วันนี้เป็นวันที่เรือลอตเตอรีของคุณถูกรางวัลในที่สุด?


Lions QB Matthew Stafford จับมือกับหัวหน้าโค้ช Jim Caldwell ที่ Ford Field ในปี 2016 ภาพ: AP Rams คาดหวังอะไรกับ Matt Stafford? หากคุณถามอดีตโค้ชไลออนส์และจิมคาลด์เวลกูรู QB ท้องฟ้ามีขีด จำกัด และประวัติในอดีตของเขาเองบ่งบอกว่าเขาพูดถูก เมื่อ Deadspin ถูกขอให้แบ่งปันความคิดของเขาเกี่ยวกับ Stafford คาลด์เวลล์ยกย่อง “ความแข็งแกร่งทางจิตใจและร่างกาย” “ความกล้าหาญทางปัญญา” ของ Stafford และอธิบายลักษณะและความเป็นผู้นำของ Stafford ให้มากพอ ๆ กับความสามารถของเขา “แมทธิวรับผิดชอบทุกวิถีทางและแสดงความเป็นเจ้าของสุด ๆ รับผิดชอบต่อความผิดพลาดของเขาและปฏิเสธเครดิตเพื่อนร่วมทีมและโค้ชในชัยชนะ “เขามีแขนที่แข็งแกร่งมากความคล่องตัวต่ำและเขาสามารถส่งบอลได้อย่างแม่นยำด้วยความเร็วหรือการสัมผัสจากแพลตฟอร์มและมุมต่างๆ” คาลด์เวลล์กล่าว “ไม่มีใครจะรู้ดีไปกว่าว่าสแตฟฟอร์ดมีความสามารถอะไรมากกว่าคาลด์เวลเนื่องจากสแตฟฟอร์ดเติบโตมาพร้อมกับ เขาเป็นส่วนหนึ่งของประวัติการฝึกสอนของ QB ที่ประสบความสำเร็จในสามทีมที่แตกต่างกันหากคุณต้องการทำนายอนาคตของ Stafford โดยมี Sean McVay หัวหน้าโค้ช Rams หลักฐานที่ดีที่สุดในอดีตกับ Caldwell G / O Media สามารถรับค่าคอมมิชชั่นได้เป็นคนแรก สิ่งที่คาลด์เวลล์ช่วยสตาฟฟอร์ดก็คือสิ่งเดียวกันนี้ช่วยให้เพย์ตันแมนนิ่งวัยหนุ่มซึ่งทำหน้าที่เป็นโค้ช QB ของเขา – ลดการสกัดกั้นระหว่างนั้นในขณะที่ผู้ประสานงานการรุกของราเวนส์คาลด์เวลล์เรียกการเล่นทั้งหมดในซูเปอร์โบวล์มหัศจรรย์ของโจฟลัคโค – วิ่งตั้งแต่ปี 2002 (11 TD / 0 INT) Matt Stafford Record ภายใต้หัวหน้าโค้ช 29-51 Jim Schwartz (2009-2013) 36-28 Jim Caldwell (2014-2017) 14-25-1 Matt Patricia / Bevell (2018-2020) เป็นสิ่งที่สำคัญไม่ใช่น้อยการฝึกสอนเรื่องหลังล การฝึกซ้อมดำเนินไป 11-21 ตั้งแต่ปี 2555-2556 ความยิ่งใหญ่ของสตาฟฟอร์ดถูกรวมเข้ากับคำวิจารณ์เกี่ยวกับพื้นฐานของเขาฟุตเวิร์คการเคลื่อนไหวแขนความมั่นใจที่มากเกินไปใน Lions Hall-of-Famer Calvin Johnson และแนวโน้มที่จะบังคับให้ขว้างเพื่อปกปิดการดักฟัง . ในตอนนั้นมีบางคนถามว่า “ฉันควรทำอย่างไรเมื่อดาวของคุณชนกำแพง” คนอื่นแย้งว่าถ้าเขาเป็นคนผิวดำเขาจะได้รับการปฏิบัติเหมือน Jameis Winston หรือ Vince Young ภายใต้ Caldwell ผู้เดินผ่านของ Stafford เพิ่มขึ้นจาก 83.1 ในห้าฤดูกาลแรกของเขาภายใต้ Jim Schwartz เป็น 93.7 และปรับปรุงโดยเฉพาะเป็น 99.1 ใน 2.5 ฤดูกาลที่ผ่านมาของ Caldwell หลังจากช่วงปรับตัวและผู้ประสานงานแนวรุกคนใหม่ที่ Caldwell เคยให้คำปรึกษา (Jim Bob Cooter) สิ่งเหล่านี้เป็นการจัดอันดับที่มีความหมายโดยได้รับคะแนนจาก 20 เกมที่ชนะสแตฟฟอร์ดเป็นผู้นำ NFL ในสามในสี่ฤดูกาลนั้น ภายใต้ Caldwell Stafford อยู่ที่ 22-15 ในซิงเกิ้ลใกล้เคียง แต่ 20-33-1 โดยไม่มี Caldwell “เขาเป็นโค้ชเกมรุกที่ชาญฉลาด” สตาฟฟอร์ดบอกกับดีทรอยต์ฟรีเพรสในปี 2017 “เขาทำให้ทีมของเราอยู่ในสถานการณ์ที่เหมาะสมเพื่อให้ประสบความสำเร็จและนั่นช่วยฉันอีกครั้ง” Lions QB Matthew Stafford อุ่นเครื่องในฐานะโค้ช Jim Caldwell เฝ้าดูชิคาโกในปี 2014 ภาพ: APCaldwell ใช้การขว้างอย่างรวดเร็วหลายครั้งไม่มีการฮัดเดิลและแทนที่จะบังคับโยนไปที่ Calvin Johnson ในช่วงกลางของการครอบคลุมสองครั้ง / สามครั้งเขาใช้ Stafford มากกว่า การแพร่กระจายกับตัวรับสัญญาณหลายตัวที่เขาสบายใจที่สุด Golden Tate จะเบ่งบานทันทีใน Pro Bowler ในปี 2014 โดยโพสต์ฤดูกาล 1,000 หลาเพียงสามฤดูกาลของเขา แม้จอห์นสันจะเกษียณอายุอย่างน่าประหลาดใจหลังจบฤดูกาล 2015 แต่การเติบโตของสตาฟฟอร์ดยังคงดำเนินต่อไปเนื่องจากมาร์วินโจนส์จะเข้าร่วม Tate ในฐานะหุ้นส่วน 1,000 หลาในปี 2017 Pro Football Focus ทำนายว่าสิงโตจะชนะสี่เกมในปี 2559 และหกเกมในปี 2560 หลังจากการกระทำใด ๆ ตามวัตถุประสงค์ จากความสามารถในบัญชีรายชื่อทีม Caldwell / Stafford 9 ที่ชนะทั้งในปี 2016 และ 2017 เป็นปาฏิหาริย์เล็ก ๆ น้อย ๆ ที่ปิดบังหลุมของสัตว์ประหลาดซึ่งรวมถึงการวิ่งผ่านที่มองไม่เห็นการสำรองข้อมูลที่วิ่งกลับมาเป็นตัวเริ่ม (Ameer Abdullah / Theo Riddick / Zach Zenner) และการขาดเพลย์เมกเกอร์ของ Pro Bowl ซึ่งเป็นวัตถุดิบหลักสำหรับทีมเพลย์ออฟ หลุมเหล่านี้เพิ่งได้รับการซ่อมแซม Stafford จะปรับตัวเข้ากับทีมใหม่อย่างไร? “ แมทธิวมีน้ำหนักเบามากและเขาสามารถปรับตัวเข้ากับระบบหรือความผิดประเภทใดก็ได้” คาลด์เวลล์กล่าว “ เขาได้แสดงให้เห็นแล้ว [that] ขณะอยู่ในดีทรอยต์ภายใต้ผู้ประสานงานและหัวหน้าโค้ชที่น่ารังเกียจหลายคน “ เขาจะสามารถทำในสิ่งที่โค้ชแม็คเวย์ต้องการ แต่แมทธิวมีความประหม่าและไม่อายที่จะแสดงแนวคิดต่างๆที่เหมาะกับสายตาของเขาหรือเน้นทักษะของเขา พวกเขาจะรักเขาในแอลเอ “ นี่ไม่ใช่การยกย่องอย่างลำเอียงโดยไม่จำเป็น การมองอย่างใกล้ชิดในปีของ Caldwell / Stafford Lions สนับสนุนการประเมินของเขา แรมไม่ต้องปรับแต่งมากเกินไป Stafford สามารถเป็น QB ที่ประสบความสำเร็จอย่างมหาศาลภายใต้ McVay เพราะเขาอยู่ภายใต้ Caldwell ซึ่งมีความสามารถรอบข้างน้อยกว่ามากยกเว้นในพริบตา เรื่องการป้องกัน – สตาฟฟอร์ดออกจากการป้องกันอันดับสุดท้ายของไลออนส์เพื่อเข้าร่วมการป้องกันอันดับ 1 ของปีที่แล้วซึ่งได้รับการสนับสนุนจากซูเปอร์สตาร์แอรอนโดนัลด์และจาเลนแรมซีย์ ปีเดียวที่สตาฟฟอร์ดเล่นด้วยการป้องกันสูงสุดคือปีแรกของคาลด์เวลล์ในปี 2014 เมื่อสิงโตไป 11-5 ด้วยการป้องกันอันดับ 3 จากอันดับที่ 15 เมื่อปีก่อน การป้องกันสิงโตนั้นถูกยึดโดยสิ่งที่ใกล้เคียงที่สุดกับโดนัลด์ในปี 2014 นั่นคือ Ndamukong Suh แต่ไลออนส์ล้มเหลวในการเซ็นสัญญากับซูห์ในปีถัดไปและไม่เคยผ่านพ้นมา สตาฟฟอร์ดต้องยิงสิงโตเพื่อชัยชนะตั้งแต่นั้นมา ไม่อีกแล้ว. “คาลด์เวลคือคำตอบ” นดามูกองซูทวีตเมื่อเดือนตุลาคม “และไม่มีโอกาสมากพอที่จะใส่ลายนิ้วมือของเขาในทีมอย่างเต็มที่” ไม่เขาไม่ได้ แต่ McVay จะ Rams เพิ่ม Stafford ในระดับ 2017 ในการป้องกัน Lions ของเขาในปี 2014 อาจเป็นสูตร Super Bowl Rushing Yards มีความสำคัญ The Rams ต้องการการสนับสนุนจาก Stafford ที่เขาไม่เคยมีมาก่อนในอาชีพ Lions ของเขานั่นคือการโจมตีที่เร่งรีบ คณะกรรมการของ Rams ได้รับชัยชนะอย่างเงียบ ๆ กว่า 2,000 หลาเมื่อปีที่แล้วซึ่งเป็นเครื่องหมายที่สิงโตไม่ได้ดมกลิ่นเลยนับตั้งแต่ Barry Sanders การวิ่งกลับเป็นความต้องการที่ยิ่งใหญ่ที่สุดของ Lions ในร่างปี 2017 แต่ GM Bob Quinn เลือกผู้เล่นแถวหน้าของฟลอริดา Jarrad Davis และ Florida เตะมุม Teez Tabor ในสองรอบแรกเหนือ Dalvin Cook และ Alvin Kamara ซึ่งเป็นสองคนถัดไปที่วิ่งตามหลังการเลือกเหล่านั้น เดวิสไม่ได้เป็นผู้เริ่มต้นปกติอีกต่อไปในปี 2020 และ Tabor ก็ออกจาก NFL แทนที่จะดึงให้ดีขึ้น Bob Quinn กลับยิง Caldwell แม้จะได้รับการสนับสนุนจากผู้เล่นจำนวนมากก็ตาม เรื่องการสนับสนุนของจีเอ็มตอนนี้ควินน์มีชื่อเสียงกล่าวว่า “9 ชัยชนะไม่เพียงพอ” ก่อนที่จะจ้างเพื่อนของเขา Matt Patricia ภายใต้แพทริเซียสิงโตยังจัดการชัยชนะได้เพียงเก้าครั้งยกเว้นว่าเขาต้องใช้เวลาสองปี คำตอบต้องชัดเจน เมื่อโค้ชที่มีพรสวรรค์ 6 เกมชนะเก้าเกมคุณจะมอบความสามารถให้พวกเขามากขึ้นเพื่อเข้าถึงซูเปอร์โบวล์ – สถานที่ที่คาลด์เวลไปเยี่ยมในฐานะหัวหน้าโค้ชผศ. หัวหน้าโค้ชและผู้ประสานงานฝ่ายรุกสามครั้งก่อนหน้านี้ จิมคาลด์เวลล์หัวหน้าโค้ชของดีทรอยต์ไลออนส์ทักทายกองหลังแมทธิวสแตฟฟอร์ดก่อนเกมกับไจแอนต์ในปี 2560 ภาพ: การจ้างแพทริเซียของ APIf Quinn เป็นการเล่นพรรคเล่นพวกของ NFL แบบคลาสสิกคาลด์เวลถูกดูถูกโดยคนอื่น ๆ ที่เหลือ NFL ในสี่รอบการจ้างงานเป็นการเหยียดเชื้อชาติคลาสสิกของ NFL . ความสำเร็จของ Caldwell กับ Peyton Manning, Flacco และ Stafford ทำให้ความสำเร็จเป็นสามเท่าของความสำเร็จที่ประทับตรารถเมล์กูรู QB สีขาวพร้อมป้าย “อัจฉริยะ” ที่อ่านไม่ออกจากสื่อและการจ้างงานตลอดชีวิตในลีก ในทางตรงกันข้ามแผนกต้อนรับส่วนหน้าของ Rams ยินดีที่จะเข้าร่วมและแลกเปลี่ยนเพลย์เมคเกอร์เหมือนที่พวกเขาทำโดยการซื้อกิจการ Jalen Ramsey และแลกเปลี่ยนสองรอบแรกสำหรับ Lions for Stafford ซึ่งเป็นโอกาสที่จะชนะสำหรับทั้งสองทีม Leadership Matters เมื่อวานนี้บทความจาก Detroit Free Press หัวข้อ“ Matthew Stafford Never Showed His Desire for Greatness. Jim Caldwell Disagrees.” แมทธิวเป็นผู้นำที่ยิ่งใหญ่และมีความปรารถนาที่จะชนะอย่างไม่รู้จักพอ “คาลด์เวลล์กล่าว (ก่อนหน้าบทความ)” ไม่รู้จักพอ “เป็นคำพูดที่หนักแน่นคาลด์เวลล์กล่าวเสริมว่า:” พวกนักเลงได้พ่อสามีที่ดีและเพื่อนร่วมทีมที่เสียสละเป็นพิเศษซึ่งรับใช้ชุมชน ที่เขาอาศัยและทำงาน” ความเป็นผู้นำนี้จัดแสดงในปี 2020 เมื่อสตาฟฟอร์ดกลายเป็นผู้เล่นผิวขาวที่มีชื่อเสียงสูงสุดซึ่งจับเข่าเป็นน้ำหนึ่งใจเดียวกันกับเพื่อนร่วมทีมผิวดำของเขาในหลาย ๆ เกม Stafford เขียนบทความใน The Players ‘Tribune เรื่อง: “เราไม่เพียง แต่อยู่ในฟุตบอลไม่ได้ “” ความโหดเหี้ยมของตำรวจสิทธิพิเศษสีขาวการเหยียดสีผิว – ไม่เป็นไร “สตาฟฟอร์ดเขียน” ถึงเวลาแล้วที่เราจะหยุดแสร้งทำเป็นหรือปกป้องหรือเพียงแค่หลับตาลงกับสิ่งที่อยู่ตรงหน้าเรา “และไม่ใช่ว่านี่เป็นเพียงเรื่องราวของเราเท่านั้น อยู่ในขณะนี้ “” นี่ไม่ใช่ประเด็นทางการเมืองสิ่งเหล่านี้เป็นปัญหาของมนุษย์ไม่ควรมองว่าเป็นคำสั่งทางการเมืองเพื่อพูดคุยเรื่องเหล่านี้อย่างตรงไปตรงมา “ความเป็นผู้นำมีลักษณะอย่างไรและแม้จะมี” สื่อไขว้เขว “ก็ตามที่ Colin Kaepernick กล่าวหา แชร์ห้องล็อกเกอร์เพื่อนร่วมทีม 49ers ของเขาเองได้เลือกให้เขาได้รับรางวัลการจัดการในฐานะเพื่อนร่วมทีมที่ดีที่สุดในปี 2016 สื่อได้พิจารณาว่า Jared Goff ยืนอยู่ในขณะที่ เขาถูกล้อมรอบไปด้วยเพื่อนร่วมทีม Black Rams คุกเข่าเพื่อสร้างความแตกแยกให้กับทีมของเขามากขึ้น? เมื่อมาถึง Caldwell กล่าวว่า Stafford มีความสามารถที่ยอดเยี่ยมและในปี 2559 Stafford กำลังถูกพูดถึงในฐานะผู้สมัคร MVP ในเวลานั้น Caldwell กล่าวว่า Peyton Manning “จะต้องสวมแจ็คเก็ต Hall of Fame อย่างแน่นอนและอีกตัวที่กำลังมาถึง” อีกคนคือ Stafford หากอาร์เมเนียกลับไปสู่ซูเปอร์โบวล์ฌอนแม็คเวย์ไม่จำเป็นต้องปรับตัวมากนักนอกจากปล่อยให้สตาฟฟอร์ดเป็นกองหลังที่เขาเคยเป็นอยู่แล้ว และเขาอาจต้องการเริ่มต้นด้วยการโทรหาจิมคาลด์เวลล์ ใครจะรู้ถ้าพวกเขากลายเป็นเพื่อนกันทีม NFL อาจจ้างเขาด้วยซ้ำ .

