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Best Super Bowls Of All Times: Top 10 Iconic Games In NFL History

The Super Bowl, an annual spectacle, has been the stage for some of the most iconic moments in American football history. Not only football fans but also non-football fans in America get glued to their screens to witness the spectacle, making it the most-viewed TV event of the year. The real magic arrives when the game gets intense and lives up to the expectations. From nail-biting showdowns in the final seconds to jaw-dropping displays of players, we will take you through some of the best Super Bowls of all time. These games have left an indelible mark on the sport and captivated audiences around the globe. 

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10 Best Super Bowls Ever: Iconic Games That Defined NFL Greatness

Get ready as we celebrate the decades of football excellence and the games that have shaped the very essence of the Super Bowl experience. Some of these are so exciting that they’re still talked about today. Let’s uncover the top 10 Super Bowls of all time!

1. Super Bowl 50 (2016) 

For Super Bowl 50, the adage “defence wins championships” was unquestionably accurate. The Denver Broncos won 24-10, controlling the Carolina Panthers’ offence from beginning to end. With this triumph, they won their third Super Bowl!

Denver’s defence forced mistakes and prevented Carolina from scoring easily, making it difficult for their star player, Cam Newton, to get anything going. Von Miller, one of their players, was even given a special trophy for being the greatest player of the entire match! Millions watched this thrilling Super Bowl, even though it was a defensive match.

  • Date: February 7, 2016
  • Location: Santa Clara, California’s Levi’s Stadium
  • Teams: Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
  • Denver Broncos won (24–10).
  • Audience: 46.6 ratings (111.9 million viewers, estimated)
  • MVP: Von Miller, a linebacker with the Denver Broncos

2. Super Bowl XLII (2008) 

It’s difficult to top the exciting Giants, who had no expectations to win the game when they headed into the 2007 playoffs. They’ll face the 18-0 Patriots, attempting to finish the NFL’s second-ever unbeaten season and win their fourth Super Bowl in seven years. Tom Brady was already regarded by many as the best quarterback in history. It had been less than three months since Eli Manning was almost booted out of New York.

Manning scored the game-winning drive in the closing seconds. Unsurprisingly, he accomplished this feat with one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history. He deftly manoeuvred himself out from the hands of two Patriots defenders and threw the ball 32 yards downfield to fourth receiver David Tyree, who made an impressive leaping grab with his helmet. Naturally, with 35 seconds left, Manning completed the drive by finding Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown pass, resulting in what may have been the greatest Super Bowl of all time.

  • Date: February 3, 2008
  • Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
  • Teams: New York Giants (winners) and New England Patriots
  • Audience: Approximately 97.5 million viewers
  • MVP: Eli Manning (New York Giants quarterback)

3. Super Bowl III (1969)

The first AFL-NFL championship to officially go by the term “Super Bowl” is widely regarded as one of the best Super Bowls of all time. This historic game, the third AFL-NFL championship, took place at a time when the AFL was still seen as inferior to the NFL. This is why it was so astonishing when Jets quarterback Joe Namath said, “I guarantee we’ll win the game,” to an audience at the Miami Touchdown Club a few days before kickoff. 

Matt Snell ran 30 times for 121 yards and the game’s lone Jets touchdown, while Namath completed 206 yards of passing, most of which went to George Sauer, who grabbed eight passes for 133 yards. However, Namath’s statements were mostly supported by the Jet’s defence. The defence in New York was 3:19 away from pitching a shutout. The Jets intercepted Baltimore quarterback Earl Morrall three times to force him out of the game, and they also intercepted Johnny Unitas, who replaced him, once.

  • Date: January 12, 1969
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • Teams: New York Jets (AFL) and Baltimore Colts (NFL)
  • Audience: 75 million viewers
  • MVP: Joe Namath (New York Jets, Quarterback)

4. Super Bowl XIII (1979)

This could have been the greatest all-star game in NFL history, from the front offices all the way down to the field. It had 26 players—seven Cowboys and eleven Steelers—who would go on to become Hall of Famers. And it was obvious how fantastic it was. Terry Bradshaw of the Steelers had 17 completions on 30 attempts for 318 yards and four touchdowns. John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, his two best receivers, combined for 10 receptions and 239 yards. 

For the Cowboys, Roger Staubach completed three touchdown passes. Tony Dorsett, a running back, totalled 140 yards. In the fourth quarter, things became chaotic. At the start of the half, the Steelers led by 21–17 and appeared to pull away with the game thanks to Franco Harris’s touchdown runs and a Swann grab. The final score was Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31. The Cowboys scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, making this thrilling game one of the best Super Bowls of all time.

