Top 15 Super Bowl moments of all-time
After taking the time to look back at some of the best Super Bowl moments for both the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, we turned our attention to the best moments of their first Super Bowl match. As we prepare ourselves for another encounter between the two teams, we will look back at some of the greatest Super Bowl moments of all-time.
There are several different moments in the 53 year history we could call great. Narrowing it down to just 15 makes it even harder, but we at Fourth Quarter Sports have come together to make it the best we can. So let’s take a look at the top 15 Super Bowl moments of all-time.
15. Max McGee’s Touchdown, Super Bowl I
Many people may not think of this as one of the best moments in Super Bowl history, but most of us probably don’t even know who Max McGee is or what team he payed for. He played for the Green Bay Packers in the first ever Super Bowl. His touchdown was the first ever touchdown scored in a Super Bowl. It was a 37-yard pass from QB Bart Starr to open the game. The Packers never looked back.
What makes this moment more special, is that McGee wasn’t even suppose to play after he missed curfew. It’s not like he was the superstar WR on that team. He only caught four passes in the 1966 season. But on that day of Super Bowl I, he was the hero with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, as the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
14. Joe Namath’s Guarantee, Super Bowl III
How could you not put a moment like this on the list? This is known to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The best part about it was when quarterback Joe Namath publicly guaranteed a Jets victory. He walked off the field with one finger pointing to the sky as he did what he said he would do. Namath made the guarantee three days prior that the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts. He did it with a balance of passing and running plays, as running back Matt Snell totaled 121 yards and a touchdown.
Namath and Jets had a 16-0 lead heading into the second half, where the Colts made the decision to change quarterbacks and go back to Johnny Unitas. He led them to a scoring drive. However, it was too late for Unitas and the Colts, as Namath and Jets won the game for the first time in the AFL after the Green Bay Packers won it the past two years in the NFL.
Hear more about how Namath felt after they won here.
13. Devin Hester returns opening kickoff against Colts, Super Bowl XLI
It was Super Bowl XLI when we saw the Chicago Bears against the Indianapolis Colts. It was also the first Super Bowl game that featured two African American head coaches (Bears’ Lovie Smith and Colts’ Tony Dungy), which means there is a historical fact to this moment as well. But this was likely the worst moment of the game for the Bears, as they lost to the Colts 29-17 after leading 17-3 at halftime. So why is Devin Hester on the list? Well, he did something that has never been done. That was taking the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. It went down in history as the fastest TD in the Super Bowl, scored in just 14 seconds.
Let’s keep in mind that Hester was just a rookie returner who led the league in both kickoff and punt returns with six total. This kick return was the first ever opening kickoff return for a TD in a Super Bowl. There were eight other guys who were able to return a kickoff for a TD in a Super Bowl, but none were as special as this one.
Check out the return here.
12. John Riggins’ big score, Super Bowl XVII
Riggins was known as “The Diesel” during his time in the NFL. It was moments like this that gave him the name. In the Redskins’ first ever Super Bowl, they were down to the Miami Dolphins 17-13 with 10 minutes left to play. They faced a 4th-and-1 situation on the Dolphins’ 43-yard line. Riggins ran over Dolphins DB Don McNeal for the decisive score that put the Redskins ahead for good. He was the workhorse for the Redskins’ first Super Bowl win, carrying the ball a record 38 times for 166 yards in a Super Bowl. The touchdown run at the moment was the longest run from scrimmage in the history of the Super Bowl.
Check it out here.
11. Montana, 49ers win in Bill Walsh’s final NFL game, Super Bowl XXIII
If you thought the Niners were the team in the 80’s, you thought right. That was mostly because of the coach-QB duo of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, who had a lot of success together, including three Super Bowl titles. This is the most memorable Super Bowl moment, because this was the last game Bill Walsh coached in the NFL.