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The 2020 NFL season involved a few dominant individual performances. Barring a tie for this year’s MVP award, all but one of those will join the league’s collection of near-misses. Here is who this year’s “others receiving votes” contingent will join among the best NFL seasons of the MVP era (1957-present) that did not result in a trophy.

 

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30. Roger Craig, 1985

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Marshall Faulk and Christian McCaffrey have joined Craig in the 1,000-1,000 club, but both did so in increasingly friendlier offensive eras. With Jerry Rice not making an immediate impression as a rookie, the 49ers leaned on their third-year fullback. Bill Walsh made Craig a rarely seen chess piece, and the former Nebraska hurdler delivered. Craig rushed for 1,050 yards but caught an NFL-most 92 passes to gain 1,016 through the air. He added a career-high 15 touchdowns. Marcus Allen earned MVP acclaim in this season, which is better known for the Bears and Ronnie Lott’s pinkie. But Craig’s versatility opus still stands out.

 

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With Peyton Manning throwing him passes, Harrison never had a reasonable MVP path. But his age-30 season came closest. Although Harrison did not receive a vote, he was far and away the NFL’s best wideout that year and moved the position into new statistical terrain. Harrison set the NFL’s single-season receptions record in Week 15, and immediately threw the ball back to officials upon doing so, and shattered Herman Moore’s mark with 143 by year’s end. Hines Ward was a distant second with 112. Harrison’s 1,722 yards led the field by nearly 400 as well. This set the table for Manning’s run of MVPs. 

 

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While a “feat. Randy Moss” credit is necessary, Cunningham proved he could thrive as a pocket passer. The unretired quarterback experienced frequent criticism as a passer in Philadelphia, but at 35, he took advantage of the best weaponry array of his career. Terrell Davis’ 2,000-yard season clinched MVP honors, but Cunningham threw for 3,704 yards in 34 touchdown passes in 14 starts. The Vikings had gone 9-7 in 1997; with Cunningham (and Moss) in ’98: 15-1. Behind Cunningham, Minnesota broke a 15-year-old scoring record with 556 points.

 

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This was not a good year to wage an MVP campaign, with Patrick Mahomes setting the league ablaze. But Donald coasted to Defensive Player of the Year acclaim, soaring to a 20.5-sack season. The Rams defensive tackle flourished under Wade Phillips, helping them to Super Bowl LIII. While their defense was not statistically great, Donald helped compensate — most notably in Los Angeles’ epic Monday-night win over Kansas City, when Donald stripped Mahomes twice. Donald seized the “best defender alive” belt during J.J. Watt’s previous injury hiatus and has not given it back.

 

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From 1990-97, either Smith or Barry Sanders won the rushing title. Behind another dominant offensive line, Smith took his turn in 1995 and led Dallas to its third Super Bowl title in four years. Smith broke John Riggins’ 12-year-old record with 25 rushing touchdowns — 10 more than anyone else in 1995 — and led the league with 1,773 rushing yards. Four of Smith’s five O-linemen made the Pro Bowl, with Hall of Fame guard Larry Allen — not present on the previous two Cowboy Super Bowl teams — debuting as a full-time starter in ’95. Brett Favre’s first MVP season edged out Smith.

 

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25. Rob Gronkowski, 2011

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Gronkowski began his long run as the NFL’s best tight end in his sophomore campaign. Despite being a second-round pick with an injury past, Gronk set the tight end receiving record (1,327 yards). That has been broken, but the ex-Patriot icon’s 17 touchdown catches remain the tight end standard. Gronkowski’s emergence helped the worst of Bill Belichick’s Patriots defenses (31st in yards) to Super Bowl XLVI and opened the door to another set of Tom Brady Super Bowl appearances (four pre-Gronk, six post). Brady finished with a career-high 5,325 yards in 2011. No tight end dominated more than Gronk during his Pats years.

 

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24. Deacon Jones, 1967

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Although sacks were not official until 1982, pass rushers had field days dropping QBs in anonymity. Defenders could mug receivers, and O-linemen were heavily restricted in how they could block until the late 1970s. Jones also had his since-banned head-slap maneuver. That said, Jones was an all-time menace in his heyday. Accounts vary on his masterpiece season, but the Rams defensive end recorded between 21.5 and 26 sacks during a year in which Los Angeles went 11-1-2 to lead the NFL. This was Jones at his peak, at age 29, he teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen to power a talented Rams team. 

 

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23. Jim Brown, 1959

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This list could devolve into “Best non-MVP Jim Brown seasons.” The Cleveland phenom was in the heart of an unparalleled prime in his third season. The result: a runaway rushing title. Only two running backs eclipsed 900 rushing yards in 1959. Brown came in at 1,329 — 293 ahead of second-place J.D. Smith of the 49ers — in the 12-game season. Cleveland had two Hall of Famers in its backfield that year, in Brown and Bobby Mitchell. They combined for over 2,000 yards. The 1957 and ’58 MVP, Brown scored 14 touchdowns but lost out to Johnny Unitas for the award.

 

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22. Jamal Lewis, 2003

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No. 3 on the all-time single-season rushing list, Lewis lost out on MVP acclaim when Peyton Manning and Steve McNair shared it. Lewis bizarrely ranked fourth, behind Brady as well, after carrying Baltimore’s offense to a 10-6 record and an AFC North title. The Ravens used a first-round pick on Kyle Boller and used him and journeyman Anthony Wright in Lewis’ fourth year. The Ravens ranked 32nd in passing yards but turned to their hardnosed back, who broke the single-game rushing record in Week 2 (295 yards) and finished with 2,066 to go with 14 TDs. This was Lewis’ only Pro Bowl or All-Pro season.

 

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Voyaging to back-to-back Super Bowl routs, the Cowboys were 3-0 against the 49ers from 1992-93. Each win came by double digits. With Sanders as a one-year hired gun, San Francisco beat Dallas twice en route to a Super Bowl blowout. The era’s premier cover man changed the course of modern NFL history, joining Steve Young and Co. in stopping a Cowboys three-peat. Despite signing in September and missing two games, Sanders intercepted six passes and took three back for TDs. The ex-Falcon and future Cowboy totaled 303 return yards and dueled with No. 1 wideouts, helping the 49ers go from 16th to sixth in scoring defense.

 

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20. Ray Lewis, 2000

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Statistically, Lewis’ 2003 Defensive Player of the Year campaign was better. But the Ravens middle linebacker made a defining team defensive season possible. Wearing bigger shoulder pads and sporting a bulkier physique due to the era, Lewis was still a sideline-to-sideline demon who led Baltimore to a 12-4 record. Lewis’ 137 tackles (14 for loss) and two INTs were not career-highs, but the Ravens held the opposition to 10.3 points per game — the lowest in the 16-game era’s 43 years — and won two games in which its offense failed to score a touchdown. The Super Bowl champs do not hit these heights without their 25-year-old leader.

 

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Johnson did not receive an MVP vote, with Adrian Peterson edging Peyton Manning during a season that featured a 4-12 Lions team, but he left no doubt as to the NFL’s wideout of the moment. Megatron broke Jerry Rice’s 17-year-old record with a 1,964-yard season. Only one receiver, Andre Johnson, came within 400 yards of the 6-foot-5 marvel in 2012. While today’s wideouts have easier paths to production, and the Lions phenom only scored five TDs, Megatron dropped both of his 200-yard games on playoff opposition and broke Rice’s record in an 11-catch, 225-yard Week 16 day against a Falcons team on its way to the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

 

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18. Randall Cunningham, 1990

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Cunningham ran into perhaps the toughest MVP luck of anyone, finishing second in the AP balloting four times. Joe Montana won in 1990, but Cunningham received 18 votes (to the 49ers QB’s 26) and had a clear case. The Eagles QB dropped an ahead-of-its-time 3,466-942 passing-rushing double that featured 30 TD passes and five more rushing scores. Cunningham’s 30 touchdown passes —  highlighted by this one — ranked second to Warren Moon, and in a season in which the Eagles defense ranked only 12th, their quarterback powered the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth out of an all-time great division. 

 

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Reed’s “best safety ever” claim began in his third season. The Ravens were still trying Kyle Boller at quarterback and ranked 31st in total offense. They still went 9-7, behind the league’s No. 6-ranked defense. Reed was at the epicenter of this effort, intercepting nine passes and returning them for a then-record 358 yards. Reed thwarted a Browns game-tying touchdown attempt with a 106-yard pick-six; he broke this NFL record four years later. Overall in 2004, the ex-Miami Hurricane totaled 12 forced turnovers for 402 yards and two TDs. It is hard for a modern safety to be more productive.

 

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16. Barry Sanders, 1994

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The Lions went from starting three QBs in 1993 to turning to Scott Mitchell and a 36-year-old Dave Krieg in 1994. Fortunately, they had the era’s best running back. Sanders broke through to power the Lions back to the playoffs, rushing for 1,883 yards on 5.7 per carry. Detroit ranked 24th in passing yards in a 28-team league. Sanders’ masterpiece came in Week 3 when the Lions beat the defending champion Cowboys after their running back’s 40-carry, 194-yard night. This was the second of Sanders’ four rushing titles; he led the league by more than 300 yards.

 

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15. J.J. Watt, 2014

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This Watt version became the only defender to receive more than one MVP vote since James Harrison in 2008. Watt garnered 13 — the most any defensive player has since Lawrence Taylor won the award in 1986. Watt recorded 20.5 sacks, a career-high 51 QB hits and 29 tackles for loss (tied, with 2015 Watt, for second in the TFL era). His MVP push centered on touchdowns. The fourth-year Texan scored five — on a pick-six, a fumble-six and, in a one-year-only role, three as a tight end. Illustrating defenders’ MVP futility, this perfect storm could not top Aaron Rodgers’ third-best season. 

