This Sunday, the latest NFL season will come to an end as the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs compete at Super Bowl LIV. The 49ers destroyed the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game to make it to Miami’s showpiece event, whilst the Chiefs disposed of the Tennessee Titans in their AFC Championship matchup. Ahead of the latest Super Bowl, we’ve taken a look back at the best games we’ve seen in the showpiece season finale.
Super Bowl XXXII
Four-time Super Bowl losers Denver Broncos were double-digit underdogs when they matched up against the reigning champion Packers, led by three-time NFL MVP Brett Favre. Late in the game, Packers’ coach Mike Holmgren put his trust in Favre and instructed his defence to let Denver score. Terrell Davis duly obliged with the go-ahead touchdown to set the score at 31-24 with a little under two minutes remaining. Unfortunately for Holmgren, the Denver defence came through and kept Favre from levelling the game.
Super Bowl XXXVI
Before the New England Patriots became such a dominant force with quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick, they headed into to Super Bowl XXXVI as 14-point underdogs. Brady began the season as Drew Bledsoe’s backup before an injury gave Brady his opportunity and altered the history of the NFL forever. The Rams, meanwhile, ran the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’, headlined by Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk. The Patriots built up a hefty 17-3 lead, despite being hugely outgained in yardage. This was largely thanks to three costly turnovers. Yet, Warner wasn’t done. He rallied his troops and in the second half, they stormed back to 17-17 with a minute and a half to go. Brady and the Pats had no timeouts left, but he managed to march up the field for Adam Vinatieri to boot the winning 48-yard field goal as the clock expired.
Super Bowl XLII
The New England Patriots steamrolled everyone they faced all season en route to Super Bowl XLII. They had won all 18 games they had played as they headed to the big game, the first team since the ’72 Dolphins to do so. Comparatively, the Giants limped over the line, finishing the regular season at 10-6, and had to win all of their playoff games on the road as a Wild Card. The Patriots went into the Super Bowl as 12-point favourites, but the game remained close. Tom Brady connected with Randy Moss with 2:42 remaining in the game to give the Patriots at 14-10 lead. Enter Eli Manning. He miraculously escaped the Pats’ pass rush to get the ball off to David Tyree for the infamous ‘Helmet Catch’. This set up the 13-yard pass to Plaxico Burress to seal the deal for New York and break the hearts of New England.
Super Bowl LI
When the Atlanta Falcons raced out to a 28-3 lead after 42 minutes of Super Bowl LI, the game looked dead and buried but Tom Brady and the Patriots had other ideas. Two touchdowns from James White and another from Danny Amendola tied the game at 28-28, with the game-saving score coming in the final minute. That sent the game to overtime, making it the first Super Bowl to be decided in an extra period of play. Brady marched his side down the field with an eight-play drive that ended with White running into the endzone to win the title for the Patriots and break the hearts of Falcons fans.
Super Bowl XLIX
Super Bowl XLIX will always be remembered for the decision of the Seattle Seahawks to throw the ball on the goal line when they had a chance to win the game. At one point, Seattle led the Patriots 24-14 but touchdowns from Amendola and Julian Edelman put New England 28-24 ahead with just a few minutes left on the clock. Seattle still had time to win the game, and got all the way down to the one-yard line, with Marshawn Lynch running the ball well. Everyone expected Seattle to Lynch the ball again, but they chose to throw it and Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted by Malcolm Butler and the Patriots won the game in dramatic fashion.
Super Bowl XXV
Super Bowl XXV was keenly contested between the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills. With just over seven minutes left in the game, Matt Bahr’s field goal put the Giants ahead 20-19. Led by Jim Kelly, the Bills got themselves into scoring position to win the game, but Scott Norwood missed his field goal, meaning the Bills lost the game, starting a run of four consecutive losses in the big final.
Super Bowl XXIII
Super Bowl XXIII was a topsy turvy game between the 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals. Trailing 16-13 with just over three minutes remaining, the 49ers, led by quarterback Joe Montana marched 92 yards down the field and won the game with a touchdown pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds remaining.
Super Bowl XLIII
If it’s drama you’re after, then Super Bowl XLIII is for you! This game had everything, including an interception, returned 100 yards for a touchdown, by James Harrison to put the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-7 ahead of the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals fought back and an incredible 64-yard touchdown catch from Larry Fitzgerald put them ahead 23-20. Still, that wasn’t the end of the drama. With 35 seconds of the game remaining, Santonio Holmes made a great 6-yard touchdown catch from Ben Roethlisberger’s throw to give the Steelers the win,
Super Bowl XLVII
Super Bowl XLVII was a case of so near, yet so far for the 49ers, yet most people remember the event for a power outage at the stadium which delayed the game! The 49ers trailed the Ravens by 22 points, but after a furious rally, they had the ball second-and-goal at the 5-yard-line, trailing 34-29. However, three straight incompletions intended for Michael Crabtree ended the game, with plenty of fans questioning why they didn’t run the ball with Frank Gore or Colin Kaepernick.
Super Bowl XLIV
Super Bowl XLIV will be remembered fondly as the night when the people of New Orleans got something to cheer about after the city had not long been devastated following Hurricane Katrina. The Saints turned around a 17-13 deficit to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 with Tracy Porter’s 74-yard interception return sealing the deal for New Orleans.