This Super Bowl was the closest of the three they won together, and the second against the Cincinnati Bengals. This was a Niners team that was down 16-13 with three minutes remaining in the game. The ball was at their own 8-yard line. The Niners were not worried, as they had “Joe Cool” ready to lead the drive, which he did as they capped off a 92-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to WR John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining. That’s the way to end a coaching career. Let’s not forget that Montana and the Niners made it back to the Super Bowl without Walsh and crushed the Denver Broncos 55-10.
Take a look at the game-winning drive of Super XXIII.
10. John Elway “Helicopter” Spin, Super Bowl XXXII
Elway and the Broncos struggled to win Super Bowls. In fact, Elway had lost his first three Super Bowl appearances until this Super Bowl, where he pulled out all the stops to get his first Lombardi Trophy. It was Elway’s determination that helped the Broncos pull off this win against the defending Super Bowl champion Packers. Elway took us all on a thrill ride, as he gave us one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history.
The Broncos and Packers went back and forth all game, as the Broncos ultimately came out on top 31-24. It was the third quarter drive that was 13 plays and 92-yards that gave the Broncos the lead back in a tied game. One of those plays was an 8-yard scramble for a first down by Elway, in which he dove and got hit by multiple Packers defenders while spinning through the air like a Helicopter. The Broncos followed that up by getting a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Terrell Davis.
Want to watch Elway fly like a Helicopter? Look here!
9. Redskins’ Williams becomes first African American QB to win a Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXII
From one successful Broncos Super Bowl to one of the Elway losses. It was Super Bowl XXII when Elway and the Broncos built a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter. But what would happen next is something that none of us would’ve predicted.
It was a second quarter full of touchdowns, five to be exact. All five were scored by the Washington Redskins and their QB Doug Williams. Williams and the Redskins scored 35 points in a quarter which was the most points ever in a single postseason quarter in NFL history at the time. The first touchdown was an 8-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Ricky Sanders, which tied a record for the longest pass in a Super Bowl game. Sanders and rookie running back Timmy Smith both set Super Bowl records: Sanders for receiving (193) and Smith for rushing (204).
Williams also made history, as he was the first African American QB to win the Super Bowl. He also put himself in the record books with all his success in that one game alone.
Watch this great performance by the Washington Redskins and Doug Williams here.
8. The Fridge’s TD, Super Bowl XX
Is your refrigerator running? Maybe you should want it too? That’s what the Chicago Bears did in Super Bowl XX against the New England Patriots. It was already a 34-3 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter, so why not have some fun? Bears coach Mike Dikta made the decision to go with his 300+ pound defensive linemen to run the ball for a 1-yard touchdown. That linemen was rookie William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who lived up to his first-round draft status. Perry became the first 300 pound guy to score a touchdown, and Bears Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton loved it.
Check out the run here.
7. Swann is sensational, Super Bowl X
It’s not everyday you can be sensational, unless your name is Lynn Swann and you played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in ’70s. In this Super Bowl, Swann earned MVP honors, as he played the best game of his career. In this game, he made two sensational catches. The first was a juggling catch while falling to the turf for a 53-yard gain, and the other catch was a score on a 64-yard touchdown. It would help the Steelers win their second consecutive Super Bowl, and first of two against the Cowboys.
Check out the catches here.
6. Bills’ Norwood missed FG, Super Bowl XXV
When you’re down one point with 2:16 remaining, you have no real pressure on you besides getting into field goal range. That is actually what the Buffalo Bills QB did against the New York Giants, as they were down 20-19. Bills’ QB Jim Kelly marches the team down the field and gets to the Giants’ 29 with eight seconds left. What happened next was part of a long losing streak in the Super Bowl. The Bills had a losing streak in the Super Bowl that will always be remembered. This play is the worst of them all. Bills’ kicker Scott Norwood set up for a game-winning 47-yard field goal, but he misses wide right and their streak continued.
Watch the missed kick by Norwood here.