 

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14. Jerry Rice, 1995

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In a year that featured passing numbers balloon leaguewide, the 49ers played five games without Steve Young. At 33, Rice confirmed his prime was not finished. In the middle of an unapproached span of 10 first-team All-Pro nods in 11 years, Rice broke the single-season receiving record with 1,848 yards. In the five-game stretch with second-year backup Elvis Grbac, Rice posted four 100-yard games — including a 161-yard performance in a 49ers upset win in Dallas. The all-time receiving kingpin punctuated his season with a 289-yard showing on a December Monday night against the Vikings.

 

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13. Lester Hayes, 1980

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In the third year of the NFL’s shift toward a pass-focused product, Hayes dropped a throwback season that made a major difference in a Super Bowl push. During eight of his 10 seasons, the Raiders cornerback did not surpass four interceptions. “The Judge” snared 13 INTs in his fourth season and posted 273 return yards. Hayes had four more called back due to penalty and later managed five playoff picks. Yes, the since-banned Stickum was heavily involved. But Hayes did not stack these picks against bad QBs; he intercepted a pass in 12 games. In the 40 seasons since, only one player — the Cowboys’ Everson Walls — has even reached 11 INTs.

 

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Venturing into Sanders territory and doing so in a pass-crazed era, Johnson set the NFL record for scrimmage yards with 2,509 in his second season. “CK2K” spawned because of this season, and although the Titans’ 8-8 record (after an 0-6 start) kept Johnson off the MVP radar, it remains an all-time great slate in rushing annals. After being held under 100 yards in four of his first five games, Johnson finished with 11 straight three-digit outings. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and accomplished all this against teams geared toward stopping him and not Vince Young.

 

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11. Charley Hennigan, 1961

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

So obscure that photos have proven elusive, Hennigan was the 1961 AFL champion Oilers’ top yard-gainer. But the wide receiver’s total resided in another stratosphere compared to peers. In a 14-game season, Hennigan posted 1,746 yards. Even in what became a pass-friendly AFL, that total bested all other receivers by nearly 600. The 6-foot-1 ex-high school biology teacher’s 82 catches did not lead the league, and Bill Groman’s 17 TD grabs paced the Oilers. Hennigan, however, averaged 21.3 yards per catch and had three 200-yard games in teaming with George Blanda. Hennigan’s single-season record stood for 34 years.

 

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10. J.J. Watt, 2012

Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire

Watt is far from the best player on this list, but it is impossible to exclude his second season. The Texans defensive end delivered one of modern sports’ signature breakouts, running up a mind-boggling combination of numbers. Watt’s 20.5 sacks led the league, but his peripheral stats are more impressive. The interior pass rusher recorded 39 tackles for loss. For perspective, no one else since TFLs became charted (in 1999) has surpassed 30. No non-Watt season has ever topped 28. The 23-year-old sensation also forced four fumbles and tallied 16 passes defensed — seven more than any other D-lineman that year — in the Texans’ 12-4 season.

 

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9. Earl Campbell, 1980

Bill Smith/Getty Images

Winding down their “Luv Ya Blue” run, the Oilers traded Dan Pastorini for Ken Stabler in 1980. The future Hall of Famer threw 13 TD passes and 28 INTs. The Oilers still went 11-5 and won the AFC Central for the first time. This happened because Campbell was unstoppable in his third season. Browns QB Brian Sipe won MVP honors, but this was Campbell’s defining season. He amassed career highs in rushing yards (1,934) and yards per carry (5.2) and dominated despite presenting nary a receiving threat (47 yards). Campbell’s career steadily declined after this, but his ’80 season is a time-capsule rushing year.

 

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

The heart of Brees’ Saints dominance saw Dan Marino’s 27-year-old single-season yardage record fall and the New Orleans QB lead the NFL in touchdown passes (46) and completion percentage (a then-record 71.2 figure). But Aaron Rodgers garnered 48 of the 50 MVP votes while leading a 15-1 Packers team. Helping Jimmy Graham become an all-time fantasy sleeper, Brees threw for 5,476 yards to lead a 13-3 Saints team. The future career pass yardage kingpin threw at least one touchdown pass in every game, on his way to breaking Johnny Unitas’ record for consecutive games with a TD toss in 2012. That currently stands at 54. 

 

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7. Randy Moss, 2007

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The season that lifted Tom Brady onto the elite quarterback tier can be traced to the Patriots swindling the Raiders for Moss . Bill Belichick giving up a fourth-round pick for the 30-year-old superstar transformed the Patriots, and though Brady was the unanimous MVP, Moss kind of deserved co-MVP acclaim. Moss caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and an NFL-record 23 touchdowns. Just as he catalyzed the 1998 Vikings, Moss lifted the Pats to the NFL’s lone 16-0 season. Brady’s TD number ballooned from 24 in a non-Pro Bowl 2006 season to 50. That record has fallen; no one has approached Moss’ TD standard.

 

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6. Jerry Rice, 1987

John McDonough/Icon Sportswire

Fantasy players in the discipline’s infancy cleaned up if they drafted Rice in his third season. It is both a dominant display indicative of the wideout deity’s future while simultaneously a tantalizing “what if?” year. Due to a players’ strike, Rice played 12 games. He caught 22 touchdown passes. Only one other player topped eight  that year. Rice also added a rushing score, and his 1,078 yards would have led the league had Cardinals wideout J.T. Smith not crossed the picket line. The 49ers went 13-2, and Rice and Joe Montana split MVP votes in a year when John Elway won. It took Moss all 16 games to break Rice’s record.

 

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5. Marshall Faulk, 1999

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In a three-year stretch when the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” claimed three MVP awards, Faulk scored 26 touchdowns to win the award in 2000. His Rams debut may have been better. Acquired from the Colts that spring, Faulk became the second player in NFL history to go 1,000-1,000. Kurt Warner won the 1999 MVP, but Faulk was the biggest difference between a bad 1998 Rams team and its Super Bowl champion outfit. The explosive back reached 2,429 scrimmage yards — still second-most all time — and averaged 5.5 per carry in his age-26 season, one that drove St. Louis to a championship. 

 

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4. Reggie White, 1987

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In addition to Rice’s unfathomable TD edge on his peers, 1987 featured a fellow all-time great lap his contemporaries in sacks. Like Rice, White played 12 games because of the strike. He registered a career-high 21 sacks — 8.5 more than anyone else. While the historically gifted power rusher was a star from the jump after two USFL seasons, White’s monster third NFL slate did not come from big games. He notched a sack in 11 games and got to 21 without a four-sack showing. White’s consistency would remain until the late 1990s. The record Michael Strahan owns would be buried had the NFL’s regulars played 16 games in 1987.

 

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3. Eric Dickerson, 1984

David Madison/Getty Images

During their lengthy period without a reliable quarterback, the Rams landed an offensive centerpiece in the 1983 first round. A year later, Dickerson set the NFL rushing record. After totaling 390 carries as a rookie, Dickerson logged 379 and turned those into 2,105 yards — a number that has topped info graphics for a generation. He rushed for 14 TDs, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and was so effective the Rams barely threw to him (139 yards). The Rams made the playoffs with career backup Jeff Kemp as their primary starting quarterback, ranking 27th in passing and winning 10 games. Dan Marino cruised to MVP honors in ’84.

 

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2. O.J. Simpson, 1975

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Simpson’s prime goes understandably overlooked now, but in addition to his 1973 2,000-yard MVP season, the Bills running back was perhaps even better two years later. At 28, Simpson led the NFL in rushing for the third time in four years. He got to 1,817 yards on 5.5 per carry but far exceeded his ’73 work in other areas. After a 12-TD 1973, Simpson scored 23 times in ’75 and eclipsed his scrimmage-yards total as well by reaching 2,243 — easily the best mark in the NFL’s 14-game era. Buffalo went 8-6 and missed the playoffs, further obscuring this transcendent season. 

 

30 of 30
1. Jim Brown, 1963

Focus on Sport via Getty Images

Y.A. Tittle’s 36 touchdown passes earned him MVP honors; the Giants finished 11-3 to the Browns’ 10-4. But there is no satisfactory explanation for the most dominant player in NFL history’s best season receiving seven votes to Tittle’s 33. Brown’s 1,863 rushing yards broke his own NFL record by 336. He averaged 6.4 per carry and a career-best 133 per game and totaled 15 TDs. A better illustration of the gap between Cleveland’s fullback terminator and the other men paid to take handoffs: Jim Taylor — the 1962 MVP — ranked second with 1,018 yards. Respected as he is, Brown is underrated. His three MVPs are not enough.

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FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2016, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning waves to spectators following the AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, in Denver. A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press on Sunday, March 6, that Manning has informed the Denver Broncos he’s going to retire. AP
Quarterback Peyton Manning, defensive great Charles Woodson and legendary Lions receiver Calvin Johnson are headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
The trio were among eight 2021 inductees named on Saturday in the television broadcast celebrating the NFL’s 2020 award winners.
The show was part of the festivities surrounding Sunday’s Super Bowl, which pits Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against Patrick Mahomes and his reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa, Florida.
Manning was the first, and as of Saturday night, the only starting quarterback to lead two different teams to Super Bowl titles.
Brady, who won six with the New England Patriots, will be trying to match that feat on Sunday.
Manning, 44, guided the Indianapolis Colts to the 2007 Super Bowl crown and led the Denver Broncos to the 2016 Super Bowl title in the final game of his 18-year NFL career.
Manning threw for 71,940 career yards and 539 touchdowns, rewriting the league record books with such efforts as 55 touchdown passes in a season and 5,477 passing yards in a season.
Woodson helped Green Bay win the 2011 Super Bowl but spent most of his 18-year career with the Oakland Raiders. He made 65 career interceptions and matched an NFL record with 13 defensive touchdowns.
Johnson made 731 catches for 11,619 and 83 touchdowns for Detroit from 2007 through 2015, leading the NFL in receptions in 2012 and in receiving yards in 2011 and 2012.
Current San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, who played for the Buccaneers and the Broncos, and former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca were also elected.
Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson was elected as a senior inductee, former Steelers personnel executive Bill Nunn will be posthumously enshrined as a contributor and former Raiders and Seahawks coach Tom Flores will be enshrined in a ceremony in August in Canton, Ohio.
For Pearson, 70, it was a long wait for the Hall of Fame call.
He played 11 seasons with the Cowboys and won one Super Bowl with the team, finishing his career with 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns.

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ขณะที่ฟิลิปริเวอร์สอยู่ในวัยเกษียณและจาโคบีบริสเซ็ตต์พร้อมที่จะเป็นตัวแทนอิสระอินเดียนาโพลิสโคลท์กำลังค้นหากองหลังคนใหม่สำหรับฤดูกาล 2021 และต่อไป ไม่น่าแปลกใจที่ Frank Reich หัวหน้าโค้ชของ Colts ได้พูดคุยกับ Peyton Manning แชมป์ซูเปอร์โบวล์สองสมัยเกี่ยวกับผู้เล่นที่สามารถช่วยให้แฟรนไชส์ก้าวไปข้างหน้าได้โดยไม่ต้องมีริเวอร์ตาม Jim Ayello จาก Indianapolis Star “ หลังจากฟิลิปเกษียณผมก็เริ่มพูดว่า ‘ตกลงนี่คือกองหลังทั้งหมดที่สามารถออกไปที่นั่นได้’ “ไรช์กล่าว “และในขณะที่เรากำลังพูดถึงว่าใครจะเป็นกองหลังตัวเริ่มต้นของเราในปีหน้าใช่ฉันโทรหาเพย์ตันและถามเขาถึงความคิดเห็นของเขาเกี่ยวกับผู้ชายบางคน … เมื่อคุณได้ยินจากเพย์ตันเห็นได้ชัดว่ามันมีน้ำหนักมาก มันมีน้ำหนักเป็นตัน .. .. ไม่ว่าเปอร์เซ็นต์ของความคิดเห็นอื่น ๆ จะมีความสำคัญเท่าใดซึ่งเป็นเปอร์เซ็นต์ที่น้อยกว่าของภาพรวมเปอร์เซ็นต์ของเพย์ตันก็จะสูงขึ้นเพราะเขาเป็นใคร ” Reich ไม่ได้เปิดเผยการสนทนาใด ๆ ที่เขามีกับ Manning ดังนั้นจึงไม่ชัดเจนว่า MVP ห้าครั้งอาจบอกอะไรกับเขา ตลาดตัวแทนเสรีไม่ได้แข็งแกร่งในช่วงยุนี้และโคลท์จะต้องแลกกับร่าง 2021 เพื่อเลือกผู้เริ่มต้นที่มั่นคง หนึ่งในตัวเลือกที่ดีที่สุดของแฟรนไชส์คือการรับตำแหน่งกองหลังสะพานและรอจนถึงปี 2022 สิ่งนี้จะยังคงเป็นโครงเรื่องสำคัญสำหรับโคลท์ตลอดช่วงยุ แต่แน่นอนว่ามันไม่ได้ช่วยในการขอคำแนะนำของ Hall of Famer ในอนาคต

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There is no bigger game than the Super Bowl, and over the more than a half-century of contests, there have been players who’ve put up spectacular performances on football’s grandest stage. From record-breaking feats to sheer dominance, these players did amazing things in the NFL’s championship-deciding game.

 

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Damien Williams, Super Bowl LIV

Kyle Terada / USA Today Sports Images

Patrick Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP by helping bring the Chiefs back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV, but running back Damien Williams had a strong argument as more deserving. He had 17 carries for 104 yards and one touchdown, along with four catches for 29 yards and a receiving score in the 31-20 win.

