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The way-too-early odds to win Super Bowl LVI

Another NFL season is in the books, and NFL bettors are already thinking about next year. The odds are likely to change with offseason NFL personnel moves, but here’s a way too early look at the odds to win Super Bowl LVI. Odds from BetOnline, as of February 6, 2021.

 

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The Chiefs have a lot of free-agent decisions to make with a roster that’s likely to change more than it did a year ago, but the core of the team remains with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and company. With the coaching staff remaining intact, the Chiefs remain the clear favorites for a second straight year.

 

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Green Bay took a heartbreaking defeat in the NFC Championship, and have some key free-agent decisions to make like Corey Linsley and Kevin King. Still, the team is comfortable going into 2021 with Aaron Rodgers playing as well as ever. A new defensive coordinator could also have an impact, one way or another.

 

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It was a surprise to some how quickly the Bucs came on with 43-year-old Tom Brady under center, but the team has a lot of key free agents to make with stars like Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David, and Chris Godwin able to walk. There’s always the risk that Brady will fall off the proverbial age cliff, but somehow he’s fended off Father Time so far.

 

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Lamar Jackson regressed following his 2019 MVP and the criticism that he can’t win the big game remains. His payday will come due for the Ravens very soon, and the team would do well to surround him with more weapons. The potential loss of pass rushers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency is also a big concern.

 

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Buffalo got so close to the Super Bowl this past season that the Bills Mafia can taste it. Josh Allen came into his own in his third season and has an excellent core around him. It could be time for the defense to get younger, especially up front, and there are also some decisions to make on what has been a strong offensive line.

 

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The Rams wasted little time in planning for 2021, pulling off a blockbuster trade for Matthew Stafford. Depth could become an issue with the organization continuing to disregard the top rounds of the draft, but there remains plenty of star power in LA. Stafford has a chance to have success with one of the most talented rosters he’s ever been on, filled with the star power of Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, and Jalen Ramsey. Head coach Sean McVay fell into a rut with Jared Goff at quarterback but now has to be licking his chops.

 

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After advancing to the Super Bowl in 2019, the 49ers took a hard fell due to several major injuries. Head coach Kyle Shanahan still got the most out of his talent, and the core is set to return next season. There are still questions about whether Jimmy Garoppolo is the answer at quarterback, and veterans like Trent Williams and Richard Sherman could be lost in free agency.

 

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With the retirement of Drew Brees, the Saints have some major questions heading into 2021. It’s assumed that Taysom Hill will be their new starter, though that’s not a foregone conclusion. The team could be set to move forward without the likes of Jared cook, Sheldon Rankins, Alex Anzalone, and Marcus Williams, as well, though Sean Payton has shown that he can overcome change.

 

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Cleveland won a playoff game and also gave the Chiefs a huge challenge in the Divisional Round, so Browns fans have to look at the progress this past season. They’re still waiting on Baker Mayfield to fulfill the hype as a former No. 1 overall pick, but the supporting cast remains outstanding with Odell Beckham likely to return. There are some nice complementary pieces headed toward free agency, but Kevin Stefanski’s team has a chance to take another step forward in 2021.

 

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After a great start, Seattle’s offense stagnated in the second half of 2020. As a result, the team moved on from offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The Seahawks have a long list of unrestricted free agents this offseason but have shown relative consistency since Russell Wilson has come on board.

 

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No team took a bigger step forward in 2000 than the Dolphins, though they still came up just short on a playoff spot. After Tua Tagovailoa’s rookie season, there are questions about him as the answer at quarterback, but the strong defense should give him some leeway next season.

 

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The Colts had a strong rebound in 2020 with a great defense and better quarterback play with Philip Rivers. It’s completely unclear who will be the team’s signal-caller next season after Rivers’ retirement, and the team also has to decide what to do with free agents T.Y. Hilton and Justin Houston, among others. Indy’s Super Bowl odds could improve sharply if they find a proven veteran to help head coach Frank Reich and company.

 

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The Chargers greatly underachieved over the last two seasons, and head coach Anthony Lynn finally took the fall. There’s optimism new head coach Brandon Staley can help the team improve, and Justin Herbert was spectacular under center in his rookie campaign. Unfortunately, the Chargers still have to contend with Patrick Mahomes in the AFC West, and they also have several major free-agent decisions to make, led by Melvin Ingram and Hunter Henry.