  • Date: January 21, 1979
  • Location: Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC)and Dallas Cowboys (NFC).
  • Audience: Approximately 79,484 viewers
  • MVP: Terry Bradshaw, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

5. Super Bowl XLIX (2015)

It was the sixth Super Bowl appearance for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the quarterback and head coach duo. The game was between the Seattle Seahawks (NFC Champion) and the New England Patriots (AFC Champion). Both teams had 12-4 records and had won their respective conferences. Both sides scored two touchdowns before halftime, with Katy Perry entertaining the fans in Arizona. After a scoreless first quarter, the score was knotted at 14-14. 

The Seahawks controlled the third quarter and led by ten points in the fourth quarter. Still, Brady swiftly reversed course and found touchdown passes for Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. The Seahawks had one last drive to win the game with New England leading 28–24, and they came agonisingly close. The whole State Farm Stadium watched to see whether New England could avert the inevitable. Rather, the Seahawks called a throwing play to Ricardo Lockette, which was well-read by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who made the game-winning interception. This was one of the strangest decisions in NFL history that made The Patriots win by 28–24.

  • Date: February 1, 2015
  • Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
  • Teams: New England Patriots (AFC Champion) and Seattle Seahawks (NFC Champion)
  • Audience: 114.4 million estimated average viewers
  • MVP: Tom Brady, wide receiver for the New England Patriots

6. Super Bowl LI (2017)

Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, had his defence to thank against Seattle. Still, in February 2017, he was the main attraction as he orchestrated the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever. The Atlanta Falcons’ 11-5 record was good enough for second seeds in the NFC, while the Patriots’ 14-2 season advanced them to the Super Bowl as the top seeds in the AFC. In the Super Bowl, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was named NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Season. He demonstrated his superiority by passing for 284 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and recording a 144.1 passer rating.

Before the almost unthinkable occurred, the Falcons had a 21-3 lead at halftime and increased it to 28-3 in the third quarter. With less than a minute remaining, the Patriots, led by Tom Brady, made a historic comeback, tying the game at 28-28. The game went into overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history. James White scored the game-winning touchdown for the Patriots, securing a 34-28 victory and making it one of the best Super Bowls ever.

  • Date: February 5, 2017
  • Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
  • Teams: New England Patriots (AFC Champions) (14-2 record) and Atlanta Falcons (NFC Champions) (11-5 record) 
  • Audience: 72,219 attendees in the stadium 
  • MVP: Tom Brady (New England Patriots)

7. Super Bowl XLIII (2009)

With 18 seconds remaining in the first half, Warner had pushed the Cardinals to the Steelers’ 1-yard line and appeared to be about to give Arizona a lead at the half. However, Steelers linebacker James Harrison picked up the pass at the goal line and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown, making it the longest yet best Super Bowls ever, as he attempted to contact receiver Anquan Boldin in the end zone. This gave Pittsburgh a 17–7 lead.

But Warner spurred the Cards back, and with 2:37 remaining, he connected with Larry Fitzgerald for a 64-yard touchdown, giving Arizona a 23-20 lead. The Steelers weren’t done, though. With 35 seconds remaining, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes in the end zone’s back corner after leading them back down the field. With his toes miraculously staying within the white lines while reaching out of bounds for the ball, Holmes completed the greatest grab in Super Bowl history.

  • Date: February 1, 2009
  • Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
  • Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC Champion) and Arizona Cardinals (NFC Champion): 
  • Audience: Average 98.7 million viewers.
  • MVP: Santonio Holmes, wide receiver for the Steelers

8. Super Bowl XXIII (1989)

Although the 49ers were the team of the 1980s and Joe Montana already had two Super Bowl rings, this game sealed their dynasty and made Montana famously known as “Joe Cool.” Despite throwing for 357 yards during the contest, Montana’s first touchdown pass came early in the fourth quarter when he hit Jerry Rice for a 14-yard pass that knotted the score at 13. With 3:20 remaining, Jim Breech’s 40-yard field goal gave Cincinnati a 16–13 lead, but the Bengal’s defence held strong.

That’s how this game became legendary. Montana is famous for his memorable jog to the huddle after the 49ers, with 3:10 remaining in the game, grabbed the ball at their own 8. He pointed to the fans and asked his teammates, “Hey, isn’t that John Candy?” to calm them down. With 34 seconds left, Montana and John Taylor connected for a 10-yard touchdown throw to complete an 11-play, 92-yard drive that gave the 49ers the victory.