 

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Nick Foles, Super Bowl LII

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Named the MVP of Super Bowl LII, Foles finished off his Cinderella story with three touchdown passes and a touchdown reception in the Eagles upset of the Patriots. He also threw for 373 yards, helping Philadelphia put up 41 points against the Patriots in a 41-33 win.

 

Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports

Things looked bad for Brady early in Super Bowl LI, throwing an interception that was returned 82 yards for a touchdown to fall behind 21-0 and eventually 28-3. From there, however, Brady was his usual spectacular self, completing 43-of-62 passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns to earn MVP honors in the come-from-behind, overtime victory to claim his fifth Super Bowl title.

 

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James White, Super Bowl LI

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He may not have won Super Bowl MVP, but James White came up huge in New England’s epic comeback against the Falcons, scoring the game-tying touchdown to send the game to overtime and become the first player to ever score the Super Bowl-winning TD in OT. In total, White finished with six carries for 29 yards and two rushing scores to go along with his huge day as a receiver, notching 14 catches for 110 yards and another score.

 

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Tom Brady, Super Bowl XLIX

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Brady earned his third Super Bowl MVP in a last-second win vs. Seattle. He completed 37-of-50 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns.

 

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Lynch rushed 24 times for 102 yards and one score in Seattle’s Super Bowl loss. The Super Bowl will forever be remembered as a what-if, with the Seahawks opting to throw at the goal line instead of handing off to Lynch in a play that was picked off by New England.

 

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Demaryius Thomas, Super Bowl XLVIII

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Despite Denver’s 43-8 loss to Seattle, Thomas had one of the best games ever by a wideout in the Super Bowl. He caught 13 passes for 118 yards and one score, as the Broncos played catch-up the entire game.

 

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The Ravens were hoping for a proper send-off for Ray Lewis, and Flacco’s play helped them get one. He was awarded Super Bowl MVP after completing 22-of-33 passes for 287 yards and three scores.

 

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Manning won his second Super Bowl MVP with another great performance vs. the Patriots. He completed 30-of-40 passes for 296 yards and one score in New York’s 21-17 win over New England.

 

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Rodgers took down the Steelers in an impressive performance, completing 24-of-39 passes for 304 yards and three scores. In doing so, he put the Brett Favre era in the rearview for the Packers.

 

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Jordy Nelson, Super Bowl XLV

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Nelson was Aaron Rodgers’ go-to receiver, with nine catches on 15 targets for 140 yards and one touchdown.

 

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New Orleans upset the Colts and Peyton Manning with a go-for-broke game plan led by Drew Brees. He won Super Bowl MVP after completing 32-of-39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

 

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Despite a losing effort, Warner was terrific in his third Super Bowl. He completed 31-of-43 passes for 377 yards and three touchdown passes for the Cardinals.

 

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Holmes claimed the game-winning catch vs. Arizona, which helped him win Super Bowl MVP. He finished with nine receptions for 131 yards and that one score.

 

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Eli Manning, Super Bowl XLII

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The Giants pulled off the impossible, beating the undefeated and heavily favored Patriots in large part to Manning’s heroics. He was 19-of-34 for 255 yards and two touchdown passes.

 

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Peyton Manning, Super Bowl XLI

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Manning finally got his first Super Bowl win, completing 25-of-38 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown vs. the Bears. He also claimed Super Bowl MVP.

 

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Ward helped prop up rookie Ben Roethlisberger in a defensive battle vs. the Seahawks, with five receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown. He also claimed Super Bowl MVP.

 

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Deion Branch, Super Bowl XXXIX

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Branch caught 11 of Tom Brady’s 23 completions for 133 yards in New England’s 24-21 win over Philadelphia.

 

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Terrell Owens, Super Bowl XXXIX

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Not expected to play due to a fractured leg and torn ligament in his ankle, Owens made a miraculous recovery and had nine catches for 122 yards in Philadelphia’s 24-21 loss to the Patriots.

 

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Tom Brady, Super Bowl XXXVIII

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The Panthers couldn’t find an answer for Brady in their 32-29 loss. He completed 32-of-48 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns, winning Super Bowl MVP.

 

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Tom Brady, Super Bowl XXXVI

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Heavy underdogs vs. the “Greatest Show on Turf,” the Patriots pulled off a three-point win at the end of Super Bowl XXXVI when Tom Brady led the Patriots into field-goal range and Adam Vinatieri made a game-winning 48-yard field goal. Brady completed 16-of-27 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown.

 

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Kurt Warner, Super Bowl XXXIV

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Warner completed a Cinderella season for the Rams in a 23-16 Super Bowl victory. He completed 24-of-45 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns vs. Tennessee.

 

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Isaac Bruce, Super Bowl XXXIV

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Bruce had six receptions for 162 yards and one score, an impressive 73-yard touchdown during the second half. It’s his most memorable catch in an extremely productive career.

 

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Elway rode off into the sunset after winning Super Bowl MVP, completing 18-of-29 passes for 336 yards and one passing touchdown. He added one rushing touchdown against the Falcons.

 

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Rod Smith, Super Bowl XXXIII

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Atlanta struggled to cover Smith, who caught five passes for 152 yards and one touchdown, an 80-yarder from John Elway.

 

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Terrell Davis, Super Bowl XXXII

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Davis had one of the best rushing performances ever in a Super Bowl, getting 30 carries for 157 yards and three touchdowns. He was the game’s clear MVP.

 

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Antonio Freeman, Super Bowl XXXII

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Freeman’s great performance wasn’t enough to beat Denver, but it was impressive with nine catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

 

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Desmond Howard, Super Bowl XXXI

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Howard’s 99-yard kick return in the third quarter sealed Super Bowl XXXI for the Packers. He claimed Super Bowl MVP in Green Bay’s 35-21 win over New England.

 

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Larry Brown, Super Bowl XXX

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Brown was a difference maker in the Cowboys’ 27-17 win over Pittsburgh, intercepting two passes.

 

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Steve Young, Super Bowl XXIX

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Young finally got the monkey off his back, claiming a Super Bowl after Joe Montana left the 49ers. He completed 24-of-36 passes for 325 yards and six touchdowns in a dominant 49-26 win over San Diego.

 

31 of 54
Jerry Rice, Super Bowl XXIX

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Rice didn’t win the Super Bowl MVP, but he had an incredible performance for the 49ers. He had 10 catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns in San Francisco’s win over the Chargers.

 

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Ricky Watters, Super Bowl XXIX

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Watters had one touchdown on the ground and added two as a receiver in San Francisco’s dominant win. He finished the game with 108 yards from scrimmage.

 

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Smith claimed Super Bowl MVP with 30 carries for 132 yards and two scores in a second-half comeback vs. Buffalo.

 

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Irvin was the beneficiary of Troy Aikman’s great game, with six receptions for 114 yards and two scores in Dallas’ 52-17 win over the Bills.

 

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Troy Aikman, Super Bowl XXVII

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The Cowboys embarrassed Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII, scoring 52 points in a great performance led by Aikman. He completed 22-of-30 passes for 273 yards and four scores.

 

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Rypien claimed Super Bowl MVP with a solid performance against the Bills, completing 18-of-33 passes for 292 yards and two scores.

 

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Buffalo lost 20-19 after kicker Scott Norwood missed wide right, putting a damper on Thomas’ MVP-worthy performance. He rushed 15 times for 135 yards and one score, adding five receptions for 55 yards.

 

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Joe Montana, Super Bowl XXIV

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Montana dominated the Broncos from start to finish, completing 22-of-29 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns. He claimed his third Super Bowl MVP.

 

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Jerry Rice, Super Bowl XXIV

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Rice was Joe Montana’s go-to guy again in Super Bowl XXIV, with seven receptions for 148 yards and three scores. Montana claimed MVP, however.

 

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Jerry Rice, Super Bowl XXIII

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While John Taylor caught the winning touchdown for the 49ers vs. Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXIII, it was Jerry Rice who had the best performance. He had 11 catches for 215 yards and one score, winning Super Bowl MVP.

 

41 of 54
Joe Montana, Super Bowl XXIII

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Montana sparked a game-winning drive in Super Bowl XXIII. Cool Joe famously pointed out John Candy in the stands while in the huddle during the last drive and finished the game completing 22-of-36 passes for 357 yards and two scores.

 

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Doug Williams, Super Bowl XXII

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Williams led a dominant Redskins team to a 42-10 win over Denver, completing 18-of-29 passes for 340 yards and four scores. He beat out Timmy Smith for Super Bowl MVP.

 

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Timmy Smith, Super Bowl XXII

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Smith had a terrific game on the ground in Washington’s juggernaut performance. He had 22 rushes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

 

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Ricky Sanders, Super Bowl XXII

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Sanders was Doug Williams’ favorite receiver in Super Bowl XXII, with nine catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns.

 

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Simms and the Giants came up big in the second half, easily beating the Broncos 39-20. He won Super Bowl MVP, completing 22-of-25 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

 

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Joe Montana, Super Bowl XIX

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San Francisco capped off a 15-1 regular season by beating Miami in Super Bowl XIX. Montana won MVP by completing 24-of-35 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns.

 

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Smooth Marcus Allen ran over Washington with 20 carries for 191 yards and two scores to win Super Bowl MVP.

 

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It was the John Riggins show for Washington, as the Skins beat Miami 27-17 after Riggins rushed 38 times for 166 yards and one touchdown.

 

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Plunkett led the Raiders to a 27-10 win over Philadelphia, completing 13-of-21 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns.

 

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Swann scored one touchdown and had 161 yards on four catches in the Steelers’ 21-17 win over Dallas in Super Bowl X. The performance was good enough for Super Bowl MVP.

 

51 of 54
Franco Harris, Super Bowl IX

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The Vikings simply couldn’t find an answer for Harris in Super Bowl IX. He had 34 carries for 158 yards and one touchdown in Pittsburgh’s 16-6 win.

 

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Bradshaw claimed Super Bowl MVP with a 35-31 win over Dallas. He had a huge game, completing 17-of-30 passes for 318 yards and four scores.

 

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Larry Csonka, Super Bowl VIII

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Csonka ran the ball down Minnesota’s throat with 33 carries for 145 yards and two scores in Super Bowl VIII.

 

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Bart Starr, Super Bowl I

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Starr led the Packers to a 35-10 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl I, completing 16-of-23 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdowns were to Max McGee.

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Fair or not, quarterbacks get a healthy amount of praise and/or criticism for their teams’ success. Having the ball in your hands tends to have certain responsibilities, after all. Whether it’s playing mistake-free or carrying their teammates on their backs, quarterbacks play a huge part in the outcome of a game, especially the Super Bowl.The championship game brings together the last passers standing from each conference. Both bring a different flair to the position, but the goal remains the same: Win the game. This has produced some epic quarterback duels, from both players trading scores or young upstarts making names for themselves by knocking off the top dogs. The Super Bowl brings out the best in quarterbacks or crushes them under immense pressure. Either way, it’s highly entertaining. With that in mind, here is a ranking of every Super Bowl quarterback matchup.

 

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Fans and experts called this the “Blunder Bowl” for a reason. Despite having great quarterbacks in Johnny Unitas and Craig Morton, neither showed up for the biggest game of the year. Unitas didn’t even finish the game, getting knocked out in the second quarter but not before he threw two interceptions compared to just three completions. Morton survived the game but didn’t fare any better, throwing three interceptions and completing less than 50 percent of his passes. Many people want to forget this one.

 

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Some of the greatest quarterbacks in the game have played in the Super Bowl. Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins are not among them. Both teams rode running games and strong defenses. It seems that any quarterback who played it safe could’ve been behind center and would have made it to the game. The Super Bowl only confirmed those suspicions. Collins got roughed up by one of the best defenses of all time, getting picked off and sacked four times each. Dilfer technically won the duel by getting the win but didn’t do much, completing less than 50 percent of his passes but throwing for a touchdown. Most Super Bowls have at least one quarterback who performs well. This one had none.

 

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Yes, it’s Peyton Manning, but he was a shell of his former self, relying on the excellence of his defense to win. Cam Newton established himself as one of the faces of the NFL with 3,837 passing yards, 636 rushing yards and 45 total touchdowns. Newton was expected to excel, but not even he could solve the Denver D. Newton was sacked six times and threw one interception. He also lost two fumbles in a messy game. Manning held on for dear life, throwing for only 141 yards and taking five sacks. Manning-Newton is a great generational debate. Unfortunately, the reality in 2016 was so much worse.

 

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50. Super Bowl VII: Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins, and Billy Kilmer, Washington Redskins

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Both Super Bowl quarterbacks had less than ideal starts to the season. Bob Griese fractured his leg early in the year, while Billy Kilmer was replaced three games into the season by a 38-year-old Sonny Jurgensen before gaining the starting job again after the veteran went down with an Achilles injury. Both weren’t much of a factor in this Super Bowl. Griese leaned heavily on Larry Csonka and the stable of running backs behind him, completing only eight passes on 11 attempts. Kilmer did the same but ended up contributing to the Redskins’ woes with three interceptions. This was not a quarterback duel fans would remember.

 

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49. Super Bowl II: Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers, and Daryle Lamonica, Oakland Raiders

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The wily veteran vs. the young gunslinger: Starr was playing in what was the last season of his Hall of Fame career, while Lamonica was setting the AFL on fire with his powerful arm. The “Mad Bomber” found out it takes a lot more than a big arm to win the Super Bowl, though, as Starr managed the game to perfection to win his second straight championship. For all his production in the regular season, Lamonica couldn’t move the ball against a stingy Green Bay defense. It didn’t help that the Packers were eating the clock with long possessions, keeping the explosive Oakland offense on the bench. Lamonica got some garbage-time yards and finished with 208 yards and two touchdowns, but Starr expertly led the Packers behind an efficient 202 yards on 13 completions with one touchdown.