 

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While Tennessee returned to the playoffs, they were unable to improve upon their playoff success from last year. The loss of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith could really hurt, and it also remains to be seen how long Derrick Henry can keep up his current workload. Prominent free agents Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and Desmond King bring some uncertainty to the offseason.

 

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Mike McCarthy’s first year at the helm couldn’t have gone much worse. Jerry Jones has decided to stick with him, and the big offseason task will be locking up Dak Prescott, who missed most of the year due to a nasty ankle injury. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will have a lot of pressure, but he’s playing with house money after the unit’s awful 2020 performance.

 

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The loss of Tom Brady overshadowed a series of opt-outs that hamstrung the Patriots in 2020. Bill Belichick has plenty of cap room to work with this offseason, but also a lot of holes to fill, including quarterback. With Belichick’s ability to work magic with personnel moves, it will be an intriguing offseason.

 

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The Steelers floundered in the second half of 2020, and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was one of the casualties. Ben Roethlisberger seems desperate to right the ship, but the team is in salary cap purgatory with multiple offensive linemen and JuJu Smith-Schuster likely to depart.

 

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After a disappointing 2020, head coach Mike Zimmer and quarterback Kirk Cousins could be headed toward a make-or-break season. The Vikings defense saw major regression, partially due to injuries. Still, the team could lose Eric Wilson and Anthony Harris in free agency and still need to address some offensive line issues.

 

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Matt Rhule had some ups and downs in his first year as head coach, but generally got positive reviews for his work on a rebuilding team. It remains to be seen if Teddy Bridgewater is the answer at quarterback, and the team has to do something about the pending free agency of Curtis Samuel and multiple starting offensive linemen. The return of Christian McCaffrey from injury, along with the wideout tandem of D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson should make things easier no matter who the quarterback is in 2021.

 

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Arizona fell short of the playoffs, and are looking at some huge potential losses in free agency, most notable Patrick Peterson, Haason Reddick, and Kenyan Drake. The team did make progress in the second season with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray, but anything short of a playoff berth in 2021 would be a huge letdown.

 

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After years of stagnating under Dan Quinn, the Falcons hope new head coach Arthur Smith can take the team to the next level. The team will try to right the ship with veterans Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but there could be big changes to the complementary pieces as the organization tries to get back on track.

 

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Head coach Matt Nagy did just enough to stick around, though it remains to be seen if Mitchell Trubisky did the same. The team has seemingly wasted a top defense over the last few seasons with the inconsistency of the offense, and the potential loss of free-agent wide receiver Allen Robinson could be a dagger. 

 

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For the second consecutive year, the Raiders looked like potential contenders early in the season only to collapse late. Derek Carr did show great improvement in his third season under Jon Gruden, though there have been rumors the team is looking to find something better at quarterback. The roster is lightyears ahead of where it was when Gruden came on board but still seems well behind the rival Chiefs in the AFC West.

 

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The Eagles could be headed toward a restart if they trade Carson Wentz after already firing head coach Doug Pederson. It’s incredible to think just how quickly things have gone downhill in Philly, and the hiring of new head coach Nick Sirianni didn’t exactly get rave reviews. It remains to be seen if Jalen Hurts is the future, but the teams seem likely to run with him in 2021.

 

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Denver has four straight losing seasons since Gary Kubiak’s departure, and desperately needed better decision making at the top. New GM George Paton has some big decisions to make, including quarterback, where Drew Lock has struggled in two seasons. The team could also lose free agent safety Justin Simmons, and Von Miller’s future is also in doubt. Regardless, head coach Vic Fangio probably won’t have much longer to fix things going into his third year.

 

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The terrible division aside, Washington’s playoff berth in 2020 was truly remarkable considering all the issues they had. Many of those same issues remain in 2021 with Washington’s future at quarterback unclear and several prominent free agents headed toward free agency. There’s still reason for optimism with Ron Rivera at the helm and a tremendous front seven on defense.

 

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Cincinnati didn’t make much progress in 2020, but they have to be optimistic about the play of Joe Burrow prior to his season-ending knee injury. The first order of business this offseason should be fixing the offensive line, and the team also has several holes on defense that need addressing.

 

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Daniel Jones didn’t make the progress that the Giants hoped in his sophomore season, though the loss of Saquon Barkley to injury didn’t help. Fans are optimistic about the fight that New York showed under head coach Joe Judge, but improving Jones’ supporting cast should be a big priority this offseason.

