10 Super Bowls Worth Remembering
The showdown between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 is less than a week away, and we are overly excited for the upcoming match-up between the teams led by star quarterbacks Cam Newton and Peyton Manning.
Newton is aiming to win the Panther’s first world championship on Feb. 7, while Manning makes his fourth visit to the big game — his second attempt as a Bronco — to add to the Lombardi Trophy he won with the Indianapolis Colts.
While we impatiently wait for Sunday afternoon, we can’t help but dive into the past championships of America’s game to take an abridged glimpse into many cultural moments of this country’s history.
With that being said, here are 10 Super Bowls from years past that are worth opening a beer, testing out the Sunday snacks and pulling up some highlights in the big comfy chair . Obviously, this does not encompass the entire history of the game, but some of its more memorable moments. Let us know if we left out some of your favorites by commenting below.
SUPER BOWL I (Jan. 15, 1967)
Officially called the NFL-AFL World Championship Game, Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers dominated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. The Chiefs were led by head coach Hank Stram.
Less than two-thirds of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was filled, which can be hard to believe, considering how expensive tickets are nowadays. The most expensive were $12 for Super Bowl I. After the game, Packers QB Bart Starr was named the Super Bowl’s first MVP.
Why it’s significant: It was the first, and only, Super Bowl to be simulcast on television (by CBS and NBC). NFL Network later aired a clipped-together version of the game after original broadcast tapes were rumored to be lost, destroyed, or taped over.
SUPER BOWL III (Jan. 12, 1969)
Three days before their meeting with the Baltimore Colts, Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed victory in the third-ever Super Bowl, which was played in Miami.
Even though they were the 18-point underdogs to the one-loss Colts, New York pulled off a 16-7 upset, which is still considered an important milestone in American sports history. Joe Namath was named MVP following the historic game.
Why it’s significant: Namath’s “guarantee” later became a staple of American football lore, as this became the first Super Bowl in which the American Football League (a separate, younger company from the NFL at the time) had claimed victory. AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs would defeat the NFL’s Vikings the following year, before both leagues had merged prior to the 1970 season.
SUPER BOWL VII (Jan. 14, 1973)
Head coach Don Shula’s (pictured, off-center) Miami Dolphins cap off their perfect season (17 wins, 0 losses) by defeating the Washington Redskins, 14-7. They remain the only completely unbeaten team in NFL history (see Super Bowl XLII below).
Why (else) it’s significant: It remains the longest that one team has been held without scoring (Washington finally scored with 2:07 remaining in the fourth quarter). Safety Jake Scott also became the first non-quarterback Super Bowl MVP of a winning team (Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley won the award in his team’s loss to the Colts two years earlier).
SUPER BOWL X (Jan. 18, 1976)
In the same year that America was celebrating its bicentennial, the Pittsburgh Steelers became the second team to win back-to-back Super Bowls, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 21-17, primarily on the back of several breathtaking catches by MVP Lynn Swann.
Why it’s significant: No two teams have met each other in the Super Bowl more often than the Cowboys and Steelers (3 times – 1976, 1979, and 1996). Pittsburgh would eventually win four world championships over the course of six seasons (in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, and XIV).
SUPER BOWL XXIII (Jan. 22, 1989)
In their second Super Bowl appearance, quarterback Joe Montana drove his San Francisco 49ers 92 yards down the field with 3:10 left in the fourth quarter, to score the game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver John Taylor for a 20-16 final score.
Why it’s significant: As well as being head coach Bill Walsh’s last NFL game, it was game MVP Jerry Rice’s first Super Bowl appearance, as he caught 11 passes for a Super Bowl record 215 yards.
SUPER BOWL XXV (Jan. 27, 1991)
At the height of the Gulf War, music superstar Whitney Houston gave a stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” that had hands praising and eyes watering before the game.
Strong emotions also appeared at the end of the game, when Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed a potential game-winning 47-yard field goal to give the 7-point underdog New York Giants the 20-19 victory.
Why it’s significant: It marked the first time that two teams from the same state met in the Super Bowl* (*yes, the Giants technically play in East Rutherford, New Jersey, but that’s beyond the point). It also remains the only championship game to be decided by one point.
SUPER BOWL XXXIV (Jan. 30, 2000)
In the first title game of the new millennium, the Tennessee Titans trailed the St. Louis’ Rams 23-16 (after being shutout 16-0 in the third quarter). On the last play of the game, quarterback Steve McNair threw a pass to wideout Kevin Dyson, who ended up being tackled one yard short of the end zone by linebacker Mike Jones to seal the win.
Why it’s significant: The season capped off a remarkable, out-of-nowhere run for game MVP Kurt Warner, who went from bagging items at a grocery store, to being a quarterback for St. Louis, then nicknamed “The Greatest Show on Turf”.
SUPER BOWL XXXVI (Feb. 3, 2002)
In the aftermath of September 11th, the NFL made the decision to postpone football for a full week of games.
Less than five months later, the underdog New England Patriots, with previous unknown quarterback Tom Brady, upset the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams, 20-17, thanks to Adam Vinatieri’s (pictured) game-winning field goal as time expired.
Why it’s significant: It would mark the beginning of the Patriots’ 2000’s dynasty, as they became the second team in NFL history (after the Steelers) to win three Lombardi Trophies in four seasons. 2002 also marked the first year where the Super Bowl was hosted in February, a tradition that continues to this day.
SUPER BOWL XLII (Feb. 3, 2008)
Exactly six years later, New England entered the Super Bowl in Arizona undefeated (18-0), only to be upset by the New York Giants with a score of 17-14.
While quarterback Eli Manning was eventually named the game’s MVP, wide receiver David Tyree stole the show, thanks to an unbelievable catch where he grasped half the football with his helmet.
Why it’s significant: Eli Manning became the first brother to become Super Bowl MVP, after his brother, Peyton, won the same honor the previous year.
SUPER BOWL XLIX (Feb. 1, 2015)
Finally, just last year, the Seattle Seahawks were inches away from the end zone, when quarterback Russell Wilson threw a game-sealing interception to cornerback Malcolm Butler, giving the New England Patriots their first Super Bowl victory in 10 seasons with a score of 28-24.
Why it’s significant: Tom Brady would win his third game MVP award, tying former quarterback Joe Montana for the record.