 

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48. Super Bowl VIII: Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

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Much like in the previous year’s Super Bowl, Bob Griese didn’t have to do much to help the Dolphins win their second straight championship. He had to complete six passes this time while leaning on Larry Csonka again. Minnesota’s Fran Tarkenton did his best to dance and scramble the Vikings back in the game but found it hard to do anything against Miami. He finished with 182 passing yards and one interception. It was another snoozer of a quarterback matchup.

 

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After the previous few Super Bowl quarterback matchups, this one was a dud. It wasn’t the talent level that was the problem. Ben Roethlisberger got hurt during the season and still put up 2,385 passing yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games. Matt Hasselbeck rode Shaun Alexander’s 28-touchdown MVP campaign and threw for 24 touchdowns against nine interceptions. The Super Bowl was another story. The game was plagued by questionable officiating, and the players didn’t do much to make it any better. Roethlisberger went 9-of-21 in his pass attempts and was intercepted twice. Hasselbeck did better, with 273 pass yards, but was sacked three times. It was an ugly game in terms of quarterback play.

 

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With one of the greatest quarterbacks ever on one side and an emerging star in Los Angeles on the other, you would have thought Super Bowl LIII’s quarterback matchup would have produced better results. Unfortunately fans were subjected to one of the most boring offensive displays in this pass-heavy era of football. Jared Goff, who passed for 4,688 passing yards and 32 touchdowns in the 2018 season, was stoned by Bill Belichick, looking lost while only completing 50 percent of his passes and guiding the Rams to three points. Brady, who was no slouch with over 4,300 passing yards, threw his signature dump-offs and slants for a yawn-inducing 262 yards and wasn’t directly responsible for any points scored by New England. Many were expecting fireworks for this matchup but instead got one of the most infuriating Super Bowl games ever.

 

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45. Super Bowl XX: Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears, and Tony Eason, New England Patriots

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You could’ve literally put any quarterback against the Chicago Bears defense in 1985, and it wouldn’t have mattered. The Bears were going to win no matter what. Jim McMahon was a solid quarterback, completing 12 passes for 256 passing yards, but Tony Eason couldn’t do anything, missing all six of his pass attempts before getting knocked out of the game. This couldn’t be a more forgettable matchup.

 

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44. Super Bowl I: Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers, and Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs

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The first Super Bowl featured two of the era’s most accurate passers. Len Dawson led the AFL with a 56 percent completion percentage, while Starr completed 62.2 percent of his passes to lead the NFL. Even though Dawson crushed Starr in the touchdown department (26-14), it was Starr who prevailed in the championship game. After star receiver Boyd Dowler went down, Starr rode veteran tight end Max McGee the entire game, completing seven passes to him for 138 yards. Dawson couldn’t keep up with Starr, finishing with 39 fewer pass yards and throwing a critical third quarter interception that gave Green Bay the momentum the rest of the game. The Packers won, 35-10.

 

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The Colts were 18-point favorites to destroy the less-productive Jets. A big reason for that huge spread was Morrall, who led the NFL with 26 touchdowns in 1968. Joe Namath, who was looked like a woefully inferior quarterback in comparison, boldly claimed the Jets would win the Super Bowl three days before the game was played. The rest was history. Morrall couldn’t solve the Jets defense, throwing three interceptions before being replaced by veteran Johnny Unitas. Namath, on the other hand, dinked and dunked his way past the Colts’ blitzing defense, finishing with 206 yards on 17 completions. He may not have torched the AFL during the season, but he did what he needed to do to win the league’s first Super Bowl.

 

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42. Super Bowl IX: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

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With two historic defenses in this Super Bowl, there was little hope that either quarterback was going to flex his muscles much. Terry Bradshaw found some success getting on Franco Harris’ back and riding his 158 rushing yards. He finished the game with nine completions and a touchdown. Fran Tarkenton once again was foiled by a great defense, throwing three interceptions, and the “Steel Curtain” stuffed Chuck Foreman time and time again.

 

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41. Super Bowl IV: Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs, and Joe Kapp, Minnesota Vikings

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Joe Kapp wasn’t a passer like Len Dawson, but he was so tough on runs from the quarterback position that he earned the nickname “indestructible.” Dawson had a rough season, missing six games with a knee injury, and he barely qualified for the playoffs. The fortunes flipped in the Super Bowl. Kapp never had to play against a defense as big as the Chiefs’. He struggled to find receivers, throwing two interceptions, and ran for only 9 yards. On the other side of the field, Dawson had an easier time taking advantage of open receivers on the short routes, throwing for 142 yards on 12 completions with one touchdown. Neither quarterback lit the world on fire, as the defenses dominated this game.

 

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The 33-year-old Jim Plunkett revived his career with the Raiders after stinking it up in New England and San Francisco. With Ron Jaworski leading the Eagles with 3,529 yards and 27 touchdowns in the regular season, this was set to be a great matchup. Well, at least Plunkett came to play. Plunkett put on a deep-ball clinic, throwing for three touchdowns and 261 yards on 13 completions. Jaworski, on the other hand, went the opposite direction, getting picked off three times. The Eagles scored only 10 points, and the Raiders won easily.

 

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39. Super Bowl XVII: Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins, and David Woodley, Miami Dolphins

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The quarterback position and the Miami Dolphins have a curious relationship. The team reached four Super Bowls to this point without a quarterback who put up huge numbers. Even though this matchup featured the top-rated passer in the NFC in Joe Theismann, not even he was enough to make this duel intriguing with David Woodley behind center for Miami. Woodley completed four of his 14 pass attempts for 96 yards, with a majority of them coming from a 76-yard scoring connection with Jimmy Cefalo in the first quarter. Theismann did his best to make the quarterback battle semi-exciting, completing 15-of-23 passes for 143 yards with two touchdowns. His two interceptions were an eyesore though, making this matchup a bore.

 

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38. Super Bowl XI: Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

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The third time was not the charm for Fran Tarkenton. Even after establishing himself as the league’s all-time leader in pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns, he couldn’t get over the hump to win a Super Bowl. Tarkenton had trouble with the Raiders’ 3-4 defense filled with aggressive, hard-hitting players. Ken Stabler, on the other hand, had no problem solving the Purple People Eaters defense, handing the ball off to Clarence Davis and Mark van Eeghen and managing the game perfectly by completing 12-of-19 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.

 

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37. Super Bowl VI: Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys, and Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins

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Two young, hotshot quarterbacks met in Super Bowl VI, with Roger Staubach earning the starting job in his third year, while Bob Griese threw for nearly 2,100 yards and 19 touchdowns. The former Navy Vietnam veteran rode a productive run game and chipped in with 119 yards on 12 completions, including two passing touchdowns. Griese couldn’t carry the load after his running game failed him, throwing for 134 yards, getting picked off once and fumbling the ball. He would have a chance to redeem himself soon enough.

 

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36. Super Bowl XII: Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys, and Craig Morton, Denver Broncos

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Roger Staubach replaced Craig Morton as the Dallas Cowboys quarterback in 1971, and Dallas never looked back. Morton got a chance for revenge against his former team in Super Bowl XII. He did not capitalize. Morton fell victim to Dallas’ Doomsday Defense, throwing four interceptions and completing only four passes for 39 yards. Staubach had more success against the vaunted Orange Crush Denver defense, throwing for 183 yards and one touchdown. This was hyped a revenge game but ended up being a dud.

 

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35. Super Bowl XIV: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Vince Ferragamo, Los Angeles Rams

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It was already a miracle that the Rams made it into the playoffs, and they got to the Super Bowl, which was even more unbelievable. But it was no thanks to quarterback Vince Ferragamo. The fourth-round draft pick was expected to get outdueled by Terry Bradshaw, and he didn’t do much to fight that. Ferragamo finished the game with 212 passing yards but never hit pay dirt for a score and had one pass intercepted. Bradshaw may have had three passes picked off, but he added two touchdowns and threw for 309 yards. There wasn’t much back and forth like there was with him and Staubach the previous year. It was all Bradshaw this time.

 

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34. Super Bowl XVIII: Jim Plunkett, Los Angeles Raiders, and Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins

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Two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks usually provide a matchup full of potential. With MVP-winning Joe Theismann and Jim Plunkett still showing off his big arm, everyone was expecting an explosive Super Bowl. Neither delivered. Plunkett took a backseat to running back Marcus Allen, who rushed for 191 yards. The Raiders quarterback at least notched one touchdown. Theismann couldn’t even manage that, throwing two interceptions. The Raiders made the Super Bowl a laugher, winning 38-9.

 

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Before Phil Simms was doing Super Bowl broadcasts, he was on the field winning one. The “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” Giants defense may have gotten the headlines, but Simms led the offense with 3,487 passing yards. John Elway was already entertaining crowds with his ability to scramble. In the Super Bowl, Simms outdueled Elway with three touchdowns, while Elway had a tough time moving the ball against Lawrence Taylor and Co. He still finished with over 300 yards passing, but he was unable to make the Super Bowl intriguing.

 

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32. Super Bowl XLVIII: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, and Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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You would think in a matchup featuring a record-setting Peyton Manning, who threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, would be exciting no matter what. It was quite the contrary when he ran into the Legion of Boom. Manning was throttled by Seattle, throwing two interceptions, getting sacked once and losing a fumble. Russell Wilson gobbled up the extra possessions his defense gave him, managing the game perfectly with 206 yards and two touchdowns. What was supposed to be a competitive matchup ended up being a laugher.

 

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31. Super Bowl XXII: Doug Williams, Washington Redskins, and John Elway, Denver Broncos

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Redskins quarterback Doug Williams started the season on the bench but took over the starting job at the end of the season. In five games, he piled up 1,156 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he was running into a buzz saw in John Elway, who just completed another excellent season in which he threw for nearly 3,200 yards. Instead, Williams stole the show. The first African-American quarterback to start a Super Bowl threw four touchdowns. Unable to shake his Super Bowl woes, Elway threw three interceptions and was sacked five times. Williams wowed the crowd, but Elway couldn’t join him in making this a more entertaining game.

 

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30. Super Bowl XIX: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins

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Montana vs. Mr. 5,000 — this was going to be the quarterback matchup to end all quarterback matchups. Dan Marino became the first quarterback to eclipse 5,000 yards in a season, and Joe Montana threw for 28 touchdowns. Well, at least one of them showed up. Montana destroyed Marino in a head-to-head battle, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another. Marino did the best he could, throwing for 318 yards, but he was picked off twice. Many people argued that Marino was well on his way to supplanting Montana at the top of the quarterback mountain, but the 49ers legend put those statements to bed.

 

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29. Super Bowl XXIV: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and John Elway, Denver Broncos

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Two legendary quarterbacks faced off in Super Bowl XXIV, and both confirmed their respective reputations through their performances, for better or for worse. John Elway came into the game losing his last two Super Bowls, and he didn’t do much to quell criticism that he couldn’t win the big game. He didn’t have his best season, and that inconsistency showed in the championship game, where he threw two interceptions and was sacked four times. Montana cemented his penchant for big performances, pummeling the Broncos into submission through the air with 297 passing yards and five touchdowns to set a Super Bowl record. He didn’t need Elway to give the fans a show.

 

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In 1991, Mark Rypien and Jim Kelly were lighting up the NFL. Rypien threw for 3,564 yards and 28 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Kelly continued to masterfully orchestrate the K-Gun offense, throwing for 3,844 yards with a league-high 33 touchdowns. Unfortunately, this was another matchup he did not capitalize on. Kelly got thrown around by the Washington defense, getting sacked five times and throwing four interceptions. Rypien took advantage of Kelly’s miscues, throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns. This wasn’t the first or last time Kelly was bested on the biggest stage.

 

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27. Super Bowl XXVIII: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills

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For the first time in NFL history, the same two teams made it to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years. Aikman-Kelly was set up to be a barnburner, with Aikman still commanding an efficient offense, while Kelly led the Bills to the best record in the AFC. Unfortunately for the Bills, history would repeat itself. Kelly attempted 50 passes but had a hard time moving the ball, with one interception and three sacks. Aikman didn’t have to dominate the game like he did the year before, with Emmitt Smith rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Aikman and the Cowboys coasted to another easy win, and the Jim Kelly Bills earned the dubious honor of being known as the greatest team to never win a Super Bowl.

 

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26. Super Bowl XLI: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts, and Rex Grossman, Chicago Bears

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Peyton Manning’s first Super Bowl was a momentous occasion with one of the greatest quarterbacks finally making it to the championship game. Too bad there wasn’t a similar quarterback on the other side of the field to make the game interesting. Rex Grossman was a fine quarterback, but he didn’t have the clout that would’ve made this a heavyweight battle. He finished the game with 20 completions for only 165 yards and was picked off twice. Not even Manning lit up the Miami sky. He finished with 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception. It wasn’t his best game, but he got the job done.

 

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25. Super Bowl XXVII: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills

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It was another year in which Jim Kelly dominated the AFC in the no-huddle offense, but a new challenger rose from the NFC. Troy Aikman led a Cowboys team that finished second in the league in scoring, throwing for 3,445 yards and 23 touchdowns. Aikman lit up the Bills, throwing four touchdowns and going 22-of-30 on his pass attempts. After throwing two interceptions, Kelly reinjured his knee that kept him out of the first two playoff games, knocking him out of the game. The Bills lost for the third straight year in the Super Bowl.

