The most watched TV event of the year is the event that friends and foes get together with ultimate bragging rights at stake. Every house on the block has cars lined up all across the sidewalk. If you are the person with the biggest and nicest TV, then you get to host.
The Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is one of the most iconic events in history. Not only for the players who are in it for the chance of immortality in the sports world but also for those who tune in to watch.
And when millions of viewers at home and thousands in the stadium are on the edge of their seats the whole game, it is only right that you give the people what they want. Here is the list of the best Super Bowl plays of all time.
Tracy Porter Seals it!
You’re facing Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl and your team is leading by seven points late in the fourth quarter. Manning is not going to go out like that, so he marches his team up the field like the great quarterback he is so that he could tie the game back up in Super Bowl XLIV.
On a third-and-five situation, Manning drops back and throws the ball to Reggie Wayne. Out of the shadows, defensive back, Tracy Porter intercepts it and takes the ball 74 yards back for a game-sealing touchdown. Big time players make big time plays.
The return to end it all
Heisman trophy winners are expected to make significant impacts once they come into the NFL. At least bigger impacts than those who did not win the Heisman, but Desmond Howard was a late bloomer. In his first four seasons, he did not live up to his expectations. That is until he went to the Green Bay Packers and helped them flip the switch.
In Super Bowl XXXI, Howard made a record-setting kickoff return of 99 yards. The Patriots had just closed the gap on the score and on the ensuing kick-off return, Howard turned into a beast to seal the game. Evading The Patriots for 99 yards is a tall task but he did it.
Jack swings momentum
Super Bowl XVIII was an embarrassing blowout for the Washington Redskins. The then-Los Angeles Raiders turned the game into a debacle thanks to a big play that happened right before halftime. For reference, the Redskins had the record for most points scored in a season by a team with 541.
With 12 seconds remaining and possession of the ball, the Redskins decided to throw a screen pass on their own 12-yard line. Big mistake, because Jack Squirek was like a lion on the prowl as he picked that ball off and returned it for a touchdown. That put the score at 21-3 and after the half, the Raiders would go on a tear, with the final score at 38-9, Raiders.
Swann Saves the Day
Lynn Swann changed from boy to man during Super Bowl X. It was like he was playing at a different speed than every defender out there the way he would make the spectacular catches he made. He went on to get Super Bowl MVP honors for his performance.
This was in route to the Steelers back-to-back Super Bowl wins so it made his performance that much better. The play that made everyone drop their jaw is when he tight-roped the sideline and leaped above his defender to bring in the 53-yard gain. Again, it was truly spectacular.
John Stallworth breaks open the lid
In Super Bowl XIV, the Los Angeles Rams were putting the Steelers against the ropes as they were giving them all they could handle. The Rams took a 19-17 two-point lead in the third quarter and that lasted until the fourth quarter rolled around. Then one play changed it all.
The Steelers called the number of John Stallworth and threw a 73-yard touchdown bomb to him. It was third-and-eight so it was a passing situation, especially in the fourth quarter. What happened was Stallworth burned the defender and trusted his hands for the catch. The final score ended up being 31-19, Steelers.
Ricky Sanders goes all the way
The largest Super Bowl deficit overcome by a winner belongs to the Washington Redskins when they trailed 0-10 in Super Bowl XXII. The Broncos grew their lead in the first quarter but once the second quarter came, things went to a new level for the Redskins.
Just before halftime, the Redskins went crazy and scored 35 unanswered points! Most games don’t even get to that point total, let alone one team getting that in one quarter during the Super Bowl! What sparked it was Ricky Sanders catching a long pass and taking it 83 yards to the end zone.
The Mario Miracle
The funny thing about this scenario is that it wasn’t the first time the Giants burned the Patriots in the Super Bowl (we’ll get to the other one later on.) In Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots were up 17-15 and it looked like the game might be over with 3:46 left to play.
On their first possession of that drive, Eli Manning threw a pass to the sideline where only his receiver could catch it. Mario Manningham reeled in the catch while having the presence of mind to keep both feet in bounds before heading out. That catch led to the game-winning score.
The Elusive Ingram
This was remembered as one of the greatest Super Bowls to be played. It all came down to ball control for the Giants because, without that, they would have lost the game. During the third quarter, the Giants were down to the Bills in Super Bowl XXV 10-12 and Mark Ingram let his skills shine.
On third-and-thirteen, Ingram caught a short pass then proceeded to break five tackles as he ran his way to achieving the first down. That first down was very pivotal as that same drive the Giants would score to help secure a victory.
Marcus sets a record
The LA Raiders’ remarkable running back, Marcus Allen tore the field wide open in Super Bowl XVIII when the Raiders took on the Washington Redskins. The game was a rout in the end, but Allen made a play that would cement his legacy forever when he broke the then longest rushing touchdown.
A 74-yard rushing touchdown in the Super Bowl is ridiculous. Even in a regular game that is quite the accomplishment. Allen started the play by reversing field and just blazing the defenders to the end zone. The defending champions were shocked and straight demolished by the Raiders that day.
