The Sports Lounge presents… My Top Ten Super Bowl Moments of my Lifetime; Numbers 5-1
With Super Bowl 50 right around the corner and the Broncos and Panthers getting ready to take the field, I wanted to look back the Super Bowls in my lifetime and the top ten moments of those games. Starting with Super Bowl XV, I made a list of the top ten moments and ranked them. They may not be in the best order, but I based it on how each moment will be remembered overall, not just by me. I already went through numbers 10-6, so let’s take a look at the top 5.
5. A Super Bowl Steel
Super Bowl XLIII featured the Arizona Cardinals against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Tampa, FL. The Cardinals, led by QB Kurt Warner, a former Super Bowl MVP, were appearing in their first Super Bowl and hadn’t won a championship since 1947. The Steelers on the other hand were a dynasty in the 1970s and won Super Bowl XL just three years prior.
The Steelers jumped out to a big lead and it looked as though they would win their sixth Super Bowl with relative ease. But the Cardinals came roaring back and took the lead with a 64-yard touchdown reception by Larry Fitzgerald. But, with 2:37 left on the clock, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger drove down the field and set Pittsburgh up for a go-ahead score. And they did just that when Roethlisberger hit WR Santonio Holmes on a 6-yard touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone with only 35 seconds left. They catch was amazing and is the one highlight that Holmes will be remembered for as he had a troubled and brief NFL career.
4. Pigs Fly and Hell Freezes Over
The New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. Two teams with two different stories. The Saints were the NFL’s lovable losers for a long time. Since the team’s inception, the Saints were known for having terrible teams. Then, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and left the team’s future cloudy. But then Sean Payton took over as head coach. And Drew Bree’s was signed as the Saints new quarterback. And fortunes began to change, leading them to the Super Bowl for the first time. The Colts however had a lengthy, and successful history. They were a storied franchise dating back to their Baltimore days and, more recently, were a top team in the AFC under QB Peyton Manning. He had already won one Super Bowl. Why wouldn’t he get his second one against the inexperienced Saints.
Well, he wouldn’t get it because the Saints went into the game prepared and with a game plan. Coach Sean Payton opened the second half with a successful onside kick that is a great moment in itself. But even after that, the Colts were on offense and looking to score a go-ahead touchdown. But Manning threw an interception to Tracy Porter that was returned 74 yards for a touchdown that sealed the New Orleans Saints first Super Bowl victory. As a Saints fan, this was a moment I will never forget.
3. Once, Twice, Three Times a Winner
Thi moment is actually three different moments but they all belong together. Of course I am talking about the New England Patriots string of three Super Bowl victories that are all thanks to the leg of Kicker Adam Vinatieri.
In the first of Vinatieri’s trilogy, the Patriots were 14 point underdogs to the “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams. But after limiting the Rams scoring, the game was tied at 17 with just over one minute left. But then Tom Brady took New England down the field and set up Vinatieri for a 48-yard field to win the game as time expired.
After Super Bowl XXXVII featured the Buccaneers dominating the Raiders, the Patriots returned to the big game to play against the Carolina Panthers. Once again, the game was tied and the Patriots got the ball back with a chance to win the game. Brady drive down the field in Houston and set up Vinatieri once again. This time Vinatieri connected on a 41-yard field goal to give New England a three-point lead with just 4 seconds left. The Patriots held on for the win and Vinatieri added to his legend. This feat may be overlooked in time though as this was the Super Bowl in which Janet Jackson exposed more than expected when performing at halftime.
The final act in Vinatieri’s trilogy of kicks came the next year in Super Bowl XXXIX against the Philadelphia Eagles. This time, the Patriots scored a touchdown and then Vinatieri hit a 22-yard field goal to take a 10 point lead. The Eagles answered by scoring a touchdown but could not complete the comeback. Vinatieri’s field goal was not at the end of the game to clinch the win, but it ended up being the difference in the game and sealed New England’s third Super Win in four years.
2. Unbeaten No More; Heads Up Play
The 2007 New England Patriots completed the regular season without a blemish on their record. They were the number one seed in the AFC and the best team overal in the NFL. The New York Giants on the other hand finished 10-6 and were the fifth seed in the NFC. No one gave Tom Coughlin’s Giants a chance. The Patriots, despite not winning a Super Bowl in a few years, were a consistently good team and they were undefeated. But no one told the Giants to bow down.
Eli Manning fearlessly led the Giants against the Patriots in the Arizona night. With the Patriots leading by 4 and under 3 minutes left in the game, Manning led the Giants down the field for a game-winning drive. And this drive would have never happened without an amazing 32-yard reception by David Tyree. The wide receiver jumped into the air and pinned the ball against his helmet with defenders surrounding him. This kept the drive alive and allowed Manning to connect with Plaxico Burress for the winning score. The Giants had did the unthinkable and beat the Patriots while Tyree etched his name in history forever.
1. Wide Right
The date was January 27, 1991. Exactly 25 years ago from yesterday. The New York Giants and Buffalo Bills squared off in Tampa, Florida for football’s biggest game of the year. But the United States was in the middle of the Gulf War and people minds were focused on that as well. The nation was consumed with patriotism and Whitney Houston riveted the Super Bowl audience with a great rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. A great nation was ready for a great game.
And a great game is what the Bills and Giants have everyone. The game was close throughout with neither offense putting up a lot of points. Everyone was shocked that Buffalo’s no-huddle offense was held in check. But, with little time remaining, and the Bills down by one, Jim Kelly led the Bills down the field for a chance at a Super Bowl victory. With just 8 seconds left, Buffalo Kicker Scott Norwood had a 47-yard field attempt to win the game. The kicker lined up and the ball was snapped. Norwood approached the ball and nailed it with his foot. As the camera showed the ball traveling through the air, the ball curved out and went wide right of the goalpost. Norwood missed the kicked and the Bills lost by one. This was the first of four Buffalo Super Bowl losses, but the closest one. Norwood has been the focus of this lose since then, but you wouldn’t know it by hearing from Bills players and coaches. They all take the loss together. But regardless of that, when Norwood’s name is mentioned, it is synonymous with this kick and this Super Bowl loss.
Daryl Karpinski, Jr.