 

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24. Super Bowl XXIX: Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers, and Stan Humphries, San Diego Chargers

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Stan Humphries was thrust into the national spotlight by making the Super Bowl with the surprise Chargers. He threw for 3,209 yards, but on the other side of the field he ran into Steve Young, the 49ers quarterback who had Joe Montana’s big shoes to fill and a lot of questions as to if he could win a big game. He made sure people knew he was ready against San Diego. Young torched the Chargers for 325 yards and six touchdowns, breaking Montana’s previous record of five touchdown passes set in Super Bowl XXIV. Humphries’ luck ran out against the 49ers, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked twice before being replaced in the fourth quarter. The one-sided affair made this a mediocre matchup.

 

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23. Super Bowl XXV: Jeff Hostetler, New York Giants, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills

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Jim Kelly and Buffalo’s no-huddle K-Gun offense was supposed to be the main draw in the matchup with Jeff Hostetler playing game manager filling in for an injured Phil Simms. The game was a lot more entertaining than that. Hostetler and Kelly battled to a near draw, with Hostetler throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown, while Kelly put up 212 yards, including 28 yards late in the fourth quarter to set up the potential game-winning field goal. However, as many Buffalo fans know, Scott Norwood missed the kick, giving the Giants the win.

 

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22. Super Bowl XVI: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals

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In terms of quarterback matchups, this was marquee-worthy. A young Joe Montana emerged for the 49ers, leading the league with a 63.7 completion percentage. On the other side, Ken Anderson won the NFL MVP and Comeback Player of the Year, throwing for 3,754 yards and 29 touchdowns. Their duel in Super Bowl was impressive. Montana started the scoring with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter and followed that up with a passing score in the second. After the 49ers jumped to a 20-0 lead at halftime, it was all Anderson from there. His third-quarter rushing touchdown was the only score that quarter, and he notched two fourth-quarter throwing scores, one of them with 22 seconds left to pull the Bengals within five. The only thing Anderson needed was time, something he was not afforded after a failed onside kick gave Montana his first Super Bowl win, starting a legendary career.

 

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21. Super Bowl XXX: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Neil O’Donnell, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Troy Aikman returned …

Sometimes the game is a blowout, and sometimes the game is close. Either way, the Super Bowl almost always delivers something unusual, be it a play on the field, a halftime incident, a new technological innovation, or even the implementation of new rules and game-day standards. Let’s take a look at some of the most unusual facts and stories from each Super Bowl.

 

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Super Bowl I: Max McGee’s hangover leaves Chiefs feeling sick

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McGee was a backup and didn’t expect to get much action in the game. So of course, he stayed out all night and took in the Los Angeles social scene. Boyd Dowler, ahead of McGee on the depth chart, was hurt on the game’s second play. Big trouble for a guy with a hangover, right? Wrong. McGee caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns to help lead the Pack to victory.

 

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Super Bowl II: What’s in a name?

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Fun fact: The first two Super Bowls were not known as such. They were simply termed the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game.” Sharron Hunt, daughter of Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, was trying to speak about her Super Ball toy, and her accent inspired her father to informally term the Chiefs-Packers tilt as the “Super Bowl.” The Colts-Jets matchup in 1969 was the first game to formally bear the name.

 

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Super Bowl III: The upset to end all upsets

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There’s a good chance that the Super Bowl would not be quite the spectacle it has become without Joe Namath’s guarantee of victory and his team’s play to back it up. The Jets’ upset of the heavily favored Colts legitimized the AFL, turned Namath into a star and is still recognized as one of the most famous upsets in American sports history. 

 

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Super Bowl IV: Full of hot air

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You might think that early Super Bowl halftime shows were much more tame than their modern counterparts, and you’d be mostly correct. Still, there were some interesting spectacles. Super Bowl IV featured a hot-air balloon that was supposed to rise above the stadium. Instead, it blew into the stands. Somewhat incredibly, no one was hurt.

 

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Super Bowl V: Even losers win

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Linebacker Chuck Howley’s Super Bowl experience was a bittersweet one, as he picked off two passes and was named MVP. Of course, Howley also became the answer to a trivia question because his Cowboys lost, and he became the first (and still only) member of the losing team to win MVP.

 

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Super Bowl VI: Nixon draws one up

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Imagine, if you will, Donald Trump drawing up a play for Bill Belichick and telling him to call it during the game. Now imagine Belichick actually running it, or at least attempting to. It actually happened in Super Bowl VI, when Richard Nixon made a suggestion to Don Shula about a route for Paul Warfield. Dallas stifled the play, with Tom Landry indicating that the Cowboys made extra sure not to get beat by a presidential pass.

 

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Super Bowl VII: Garo’s “legendary” toss

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The Dolphins finished a 17-0 season with a 14-7 win over Washington, but the result would not have been that close had Garo Yepremian’s clinching field-goal attempt not been blocked. Yepremian picked up the blocked kick and tried to throw it, but the ball fell out of his hand and into the arms of Washington’s Mike Bass, who ran it in for a touchdown. To this day the play might be the most recognizable folly in league history and is often replayed in slow motion, to great comedic effect.

 

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Super Bowl VIII: From front to back

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If you scan old Super Bowl box scores, you occasionally find made field goals of 10 yards or less, which seem like misprints given the game’s modern rules. However, the goal posts were at the front of the end zone, so such chip shots were somewhat common. Super Bowl VIII was the last game to feature the uprights up front, as they were moved to the end line for the next season. Both kickers were perfect in the game, by the way.

 

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Super Bowl IX: An apology from…Mary Tyler Moore?

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The “Mary Tyler Moore Show” used Super Bowl IX as part of the plot of an episode that aired the night before the game. On the show, which was set in Minneapolis, the Vikings won the game. As the end credits rolled, Moore herself apologized in advance to Steelers fans, should their team win. They did, and the apology, unlike Minnesota’s attempt at bringing home the title, was successful.

 

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Super Bowl X: Tick tock, tick tock

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In today’s sports world, the idea that any piece of vital information would be unavailable to both fans and players is borderline farcical. Super Bowl X was the first Super Bowl where the play clock was visible to teams and spectators, crazy though it may seem. The following season was the first in which a visible play clock was mandatory at all contests.

 

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Super Bowl XI: Vikings the first to four…losses

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Before the Buffalo Bills were the Buffalo Bills, the Minnesota Vikings cornered the market on Super Bowl heartbreak. The Vikings played in four of the first 11 Super Bowls, more than any other team, but lost all of them, each time by double digits. Minnesota hasn’t been back to the Super Bowl in 43 years.

 

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Super Bowl XII: Sharing is caring

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It must be something with the Cowboys and quirks of the MVP Award. Chuck Howley was the only player from a losing team to win it, and Harvey Martin and Randy White were the only players to share it, as their stellar defensive work (a combined three sacks) paced Dallas to an easy win over the Denver Broncos.

 

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Super Bowl XIII: SB as in “Super Bowl”? No, as in “Spelling Bee”

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No player dominated the run-up to this game like Cowboys linebacker Hollywood Henderson. The Dallas defender ripped into Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, questioning his intelligence by suggesting that Bradshaw couldn’t spell “cat” if spotted the “c” and the “a.” Bradshaw got the last laugh, however, throwing for 318 yards and four touchdowns to pace Pittsburgh to a 35-31 victory and claim MVP honors.

 

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Super Bowl XIV: Steel Curtain causes a color change

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Ask just about anyone about Pittsburgh sports and two colors come to mind: black and gold. While the Pirates and the Steelers have always sported those colors, the Pittsburgh Penguins came into the NHL with powder blue as their primary color. Perhaps as a nod to the Bucs and Steelers, who after this game had combined for three titles in the previous 13 months, the Pens changed their color scheme to black and gold a mere 10 days after the Steelers were victorious. 

 

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Super Bowl XV: No plane, no problem

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We’ve all used the “my alarm didn’t go off” excuse, right? Sometimes it might even be true. Usually, it’s not a big deal, but for the Raiders’ Cliff Branch, it could have been a disaster. He missed the team flight to New Orleans and blamed his alarm for the mishap. Branch caught two touchdown passes in the game, and Oakland owner Al Davis didn’t seem to mind, saying of Branch’s lateness, “What the heck’s the difference?”

 

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Super Bowl XVI: A game-changing tool makes its debut

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We all take the telestrator for granted these days, as technology for highlighting certain players or areas of the field has gone to the next level. But for a long time, it was the industry standard for a color analyst who wanted to show viewers exactly what he was breaking down. The telestrator made its national debut in Super Bowl XVI, and of course John Madden was on the call to ring it in.

 

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Super Bowl XVII: Markbreit can’t make heads or tails of things

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Surely nothing could go wrong at the opening coin toss, right? Well, there’s a reason that the referee makes sure that both teams know which side of the ceremonial coin is heads and which is tails. That’s because Jerry Markbreit flubbed the toss in this one, mistakenly calling it as heads when it was in fact tails. Thankfully for him, the game didn’t come down to any sort of dramatic late penalty call.

 

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Super Bowl XVIII: Allen’s “mistake” sinks Washington

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Washington was already in big trouble, having just been stopped on fourth-and-1 to give the ball back to the Raiders and down 28-9. The Redskins needed a big defensive play, and when Marcus Allen arced way outside on a run to the left, in what he later admitted was a gaffe on his part, they had a chance at throwing him for a big loss. Instead he cut back, made several defenders miss and ran for a then Super Bowl-record 74-yard score. Washington was officially done.

 

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Super Bowl XIX: Nothing like home cooking

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No team has played the Super Bowl in its home stadium, with the Vikings blowing their chance two years ago. Only two, the Rams in Super Bowl XIV and the 49ers in Super Bowl XIX, have played it in their home markets. The Niners were right at home in Stanford Stadium, ripping off 21 straight points in response to a 10-7 deficit and then cruising to a victory in the second half. 

 

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Super Bowl XX: Super Bowl Shuffle

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The 1985 Bears were great. Some would argue that they were the greatest single team of all time. They were so good that they put out a rap song, the “Super Bowl Shuffle,” that became a hit. The single sold half a million copies and got all the way to No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. Such antics would doubtless be bulletin board material for the opponent, right? Apparently they weren’t for the AFC champion Patriots, who took a 3-0 lead then got pasted by a final of 46-10, at the time the most lopsided final score in Super Bowl history.

 

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Super Bowl XXI: The taste of victory is sweet — literally — for Bill Parcells

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The “Gatorade Shower” is ubiquitous these days. Every victorious coach knows it’s coming, and cameras follow jubilant players as they sneak up on their coach, bucket in tow. It wasn’t always this way. The Giants started the practice the prior season, but it wasn’t until they doused Bill Parcells after routing the Broncos that a national audience bore witness to the spectacle. Any coaches who hate having to clean themselves off after an involuntary bath have the G-Men to thank.

 

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Super Bowl XXII: Timmy Smith — from unknown to star and back again

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There have been unlikely Super Bowl standouts — Larry Brown  and Dexter Jackson spring to mind — but no single player’s star burned brighter and dimmed faster than Washington’s Timmy Smith. A rookie making his first NFL start, Smith ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, then he promptly lost the starting running back job the next year and was out of the league after the 1990 season.

 

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Super Bowl XXIII: Enter Elvis Presto

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Before there was “Left Shark,” there was “Elvis Presto” and the “Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D” halftime show. The show was designed to be viewed in 3-D, and viewers were told that if they had trouble seeing some of the images, they should consult an optometrist. Needless to say, the “entertainment” was not well received. 

 

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Super Bowl XXIV: The mother of all blowouts

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To this day, no team has topped San Francisco’s 55 points, nor has anyone eclipsed the 45-point margin of victory. The Niners scored two touchdowns in every quarter, and only a missed extra point stood between them and a perfect row of 14s on the scoreboard. The final margin did not lie, as most analysts still view this as the worst Super Bowl ever played, at least from a competitiveness standpoint.

 

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Super Bowl XXV: A clean game goes the Giants’ way

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Most years, the Super Bowl matches the two best teams in the league, or close to it. Given that reality, it probably comes as a surprise that it took 25 Super Bowls for one to be played without a single turnover by either side. That was the case in this one, something that likely worked to the Giants’ advantage, as they could not afford to make things easy for Buffalo’s vaunted K-Gun offense. We all know how the game ended, but Scott Norwood’s missed field goal was the closest thing to a miscue in this one.

 

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Super Bowl XXVI: Thurman Thomas’ helmet disappears

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The Bills lost Super Bowl XXVI, 37-24, and truthfully they were so sloppy, so completely outclassed by the Redskins, that no variable would likely have changed the outcome. Still, it was awkward and strange when Thurman Thomas didn’t start the game on offense. The Bills’ star running back didn’t make it on the field until Buffalo’s third play because he couldn’t find his helmet after coming back to the sideline from the coin toss. The incident is yet another in the long line of indignities Buffalo has suffered in the biggest game of them all.

 

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Super Bowl XXVII: Leon’s gallop for glory goes awry

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The game was already decided. The Cowboys were well on their way to victory. Still, every defensive lineman dreams of scoring a touchdown, especially in the Super Bowl. Leon Lett, after picking up a Frank Reich fumble and seeing nothing but green in front of him, seemed destined to live the dream. He soaked up his moment, slowing down into a trot at the 10-yard line. However, he didn’t count on Buffalo’s Don Beebe chasing him down from behind and knocking the ball from his hands and out of the end zone, turning his moment of glory into an infamous, if harmless, Super Bowl memory.

 

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Super Bowl XXVIII: Deja vu all over again for Bills, Cowboys

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This game marked the first and so far only time that the same two teams met in back-to-back years in the Super Bowl. It was going much better for the Bills in this one, too, as they carried a 13-6 lead into halftime. Things unraveled quickly after that, with Dallas tying the game then turning a Buffalo fumble into a touchdown and a lead it would never relinquish. The Bills haven’t been back to the Super Bowl since.

