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The five best Super Bowls ever

The+Super+Bowl+is+often+long+on+spectacle+and+short+on+results.
The Super Bowl is often long on spectacle and short on results.

The Super Bowl is often long on spectacle and short on results.

Google image/Creative Commons license

Google image/Creative Commons license

The Super Bowl is often long on spectacle and short on results.

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After 51 Super Bowls, there are, of course, certainly at least a few that stand out as great games, worthy of being remembered for a long time.

Not every championship game, in any sport, will live up to expectations and be worth watching. The Super Bowl, for the first 30 or so years of its existence, consistently failed to live up to the hype. In the 1980s and ’90s, for example, only four games were decided by fewer than 10 points.

Still, there have been some classics, and a few games have been downright great. Following are the five best Super Bowls ever.

  1. Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17

What made this game so great was not the Patriots victory, but how close they were to losing.

The Patriots were the underdogs and the Rams were “The Greatest Show On Turf,” but the outcome speaks for itself. It was tied 17-17, and with “1:21 left on the clock […] Coach Bill Belichick decided to trust first-year starter Tom Brady,” according to the NFL website.

This was the first Super Bowl that Brady won and the first Super Bowl that Belichick won with the Patriots. Brady was a fresh face and an unproven talent.

He eventually drove the team 53 yards to set up a game-winning field goal by kicker Adam Vinatieri with two seconds left.

After Sunday’s historic result against Atlanta, it is fitting that Brady started his run in this game, in this way.

  1. Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16

“This game started out slowly, with the score just 3-3 at halftime,” according to YouTube Channel Watchmojo.com.

In less than three minutes, 49ers clutch quarterback Joe Montana, who was Brady’s boyhood idol, was able to engineer a 92-yard drive. It helped seal Montana’s reputation as perhaps the best clutch quarterback of all time.

With 34 seconds on the clock, Montana threw a winning touchdown pass to wide receiver John Taylor, securing Montana’s third Super Bowl ring.

The drive defeated a Bengals defense that had stymied the high-flying 49ers all day, even after Cincinnati star Tim Krumrie broke his leg.

  1. Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

The Cowboys, who lost two Super Bowls to the Steelers in four years, trailed by seven in the third quarter. They had a golden chance to tie the game when future Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith dropped an easy touchdown catch in the end zone.

Google image/Creative Commons license
Eli Manning and the Giants upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, ending their hopes for a perfect season.

Though Dallas rallied and made it close, the Steelers held on for the third of their four Super Bowl titles from 1975 to 1980. Close games are great, but sometimes one mistake is all it takes to prevent any hope of winning.

This game is particularly memorable because of the raw talent both teams had, and the number of future Hall of Famers on both sides.

  1. Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14

The Patriots were attempting to become the first team to win the Super Bowl with an undefeated season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins, and the first to go 19-0.

It may go down as the biggest upset in Super Bowl history, or at least the biggest since the New York Jets’ historic victory over the Baltimore Colts in 1969.

Giants wide receiver David Tyree made an “impossible” catch on his helmet that helped to seal New England’s doom. It is a moment that will haunt local fans forever.

The Patriots had a record-setting offense led by Brady and receiver Randy Moss, but it was not enough in the face of a superb defensive game plan by the Giants.

Such a turn of events is not uncommon in sports, but on a scale as grand as this one, it is something to remember.

  1. Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28

There have been games in which fans were shocked and mesmerized, and there have been games in which records have been broken, but only one Super Bowl has all those components and so much more.

The Patriots were involved again, and came away with a victory that very few thought possible and that history quite simply didn’t support.

Brady and Belichick took home a fifth Super Bowl championship with a comeback for the ages, rallying from a 25-point deficit when no team had ever overcome one of more than 10 points in football’s biggest game.

New England trailed 28-3 in the third quarter. Statistically, the Patriots had less than a 10 percent chance of winning entering the fourth quarter, according to NFL statisticians, but that did not deter Brady or the Patriots.

The Patriots rallied to send the game into overtime (a first in the Super Bowl) with a field goal, a fumble recovery, two touchdowns, and two two-point conversions. It all needed to go perfectly over the final 20 minutes and did.

The Patriots won the coin flip in overtime, received the ball, and marched down the field for a winning touchdown as all fans–of the Patriots and Falcons alike–looked on in shock.

It will not soon be forgotten.

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Obligated to Truth
The five best Super Bowls ever