For many sports fans, the Super Bowl game is the highlight of the year. This is when the two best football teams come together to decide who finishes the season on a high.
TwinSpires has already ranked the best upsets and the biggest blowouts in the history of the biggest football event, as you can see here: edge.twinspires.com/biggest-blowouts-in-super-bowl-history/
Still, overall what are the best games ever in history? There have been some tremendous Super Bowls over the years, but which ones were the very best of them?
1. Super Bowl XLII – New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14
This game is fondly remembered for giving us one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Super Bowl. The background to the game is that the Patriots were looking to complete a perfect season, which is something that had only ever been completed in modern times by the Miami Dolphins in 1972. This meant that they were strong favorites to sweep aside the Giants in the season’s showpiece finale.
The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona was the setting for this meeting. The Giants had a 10-6 record for the regular season, compared to the incredible 16-0 record set by the Patriots in winning the AFC East. The duel saw Tom Brady line up against Eli Manning in the QB position. While Brady had won the MVP title for the season just ended, it was Manning who claimed the title of MVP in the Super Bowl.
The game itself hinged on a Giants drive in the fourth quarter. They were losing 14-10 at this point, with a little over two and a half minutes left on the clock. Some spectacular play including David Tyree’s iconic helmet catch took them from their own 17-yard line and resulted in their wide receiver, Plaxico Burress, making the match-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left to play.
2. Super Bowl LI – New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28
Tom Brady makes another appearance on our list, but this time he produced a masterclass to lead the Patriots to one of the most extraordinary Super Bowl wins of all. The game took place at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, and it became the only championship game to date that has been decided in overtime.
The Patriots came into this game looking strong, after a 14-2 record left them as the AFC champion. The Falcons went 11-5 in the regular season to become NFC champion. The majority of the 172 million TV viewers probably thought that it was all over when the Falcons raced to a 28-3 lead thanks to three consecutive TDs, and even Brady later admitted that he started to worry about keeping the final score respectable rather than winning.
Yet, the Patriots went on to make the biggest comeback ever seen in a Super Bowl game. As they scored 25 points in a row without any response from the Falcons. With the game in overtime, Brady led them another touchdown, to win the game and gain the title of the best QB ever, in some people’s eyes.
3. Super Bowl XXV – New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19
The 1990 season had a dramatic end when the Giants and the Bills met at the Tampa Stadium in Florida. Fans who witnessed it probably remember Whitney Houston’s version of The Star-Spangled Banner and how the half-time show was shown after the game rather than live.
The Giants were aiming for their second Super Bowl and recorded a 13-3 regular season, while the Bills had exactly the same record and were looking for their first Super Bowl in their first appearance in the championship game. It ended as the only Super Bowl to be decided by a single point, as well as not having any turnovers for either team.
The Bills were winning 12-3 in the second quarter when a 75-yard drive lasted 9:29 and ended in a Giants TD. The Giants running back Ottis Anderson was MVP but the most memorable moment was the last-second field goal attempt by Scott Norwood. This would have won them the game but it famously ended up going wide right.
4. Super Bowl XXIII – San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16
The Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami was the setting for the 49ers winning their third Super Bowl in style. The 49ers had just put together a 10-6 season while the Bengals had gone 12-4 in the regular season. It was a fairly low-scoring game with a 3-3 tie after the first couple of quarters giving us the first time a Super Bowl game had been a tie at halftime.
The game burst into life in the fourth quarter, with the 49ers 16-13 behind and with the ball on their own 8-yard line. There were just over three minutes left but QB Joe Montana drove his team 92 yards swiftly. The deciding touchdown was scored by John Taylor with little more than half a minute left on the clock, although Lewis Billups famously passed up the chance to end the drive just before this.
Jerry Rice was named as the MVP but the game is also remembered for 49ers coach Bill Walsh retiring immediately after it finished. Plenty of football fans rate this as their favorite Super Bowl of all time and it’s easy to see why this is the case.
5. Super Bowl XLIX – New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24
Is this the greatest Super Bowl of all time? The 2014 season was wrapped up in this meeting of the Patriots and the Seahawks. The Patriots had ended as AFC champions with a 12-4 record, while the Seahawks were NFC champions after a similar 12-4 season. They played this game at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The Patriots collected their fourth Super Bowl, with the legendary Tom Brady once again in the thick of the action. It was a tightly-contested match, with the Seahawks taking a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Patriots then took the lead with just over two minutes left on the clock.
There was still time left after this for the Seahawks to drive to the Patriot’s one-yard line on their last play. This was when the rookie New England cornerback Malcolm Butler produced one of the NFL’s greatest-ever interceptions to secure the win in a dramatic fashion.