and only of that era and the Titans can only wonder what may have been, ending just 1 yard short.

So what do we expect this year? Well 2 great QBs with 2 great offenses and good ball hawking defenses. It’s tough to know if we will have a top 10 game on our hands, but one can always dream. Hey if not, can we please have a replay of Ally Landry at the laundro-mat? “Hey, pass the Doritos”

If you’d like to hear anything else from me on topics or ideas I can be reached at [email protected].

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About the author

Eric Gargiulo is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009.

View all articles by Eric Gargiulo

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