Latest posts by hgfwatson (see all)
- Ranked – Best Super Bowl Games Of All Time (#41 – #31) - February 27, 2018
- NFL Legends – Player Profile: Warren Moon - February 21, 2018
- Ranked – Best Super Bowl Games Of All Time (#52 – #42) - February 20, 2018
Which was the best Super Bowl? Here are the first 10 Super Bowls in our list ranking the worst to the best.
#52 – Super Bowl XXXV: Ravens 34 – 7 Giants (2000)
Everyone loves a shutout once in a while, unless its your team, but when it comes to deciding Super Bowl champion, the game should be close and hotly contested. This game was not.
Despite entering the game as a wild card team, the Baltimore Ravens had arguably one of the dominant defenses in the NFL with players like Ray Lewis, Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson.
However, their safe style of offence, not going for big plays meant Baltimore’s passing game could at times be dull. In the Super Bowl, Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer only passed for 153 yards. Running back Jamal Lewis did manage a 102 yard game.
The Giants scored one lone touchdown, a special teams 97- yard kickoff return touchdown. The Ravens only gave up 152 yards of offense by New York (the third-lowest total ever in a Super Bowl), quarterback Kerry Collins was sacked four times; all 16 of the Giants’ possessions ended with punts or interceptions, with the exception of the last one, which ended with time expiring in the game.
#51 – Super Bowl VI: Cowboys 24 – Dolphins 3 (1971)
Tom Landy’s Cowboys finally shook off the reputation that they were unable to win big games, clinching their first Super Bowl. Holding the Dolphins to the fewest points in any Super Bowl.
“The difference between the Dolphins and Cowboys was that the Dolphins were just happy to be in the game and the Cowboys came to win the game”
– Cornell Green, Dallas Cowboys defensive back in Super Bowl VI, reflecting on the Cowboys victory.
Looking at this game, it is hard to believe than in a year the Miami Dolphins would go on to not only win the Super Bowl but also be the only team to go undefeated while doing it, a record which still stands today.
#50 – Super Bowl XI: Raiders 32 – Vikings 14 (1976)
Despite having a veteran quarterback in Fran Tarkenton and the dominating “Purple People Eaters”, the Vikings fourth and most recent attempt at Super Bowl glory, ended in disappointment against John Madden’s Raiders.
– “Purple People Eaters”, (image courtesy of Wikipedia (CC)
Oakland gained a Super Bowl record 429 yards, including a Super Bowl record 288 yards in the first half alone.
After a scoreless first quarter, Oakland scored on three consecutive possessions to take a 16–0 lead at halftime. The Raiders also had two fourth quarter interceptions, including 75-yard return for a touchdown by Raiders cornerback Willie Brown.
#49 – Super Bowl XII: Cowboys 27 – 10 Broncos (1977)
Expectations were high for this Super Bowl. Denver Broncos quarterback Craig Morton had the opportunity to defeat this old team and ex- teammate Roger Staubach.
Morton began his career playing for the Cowboys in 1965. Staubach joined the Cowboys in 1969 after four years service in the US Armed Forces; soon both quarterbacks competed for the starting job. By 1971, Staubach won the starting position.
The Broncos until this point were a dismal franchise, taking them 14 years to record a winning season. New coach Red Miller formed a formidable defense became known as “Orange Crush”.
The Cowboys had their own defensive stronghold with the “Doomsday Defense” as well as a new weapon on offence, rookie running back Tony Dorsett, who proved he was a handful for any teams defense.
Dallas crushed Denver as the hyped up quarterback rivalry fizzled out into a one-sided Cowboys victory due to an error-prone Broncos offence (suffering eight turnovers).
#48 – Super Bowl XLVIII: Seahawks 43 – 8 Broncos (2013)
In any game, every team in the NFL wants to set the tone for a game to aide them to victory.
This was supposed to be a titanic clash of the No. 1 offense vs. No. 1 defense. But when the first snap of the game sailed over Peyton Manning’s head and scooted into the end zone for a safety, the blowout that came next was suddenly less surprising.
The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43–8, the largest margin of victory for an underdog team. This became the first Super Bowl victory for the Seahawks and the fifth Super Bowl loss for the Broncos, the most of any team.
The chasm between pre-game expectations and final outcome may have been the widest in the game’s history. Seattle’s Legion of Boom defense stifled a Peyton Manning-led offense that had scored a league-record 606 points.
#47 – Super Bowl XXIX: 49ers 49 – 26 Chargers (1994)
Everyone loves an underdog victory. No one gave San Diego a chance and the 49ers proved that outlook correct, crushing the chargers 49 to 26.
If you are a 49ers fan this game was superb. Steve Young could finally get out of the shadow of his predecessor, the great Joe Montana.
