It’s the most wonderful time of the year–yes, it is Super Bowl weekend. Once again, I’m saddened that my beloved Bears aren’t playing (I’ve been sad for 23 years in a row… and am still stinging at the close call two years ago). But in any case, it’s still the Super Bowl. And I’m calling it Arizona 27, Pittsburgh 24 in the first Super Bowl to go into OT. For 43 years, professional football in America has celebrated this institution. Today, in celebration of Sunday’s festivities, I’ll give you my top five NFL title games of all time. Here we go…
5. Super Bowl XXII: Washington def. Denver 42-10
I actually hated this game, since I loathe the Redskins. I remember catching the first quarter, then going to church that evening… and I missed the greatest offensive onslaught in one quarter in Super Bowl history. Washington scored 35 points in the second quarter, a feat not equaled since. Throw in the fact that Redskins running back Timmy Smith set the Super Bowl rushing record with over 200 yards rushing, and Doug Williams becomes the first black quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl title. I still don’t like the result, but I’ve got mad respect for the history this game made.
4. Super Bowl XLII: New York def. New England 17-14
Last year’s contest was an instant classic. The undefeated Patriots should have destroyed the Giants. It wasn’t meant to be. I wanted New England to win, just to see history be made. But Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress crushed New England’s hope for history, and New York’s defense simply crushed New England. One of the greatest defensive efforts in Super Bowl history, and certainly the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.
3. Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis def. Tennessee 23-16
A great back-and-forth contest. Kurt Warner leads the “greatest show on turf” to a 16-0 lead, only to see Steve McNair lead the Titans to 16 unanswered points (the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history). Warner then connects with Isaac Bruce on a 73-yard TD… and McNair leads the drive that comes up one foot short. The greatest ending to a Super Bowl ever. Instant classic.
2. Super Bowl XXIV: San Francisco def. Denver 55-10
I love super tight games, but I also love an all-out blowout of complete dominance. This was total dominance in every sense of the word. I remember cheering for Denver because I wanted poor John Elway to win one. This wasn’t it. At all. Joe Montana was at his best. Jerry Rice totally carved up that poor Denver secondary. The deep post route worked all day long for the Montana-to-Rice connection. Montana set a record with 5 TD passes. Total annihilation.
1. Super Bowl XX: Chicago def. New England 46-10
For those of you who know me, are you really that surprised? The greatest defense of all time. The greatest running back of all time. The cockiest QB of all time. The greatest gimmick of all time (The Fridge scores a TD). The greatest (well, the corniest) dance of all time (the Super Bowl shuffle). No Super Bowl has ever had a more sure outcome before opening kickoff. Everyone knew that Chicago was going to destroy New England. The only question was whether or not the defense would be able to do what no defense before it had done–shut out every playoff opponent. Well, they came close. The greatest team of all time (not dynasty… team) wins the biggest game in their history.
Your turn–what is the greatest Super Bowl of all time?