5. Desmond Howard’s 99-yard return, Super Bowl XXVII
In another Super Bowl the Patriots lost, it came down to the speed of one man. That man was Desmond Howard, as he stopped the Patriots momentum from completing a comeback. It was a late score by New England in the third quarter to close within 27-21. That was until Green Bay’s Desmond Howard returns the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Packers’ 35-21 win.
Howard was a nearly unstoppable force as a return specialist, like we saw from his college days. He led the NFL in punt return yardage and touchdowns in 1996, along with the Super Bowl MVP award when he finished with 244 total return yards.
See Howard’s phenomenal run here.
4. James Harrison’s 100-yard pick six, Super Bowl XLIII
From a great kickoff return touchdown to an even greater interception returned for touchdown. It was a memorable Super Bowl for the Steelers, as they had two unforgettable plays to help them clinch their 6th Super Bowl (tied most in history). This play was the first one, where James Harrison grabbed an interception off of Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner late in the first half to give them a 17-7 lead. He took the interception 100 yards for a touchdown with seconds remaining in the half. It was the longest play in Super Bowl before it was broken by Jacoby Jones’ 109-yard kickoff return touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII.
Watch the big boy run down the sideline for a score here.
3. Dolphins complete perfect season, Super Bowl VII
There is nothing like having a perfect season. There is only one team ever in the NFL who has won all their games. That team was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The closest team to come to that was the 2010 New England Patriots with their 18-1 record. But the Dolphins were too good and had no worries about their record, besides ruining the chance to shut out the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl. The only real mistake they made in the game was trying to make something out of an already broken play, when kicker Garo Yepremian attempted to throw a forward pass after a blocked kick and Redskins cornerback Mike Bass would get the team’s only touchdown of the game.
What the Dolphins complete their perfect season here.
2. Santonio Holmes goes toes in for the victory, Super Bowl XLIII
This is the second part of an amazing Super Bowl by the Steelers. As you previously read, Harrison made a clutch interception at the end of the first half to put the team ahead by 10 points. But after watching Kurt Warner ledd his team back, the Steelers found themselves down by three with little time left. That was just enough time for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to find WR Santonio Holmes in the end zone.
This final drive was all Holmes, as he had four catches for 73 yards. Despite being in tight coverage, Holmes catches the ball and somehow nabbed a game-winning touchdown pass on the tips of his toes, just barely staying in bounds with less than a minute left on the clock.
Don’t miss that great catch here.
1. David Tyree helmet catch, Super Bowl XLII
This was the Super Bowl the New England Patriots were supposed to be undefeated in, as they were up 14-10 late in the fourth quarter. It looked like things were going in that direction for the Patriots, until this happened…
New York Giants QB Eli Manning escapes two tackles and launches a pass down field on 3rd-and-five. Giants WR David Tyree jumped and pinned the ball against his helmet for a 32-yard catch that will go done in history as one of the greatest catches of all-time. But that wasn’t game-winner. The Patriots had one more chance to stop the Giants march, until four plays later when Manning connects with Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown, as the Giants shock the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
As amazing as all these plays have been, there will certainly be many more plays left off. Some of which are in the honorable mentions find below.
- Jacoby Jones’ 109-yard kickoff return touchdown – Super Bowl XLVII
- Dyson 1-yard short against Rams – Super Bowl XXXIV
- Malcom Butler’s goal line Interception- Super Bowl XLIX
- Adam Vinatieri’s FG for Patriots first Super Bowl win – Super Bowl XXXVI
Others have yet to be determined. Going into this, I wanted to focus on some of the records and first ever moments that led to some plays making it in over others. I couldn’t ignore the first ever Super Bowl with Vince Lombardi as the coach. I mean, the title is named after him. What memorable moments will this year’s Super Bowl bring?
And also don’t forget to return this weekend for some more Super Bowl talk. Please share your thoughts about the top moments in Super Bowl history!