 

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The hiring of new head coach Robert Saleh got rave reviews, but he needs more talent to worth with. The team seems likely to move on from Sam Darnold at quarterback, but regardless of the quarterback in 2021, desperately need to improve the rest of the offensive roster. Saleh’s impact is expected to be felt immediately on defense, where the Jets made some inexcusable errors last season under Gregg Williams.

 

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Urban Meyer finally made the jump to the NFL, and it’s easy to see why with the draft capital and cap room that the Jaguars have this offseason. It would be an upset if the team didn’t draft Clemson star Trevor Lawerence first overall, but the roster is likely to be a work in progress next season.

 

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The previous Lions regime hasn’t left the team in a great place, though they did already make a big splash this offseason by trading Matthew Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff and a huge draft haul. The team could still lose their top three wideouts, led by Kenny Golladay, in free agency, and have a lot of overpaid defensive players who disappointed after joining Matt Patricia. Head coach Dan Campbell will need time.

 

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The Texans head coaching job seemed like a dead end this offseason with little cap room or draft picks, and star quarterback Deshaun Watson desperately wanting out of Houston. New head David Culley has paid his dues but will have almost no chance in 2021 if the team doesn’t keep Watson around.

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With Super Bowl LV looming, it seems like a good time to see what Chiefs and Buccaneers players must do to make a play that can rank among the best in the game’s history. Here are the top 25 plays from the NFL’s ultimate game.

 

1 of 25
25. ‘Ambush’ catalyzes Saints’ comeback

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Sean Payton’s “Ambush” onside kick call to start Super Bowl XLIV’s second half turned the tide in a game in which the Saints trailed at the time. The 2009 season saw Bill Belichick go for a fourth-and-2 on his own 28-yard line rather than punt to MVP Peyton Manning. Payton operated similarly; his gamble worked out better. Colts wideout Hank Baskett could not corral Thomas Morstead’s surprise kick, and Saints defensive back Chris Reis fell on it . The Saints’ stolen possession ended with a Drew Brees-to-Pierre Thomas touchdown connection and, unlike the Steelers’ Super Bowl XXX surprise onside, this kick led to a championship.

 

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24. The Super Bowl’s immaculate reception

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In a game that featured a whopping 11 turnovers, points proved difficult to come by. So perhaps the weirdest touchdown in Super Bowl history — which went from Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas to Hall of Famer John Mackey — deserves entry, as it played a key role in the Colts exiting this game as victors. Unitas’ pass ricocheted off Colts wideout Eddie Hinton and Cowboys Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Renfro, skipping to Mackey. The longtime Colt tight end galloped 75 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. Baltimore won, 16-13, overcoming seven giveaways. 

 

George Rose-Getty Images

Not part of the Giants’ 1986 Super Bowl team, Ingram did not squander his lone Super Bowl opportunity a few years later. The 1987 first-round wide receiver caught a third-and-13 pass from Jeff Hostetler on the Giants’ opening second-half drive of Super Bowl XXV and proceeded to make half the Bills defense miss on a 14-yard gain that featured some of the slickest maneuvering in Super Bowl history. The Giants scored to take a 17-12 lead on a near-nine-minute march, keeping the Bills’ elite offense on the sideline. The father in the Mark Ingram father-son tandem played an essential supporting role in New York’s 20-19 win.

 

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Jones put an exclamation point on a stunning postseason in 2013’s Harbaugh Bowl. Baltimore’s All-Pro kick returner had already secured Joe Flacco’s Mile High Miracle heave to stun Denver two rounds earlier, and in Super Bowl XLVII’s second quarter, Jones caught a 56-yard TD pass. To start the second half, the backup wideout took a kickoff 108 yards back for a touchdown. This gave the Ravens a 28-6 lead. It is the longest play in Super Bowl annals by 8 yards. Considering how close the 49ers came to completing a comeback, Jones’ dash proved massive in cementing the Ravens’ second championship.

