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The top 10 Super Bowls – so far

Will Super Bowl XLIII top any of these classic matches?

XXV
Jan. 27, 1991
Giants 20, Bills 19

Set against the backdrop of the first Gulf War, the high-powered no-huddle Buffalo Bills offence entered Super Bowl XXV having scored 95 points in two playoff games, and were 10-point favourites over the ball-control, grind-it-out New York Giants. In the only Super Bowl where neither team turned the ball over once, the Parcells-Belichick Giants defence held Buffalo’s K-Gun offence in check and ate up the clock to the tune of 40:33 in time of possession. Thurman Thomas’s dramatic 31-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Bills a two-point lead, but after a 10-minute New York drive ended in a Matt Bahr field goal, the Bills desperately drove back downfield, setting up a Scott Norwood 47-yard game winning field goal. He missed wide right, with seven seconds on the clock.

XLII
Feb. 3, 2008
Giants 17, Patriots 14

The New England Patriots arrived in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIII 18-0, only the second undefeated regular season team in NFL history. But the wild-card New York Giants came in riding a wave of momentum. New England had a season-low seven points at halftime, leading only by four. In the fourth quarter the Pats appeared to take control when Tom Brady hooked up with Randy Moss on a six-yard touchdown pass, but on the ensuing Giants drive Eli Manning escaped a sack and found David Tyree on 3rd and 5 with a near-miracle 32-yard first down completion with 1:15 left.

The Giants then punched in the Super Bowl-winning score when Plaxico Burress caught a 13-yard TD pass from Manning.

XXXVIII
Feb. 1, 2004
Patriots 32, Panthers 29

In a game better known for Justin Timberlake’s cheap feel on Janet Jackson, spun by the machine into a “wardrobe malfunction,” the Patriots again found themselves involved in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever, this time against the Carolina Panthers. Carolina held a one-point lead with under seven minutes left, but after trading touchdowns in the last three minutes, a penalty on the Panthers kickoff would set up Adam Vinatieri’s second last minute Super Bowl-winning field goal in three years.

XXXVI
Feb. 3, 2002
Patriots 20, Rams 17

The Patriots were pitted against the favoured St. Louis Rams and their “Greatest Show on Turf” offence. The plucky Pats and fledgling QB Tom Brady opened up a shocking 14-3 lead at halftime before Kurt Warner and the Rams offence responded in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 17 with 1:30 left in the game. The Brady legend planted its seeds in the next minute and 23 seconds as he led New England downfield, setting up Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning 48-yard field goal.

XXXIV
Jan. 30, 2000
Rams 23, Titans 16

The first Super Bowl of the new millennium was as boring as they come for most of the game, with the St. Louis Rams leading Tennessee 16-0 midway through the third. But after the Titans scored 16 unanswered points, St. Louis got it’s record-setting offence going, with Kurt Warner throwing a 73-yard TD strike to Isaac Bruce with under seven minutes left. Scrambling to tie the game, Steve McNair and the Titans moved the ball downfield, and with six seconds left and no timeouts, McNair hit Kevin Dyson on a slant pass inside the Rams’ 3. However St. Louis linebacker Mike Jones was shadowing Dyson and immediately tackled him at the one-yard line as time expired.

XXIII
Jan. 22, 1989
49ers 20, Bengals 16

Tied at six in the third quarter, Cincinnati’s Stanford Jennings returned a San Francisco kickoff for an electrifying 93-yard touchdown. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice went to work, tying the game early in the fourth before a Bengals field goal put Cincinnati back in front 16-13. The greatest clutch player in professional football history took control with 3:10 remaining, as Montana drove the Niners 92 yards in 11 plays. In a huddle at the Cincinnati 10, Montana said to tackle Harris Barton, “Look, there’s John Candy,” pointing out the Canadian comic in the stands. Montana then promptly won the Super Bowl, hitting John Taylor for the game-winning score with 34 seconds remaining.

XXXII
Jan. 25, 1998
Broncos 31, Packers 24

John Elway had been at the helm of three Broncos Super Bowl losses, losing by a combined score of 136-40. With this game tied at 17, Elway took off on a third-down scramble, leaping for a first down as two Packer defenders hit him, helicoptering the 37-year old through the air. The play became the defining moment of Elway’s career. With the game tied again at 24 with 1:45 left in the game, Terrell Davis ran the ball in for his third touchdown of the day as the Broncos finally took home a title to the Rockies.

XIII
Jan. 21, 1979
Steelers 35, Cowboys 31

Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann put the Steelers ahead 35-17 in the fourth, but Dallas didn’t go quietly. The Cowboys scored two touchdowns in the last three minutes, but Pittsburgh recovered an onside kick with 17 seconds left to seal the Steeler win.

XXXIX
Feb. 7, 2005
Patriots 24, Eagles 21

After scoring a touchdown and kicking a field goal for a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and the Eagles offence moved 79 yards in 13 plays to score and cut the lead to three inside two minutes. Rodney Harrison clinched New England’s win when he picked off McNabb with 40 seconds left.

XXXI
Jan. 26, 1997
Packers 35, Patriots 21

After a high-scoring back-and-forth first half, New England cut the lead to six in the third quarter on a Curtis Martin TD scamper. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Desmond Howard ran the kick back 99 yards to put the game away for Green Bay.

 
 
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