Why is it whenever I can finally sit down and watch the Terps they start tanking right away? At least they righted the ship in time to pick up a big win tonight. But I’m here to keep this train rolling right onto No.1 in the countdown to the greatest Super Bowl. If you missed number 43 down to 11, check out my recent blogs or hit the links at the bottom of part four. FYI, as the games get better, the recaps tend to get longer. Here we go:
10. Super Bowl XIV Steelers 31, Rams 19. The Steelers were winners of 3 of the last 5 Super Bowls. They were getting long in the tooth but still overwhelming favorites to beat the Rams who finished the regular season at 9-7. But a funny thing happened on the way to their 4th Super Bowl win, the Rams led 13-10 at the half. And after the Steelers scored on a long pass to Swann, the Rams came right back to lead 19-17 going into the fourth. That’s when NFL Films voice John Facenda uttered “Great teams aren’t always great, they’re just great when they have to be.” And the Steelers were. A spectacular 73-yard bomb from Bradshaw to Stallworth gave Pittsburgh the lead. The Rams still came back though, driving to the Steelers 32 but Jack Lambert stopped the drive with an interception. The Steelers offense went for the kill and got it with a Franco TD in the waning moments of the game.
9. Super Bowl X Steelers 21, Cowboys 17. The first of three matchups between the Cowboys and Steelers, to me, was the best. The game started with Steeler kicker Roy Gerella getting knocked woozy stopping a Cowboys reverse. His kicking suffered throughout the game and was the back-drop for one of the games many memorable moments. The first half was highlighted by some spectacular catches by Swann but the Steelers trailed 10-7. The third quarter was scoreless, partly because Gerella missed a 33-yard field goal. After it went wide, Dallas taunted the kicker and Jack Lambert decided that wouldn’t fly. He slammed Cliff Harris to the ground in the melee that ensued. It gave the Steelers the kind of spark a good hockey fight might provide. Early in the fourth, the Steelers blocked a punt out of the endzone to make it 10-9. Gerella came back to hit two FGs to put them up 15-10. With the ball again and only 4:25 to go, the Steelers faced 3 and 6 at their own 36. Bradshaw, about to be knocked silly on a vicious hit, heaved the ball for Swann again. He scored, and after missing the extra point, Pittsburgh led 21-10. It only took Dallas 5 plays to cut the lead to 21-17. A strange decision to go for it on 4th down at the Dallas 39 gave the Cowboys the ball back with 1:22 to go. They advanced to the Steelers 38, but could get no further.
8. Super Bowl XXXII Broncos 31, Packer 24. The defending champion Packers entered the game as 12-point favorites. Denver had done nothing but lost before in the sports premiere game. The AFC had lost 13 straight. There wasn’t much reason to think this game in San Diego would be much different. But Elway had heard enough about his previous failures. The Broncos sprinted to a 17-7 lead in the 2nd quarter. But the Packers pulled within 3 at the half and had an opportunity to take the lead when Denver fumbled on the first play of the 3rd quarter. The Broncos stiffened and forced a FG try – but were offsides and gave Green Bay a first down. Again, they forced a 3-and-out and the Pack settled for a tie. Late in the third, Elway served notice that this was his time. He mounted a 92-yard TD drive for the lead highlighted by his diving, spinning 3rd and 8 scramble for a 1st down inside the five yard line. The teams exchanged turnovers before Favre led the Packers on a drive to tie the game early in the 4th. The Broncos defense slowly shifted field position in their favor and set up the offense near midfield with under four minutes to go. Denver walked it in and Elway had to watch as Green Bay moved to the enemy 31 in the final minute. They could go no further either.
7. Super Bowl XXXVI Patriots 20, Rams 17. The Rams came into the game as the highest scoring team in the league. The Patriots came in on an 8-game winning streak. Their last loss coming at the hands of the Rams, 24-17 in Foxboro. The Patriots had survived the ‘Tuck Rule’ game in the playoffs with some creative officiating and Adam Vinatieri’s incredible kicking performance but the Rams were huge favorites. However, Kurt Warner and company could only muster 3 points in the games first three quarters. The Patriots took a 7-3 lead in the second when Ty Law returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown. They extended the lead to 14-3 with a score just before the half ended. Late in the third, they added a FG to go up two touchdowns. So the Rams offense woke up and drove deep in New England territory. On 4th and goal from the three, the game appeared to be over when Warner fumbled and the Patriots scooped it up and ran 97 yards for a score. But Marshall Faulk was mugged out of the backfield and the Rams got a second chance. They not only scored the TD, but they came back again late in the quarter to tie the game with 1:30 to go. And then Tom Brady became a legend leading the Patriots into FG range. And Adam Vinatieri nailed a game winning 48-yarder as time ran out. This game ranks higher than the previous few because it actually ended with a score.
6. Super Bowl XXIII 49ers 20, Bengals 16. Television replays caught one of the nastiest injuries since Joe Theismann on this day as Tim Krumrie snapped his ankle like the chick in The Exorcist early in the game. Both teams struggled to score throughout the first half (the 49ers missed a 19 yard FG) and went to the locker room knotted at three. A quirky play in the kicking game put two players in the record books on the same snap. John Taylor misplayed Lee Johnson’s kick into a record 63-yard punt, but was nimble enough to scoop it up and return it his own record-setting 45 yards. To open the second half, the Bengals capped a long drive with a FG. The Niners got a gift-wrapped FG late in the quarter after an Esiason pick to tie the game. The ensuing kickoff however was returned for a TD and a 13-6 Bengals lead. In classic Montana fashion though, the Niners scored in four plays to tie the game. Cincy took the lead lead on a FG with 3:20 to play and the Niners were faced with 1st and 92 after penalty pinned them deep on the kickoff. But they had Montana, and Rice, and Craig and finally, John Taylor, who hauled in a 10-yard strike to win the game. This game ranks higher than Super Bowl 36 because it was a game winning TD and not a wussy kicker who was the hero!
The Final 5 tomorrow. Happy Blizzard everyone.
Hit the links below to see the rest of the list.