 

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21. Don Beebe denies Cowboys a record

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By far the least consequential play on this list brought Beebe immense praise. The worst of the Bills’ Super Bowl losses was about to include the Cowboys setting a Super Bowl scoring record after a fumble-return TD, but the veteran wide receiver — who was at least 15 yards behind the play — stripped Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett at the goal line for a touchback. The Bills lost, 52-17, in Super Bowl XXVII, but Beebe turning the team’s ninth turnover into a positive epitomized the franchise’s resilience. It also kept the 1989 49ers’ 55-10 romp over the Broncos as the Super Bowl scoring standard.

 

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20. Max McGee scores first Super Bowl touchdown

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Not expecting to see much action in the first Super Bowl, the backup Packers wide receiver took part in a long night out in Los Angeles on the eve of the first AFL-NFL showdown. But after an early injury to Packers starter Boyd Dowler, the 34-year-old McGee sauntered into action and turned in one of the great clutch performances. The most memorable sequence featured the 13th-year Packer snaring a Bart Starr pass with one hand and coasting in for a 37-yard touchdown — the first in Super Bowl history. McGee scored twice in the Packers’ 34-10 win over the Chiefs.

 

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After erasing a 16-0 deficit, the Titans allowed the Rams to break a 16-all tie late in the fourth quarter. The Titans facing a third-and-5 at the Rams’ 26-yard line with 22 seconds left, and with Tennessee’s play broken, its quarterback needed to improvise. McNair kept the play alive for several seconds, escaping a certain sack (and near-20-yard loss) from Rams defensive linemen Jay Williams and Kevin Carter — the latter a 1999 All-Pro — and found Kevin Dyson for a 16-yard gain to set up a game-tying touchdown try. The Rams holding off the Titans helped make this one of the NFL’s forgotten great plays.

 

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18. Circus catch nearly saves Seahawks

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Just prior to Malcolm Butler making Super Bowl XLIX’s signature play, he could not deter Jermaine Kearse from a catch that nearly saved the Seahawks’ bid at a repeat championship. Russell Wilson’s first-down lob to Kearse — a Washington native who caught on with Seattle as an undrafted free agent — preceded two caroms and included the third-year wideout falling down, sitting back up and nearly running in for a go-ahead touchdown. Kearse had a brief window at a go-ahead TD, which would have averted the subsequent Seahawks disaster. But this remains an all-time catch.

 

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17. Bradshaw finds Stallworth to sink Rams

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Despite going 9-7 in 1979 and using a backup quarterback in Super Bowl XIV, the Rams held a two-point lead going into the fourth quarter. A halfback pass had given Los Angeles the lead over Pittsburgh, a 10.5-point favorite. But on a third-and-8 early in the stanza, Terry Bradshaw hooked up with fellow Hall of Famer John Stallworth on a pinpoint deep strike that soared just past leaping Rams cornerback Rod Perry. An All-Pro in 1979, Stallworth blazed for a go-ahead 73-yard score. The Steelers avoided a major upset, scoring once more to clinch a 31-19 win and their fourth Super Bowl title. 

 

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16. Von Miller begins Bronco defense’s coronation

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In a game predicted to be Cam Newton’s finishing touch on an MVP season, an underdog Broncos team quickly showed how difficult that would be. Miller foiled a third-down Panthers sequence by zooming past Panthers right tackle Mike Remmers and ripping the ball from Newton’s grasp. Newton watched as the ball rolled into the end zone , where Denver D-lineman Malik Jackson covered it to give the Broncos a 10-0 first-quarter lead on a Panthers team that came into Super Bowl 50 at 17-1. The game’s MVP, Miller recorded 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in one of the most important defensive performances in NFL history.

 

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15. Warner-to-Bruce strike dooms Titans

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Finishing off the first 400-yard passing night in Super Bowl history, Kurt Warner remains the most recent MVP to lift his team to a championship in the same season. The Rams stood tied with the Titans with a little more than two minutes left, but the breakout passer connected with top receiver Isaac Bruce on a deep sideline pass. Bruce not only adjusted for a slight underthrow but outmaneuvered Denard Walker and Anthony Dorsett for a 73-yard touchdown. This completed what turned out to be a one-play game-winning drive that produced the Rams’ only Super Bowl title, after which Warner won Super Bowl MVP honors.

 

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14. Porter’s pick gives Saints first title

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The Saints endured a brutal stretch of season-ending sequences in the 2010s, but fortunately for the franchise, these came after their 2009 championship. Peyton Manning marched the Colts to the Saints’ 31-yard line on a potential game-tying drive, but cornerback Tracy Porter jumped a Reggie Wayne route and took a third-down pass to paydirt with just over three minutes left. Manning and Porter were later teammates on the 2012 Broncos, and Porter’s pick-six in Manning’s Denver debut sealed that win too. But Porter is most remembered for intercepting Manning and Brett Favre to set up the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV title.