With Young at the helm, and a defense consisting of several veteran free agents who joined the team during the previous off-season, San Francisco finished the regular season with a league-best 13–3 record, and led the league in total points scored (505).
The Chargers, on the other hand, were regarded as a underdog team, and advanced to their first Super Bowl after posting an 11–5 regular-season.
In the first Super Bowl where both teams scored in every quarter, the 49ers remained in control and saw MVP Steve Young pass for a game-record six touchdowns as San Francisco became the first team to win five Super Bowls.
#46 – Super Bowl XXVII: Cowboys 52 – 17 Bills (1992)
This Super Bowl marked the Buffalo Bills third loss in search of Super Bowl glory as they with outplayed and dominated by the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys forced a Super Bowl record nine turnovers (four interceptions and five lost fumbles) en route to their win over Buffalo. Thirty-five of the Cowboys’ points came off those turnovers, including three first half touchdowns.
Bills backup quarterback Frank Reich, replaced injured starter Jim Kelly in the second quarter, cut the lead to 31–17, but this was not enough.
MVP QB Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith and wide receiver Michael Irvin continued to march over the Bills in the final Super Bowl played at the iconic Rose Bowl.
#45 – Super Bowl XX: Bears 46 – 10 Patriots (1985)
Believe it or not there was a time, before the mystic wisdom of Bill Belichick and play making ability of Tom Brady that the New England Patriots were underdogs; and as we have already seen in this countdown, underdog stories do not always have the glamorous Hollywood happy ending.
The upstart Patriots actually led 3-0 before the vaunted ’85 Bears defense shuffled its way to a blowout that did not include the touchdown Hall of Famer Walter Payton had long desired.
#44 – Super Bowl XXVI: Redskins 37 – 24 Bills (1991)
The Buffalo Bills lost back to back Super Bowls with this defeat against the Washington Redskins. Despite the relatively close scoreline, the game was not as close as it seems. The Redskins jumped to a early 17–0 lead in the second quarter, from which the Bills could not recover.
Washington also sacked Kelly four times as well as intercepting him four times. Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien, who completed 18 of 33 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, was named Super Bowl MVP. This would be Washington’s third and final championship under head coach Joe Gibbs.
#43 – Super Bowl XXIV: 49ers 55 – 10 Broncos (1989)
In Joe Montana saved the very best for last Super Bowl appearance as the 49ers legend quarterback won his third MVP with 297 passing yards and five touchdowns as the Niners scooped up another Super Bowl victory, firmly establishing Montana as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Whilst setting Super Bowl records for points scored and margin of victory.
The 49ers finished the 1989 regular season with a league best 14–2 record. The Broncos, who posted an 11–5 regular season record, entered the Super Bowl looking to avoid tying the Minnesota Vikings with four Super Bowl losses.
Although Elway’s performance in the AFC Championship Game was widely considered his career best to that point, many sports writers, fans and bookmakers believed that the Broncos’ best effort would not be good enough to beat the 49ers. They were correct.
This game remains the most one-sided game in Super Bowl history. San Francisco’s 55 points were the most ever scored by one team, and their 45-point margin of victory was also the largest ever. The 49ers are also the only team to score at least eight touchdowns in a Super Bowl.
#42 – Super Bowl II: Packers 33 – 14 Raiders (1967)
The second AFL – NFL Championship Game or Super Bowl II as it is more commonly known saw the returning champion Green Bay Packers face off against the Oakland Raiders, who were part of the upstart AFL league, which was still seeking its first Super Bowl winning team.
The NFL was considered vastly superior to the newly formed AFL. The Raiders on paper looked like the stronger team, achieving a 13-1 regular season, better than the Packers 9-4-1 record. The Raiders also crushed the Houston Oilers 40-7 in the AFL Championship game.
The main anchor of the Raiders team was its defense nicknamed “11 Angry Men” consisting of future greats Jim Otto and Gene Upshaw, along with Pro Bowlers Harry Schuh and Wayne Hawkins. Renowned for an aggressive pass rush, defensive lineman Ben Davidson even broke Joe Namath’s jaw in a regular season match up against the New York Jets.
Green Bay’s journey to their second Super Bowl was not as simple as the year before, both starting running backs from the previous year, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor had left the team.
Meanwhile, the team’s 33-year-old veteran quarterback Bart Starr had missed 4 games during the season with injuries, and finished the season with nearly twice as many interceptions, 17, as touchdown passes, 9. More veterans provided the Packers depth with receivers Carroll Dale and Boyd Dowler.
The aging Pack won their fifth and final championship of the 1960s in Lombardi’s last game with the franchise. Quarterback Bart Starr was named MVP for the second straight time, becoming the first back-to-back Super Bowl MVP for his 13 of 24 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown.
(Feature image courtesy of Antony Quintano, via Flickr (CC)