things from legends
Sports are as interesting as the theater they produce, whether it’s the first week of the preseason or the Super Bowl.
Scores ranged from as wide a margin as 55-10 to nearly 20-19
There have been 56 Super Bowls in the NFL’s 100+ years of operation and of the 32 modern franchises, 20 are champions. Scores ranged from as wide a margin as 55-10 to nearly 20-19.
Every moment of the NFL year is spent waiting to win the prestigious Lombardi Trophy. For 31 teams, those moments die in vain, but for one team, they are ingrained in enduring football traditions. Today, we revisit the most spectacular finishes in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XLIX: New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24
The 2014 NFL Playoffs went as expected in the early stages. The Patriots and Seahawks, the top two seeds in their respective conferences, battled their way across the arc until they finally met in Super Bowl XLIX.
The Patriots were fresh off a 45-7 demolition of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game, while the Seahawks were decked out with youthful “Boom Corps” passion and a crushing offense.
14 were not answered on their own in the fourth quarter
The teams traded blows during the first half and went to the break at 14. The Seahawks then scored ten unanswered points in the third quarter to go up 24-14. Tom Brady and the Pats, as they are known, responded with 14 unanswered runs of their own in the fourth quarter, including a light touchdown with 2:02 remaining.
The Seahawks weren’t ready to turn around and die. In less than a minute, they moved the ball to the Patriots’ one-yard line and were on the verge of clinching their second straight Super Bowl—then came one of the most iconic plays in franchise history.
Instead of handing the ball over to Marshawn Lynch, Seattle called in a fast oblique pass that was intercepted by rookie free agent Malcolm Butler. New England got to its knees and it was game over.
Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19
Some things in life are inexplicable. Many Buffalo natives believe Super Bowl XXV was the beginning of a supernatural curse placed on the franchise, and with good reason.
The Bills entered the 1991 Championship with the best record in the AFC feeling they could win their first title in franchise history. With Jim Kelly and Thurmon Thomas in control and terrifying defenses to complete them, they only needed one more win.
The game was back and forth and defined by defensive stands rather than highlight plays. The Giants led most of the fourth quarter, but succumbed to the mercy of the Bills, who lined up for a 47-yard field goal with just four seconds left in the game.
His push that was likely to be a game-winner on a grand scale
With over 73,000 fans in the stands, Buffalo’s Scott Norwood pushed the game-winning touchdown right wide, giving the Giants their first single-point victory in Super Bowl history.
Seems like bad luck, right? Where the fuck is all this?
To the consternation of Bills staff and supporters, the team managed to reach each of the next three Super Bowls and lose them all. To this day, no team in league history has made four consecutive Super Bowls other than Buffalo, nor have they won any of them.
Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14
Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. Super Bowl XLII was just that, and it played out in exactly the same way.
They went 16-0 in the regular season
The Patriots were the NFL’s biggest underdogs in 2007. They went 16-0 in the regular season, with Tom Brady winning the league’s MVP award and Randy Moss setting the record for most touchdowns in a season (23). They also won each of their first two playoff games by two goals and seemed completely unstoppable.
Meanwhile, the Giants finished the season 10-6 and were the fifth seed in the NFC. They were barely snubbed by the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship 23-20 and were massive underdogs heading into the big game.
New England led 7-3 by the time the fourth quarter came around. Both defenses were playing light and neither attack seemed comfortable.
The tide finally turned when the Giants scored the go-ahead, only for the Patriots to respond with one of their own. This led the underdogs to trail 14-10 in what turned out to be their last effort of the game.
With their backs against the wall, backup wide receiver David Tyree made one of the most memorable receptions ever with what is known as a “helmet catch”.
That led to a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left in the game and sealed the victory for the Giants, their first since 1987.
Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28
The best players advance when the lights are brightest.
In 2017, Brady returned to the Super Bowl for the seventh time in his career. He’s already won four times, but he was hungry for one more time as the 14-2 Pats met MVP Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.
Bostonians everywhere stunned when the hometown champions went into halftime trailing 28-3. No one has ever embarrassed Brady, Bill Belichick, or the franchise the way the Falcons had in the first half, and hopes for a comeback looked bleak at best.
Fast forward to the end of the third quarter, and there was still little doubt New England could come back. Both teams scored one goal and the Falcons’ lead was still a scary 28-9.
Fortunately for the Patriots, the Goats were ready to play. They stormed the fourth quarter with 18 consecutive points, including a one-yard touchdown run with 57 seconds left, to force overtime. By then, there was too much momentum for the Hawks to overcome.
New England boosted the winning run with a two-yard James White run in the extra period and took home its fifth Super Bowl as a trademark.
Brady finished with 466 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, and was named Super Bowl MVP. Pats scored 31 unanswered goals to close out the game.
Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16
Football is a game of inches. No one knows that better than former Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson, who created a short hair to change NFL history forever in 2000.
The Rams’ high-powered offense had hit the league so far throughout the regular season, that they earned the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf”. The Titans haven’t been dominant historically, but they have had a well-rounded team that has built real momentum over the past games.
Steve McNair drove the Titans on a last-second drive down the field for a potential game-tying score
To no one’s surprise, St. Louis had his way with the Tennessee defense. Kurt Warner racked up 414 yards passing and two touchdowns, with Isaac Bruce racking up 162 yards and one touchdown of that total. However, they could do nothing but stand on the sidelines as Steve McNair drove the Titans on a last-second drive down the field for a potential game-tying score.
Tennessee forced its way to the 10-yard line with only six seconds on the clock and demanded what they knew would be the final play: a quick downhill descent from the right side into a right hash.
McNair delivered a punt to Dyson, just as expected, who caught the ball in stride at the 5-yard line. Rams linebacker Mike Jones lunged and spun him, but couldn’t completely stop the forward momentum, and the two went to the ground.
As they scrambled together, Dyson extended his long arm toward the goal line…and jumped just a few inches. The clock ran out after three seconds, and the Rams were champions.
No game has been as physically close, quite literally, as this one.