 

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13. Throwback Elway scramble ignites Broncos

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Although John Elway was a quarterback prodigy, he was certainly not the same athletically by Super Bowl XXXII. But the 15th-year passer orchestrated a 92-yard drive that ended with a Terrell Davis go-ahead touchdown. The play Elway may be most remembered for extended this march. After realizing Denver’s third-and-6 play call would not work against Green Bay’s coverage, the 37-year-old quarterback took off. The end result: an 8-yard gain that featured Elway helicoptering through LeRoy Butler, Mike Prior and Brian Williams’ tackle attempts. An 11.5-point underdog, Denver prevailed, 31-24, to win its first championship. 

 

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12. Edelman concentration symphony extends Pats drive

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Numerous elements needed to break right for the Patriots to have a chance at their 25-point comeback in Super Bowl LI; one of them was Robert Alford dropping what would have been his second interception that night. Instead of Alford sealing the Falcons’ first title, the cornerback deflected Tom Brady’s first-down pass into the air. Julian Edelman fought off two more Atlanta defensive backs to secure one of the best catches in NFL history. Edelman’s juggling act resulted in a 23-yard gain, moving the Patriots past midfield on their game-tying drive that forced the first Super Bowl overtime period. 

 

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Riggins carried the ball a playoff-record 136 times in the 1982 postseason, which was an amended 16-team format because of a lengthy players’ strike. “The Diesel” logged 38 carries in Super Bowl XVII against the Dolphins; his 30th became a career-defining play. Washington’s 70 Chip play came on a fourth-and-1 from the Dolphins’ 43-yard line, with Miami leading 17-13 early in the fourth quarter. The 33-year-old bruiser received space-clearing blocks from tackle Joe Jacoby and tight end Clint Didier and ran through cornerback Don McNeal for a touchdown. Washington won 27-17.

 

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10. Swann’s catch comes amid iconic performance

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Even though Lynn Swann scored a 64-yard touchdown to give the Steelers their second championship, a catch the Hall of Famer made on a drive that did not end with Pittsburgh points is the indelible image from the first Steelers-Cowboys Super Bowl. Terry Bradshaw connected with his top target on a 53-yard bomb, with Swann’s acrobatics overcoming tight coverage from Cowboys cornerback Mark Washington. The second-quarter drive ended with a missed 36-yard field goal, but it highlighted Swann’s four-catch, 161-yard day and is the centerpiece play of his 10-year career.

 

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9. Taylor game-winner secures 49ers title No. 3

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On his way to MVP honors, Jerry Rice finished Super Bowl XXIII a Super Bowl-record 215 yards on a then-record 11 catches. Longtime sidekick John Taylor ended the game with one reception; it’s one of the most memorable plays in NFL annals. Joe Montana guided a 92-yard drive to erase a three-point Bengals lead, and with the 49ers on the AFC champions’ 10-yard line with 39 seconds left, Taylor was lined up at a tight end position. Montana found the 1986 third-round pick, who was not yet a full-time starting wideout, in stride for a game-winning touchdown to give the 49ers their third title.

 

Focus on Sport-Getty Images

Then the highest-scoring team in NFL history, Washington endured a rough January 1984 night in Miami. Already up 28-9, the Raiders made it worse on one of the NFL’s defining runs. Marcus Allen, a second-year former Heisman winner who immediately became a Raider superstar, took a handoff on the third quarter’s final play. His field-reversing 74-yard sprint made Super Bowl XVIII a full-on blowout and cinched up the Raiders’ third Super Bowl title in eight seasons and only conquest in their Los Angeles years. The game’s MVP, Allen finished with a then-Super Bowl record 191 rushing yards and two TDs.

 

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Super Bowl XXXIV featured a memorable fourth quarter, but a linebacker doing his job remains the lasting image from that night. A Kansas City, Missouri, native who went undrafted out of Mizzou, Jones gave his home state its first Super Bowl title in 30 years by stopping Tennessee’s Steve McNair-to-Kevin Dyson strike from tying the game. Jones spoiled Dyson’s attempt at a second playoff game-winner, stopping the second-year wideout at the 1-yard line with zeroes on the clock. Jones’ tackle stalled a Titans drive that began at their own 12-yard line and gave the Rams their first championship since 1951.

