We blew through some pretty cruddy games over the last two days. Now we can get to my Top 20.
Without further adieu:
20. Super Bowl XVI 49ers 26, Bengals 21. Both teams played classic conference title games before meeting in the Silverdome. The Bengals beat the Chargers in a biting -37 degree wind chill while San Fransisco advanced with “The Catch” over Dallas. The 49ers sprinted to a 20-0 halftime lead. At 20-7 late in the 3rd, the game’s signature series took place, a 4-down goal line stand from the Niner 3-yard line to keep the Bengals at bay. Cincy scored after getting the ball back around midfield to make it 20-14, but the missed opportunity left too little time once the 49ers added 2 field goals.
19. Super Bowl IX Steelers 16, Vikings 6. Fans of today’s up and down games probably wouldn’t appreciate this game much. It was 2-0 Pittsburgh at the half, 9-0 after three quarters. With 10:23 left in the game, the Vikings blocked a punt and recovered it in the endzone. Missing the extra point left them down 9-6. Amazingly, in a game where the Vikes mustered only 119 total yards, they were alive…until Bradshaw led the Steelers on an 11 play, 66-yard drive to put it away.
18. Super Bowl XXXI Packers 35, Patriots 21. The Patriots, a two touchdown underdog, led after one quarter 14-10 but Brett Favre and Packers ruled the second. The Pack led at the break 27-14. New England cut it to 27-21 in the 3rd before Desmond Howard returned the ensuing kickoff for the final points of the game. Four Drew Bledsoe interceptions killed New England. Green Bay never turned it over. It is Brett Favre’s only championship to date (what a shame).
17. Super Bowl XLI Colts 29, Bears 17. The game was played in drenching rain in SouthFlorida. It started with a bang. Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff for a Bears score. The underdog Bears were only down 17-14 at the half and 23-17 in the fourth. Again, the turnover battle went in favor of the victors, this time 5-3. The biggest was the final nail in the Bears’ coffin. With just 3:16 left, Kelvin Hayden picked off Rex Grossman and tip-toed down the sideline for the final margin. It is Peyton Manning’s only Super Bowl title (to date…check back Monday).
16. Super Bowl VII Dolphins 14, Redskins 7. Part of the reason this game ranks relatively high is the fact that the Dolphins won with the pressure of going 17-0. How many teams have we seen since wilt with it. Miami didn’t. They suffocated the Redskins for 57 minutes, leading 14-0. Then, trying to kick a somewhat meaningless field goal just before the 2-minute warning, disaster struck. Washington blocked it and returned it for a score. Opting to kickoff instead of an onside try, the Redskins defense held and gave the offense one last chance. 64 yards. 1:14 left. No timeouts. Billy Kilmer at QB. Four and out. Perfect season complete.
15. Super Bowl XVII Redskins 27, Dolphins 17. Miami did most of their damage in this one with the long ball…a 76-yard TD pass to Jimmy Cefalo and 98-yard kick return by Fulton Walker had them in front 17-13 into the 4th quarter. The Dolphins Killer Bee defense missed an opportunity to add another score when they batted a pass near the ‘Skins own goal line. Theismann was alert enough to knock the airborn ball from Kim Bokamper’s hands. Later in the same drive, facing a fourth-and-one in Dolphins territory with just over 10 minutes left, John Riggins blasted off left tackle and rambled 43 yards for the go ahead score.
14. Super Bowl XXXIX Patriots 24, Eagles 21. The Patriots were trying to solidify their dynasty status by winning for the third time in four seasons. They did. But not before the game was tied 0-0 after one quarter, 7-7 after two and 14-14 after three. It was the first Super Bowl to go into the 4th quarter knotted up. The Patriots scored 10 straight points. Philly scored again but wasted too much time as McNabb puked all over the place, getting the ball back with too much green to cover in too little time. 96 yards, 46 seconds, and McNabb was desperate. An interception ended the game.
13. Super Bowl XIII Steelers 35, Cowboys 31. This game gets a lot of play as one of the greatest ever. But the Steelers led 35-17 late in the game and Dallas managed a pair of late scores to tighten it up. It certainly had its share of big plays: Stallworth scored on catches of 28 and 75 yards, Tony Hill had a 39-yarder, Mike Hegman ran a Bradshaw fumble back 37 yards for a score. But leading 21-17 early in the fourth quarter, Franco and Lynn Swann put the Steelers in control with two highlight reel touchdowns.
12. Super Bowl XXX Cowboys 27, Steelers 17. The Cowboys were big favorites but struggled to shake the Steelers. Neil O’Donnell, who I ogled at like a school girl back in Ellicott Dining Hall in college , threw two perfect strikes…to Dallas’ Larry Brown… to shoot down any chance the Steelers had in the second half. And they had a chance. Down only 20-17 and with ball late in game, Dallas was feeling the heat. But the interceptions were too much to overcome. It was a game that featured Bill Cowher at his best, motivating the underdogs and playing aggressively. I was tempted to rate this game No.1 seeing as it’s the Steelers only Super Bowl loss.
11. Super Bowl V Colts 16, Cowboys 13. A little bias here but I think this game gets a bad rap. It was the only game of the first 22 to be won with a score in the last seconds of the game, Jim O’Brien’s 32-yard FG. The Colts, still smarting from the loss to the Jets two years prior, overcame SEVEN turnovers to win. To me, that shows some fortitude. Yeah, the Cowboys committed four, including a Duane Thomas fumble at the Colts 1-yard line. But Tom Landry said after the game, “I haven’t been around many games where the players hit harder…The mistakes in that game weren’t invented, at least not by the people who made them. Most were forced.” Agreed. Here’s to the Baltimore Colts.
Games 6-10 are next!