The Top Five Super Bowls of All Time
by Jennifer Jordan
Ah, the Super Bowl. A time for parties, pizza, great commercials, and, of course, wardrobe malfunctions. There’s nothing quite like the “Big Game” to make people stand up and cheer, cheer for their team, cheer for their friend’s team, and cheer for a great halftime show. This year’s Super Bowl, set to kick off on February 4, could be one of the best ever. Not only is it located in beautiful, sunny and “always a party” Miami, but it also features the recipe for an exceptional game. Take one great offensive team, add one great defensive team, mix with Gatorade and let sit for four quarters. The end result: priceless.
The Indianapolis Colts, representing the AFC, have been one of the best offenses in football for the past several years. They, to put it frankly, are an offensive juggernaut. However, their defense struggles, especially to stop the run. On the other side, the Chicago Bears, the NFC champion, is a team that has always been, and is still, known for a stellar defense; their offense is the weaker link. Quarterback Rex Grossman is either hot or not, but when he’s not, he’s ice cold. With these two teams the score could be anything. A blow out on either side, a close game, or a 0-0 tie and double overtime.
With the anticipation of this year’s Super Bowl building, it’s hard not to look back on the championship games of yore. There have been extreme blowouts (the Denver Broncos of the 1980’s versus, well, anyone) and some games that were too close for comfort, especially for those with money on the line. The list below features the top five Super Bowls as deemed by a football expert and by a “football expert” I simply mean “me.”
Super Bowl III, New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts – Okay, I know this game was about four hundred years ago, but it is still one of the greatest ever played. Not only was it one of the biggest upsets in professional sports, but it also gave birth to “The Guarantee” when Joe Namath, the quarterback of the Jets, promised a New York Victory.
This game, an AFL-NFL Championship, involved the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, representing the NFL, and the underdog New York Jets, representing the AFL. Played in Miami, four quarters saw Joe Namath throw for 206 yards on his way to being named MVP. Though favored by twenty points in some books, the Colts were unable to even keep the game within one score as the Jets went on to a 16-7 victory.
Super Bowl XXV, Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants – For the years prior to this Super Bowl, the NFC had completely dominated championship games; there hadn’t been a close Super Bowl in what seemed like forever. But, enter the Buffalo Bills, a team that would lose, but only by one point, making this the closest Super Bowl in history.
A game that took place in the middle of the Gulf War, this game was marked by patriotism, a backup Giant’s quarterback, and a last minute field goal that was just a bit outside. As time expired, kicker Scott Norwood became the loneliest guy in the world as he watched his field goal attempt sail wide right. The Giants nearly named him MVP as they claimed a 20-19 victory.
Super Bowl XXXVI, New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams – In what is now viewed as the beginning of a dynasty, the New England Patriots claimed their first Super Bowl victory. A season that was marked by a grave reality check, with the attacks on September 11th, it seemed only fitting that a team called the “Patriots” would prevail.
Heavily labeled as an underdog, the New England Patriots jumped to a 17-3 lead over the St. Louis Rams. The Rams, refusing to hand over the championship reigns, tied the score as the game drew to a close. However, as time expired, the greatest clutch kicker in football, Adam Vinatieri, made a game winning 48 yard field goal, showing Scott Norwood exactly how it’s done. The Patriots won 20-17.
Super Bowl XXIII, San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals – A man known for comebacks, Joe Montana exhibited coolness under pressure to lead his team to a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the final seconds.
Losing by a score of 16-13, San Francisco fielded the ball on their own eight yard line with just over three minutes left on the clock. After going 92 yards, Montana found John Taylor in the end zone with 34 seconds left to play. Jerry Rice, the 49ers legendary receiver, was named MVP with a record 215 receiving yards and a touchdown. This game marked the beginning of a San Francisco climb to greatness, and a Cincinnati downfall to mediocrity.
Super Bowl XXXII, Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers – As a lifelong Denver Bronco fan (Hi, Jay Cutler!), there is no way I can leave this game off the list of greatest Super Bowls ever. Call me sentimental, but watching John Elway win his first Super Bowl, after losing three others, brought a tear to my eye….mainly because I had money on the Packers.
With Green Bay favored by 11 and a half points, no one gave the Broncos much of a chance. They, along with the Buffalo Bills, were pretty much the joke of the Super Bowl. However, when halftime came along and the Broncos were actually winning, the ghosts of Super Bowl past slowly began to disappear. This game came down to the wire and included an eight yard run by a 37 year old Elway on third down. The Broncos went on to win the first of their two Super Bowls with a score of 31-24. They became only the second Wild Card team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl and the first AFC team in fourteen championship contests to claim victory.
And now, we have this years Super Bowl: the Indianapolis Colts versus the Chicago Bears. Picking a winner, for me, is rather easy: the Denver Broncos, all the way.