With a new NFL season on the horizon and a Vince Lombardi trophy that could end up in a number of places come February 7th at the Raymond James Stadium, we take a walk back in time to reflect on the greatest Super Bowls of all time. Let’s go.
The 5 greatest Super Bowls of all time
5) Super Bowl XXV (1991)
Fifth on our list of the greatest Super Bowls ever takes us back to January 1991, which happens to be the furthest back we travel. The game saw the New York Giants edge out Buffalo Bills 20-19. It should have been easy to forecast a close encounter with both sides ending the season with 13-3 records with the Bills boasting the strongest offense and the Giants the meanest defence.
The Bills led the game at the halfway stage, despite falling behind to Matt Bahr’s field goal. The tightly contested affair was flipped on its head in the third quarter though as the Giants added seven points without reply. Then, with the game at the death, the Bills spurned a chance to snatch victory when Scott Norwood sent a field goal attempt agonisingly wide.
4) Super Bowl XLIX (2015)
It’s fair to say that this matchup between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks didn’t begin like one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time. Thankfully, things picked up in dramatic fashion after the first quarter and it became a class. The Seahawks had breezed to the trophy a year earlier with a 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos but a 0-0 first quarter followed by a second that saw half time come with the scores tied 14-14 meant this year’s match was going to be a tougher one to triumph in.
After the interval, it looked like the Seahawks were going to do something that hadn’t been done since 10 years earlier, when the Patriots won back to back Super Bowls with Steven Hauschka and Doug Baldwin opening up a 10 point advantage. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Tom Brady was in record setting form and he threw for two touchdowns in the final quarter as the Patriots went from 24-14 down win 28-24.
Of course, just for good measure the Seahawks made a hugely controversial call in the final moments, which many believe cost them victory.
3) Super Bowl XLIII (2009)
There might be a few fans calling for XLIII to rank higher in our list but they’ll have to make do with third. It was a sensational affair though. The Steelers came into the game as heavy favourites with most people sharing the view that the AFC was of much better quality than the NFC where the Cardinals has only posted a 9-7 record.
The game looked to be playing out according to those odds too with the Steelers winning each of the first three quarters to sit in a healthy 20-7 lead with just the fourth to play. The Cardinals, who were coached by former Steelers man Ken Whisenhunt, were not about to let them have it easy though. The final quarter saw the team from Arizona come roaring back with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald scoring twice from Kurt Warner throws to give them a three point advantage. They do say it’s the hope that gets you though and the Steelers turned it on with Santonio Holmes, who was named MVP, taking the catch to break Cardinal hearts. It ended 27-23.
2) Super Bowl LII (2018)
The Patriots arrived in Minneapolis aiming to retain the Vince Lombardi trophy by beating the Philadelphia Eagles just as they had done in 2005 at Super Bowl XXXIX when the teams played out a compelling game with the Patriots nicking the win in the final quarter. That day it ended 24-21. In LII, the teams came in evenly matched. Both had a regular season record of 13-3 and both entered their respective play-offs as the number one seed.
The match itself was an enthralling watch. The Eagles took an early lead and arrived at half time 22-12 to the good. Nick Foles was bossing things for the Eagles but season MVP Brady wasn’t keen to stay in his opposing quarterback’s shadow as the two offenses served up what turned out to the second highest scoring Super Bowl of all time with their combined yardage of 1,151 yards a NFL record – Super Bowl or otherwise.
By the time the final quarter came around the Patriots had cut the deficit to just three points. The match was on a knife edge as the last few minutes approached but the Eagles opened up a 41-33 lead with just 60 seconds on the clock. The Patriots had one minute to rescue a tie. Time ticked away. 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds, nine seconds remaining and then Brady, who had already thrown 505 yards to break his own Super Bowl record, went for the hail Mary. It didn’t work. The Patriots had posted a record points haul for a losing side whilst the Eagles had their first ever Super Bowl win.
1) Super Bowl LI (2017)
At number one in our list of the greatest Super Bowls of all time is a meeting of the Patriots (yes, again) and the Atlanta Falcons. Why is it deserving of top spot? Well, for starters it was a rollercoaster that had you on the edge of your seat whether you were a supporter of either side or not. Then there was the turnaround, which is what truly set LI apart from the rest.
After a scoreless opening quarter the Falcons flew into action in the second to open up a 21-3 advantage; the Patriots only getting off the mark in the dying moments of the half. They failed to build on that after the restart though and the Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan teed up Tevin Coleman to open up a 25 point chasm. It looked to be an unassailable lead particularly with Brady not firing on all cylinders for the Patriots having already being intercepted for a pick-six.
With Patriot fans fearing a big loss, Brady showed his mental strength to throw his side back into contention. The first coming with 2:06 left in the third as he fed James White for a touchdown. The fourth is where the action really happened though. There were still 19 points in it but the Brady resurgence continued and with 57 seconds remaining the game was level. 28-28 with the Patriots scoring 19 without reply. For the first time ever, a Super Bowl would go to overtime. The Patriots won it too with White grabbing the vital points to make it 34-28 to complete the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Oh, and after all that, Brady scooped the MVP award.
There you have it, the five greatest Super Bowls of all time. How will LV measure up?
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