 

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6. ‘You want Philly Philly?’

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An Eagles rout of the Vikings in the NFC championship game prevented the first home Super Bowl occurrence. It also allowed Philadelphia to save its long-rehearsed trick play for Minneapolis and Super Bowl LII. Nick Foles’ suggestion to Doug Pederson they fire up the Philly Special reverse pass resulted in the most memorable trick play in Super Bowl history. The Corey Clement-to-Trey Burton-to-Foles sequence bedeviled the favored Patriots and gave the Eagles a 22-12 halftime lead. And a statue. Amazingly, Pederson was fired less than three years after this play led to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl title.

 

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5. Eli Manning’s defining throw

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The other play Manning is best-known for required more skill on his receiver’s part, but perhaps no throw in the Super Bowl (and few throws ever) topped this one. The first play of a Giants game-winning drive came from their own 12-yard line. Manning threaded a near-impossible needle on a 38-yard toss to Mario Manningham. In his final game as a Giant, the fourth-year wide receiver working the sideline to this degree deserves praise. But Manning’s ball placement into double coverage was otherworldly, and it keyed another Super Bowl upset over the Patriots. If Eli’s Hall of Fame case were to be condensed into one play, this is it. 

 

22 of 25
4. All-Santonio drive ends with storied grab

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Hines Ward and Antonio Brown are this century’s most memorable Steeler receivers, but the top play from a Pittsburgh wideout belongs to Santonio Holmes. The ex-Ohio State standout played only four Steelers seasons and ended a nine-year career with one 1,000-yard slate. But 73 of the Steelers’ 88 yards on their final Super Bowl XLIII drive came from Holmes, and his 6-yard game-winner gave the franchise its record sixth Super Bowl championship. Ben Roethlisberger somehow guided the pass past three Cardinal DBs to find Holmes, the third Steeler wideout to win Super Bowl MVP honors. Debate endures about the placement of Holmes’ right foot.

 

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3. Butler’s pick alters NFL timeline

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After Jermaine Kearse’s bizarre catch accelerated the Seahawks’ potential game-winning drive, Dont’a Hightower’s shoestring tackle stopped Marshawn Lynch at the Patriots’ 1-yard line. Using a goal-line set with three cornerbacks, the Pats denied the Seahawks a repeat title when rookie UDFA Malcolm Butler interrupted Ricardo Lockette’s route. Russell Wilson’s INT came on second-and-goal with 23 seconds left, and the Seahawks’ decision not to use Lynch — as they did on a short-yardage TD earlier in Super Bowl XLIX — still brings scrutiny. Butler’s theft reignited New England’s dynasty and ended Seattle’s hopes at starting one.

 

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2. James Harrison’s all-or-nothing journey

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The Super Bowl’s action-hero scene. Harrison’s 100-yard return required numerous supporting casters and included obstacles throughout. The play began with 18 seconds left and the Cardinals on the cusp of taking a 14-10 lead or tying the game at halftime. Harrison changed his assignment, faking a blitz and intercepting Kurt Warner. The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year sprinted from end zone to end zone on a half-ending play that would have meant nothing had the Cards tackled him. Harrison surviving Larry Fitzgerald’s strip attempt near the goal line finished off Super Bowl XLIII’s game-swinging sequence. 

 

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1. Still the king

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The top play of the NFL’s first 21 seasons of the 21st century, David Tyree’s catch denied the Patriots their slot as the greatest team ever. After catching a fourth-quarter TD pass, the 2007 Giants’ 12th-leading pass catcher tilted this century’s defining game. Eli Manning’s third-and-5 heave to the career special-teamer soared into dangerous territory over the middle. The 32-yard catch required not only Tyree pinning the ball against his helmet but also somehow completing this act while falling to the ground with Rodney Harrison blanketing him. It made Plaxico Burress’ game-winner an impossibly overqualified footnote in the titanic upset.

Sam Robinson is a Kansas City, Mo.-based writer who mostly writes about the NFL. He has covered sports for nearly 10 years. Boxing, the Royals and Pandora stations featuring female rock protagonists are some of his go-tos. Occasionally interesting tweets @SRobinson25.

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