Defense wins championships
The San Francisco 49ers were the team of the ’80s. In Super Bowl XVI they proved why that is. Playing against the Cincinnati Bengals, the 49ers showed the true meaning of smash mouth defense on a crucial goal-line stand. The Bengals were on the one-yard line with four chances to score but failed.
On the third attempt, the Bengals’ quarterback threw a pass to running back Charles Alexander and it looked like a sure score until Dan Bunz appeared and knocked out all hope. Bunz made an amazing open field tackle that stopped Alexander in his tracks forcing a fourth down failed attempt.
Holmes Brings it Home!
In Super Bowl XLIII, the Steelers ended the Arizona Cardinals in a thrilling finish performed by Big Ben and Santonio Holmes. Holmes was the true star bringing in 73 yards total on the Steelers’ game-winning drive but it was his last catch that deserves the glory.
Holmes pulled off his best ballerina act when he caught the game-winning touchdown in the end zone. First, he extended as high as he could to bring in the catch before landing perfectly on two feet looking like he tippy toed it before falling out of bounds. He had a total of 131 yards.
Elway willed his way to Victory
One of the greatest, John Elway was determined to win this Super Bowl at 37-years old. The legend had failed in previous attempts to win the big game but something possessed him this game as he did what no one expected him to do, which ultimately, decided the game for his Broncos.
Super Bowl XXXII pitted the Packers against the Broncos with the Packers being the reigning champs. The score was tied at 17 in the third quarter when Elway took matters into his own hands. He scrambled for an eight-yard touchdown and as he went to dive for it, he was clobbered in the air and did a “helicopter.” After that, the Broncos scored and the Packers couldn’t recover.
James Harrison brings the momentum
Aside from the biggest play of this Super Bowl we already mentioned a few slides back, it is also imperative that we include this defensive triumph as well. Santonio Holmes may have stolen the show on offense during Super Bowl XLIII but Harrison set the tone on defense in a major way.
When the first half was coming to an end, the Steelers were up on the Cardinals 10-7 and the Cardinals were at the one-yard line primed to score. Kurt Warner threw the ball and Harrison intercepted with cat-like reflexes. He took it 100 yards for a touchdown.
The Diesel brings it home
Super Bowl XVII pitted the Miami Dolphins against the Washington Redskins. With ten minutes left in regulation, the Redskins were in a tricky situation on a fourth-and-one with the Dolphins up 17-13. They are on the Dolphins’ 43-yard line and so they did what anybody else would do with a player named The Diesel.
They gave the ball to John Riggins for a hand-off and he ran over one defensive back on his way to scoring a much-needed touchdown that would help them win the game. Riggins is a Hall of Famer and rightfully so.
Can I Kick It? – Adam Vinatieri
This is the play that kick-started the Patriots’ dynasty, no pun intended. In Super Bowl XXXVI, the “Greatest Show on Turf” drew a match-up against an unknown quarterback Tom Brady so everyone thought the Rams would walk away with this one. There is no way that an unknown quarterback can lead his team in a Super Bowl.
Brady proved to be a worthy opponent as he marched his troops in perfect field goal position with little time left on the clock. With the score tied at 17, Adam Vinatieri was brought out to secure the victory. With a clutch gene and a 48-yard game-winning Super Bowl kick in his resume, Vinatieri is an icon.
Joe keeps it cool
In Super Bowl XXIII, a rematch of the defensive stand we mentioned earlier, Joe Montana lives up to his nickname “Cool.” The 49ers were down 16-13 to the Bengals with three minutes left as they got the ball back and Montana led his team down the field with grace and conviction.
It was 92 total yards the 49ers had to go to score so that was no easy task at all. At 82 yards, Montana saw something and made a ten-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor. That left 34 seconds on the clock and the Bengals could not respond in time.
Super Bowl XXXIV was full of amazing plays but this one was the most important in the grand scheme of things. The Rams were called the “Greatest Show on Turf” but the Titans were making pretty spectacular plays including Steve McNair’s amazing escape. This great play came on the defensive end.
Right after the McNair play, with only five seconds left, the Titans were ten yards away from scoring and tying the game up. McNair found Kevin Dyson wide open. Dyson appeared to have an open runway to score but Mike Jones hit him where it mattered on the one-yard line ending the Titans’ hope.
It was the Butler
One of the more controversial plays in Recent Super Bowl history, Coach Pete Carrol thought the game-winning play should be a short pass on the goal-line. Not too bad of an idea, but when you remember they had a player by the name of “Beast Mode” aka Marshawn Lynch, you might think that one would just punch it up the middle.
That wasn’t the case in Super Bowl XLIX when the Seahawks chose to make Russell Wilson pass the ball from the one-yard line. The quick pass was picked off by rookie Malcolm Butler and the game was over. Patriots won 28-24.
The Helmet Catch
As promised, we bring back the Giants and the Patriots but this time in Super Bowl XLII. This was the season the Patriots were supposed to dominate and a silly helmet catch ruined all of that. Patriot fans still call it a “lucky throw” by Eli Manning, who looked like he just closed his eyes and flung it- but it happened.
Manning launched the ball after escaping a sack and heaved it to David Tyree. If Manning would have been sacked or Tyree wouldn’t have used his head on the catch, the whole plot would be different in sports talks today.