Top 5 Super Bowls of all-time

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SALT LAKE CITY -- This week, I heard a friend try to explain to a non-sports fan what was so amazing about the Super Bowl. After a few minutes of fruitless explanations, my friend just threw his hands up in disgust and said, “It’s…the Super Bowl of…football” as if he were trying to describe the Kentucky Derby to a non-horseracing fan.

The Super Bowl has become such a huge part of our culture that we compare it to everything that involves any form of competition. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the Super Bowl of Dog Shows. The Ironman is the Super Bowl of triathlons. The Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll is the Super Bowl of Cheese Racing. Seriously.

You get the point. The Super Bowl has turned into more of a cultural event than a game, but the game itself crowns the best football team in the world. Let’s not forget that as we look at the best games in Super Bowl history. The main criteria for this list are the drama of the game itself, the stakes involved in the game and the overall entertainment value of it.

5. Super Bowl XXXVI: Patriots 20, Rams 17: The Patriots were behemoth underdogs when they took down the “greatest show on turf.” With this win, the Pats would launch their dynasty, but it likely never would have gotten off the ground without the last-second field goal by Adam Vinatieri to break the tie and win Super Bowl XXXVI.


Just think, the Patriots were a controversial Tom Brady tuck, a healthy Drew Bledsoe and a missed field goal away from not winning this Super Bowl. Now, they are a Sunday win away from quite possibly having the best decade in NFL history.

4. Super Bowl XXV: Giants 20, Bills 19: This loss became harder and harder to stomach as the years went on for Bills fans. No one expected the Giants to keep up with the high-powered Bills offense, but a young New York defensive coordinator had a few tricks up his sleeve.

Bill Belichick’s game plan against that Buffalo offense may be the best defensive game plan in big game history. It helps, however, when your offense is on the field for over 40 minutes of the game. Little did we know how much we would be hearing from Belichick in the future. Also, little did Bills fans know just how much that loss would hurt. Scott Norwood’s missed field goal wide right on the last play of the game sealed the victory for the Giants.

That was the closest the Bills would get to winning a Super Bowl, even though they appeared in the next three. That had to be the most torturous four years for any fan base in sports.

New York Jets Joe Namath (12) throws a pass 
against the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III 
in Miami. (AP Photo/File)
New York Jets Joe Namath (12) throws a pass against the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in Miami. (AP Photo/File)

3. Super Bowl III Jets 16, Colts 7: This game is so high on this list because of what it meant to the sport. It’s hard to find a game in any sport that made a bigger difference in the course of a sports history than Super Bowl III.The NFL would likely not be the most popular sport in America had it not been for Joe Namath’s stunning upset of the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. This game had all the elements of an historic game. Namath was making Rex Ryan-like guarantees as the AFL’s champion Jets faced off against the NFL champion Colts.

At the time, the AFL (considered a far inferior league to the NFL) champions played the NFL champions in the Super Bowl. The obnoxious arrogance of NFL fans back then would make SEC fans of today seem like indifferent nuns, and it spurred Namath to guarantee victory, even though his Jets were double-digit underdogs.

The game itself was fairly anti-climactic, but the significance of the AFL’s victory over the NFL simply cannot be discounted. It led to the merger which turned into the NFL as we now know it…America’s favorite sport, by far.

2. Super Bowl XXXIV: Rams 23, Titans 16: The Titans’ run to the Super Bowl in 1999-00 was as improbable as any in the history of the game. The Music City Miracle had football fans believing that a Titans’ title was simply destiny.

After St. Louis led the game 16-0 in the second half, Tennessee made a spirited comeback to tie the game with 2:12 left. A few moments later, however, the Titans’ dreams of destiny seemed doomed after a 73-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Isaac Bruce put St. Louis back on top.

Tennessee then drove down the field and on the last play of the game, Mike Jones became a household name for tackling Kevin Dyson one yard short of a game-tying touchdown. The drama of this game was second to none. If it had been scripted in Hollywood, it would have been considered too corny.

1. Super Bowl XLII Giants 17, Patriots 14: The Patriots were on the precipice of making history. A win over the underdog Giants would have pushed New England to 19-0. The 2007-08 Pats would have gone down as the best football team in the history of the sport. In all reality, they probably were anyways, but this Super Bowl loss will make that fact lost on everyone for the rest of time.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. (AP 
Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Only four times during the 2007 regular season did the Patriots let any team get to within single digits against them. Other than those four games, New England’s average margin of victory was 25.2. Including the other four games, the Pats still had a 19.7 average margin of victory on the season.

The Giants, however, were one of those four teams to get to within 10 against the mighty Patriots in 2007. Brady and the Pats didn’t show up to play in Phoenix. In fact, neither did the Giants really, but one man did and that’s all New York needed.

David Tyree’s miraculous catch, in which he somehow pinned the ball against his helmet with a defender on his back, kept the Giants alive on what would be their game- winning touchdown drive.

That sets up this weekend’s rematch pretty well I’d say.

Trevor Amicone is the sports director at 88.1 Weber FM "Ogden's Radio Station" and host of the sports talk radio show, "Fully Loaded Sports with Trevor Amicone". Follow his very entertaining Twitter feed at @TrevorAmicone.

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