Which is the greatest-ever Super Bowl?
Perhaps the Super Bowl LIV clash between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs – live on Sky Sports Action from 10pm on Sunday, February 2 – ends up in the annals of history as the greatest?
For now, we’ve picked out or top 10, and want you to vote for your favourite out of the bunch below (see foot of the page).
But first, a few honourable mentions for those that didn’t quite make the cut…
Super Bowl XXIII: Not quite the most impressive, but certainly the most memorable, of the 49ers’ five Super Bowl wins as Joe Montana marched them down the field, and toward John Candy, for the game-winning touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Super Bowl XLVII: Now it’s on to the Niners’ first-ever Super Bowl loss, with Baltimore Ravens head coach John getting the better of Jim in the ‘battle of the brother’. There was a blackout in the New Orleans Superdome, adding to the drama as San Francisco very nearly came back to win from a massive 28-6 third-quarter deficit. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Super Bowl XXXIV: The Tennessee Titans are stopped on the one-yard line to lose to the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ St Louis Rams, after having recovered from a 16-point deficit.
10) Namath ‘guarantees’ it
Perhaps the biggest upset in Super Bowl history only just sneaks onto our list, largely due to the low-scoring nature of Super Bowl III – the 18-point underdog New York Jets beating the Baltimore Colts 16-7.
Despite two heavy defeats for the upstart American Football League – which had merged with the NFL – in the first two Super Bowls, Jets quarterback Joe Namath ‘guaranteed’ victory, and true to his word, delivered it.
9) Norwood misses wide right
Perhaps one of the greatest disappointments in sport, let alone just the Super Bowl era, as poor old Buffalo Bills kicker, Scott Norwood, missed the game-winning field goal from 47 yards out as time expired.
The Bills’ 20-19 defeat to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV was the first of four straight defeats in the biggest game of them all, but was easily the toughest of the lot to take – a certain defensive coordinator called Bill Belichick masterminding the Giants’ victory over the best offense in football.
8) Eagles ride ‘underdog’ spirit
You may well be wondering why such a low ranking for last year’s stunning Super Bowl LII shootout between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots – a first of many entries for them on this list.
Several records were set, including most yards gained in an NFL game by both teams combined (1,151), fewest punts from both teams in a Super Bowl (one), and most points scored by a Super Bowl losing team (33), but it was the lack of defense that hurt this game, until Brandon Graham stepped up with the play that defined it, strip-sacking Tom Brady in the fourth quarter to bring the Vince Lombardi trophy back to Philadelphia for the first time.
7) Belichick and Brady dynasty begins
Given the upward trajectory that both Belichick and Tom Brady’s careers have taken since, it is easy to forget that the Patriots were 14-point underdogs for Super Bowl XXXVI, when they were the next team tasked with taking on the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ after the Rams’ win over the Tennessee Titans two years prior.
Belichick’s Pats restricted the explosive St Louis offense to just three points in as many quarters until the Rams finally found some form in the fourth, scoring two touchdowns to tie the game up at 17. But step forward Adam Vinatieri, who nailed a game-winning kick from 48 yards out in this one to earn New England the first of their six championship titles.
6) ‘This one’s for John!’
Don’t be distracted purely by the sentimental value of Denver Broncos’ John Elway finally earning a ring aged 37, and at the fourth attempt, Super Bowl XXXII was a truly great game too.
It had two quarterbacks at the top of their game going toe to toe, with Elway up against Brett Favre and the reigning champions, Green Bay Packers. Though it was actually a running back who outshone both – Terrell Davis putting in an MVP-worthy three-touchdown performance to see the Broncos to a 31-24 triumph.
5) Steelers topple Cowboys in classic
One for the footballing purists, Super Bowl XIII is considered by many to be the greatest of all time, played out between two of the game’s greatest franchises, led by truly great quarterbacks, and it was close too.
The Pittsburgh Steelers stretched out a 35-17 lead in the fourth quarter thanks to a four-touchdown pass performance by Terry Bradshaw, but then Roger Staubach threw a second and third of his own to bring the Dallas Cowboys back to within four, but Pittsburgh held on, getting the better of the defending champions Dallas for the second time in three years.
4) Santonio Holmes in the dying seconds
Another Steelers success, this one in Super Bowl XLIII, seeing them secure a record sixth title. And done in the most dramatic of fashion too, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finding Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with seconds remaining.
A monster 127-yard and two-touchdown outing by wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, had helped the Arizona Cardinals overcome a 20-7 deficit in their first-ever Super Bowl appearance before Big Ben’s late touchdown strike broke their hearts.
3) Giants stun undefeated Patriots
It was supposed to be a procession, as the 16-0 Patriots took on the 10-6 Wild Card Giants in Super Bowl XLII, but Eli Manning and co had not read the script.
In an ultra-tight, low-scoring affair, the Giants quarterback marched his team down the field – thanks in huge part to that David Tyree catch – for the game-winning score to Plaxico Burress late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots, and the watching world, were left stunned by what they’d just witnessed.
2) Patriots’ crazy comeback
It may not get our No 1 spot as the greatest ever, but Super Bowl LI certainly featured the greatest comeback ever, as the Patriots overcame a massive 28-3 deficit in the third quarter to tie the game with the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth and then win the first Super Bowl overtime.
It took the Patriots ’till the final two seconds of the first half to register their first points, a field goal, while the explosive Atlanta offense scored three touchdowns. They then stretched that lead further in the third quarter, before back came Brady! Two passing TDs from No 12, plus a James White run – and a couple of clutch two-point conversions – helped the team tie things up late, before clinching a stunning fifth Super Bowl title with another White TD in overtime.
1) Butler’s interception
Following their Super Bowl XLII defeat to the Giants, and another to the same team four years later, Super Bowl XLIX too seemed to be slipping from New England’s grasp. Another circus catch, this one from Jermaine Kearse, helped the Seattle Seahawks reach the goal line with seconds to spare.
Trailing by four, surely all the Seahawks had to do was give the ball to ‘Beast Mode’ running back, Marshawn Lynch, to punch it in from a yard out? Nope. In one of the craziest play-calls in football history, Seattle opted to pass, and quarterback Russell Wilson was picked off by rookie Malcolm Butler in this crazy finish and our No 1 Super Bowl.