  • Date: January 22, 1989
  • Location: Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida (now known as Hard Rock Stadium)
  • Teams: Cincinnati Bengals (AFC) (12-4 record) and San Francisco 49ers (NFC) (10-6 record)
  • Audience: 69.9 million viewers
  • MVP: Jerry Rice, wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers

9. Super Bowl XXV (1991)

The Buffalo Bills entered what would become one of the best Super Bowls of all time with an impressive no-huddle offense that had dominated throughout the regular season. They recently defeated the Raiders 51-3 in the AFC Championship Game. Nevertheless, Bill Parcells and his defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick, devised a winning strategy to neutralise Buffalo, one that was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

With running back O.J. Anderson at the centre, the Giants employed a cautious, run-based offence to prevent the ball from ending up in the hands of the Bills. To throw off the timing of the Bills’ quick-strike passing approach, they also consistently attacked the receivers at the line of scrimmage while playing defence. Everything worked, too. The ball was in the Giants’ possession for 40:33. For 102 yards, Anderson raced. Jim Kelly, the quarterback for the Bills, only completed 212 yards of passing, one of which was to James Lofton for 61 yards. With eight seconds remaining, Bills kicker Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt separated the teams.

  • Date: January 27, 1991
  • Location: Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
  • Teams: Buffalo Bills (AFC) (Lost 19-20) and New York Giants (NFC) (Won 19-20)
  • Audience: 73,813 attendees
  • MVP: Ottis Anderson, running back for the New York Giants. 

10. Super Bowl XXXIV (2000)

It had been over ten years since a hair had decided on a Super Bowl match, and it didn’t appear that way this time around. With a 16-0 lead late in the third quarter and their renowned “Greatest Show on Turf” offence, it appeared as though the Rams would soon pull away. Kurt Warner threw for 414 yards, and Isaac Bruce caught six receptions for 162 yards, but the Titans managed to hang on long enough to make a comeback. With 2:12 remaining, Al Del Greco’s 43-yard field goal knotted the score.

Warner found Bruce for a 73-yard score one play later, but it was insufficient to shut out the Titans permanently. With six seconds remaining, Tennessee made a quick return trip down the field and was positioned at the Rams’ 10. Kevin Dyson seemed like he was going to score the game-winning touchdown when Titans quarterback Steve McNair passed to him across the middle at that precise moment. But Mike Jones, a linebacker for the Rams, was able to seize Dyson by the legs. And in what may have been the most dramatic Super Bowl conclusion ever, Dyson stretched out with the ball as he hit the ground, stopping just one yard short of the end zone.

  • Date: January 30, 2000
  • Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Teams: St. Louis Rams (NFC Champions) and Tennessee Titans (AFC Champions).
  • Audience: Approximately 79.2 million viewers in the United States.
  • MVP: Kurt Warner, quarterback for the St. Louis Rams.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is considered the best Super Bowl ever?

The 1982 Super Bowl, contested between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals, drew the highest rating. Only a handful of Super Bowls have surpassed the 49.0 rating threshold. Super Bowl XVI, at 51.1 percent, is the fourth-highest-rated TV broadcast ever, behind Roots’ Part VIII at 53.3 percent and Dallas’ Who Done It at 53.3 percent.

What is the most famous Super Bowl halftime show?

It was never doubted who would top this list. The most famous and iconic Super Bowl halftime show is the performance by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.

What is the highest-scoring Super Bowl of all time?

A record-breaking Super Bowl XXIX was played in 1995, the highest-scoring ever. A total of 75 points were scored by the 49ers against the San Diego Chargers, 49-26. The Philadelphia Eagles scored 74 points in Super Bowl LII, winning 41-33 against the New England Patriots.

Which teams won 1st Super Bowl?

At the time, the Super Bowl was called the American Football League-National Football League World Championship Game. Green Bay Packers won the inaugural Super Bowl. Their 35-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs was the turning point in their season. In 1969, Super Bowl III was the first football league to be called Super Bowl I.

Has any team won 3 Super Bowls?

The Chiefs are the only franchise to win three Super Bowls, along with the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and Washington Commanders.

Who has the most NFL champions?

The Green Bay Packers have the most NFL champions.

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Swastika Dubey
Swastika Dubey
Swastika's inclination towards sports, irrespective of the game, has often left her peers awestruck. She never misses a sporting event and devours every single piece of information pertaining to an athlete or their game. People who know her say that calling her a sports fanatic would be an understatement.

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