 

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Super Bowl XXIX: Bad game, worse halftime show

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The Chargers were the biggest underdog in Super Bowl history, and they played like it, trailing 28-10 at halftime. The game had little drama, so hopefully the halftime show would redeem it, right? Wrong. The show was a bizarre mess, conceived to promote Disneyland’s “Indiana Jones Adventure” attraction, which was opening later in the year. 

 

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Super Bowl XXX: Larry Brown, unlikeliest of heroes

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Larry Brown was a starter at cornerback for Dallas, and while he had a nice enough career, he may have been the lowest-profile player to win Super Bowl MVP. He had two interceptions on the day, but each one could not have been more perfectly gift-wrapped by Pittsburgh’s Neil O’Donnell, who threw the ball directly to Brown on two separate occasions with no Steelers receivers in the area either time. Brown signed a lucrative contract with the Raiders in the off-season, but there’s no word on whether he felt compelled to give O’Donnell a cut.

 

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Super Bowl XXXI: Introducing the FoxBox

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These days, we take for granted the fact that the score, time remaining and down and distance are always on the screen. This was not the case in the first 30 Super Bowls, until Fox, televising the game for the first time, introduced the FoxBox and revolutionized the way games are presented on television. As for the game itself? Well, let’s just say the FoxBox deserved a more dramatic contest.

 

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Super Bowl XXXII: Flawless offense earns Elway long-treasured title

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John Elway’s Super Bowl experiences were full of heartbreak, and many figured he’d end his career without a title. Then Terrell Davis came along, and the Broncos sent their Hall of Fame quarterback out in style with back-to-back titles. This one was particularly noteworthy because, aside from Elway’s kneel downs to run out the clock and a few penalties, Denver did not have a single negative play on offense. 

 

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Super Bowl XXXIII: Eugene Robinson gets busted

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The Falcons, fresh off an upset of the 15-1 Vikings in the NFC championship game, were looking to do the same to Denver in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, they had to deal with a major distraction when defensive back Eugene Robinson was busted for soliciting a prostitute the night before the game. The incident clearly distracted Atlanta, and the Falcons were never really competitive in a 34-19 loss.

 

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Super Bowl XXXIV: From groceries to greatness

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Hollywood couldn’t write a story as great as Kurt Warner’s. Left on the trash heap by the NFL, Warner at one point took a job stocking shelves at a grocery store to make ends meet. He made a name for himself in the Arena League and NFL Europe, and he finally exploded into the national consciousness as the impresario of the Greatest Show on Turf, stepping in and scorching the league once Trent Green was lost to injury. Warner capped off an improbable run by hitting Isaac Bruce for a long touchdown to top the Titans, 23-16.

 

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Super Bowl XXXV: Lewises shall lead them

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The game was not competitive by any stretch, with the Ravens dominating en route to a 34-7 win. What was unusual is that each phase of the game was defined by someone with the surname Lewis. Jamal Lewis was the game’s top rusher, Jermaine Lewis returned a kick for a touchdown and linebacker Ray Lewis was the game’s MVP. 

 

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Super Bowl XXXVI: Vinatieri makes Super Bowl history

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Until this game, not one Super Bowl had been decided on the game’s final play. Even a late field goal by the Colts to win Super Bowl V happened with a few ticks left on the clock. This time, Adam Vinatieri’s winning kick sailed through as the clock showed all zeroes, marking the first “walk-off” win in the game’s history.

 

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Super Bowl XXXVII: Robbins goes AWOL

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Barret Robbins was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 2002, anchoring a strong Raiders offensive line. Inexplicably, he went missing for most of the day before the game after not taking his depression medication. When he finally showed up at the team hotel that evening he was disoriented, and Bill Callahan left him off Oakland’s roster. It turned out that Robbins had been partying in Tijuana, Mexico, thinking (according to his wife) that the Raiders had already won the game. Needless to say, they didn’t.

 

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Super Bowl XXXVIII: “Wardrobe malfunction”

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In what is arguably the most infamous moment in broadcast television history, Justin Timberlake briefly exposed fellow halftime show star Janet Jackson’s breast, which was partially covered with a nipple shield. The FCC came down hard on CBS for the incident, which ended up sparking plenty of debate about indecency in broadcasting. The incident was the most rewatched moment in TiVo history to that point.

 

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Super Bowl XXXIX: McNabb leaves Eagles fans feeling sick

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The Eagles fought valiantly against the favored Patriots, and when they got the ball back deep in their own territory with little time left on the clock, their chances of winning weren’t good. The real story that came out of the waning minutes was a major debate on whether Philly’s Donovan McNabb was dry-heaving or vomiting as the clock wound down. With no conclusive video evidence either way, this one comes down to personal belief. 

 

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Super Bowl XL: Roethlisberger’s bad day ends well

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It is likely that no winning quarterback played a worse Super Bowl than Ben Roethlisberger. He ran for a disputed touchdown and did hit a crucial deep pass to set up another Steelers score, but aside from that, he did virtually nothing and finished the game with a passer rating of 22.6. Not that Roethlisberger needed to apologize because without his efforts, the Steelers wouldn’t have made it to the game in the first place.

 

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Super Bowl XLI: Hester starts things off with a bang

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Devin Hester electrified NFL fans with his return skills the minute he suited up for the Chicago Bears. When Chicago won the coin toss and elected to receive, everyone held their breath. Hester rewarded them by taking the opening kick back 92 yards for a score, the first time the opening kick had been returned for a touchdown in Super Bowl history.

 

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Super Bowl XLII: Tyree makes the most of his moment

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The Patriots were a juggernaut, 18-0 and favored to complete a perfect season and win their fourth Super Bowl of the decade. Eli Manning and David Tyree had other plans, and on New York’s winning drive, Manning scrambled out of what looked like a certain sack and hit Tyree, who had already caught a touchdown pass, for a huge gain. The catch was all the more unlikely because Tyree was forced to pin the ball to his helmet to gain control of it as he hit the ground. The Giants went on to win, and Tyree never caught another pass in the NFL.

 

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Super Bowl XLIII: A quiet Super Bowl week gets a great ending

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Due to the global financial crisis, the festivities leading up to Super Bowl XLIII were scaled back from the norm. Tickets were much more affordable, and the overall feeling of the event was somewhat muted. The game itself, however, delivered plenty of drama, with James Harrison’s 100-yard interception return standing alone in the eyes of many as the greatest defensive play in the game’s history and Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger trading touchdown passes in the final three minutes, with Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes hooking up for the winning score with less than a minute to play.

 

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Super Bowl XLIV: Payton’s gamble outshines, well, Peyton

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Down 10-6 at the half to Peyton Manning and the favored Colts, Sean Payton’s Saints needed a spark, so he made the bold call for an onside kick to start the third quarter. The gamble paid off, as the Saints recovered and drove down the field for a go-ahead score. Manning and the Colts rallied back, but New Orleans never blinked, retaking the lead and then sealing the game on a …

As we near Super Bowl LV, it provides a good excuse to examine the uniforms that teams wore in the previous 54 seasons’ final showdowns. Here is an entirely accurate, and in no way subjective, ranking of every Super Bowl uniform matchup.

 

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55. Super Bowl XL: Steelers vs. Seahawks

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The Seahawks’ regrettable uniforms in between their Cortez Kennedy and Russell Wilson eras marred a Super Bowl that soon became marred by officiating. While the Steelers are not to blame for this, they are dragged down because of their opponent’s misguided 10-year fashion experiment. 

 

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54. Super Bowl XV: Raiders vs. Eagles

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A similar case. The Raiders’ third Super Bowl trip came against an Eagles team struggling through a uniform run. Philadelphia’s designs in between the Chuck Bednarik and Randall Cunningham periods were a few cuts below. Unfortunately, the Eagles missed the Super Bowl in their Kelly Green years. Their first trip featured monstrous stripes and a blander green, making for less aesthetically appealing (for non-Rod Martin fans) NFL Films highlights.

 

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53. Super Bowl XXXIV: Titans vs. Rams

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This may or may not be a dissenting opinion, but the Titans spent most of their existence in bad uniforms. Maybe they were not that unpleasant in a vacuum, but coming after the franchise’s marvelous Oilers attire, seeing this concept showcased in a Super Bowl in Year 1 of the new identity dragged down the Rams’ final game in their finest road uniform. Had Tennessee upset Kansas City in last year’s AFC championship game, the Titans would have looked (literally) better on the sport’s biggest stage.

 

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52. Super Bowl XXIX: Chargers vs. 49ers

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Though whichever team represented the weaker AFC in 1994 was in big trouble, San Diego was a Super Bowl-record 18.5-point underdog. San Francisco covered, but this was another example of success overshadowing attire. While the 49ers showed off their top-notch standard uniforms in four prior Super Bowls, the 1994 team had used its 1950s throwbacks — which featured a different shade of red from the modern helmets they still wore — for most of that season. The white pants especially were a major misstep. The 49-26 loss notwithstanding, the Chargers wore superior uniforms. In attendance on that Miami night, Jerry and Newman surely agreed. 

 

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51. Super Bowl 50: Broncos vs. Panthers

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The Broncos are 0-4 when they wear orange in Super Bowls. So when they won the AFC in a year the conference had the uniform choice, the team’s dull white-on-white look resurfaced. The choice ended up working — against a Panthers team in its top uniform — but the Broncos using their orange-on-white primary home uni would have their gritty, defense-fueled conquest better for casual viewers. Denver uses its alternate blues twice and its Clemson-y Color Rush kits once annually; its primary home unis are only guaranteed five cameos per season. The Broncos’ white uniforms that were shaky in 1997 remain so today serve as their primary look. 

 

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50. Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers vs. Cardinals

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The second Super Bowl “Steelers, Italicized” (1997-present) at least featured the better of the Cardinals’ two standard uniforms. The Cards did not accomplish much in their previous Rod Tidwell look , but they have done a disservice to Larry Fitzgerald by forcing him to wear their current model for all but one season of his career. Again, the Steelers are dragged down by an opponent. However, that was not exactly the focus in one of the best Super Bowls ever.

 

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49. Super Bowl XXXIII: Broncos vs. Falcons

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We return to a Denver-on-the-road issue. The Broncos being forced to wear their away whites made this a rough watch (again, from a pure aesthetic standpoint). The Falcons wore one of their best kits in Tampa that night. While that was not the story in John Elway’s finale — a game in which the Broncos dominated — the Falcons certainly dressed better in the 20th century’s final Super Bowl.

 

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48. Super Bowl XXXV: Ravens vs. Giants

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Baltimore fans surely feel differently, but the Ravens have struggled on the uniform front. These white-on-whites were the then-relatively new purple buffs’ best option, but they were a lower-end NFL uni at the time. The Giants switched to their old-school blue-on-grays in this 2000 season, and while they got the job done, the throwbacks were not spectacular enough to lift a Ravens Super Bowl into the upper reaches of a big-game uniform list.

 

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47. Super Bowl LI: Patriots vs. Falcons

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Issues stopping Eli Manning perhaps did the Patriots some good; they no longer wear their home blue uniforms in Super Bowls. The white-on-blue road unis, while obviously not on Pat the Patriot’s level, presented the modern dynasty in a slightly better light. Had this game featured the inverse — the Pats’ Tom Brady-era blues vs. the Falcons’ then-chaotic white-on-whites — it would have been a candidate for the Super Bowl’s worst uniform matchup. 

 

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46. Super Bowl XXXVI: Patriots vs. Rams

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Just after the Rams won their first Super Bowl, they changed their uniform. However, the move from yellow to gold was not as bad as people remember. Until St. Louis started to venture away from its gold pants, the car was still on the road. Said pants were fine on this New Orleans night, but neither the Rams’ nor Patriots’ uniforms were top-class outfits. This was New England’s first of four Super Bowls in these. Another great Super Bowl with so-so attire.

 

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45. Super Bowl V: Colts vs. Cowboys

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This unusual, 11-turnover game would have at least looked better had the teams swapped home and road identities, but both Baltimore and Dallas wore their inferior 1970 uniforms. Making the Cowboys wear these was like the 2018 Patriots telling the Rams, “You’ll wear that mismatched white uniform and you’ll like it!” Just as they are today, the Colts’ white-on-white with gray facemasks are perhaps too minimalist — bordering on Penn State-level blandness — and the Cowboys obviously prefer their home whites. The Cowboys have adjusted their blue jerseys many times; none have produced a true winner capable of competing with their defining look.

 

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44. Super Bowl VII: Miami vs. Washington

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This matchup occurred 10 years later and featured each side wearing better uniforms. But Washington, which have avoided its home reds for the better part of the modern era, loses points for ditching a superior design scheme in this 1972 season. The Dolphins deployed one of the better white-on-white looks in NFL history, but their aqua jerseys still would have been preferred. They surely would have had more fun celebrating their 17-0 season in them.

 

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43. Super Bowl LV: Chiefs vs. Buccaneers

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In these teams’ Week 12 Tampa tilt, the Bucs wore their superior red-on-pewter uniforms, and the Chiefs donned their underappreciated white-on-red scheme. Unfortunately, the Bucs (who held top uniform dibs for this Super Bowl) will ride their recent road momentum and treat fans to each of these teams’ second-best uniforms for their home Super Bowl. Alas, the Chiefs will now be 0-for-4 in bringing red pants to Super Bowls. But at least the Bucs’ 2020 uniform change prevented this from happening. Of course, we all know the real premier uniform matchup this series could bring. Someday, Tampa Bay. Someday. 

 

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42. Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots vs. Panthers

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The Patriots’ second Super Bowl in these uniforms kept their Spygate-era momentum going; it also marked the final time New England won a Super Bowl in them. Again, these Pats kits are adequate. But they are just far off the franchise’s best work on the fashion front. Carolina’s first Super Bowl featured the team’s solid-from-the-jump color scheme, which has always brought vital stripe synchronization. A brutal illegal procedure penalty cost the Panthers, but their road whites did not let viewers down in Houston.

