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Top 10 Super Bowl Games in NFL History: #10 – 7


It’s the NFL’s grand daddy of them all: Super Bowl Sunday.  Average Joes become Joe Somebodies, stars transform into heroes, and heroes become legends.  Make no mistake about it, big plays will be made.  Somebody’s resolve and character will be tested.  There will either be elation or heartbreak.  This is just one guy’s opinion of course, of the what I consider the 10 best Super Bowls of all time.  Let the debate & the countdown, begin!

10.  Super Bowl XXXII: Denver  31, Green Bay  24

This was the fifth trip Denver was making to a Super Bowl and the previous four went very wrong.  The Broncos entered Super Bowl 32 0-4 in the big game, outscored 163-50 in their four blowout losses.  John Elway’s Super Bowl record: 0-3.  This was 15 years in the making for Elway and with much help from Terrell Davis, who rushed for 157 yards and a Super Bowl record three rushing touchdowns, the 11 1/2 point underdog Broncos upset the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers, 31-24.  Denver became only the second wild card team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl, snapping the AFC’s 13-game losing streak in Super Bowls in the process.

9.  Super Bowl III: New York 16, Baltimore 13

It’s a game that will not only live in the pantheon of NFL history, but sports history as well.  This was the classic description of David vs. Goliath.  The Colts entered Super Bowl III as an 18-point favorite.  But that didn’t stop “Broadway” Joe Namath from guranteeing a Jets victory the Thursday before the Super Bowl.  Namath and the Jets made good, shocking the world.  Behind a Matt Snell 4-yard touchdown run and three Jim Turner field goals (32, 30, 9), the Jets upset the heavily favored Colts, 16-7. 

Despite not throwing for a touchdown,  Namath was named MVP, completing 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards.  He’s the only Super Bowl MVP quarterback that hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass.  Johnny Unitas suffered a preseason injury that thrust backup Earl Morrall into the starting role.  Morrall flourished, leading the league with a passer rating of 93.2 and guided the Colts to the second best offense in football.  Morrall guided the Colts to 10 straight wins and an NFL best 13-1 regular season.  Baltimore head coach Don Shula decided to stick with Morrall even after Unitas was healthy.  Morral had a terrible Super Bowl performance, completing just 6 of 17 passes while throwing 3 interceptions.

8.  Super Bowl XXXVIII: New England 32, Carolina 29

The Patriots and the Panthers captivated the football world with arguably one of the most thrilling games, and finishes, ever.  And this from a game with only scoring in the second and fourth quarters.  After a scoreless first quarter, both teams combined for 24 points in the second quarter, all coming in the final four minutes of the first half.  New England took a 14-10 lead into halftime, and after a scoreless third, the Patriots were in the driver’s seat heading into the fourth.  Antowain Smith’s rushing score put New England further in front 21-10.  Carolina countered with a 33-yard rushing score from DeShaun Foster, cutting the lead back to four , 21-17.

Tom Brady threw an interception in the endzone, giving Carolina a chance to take the lead.  The Panthers indeed took the lead, on a Super Bowl record 85-yard touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme to Mushin Muhammad.  After their second failed two-point conversion attempt, Carolina held a slim advantage, 22-21.  Brady marched the Patriots 68 yards down the field, capping off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Mike Vrabel.  Kevin Faulk’s two-point conversion put the Patriots ahead 29-22 with just under three minutes left in the game.  Carolina, however, refused to concede the Lombardi Trophy to New England, as Delhomme countered with a 12-yard pass to Ricky Proehl and the game was tied 29-29 with 1:08 left to play.  But on the ensuing kickoff, Panthers kicker John Kasay’s kickoff went out of bounds, setting New England up at their own 40.  It took Brady four plays to get to the Panthers’ 23-yard line, and Adam Vinatieri nailed a 41-yard field goal with :04 seconds left to give New England the win, 32-29, and their second Super Bowl in three years.  Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time.

7.  Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31

This was the first Super Bowl rematch in NFL history.  Pittsburgh became the first team to appear in three Super Bowls and there were aiming to be the first NFL team to win three Super Bowls.  The Cowboys entered Super Bowl XIII the defending Super Bowl champions and Dallas was looking for payback after losing to the Steelers in Super Bowl X, 21-17.

Both teams have sent a combined 14 players to the NFL Hall of Fame from this game, aside from the head coaches Chuck Knoll and Tom Landry, who were also enshrined in Canton.  These were the two best defenses in all of football, which makes it rather surprising the “Steel Curtain” and the “Doomsday Defense” yielded a combined 66 points.

With the game tied at 7 after the 1st quarter, Cowboys linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson came up with a sack and a forced fumble on Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw, and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown, putting Dallas in front 14-7.  Their lead, however, was extremely short lived.  On the Steelers’ ensuing possession, on the third play of the drive, Bradshaw and wide receiver John Stallworth connected for a 75-yard score and the game was tied at 14.  With less than two minutes to go in the first half, Dallas moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 32-yard line, but Roger Staubach was intercepted by Mel Blount.  Bradshaw hit Rock Bleier for a 7-yard pass with 40 seconds to go in the first half to give Pittsburgh the lead, 21-14.

The turning point in the game came from a dropped pass by Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith late in the third quarter.  This was the play made famous by CBS broadcaster Verne Lundquist’s signature call: “Bless his heart, he’s got to be the sickest man in America!”.  Smith dropped what would have been a 10-yard touchdown pass that would have tied the game at 21.  Instead, the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal and trailed the Steelers 21-17.  Pittsburgh was seize control early in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns in 19 seconds: a 22-yard run by Franco Harris and an 18-yard reception by Lynn Swann.  Pittsburgh seemed to clinched victory, up 35-17, but Dallas refuse to go quietly.  Staubach droved the Cowboys 89 yards on 8 plays, capping off the drive with a 7-yard pass to Billy Joe Dupree.  Then Dallas recovered an onside kick, and went 52 yards in 9 plays to score on Staubach’s 4-yard pass to Butch Johnson. 

Dallas cut the lead to 35-31 with :22 seconds left, but their second onsides kick attempt failed, as Pittsburgh recovered and ran out the clock.  Bradshaw took home MVP  honors throwing for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He became the first players since the AFL-NFL in 1970 to win the AP Most Valuable Player award and the Super Bowl MVP in the same season.

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