The calendar has turned to the first Sunday in February. In the United States of America this Sunday has become an event, a party day. The National Football League will once again take center stage in America when its conference champions meet to decide an ultimate champion.
This spectacle holds so many memories for all of us. So many critical moments that have decided a championship, so many memories made on what is perhaps America’s biggest one day stage.
Before unveiling my top five, let’s look back at some general moments.
The biggest moment here in South Florida had to be on January 14, 1973. The Miami Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII to cap the NFL’s only fully undefeated season to date.
Prior to Super Bowl III, which was two years before the AFL-NFL merger, Joe Namath, quarterback of the AFL Champion New York Jets ran his mouth to the press. Namath guaranteed a Jets victory over the heavily favored NFL Champion Baltimore Colts. Joe Willie put his money where his mouth was, the Jets won the game 16-7. This win put the AFL on the map as an equal to the NFL.
Perhaps the best quarter of a Super Bowl belongs to the Washington Redskins. In Super Bowl XXII, down 10-0 after the first quarter, the Redskins offense, lead by MVP Doug Williams would put up 35 second quarter points. The ironic thing about this game was it originally had the markings of a Denver blowout. Williams took over the game at the start of the second frame with an 80 yard touchdown pass to Rickey Sanders. Washington never looked back and won the game 42-10.
To me Super Bowl XIII may have been one of the greatest offensive shows by two teams. Terry Bradshaw’s Steelers and Roger Staubach’s Cowboys went tit-for-tat. Pittsburgh won the game 35-31, the Cowboys were knocking on the door when time ran out.
Those are my general memories. Now I give you my top five moments.
Lynn Swann makes a leaping catch in Super Bowl X
#5 January 18, 1976 Super Bowl X:
In the second quarter of Super Bowl X between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, Terry Bradshaw launched a 53 yard sideline bomb to Lynn Swann. Swann would leap over the Cowboys defender who deflected the ball and reel it in. Pittsburgh would win 21-17.
New York Giants WR David Tyree catches a pass from Eli Manning against his helmet in Super Bowl XLII
#4 February 3, 2008 Super Bowl XLII:
With less than two minutes remaining in Super Bowl XLII and the New England Patriots leading the New York Giants 14-10 the Giants were driving. On their way to a game winning touchdown, Giants quarterback Eli Manning was being pursued and almost sacked by Patriots defenders. Manning launched a 32 yard pass that was caught by receiver David Tyree. Tyree also had a defender on him. He managed to clutch the football against his helmet and come down with it. The Giants would go on to win 17-14. The Super Bowl win ended an undefeated season for the Patriots.
Patriots Malcom Butler intercepts Seahawks Russell Wilson to seal a Patriots victory
#3 February 1, 2015 Super Bowl XLIX:
With 26 seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLIX the Seattle Seahawks had the ball on the New England Patriots 1 yard line. The millions of fans watching were expecting star running back Marshawn Lynch to run up the middle to score a go ahead touchdown. That was everyone other than the Seahawks brain trust. Quarterback Russell Wilson attempted a short pass that was picked off by undrafted rookie Malcom Butler, sealing a New England 28-24 win.
Titans Kevin Dyson is tackled by Rams Mike Jones in Super Bowl XXXIV
#2 January 30, 2000 Super Bo:wl XXXIV
The St. Louis Rams were leading the Tennessee Titans 23-16 with time running out in Super Bowl XXXIV. With six seconds remaining in the game, the Titans had the ball on the St. Louis 10 yard line. Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair hit Kevin Dyson up the middle for what seemed to be a game tying touchdown. Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Dyson just short of the goal line to seal a Rams win.
Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood misses a potential game winning field goal in Super Bowl XXV
#1 January 27, 1991 Super Bowl XXV:
There have been three game winning field goals in Super Bowl history, but the one that got away ranks as number one.
The Giants were leading the Bills 20-19 in Super Bowl XXV when Buffalo lined up for a possible game winning 47 yard field goal. Placekicker Scott Norwood was “money” through most of Buffalo’s season. Norwood’s kick would sail wide right making the New York Giants Super Bowl champions! Norwood would never recover his form after missing that field goal.
So what’s in the cards tonight? Another missed field goal?, another game winning field goal?, another crazy catch? History will record what happens in Houston this evening. Enjoy America’s unique sporting event!