 

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41. Super Bowl XXXVII: Raiders vs. Buccaneers

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Just like their 1980 team did, the Raiders in 2002 found themselves without a quality uniform dance partner. This recently revived design scheme is probably the Bucs’ second-best — behind Bucco Bruce and ahead of the Jameis Winston-era threads — but it is far from one of the premier uniforms worn in a Super Bowl. This made Tampa Bay’s 2020 uniform pivot rather sad, with the franchise leaving the creamsicles on the shelf. No complaints about Oakland’s road attire, which remains one of the league’s best looks.

 

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40. Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots vs. Seahawks

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The Seahawks debuted their modern home uniform in a Super Bowl in the Marshawn Lynch “what if?” game, teaming with the 2010s’ most common Super Bowl threads (the Patriots’ road whites). An immeasurable Seahawks improvement from the previous time they brought their home attire to the big stage, but the Patriots’ merely adequate threads limit this classic contest from an especially high ranking on this list.

 

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39. Super Bowl IX: Steelers vs. Vikings

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Steelers Classic makes its first appearance on the list. While the Steelers went to five Super Bowls in this design scheme, this marks their only Super Bowl appearance in their old-school road whites. They went 1-0 on this stage in them. No big issues with these, though the team’s pants stripe was too big then and too big now. But the Vikings’ vintage home uniforms lagged behind their under-appreciated road attire.

 

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38. Super Bowl XXXI: Patriots vs. Packers

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Using one of the wackier design schemes to see a global audience, the Drew Bledsoe-era Patriots met up with a far more established brand. The Pats only used these uniforms for seven seasons, 1993-99. It is indeed difficult to get past the massive Patriot on the sleeves — which was only a thing for five seasons. If only the Patriots had run into the Packers in their Pat the Patriot unis; that would have been a majestic sight. 

 

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T-36. Super Bowl XLII: Patriots vs. Giants

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This Super Bowl was so good the fashion mattered little. The Giants deploy a sneaky-strong away-from-home scheme. Perhaps these uniforms’ reputation is enhanced by the two Super Bowl wins, but the Giants’ road attire uses their four-color ensemble well. The red socks are an underrated component, and thanks to David Tyree’s moment, this look will be immortalized throughout football’s existence.

 

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T-36. Super Bowl XLVI: Patriots vs. Giants

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Other than a much blander Super Bowl logo (as is the current, and unfortunate, custom), the Giants and Pats ran it back four years later.

 

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T-34. Super Bowl XXXIX: Patriots vs. Eagles

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The two Patriots-Eagles encounters occurred 13 years apart but involved almost exactly the same uniforms. In an even year, the 2004 Eagles opted for their home greens, which made their Super Bowl debut in Andy Reid’s sixth Philadelphia season. The Giants’ road uniforms outflank the Eagles’ current home gear, but the Patriots dress better when they pack their away whites, giving the Pats’ second NFC East Super Bowl rematch the nod.

 

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T-34. Super Bowl LII: Patriots vs. Eagles

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Although the uniforms Donovan McNabb wore to Jacksonville featured a slightly different collar than the ones Nick Foles wore in Minneapolis, that is not enough to differentiate these Pats-Eagles matchups.

 

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33. Super Bowl XLVII: Ravens vs. 49ers

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In 2009, the 49ers were a ways away from relevancy. So the franchise’s switch from an unnecessarily busy scheme to its current design went less noticed than, say, the rival Rams’ 2000 change. But the 49ers’ present look is a top-class NFL uniform. San Francisco’s current gold pants outflank their Joe Montana classics. Unfortunately, the Ravens being their dance partners in New Orleans lowered this Super Bowl’s uniform ceiling.

 

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32. Super Bowl XXXII: Broncos vs. Packers

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Brett Favre’s Super Bowls came against some of the weirdest-looking opposition, with the full-on stirrup Broncos coming after the super-shoulder patriot Patriots. The Broncos’ radical 1997 redesign changed the game. Teams at all levels got into the stirrup business. Denver’s first season in them produced a Super Bowl title, and the scheme remains. The blue-on-white choice was the better of the Broncos’ two options at this time, but this game unfortunately validated a wrong turn for the franchise. 

 

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31. Super Bowl XI: Raiders vs. Vikings

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The most recent Vikings Super Bowl invitation featured a second run for their purple home uniform. The NFL’s lone purple bastion for 35 years, the Vikings went 0-2 in purple and 0-2 in white in Super Bowls. They just looked better in white. The Raiders’ renegade status and three relocations are not indicative of their attire reliability. Since the franchise deviated from its black-and-gold scheme in the early 1960s, it has featured one of American sports’ defining designs.

 

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30. Super Bowl XXV: Bills vs. Giants

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The most patriotic Super Bowl not involving the Patriots presented the Giants in their finest uniform. New York’s NFC team lightened its blue in 1989, separating this Super Bowl from the Giants-Broncos clash four years earlier. The Bills only wore this all-white uniform in one Super Bowl. While Buffalo’s home kits of this era were the better look, this Super Bowl certainly went better than the franchise’s subsequent outings in the home blues.

 

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29. Super Bowl XXI: Broncos vs. Giants

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Even if the Giants’ darker blues of the mid-1980s slightly trail their Rodney Hampton-era design, the Broncos’ road whites pre-1997 were better than the Bills’. Denver wore these in a Super Bowl once, making them less memorable than its oranges of the era. But these away-from-Colorado whites — complete with a superior blue shade — dunk on the Broncos’ stirrup-y model they stubbornly refuse to ditch.

 

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28. Super Bowl XLVIII: Broncos vs. Seahawks

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Both Denver and Seattle adjusted their uniforms in 2012, the Broncos making their orange alternates their primary home jerseys upon Peyton Manning’s arrival and the Seahawks ditching their unfortunate scheme of the previous 10 years in advance of Russell Wilson’s rookie season. They showed off their new designs in the Super Bowl. Neither team sported its all-time best look that night in New Jersey, but this was a big upgrade from what such a Super Bowl matchup would have showcased had the 2005 Broncos won the AFC championship game and met the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. (The ’05 Steelers prevented a global-stage fashion disaster.)

 

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27. Super Bowl XXVI: Buffalo vs. Washington

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The Bills receive appropriate credit for their early-1990s persistence, but the uniforms they wear today outdo the ones they packed for Super Bowls. Nothing wrong with either theirs or the gear Washington preferred when it went 3-1 in Super Bowls under Joe Gibbs. A fine middle-of-the-pack matchup.

 

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26. Super Bowl I: Chiefs vs. Packers

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Two years after the Chiefs’ loss in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game (the Super Bowl’s initial name), they switched to red pants on the road. The Chiefs’ pre-1968 (and Marty Schottenheimer-era) all-white look doesn’t pop as much. The Packers won the game and the color scheme battle that day in southern California.

 

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25. Super Bowl III: Jets vs. Colts

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This storied January 1969 day featured the most disappointing loss in Colts history. While the 18-point underdog Jets completed a seismic upset that changed pro football henceforth, the Colts’ home uniform is consistently one of the league’s best. No exception here. The Jets of this era are probably remembered for these all-whites because of their accomplishment on this day, but their greens of the Joe Namath years were superior. Either way, a quality uniform duel in Miami. 

 

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24. Super Bowl XVII: Miami vs. Washington

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The Washington-Miami rematch brought a nice update to the teams’ meeting 10 years prior. Washington wore its traditional RFK Stadium threads this time, and the Dolphins’ aqua classics represented a nice pairing in the game best remembered for John Riggins’ championship-cementing run.

 

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23. Super Bowl XVIII: Los Angeles vs. Washington

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Washington’s attempted repeat featured the most recent instance of the Raiders bringing their famed black-on-silver uniforms to a Super Bowl. It did not go well for Washington, becoming the Los Angeles Raiders’ signature night (complete with John Facenda’s immortalizing narration).

 

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T-21. Super Bowl XXVII: Bills vs. Cowboys

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Excepting the one time the 1970 Colts forced them to wear their blues, the Cowboys have donned some of the finest uniforms in Super Bowl history. Their January 1993 return to the big stage was no exception. Jimmy Johnson’s bunch shined in Pasadena, and the Bills’ top Jim Kelly-years game suit complemented them well. 

 

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T-21. Super Bowl XXVIII: Bills vs. Cowboys

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This uniform matchup looked a little stale a year later, though. This remains the only time the same teams faced off in consecutive Super Bowls. Unfortunately, the sides did not try what would have been a fun fashion flip. The Cowboys’ dark blues of this period took a bit too much heat and may have distracted from this slightly less one-sided matchup in Atlanta.

 

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20. Super Bowl IV: Chiefs vs. Vikings

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The Chiefs debuted their home reds in a Super Bowl on this day in New Orleans, when the Kansas City’s second big-game appearance left the AFL-NFL Super Bowl ledger at 2-2 in perpetuity. Kansas City does receive much credit for being one of the NFL’s pillars of uniform tradition, but the franchise has altered little on its home design since this 1970 afternoon. This also marked the debut of Minnesota’s top look in a Super Bowl. The Vikings pulled off their purple and gold during their uniform heyday, the shoulder stripe cementing these as the franchise’s best.

 

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19. Super Bowl XLI: Colts vs. Bears

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The Bears sport one of the game’s finest uniforms. Chicago debuted its blue-on-white classics in a Super Bowl in 2007, upon meeting Indianapolis in that city’s first Super Bowl opportunity. A Colts blue-vs.-Bears white presentation would have produced a fashion-friendlier night, as the Colts’ all-whites are one the modern game’s blander looks. But still, not too much to complain about in the first rainy Super Bowl.

 

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18. Super Bowl XLIV: Colts vs. Saints

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The best possible version of this matchup, from a fashion sense. The Saints have enjoyed a love-hate relationship with their gold pants away from home, currently utilizing black pants and having donned all-white for periods during their 50-plus-year existence as well. But white-on-gold has always been the franchise’s premier non-Superdome choice. It came against the Colts’ famed blue-on-white design that, save for the facemasks going from gray to white to blue and back to gray, has not changed since Johnny Unitas was calling signals. 

 

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17. Super Bowl XLV: Steelers vs. Packers

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A truly complementary Super Bowl featured an unbelievable array of wide receiver corps. The Packers’ Greg Jennings-Jordy Nelson-Donald Driver-James Jones stable met the Steelers’ Hines Ward-Mike Wallace-Antonio Brown-Emmanuel Sanders-Antwaan Randle El group. All wore yellow pants (these trousers are much closer to yellow than gold, despite what these organizations would have you believe) in a flashy Super Bowl that has become a bit underrated a decade later.

 

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T-14. Super Bowl X: Steelers vs. Cowboys

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The Super Bowl’s most frequent matchup debuted in January 1976, the first time the Steelers wore their storied Steel Curtain-era home attire for a championship. This may be No. 1 for many, and arguments can be made these two uniforms together do the best to define football in the late 20th century. 

 

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T-14. Super Bowl XIII: Steelers vs. Cowboys

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They did this again three years later. 

 

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T-14. Super Bowl XXX: Steelers vs. Cowboys

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They met up again 17 years after that, with the only difference being the bluer socks the Cowboys wore in the Arizona meeting. 

 

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13. Super Bowl XIX: Dolphins vs. 49ers

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The 49ers’ first time using their iconic red-on-gold design in a Super Bowl. Perhaps a more even playing field would have involved the 49ers using their road whites against the Dolphins’ home aquas — which, at the time, were unlike anything else in the NFL — but this game was in Palo Alto. The 49ers owed it to their fans who made the drive south to deploy their NorCal look. While it is unfortunate the Dolphins did not make another Super Bowl in the Dan Marino era to show off their improved road uniform (circa 1985-96), their vintage scheme remains associated with the franchise’s peak.

 

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12. Super Bowl VIII: Dolphins vs. Vikings

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This might be high for most, but it is interesting in what may get the vote for the most boring Super Bowl featured such a fascinating color contrast. The 1973 NFL featured one possible purple-aqua matchup, and the Dolphins and Vikings each brought their best jerseys to Houston. Although this game featured only seven Dolphins passes and stood at 24-0 in the fourth quarter, the ahead-of-its-time color duel deserves credit. 

 

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11. Super Bowl XVI: Bengals vs. 49ers

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This would have been a less eye-popping Super Bowl had it occurred merely one year earlier. In 1981, the Bengals shocked the NFL landscape with their then-revolutionary tiger-striped concept. Cincinnati’s previous uniforms were quite basic and bore a strong resemblance to the other orange, Ohio-based team Paul Brown once led. The Bengals executed a strong pivot and still possess the NFL’s premier helmet. Going against a 49ers team showing off its threads for a Super Bowl audience for the first time helped the teams’ first big-game meeting stand out.

 

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10. Super Bowl LIV: Chiefs vs. 49ers

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While the better matchup would have been for the Chiefs to go with their white-on-red road look and the 49ers to then use their equally fantastic red-on-gold kit, it was surely a non-starter for the team with the color choice (the AFC champion has first dibs in odd years) to defer home red in the reddest Super Bowl in history. But these teams’ second-best uniforms are better than many teams’ top kits, making for fine visuals in Miami.

 

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9. Super Bowl II: Raiders vs. Packers

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Although the Packers’ Lambeau Field greens receive more acclaim, their road whites are one of the best away-from-home uniforms in NFL history. The second AFL-NFL World Championship Game matching them up with the Raiders, who were just finding the uniform footing that would shape their identity for decades, took the yet-to-be-named Super Bowl a step forward. 

 

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8. Super Bowl XXII: Denver vs. Washington

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Favored going into this game, the Broncos gave up 35 points in the second quarter amid a string of late-1980s Super Bowl misfortune. But the uniforms John Elway donned for most of …

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.

 

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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. 

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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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