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The Top 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Moments

Discussion in 'Professional Football' started by LoKyBuckeye, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. LoKyBuckeye

    LoKyBuckeye I give up. This board is too hard to understand.

    The Top 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Moments

    It is the grandest stage in all of sports: Super Bowl Sunday.

    There is no single-day athletic event like it in the world, and it seems as if just everybody populating that world is watching when the last two teams standing in the National Football League playoff tournament come face to face.

    Some men were born to perform in this cauldron of emotion and attention and high stakes drama, men such as Joe Montana, Tom Brady and Joe Namath. Others, such as the collective groups of the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings, were not.

    The first 38 Super Bowl games haven't always produced scintillating competition as many of the results have been one-sided, but while the game doesn't always live up to the impossible hype, it almost always provides glimpses of greatness, moments that will live forever in football and sports lore.

    Here is a top 10 list of the most enduring of those moments:

    10. Thurman Thomas Loses His Helmet

    This one incident seemed to define Buffalo's fruitless four-year quest to win the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXVI, star running back Thurman Thomas inadvertently misplaced his helmet after the National Anthem and the man who was the NFL's MVP in 1991 missed the Bills first two offensive plays from scrimmage.

    Thomas' absence on those two snaps meant nothing to the outcome of the game, a one-sided 37-24 victory by the Washington Redskins at the Minneapolis Metrodome. But Thomas running around the bench area trying to find his helmet was a microcosm of the Bills on three of the four Super Sundays they participated in.

    9. Garo's Goof

    In Super Bowl VII, Miami was looking to complete the first and still only perfect season in NFL history. The Dolphins had spent the afternoon at the Los Angeles Coliseum dominating the Washington Redskins, and with 2:07 left to play they were looking to add to a 14-0 lead when Garo Yepremian lined up for a field goal attempt.

    Yepremian, who was Miami's all-time leading scorer (830) until earlier this season when Olindo Mare passed him, made so many big kicks during his career, but he is most remembered for what happened on this particular kick. It was blocked, and when he retrieved the ball and tried to throw a pass to a teammate, the ball slipped out of his hands, bounced off his helmet and landed in the arms of Washington's Mike Bass. Bass took off down the sideline for a touchdown, and all of a sudden the perfect season was in jeopardy.

    Alas, the Dolphins recovered the ensuing onside kick and were able to run out the rest of the clock without incident, but Yepremian's gaffe remains, more than 30 years later, one of the staples of Super Bowl highlight films.

    8. "How Long Have You Been a Black Quarterback?"

    It was during the week leading up to Super Bowl XXII when Doug Williams was asked "How long have you been a black quarterback?" Williams, the first black quarterback to start in a Super Bowl, made this occasion memorable for another reason: He guided the Redskins to a Super Bowl-record one-quarter scoring binge when Washington scored 35 points en route to blowing out Denver, 42-10.

    Williams' career was largely unspectacular, but in 1987 he stepped in for injured Jay Schroeder over the final third of the regular season, got hot, then directed the Redskins to a pair of playoff wins over Chicago and Minnesota and there he was, in the glare of the Super Bowl spotlight.

    After falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter, Williams threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Sanders and the floodgate opened thereafter. There was a 27-yard TD pass to Gary Clark, a 58-yard run by unheralded and never-to-be-heard-from-again running back Timmy Smith, a 50-yard TD pass to Sanders and an 8-yarder to Clint Didier. Game over.

    7. The Diesel Gets Gassed Up

    There were a little more than 10 minutes remaining in Super Bowl XVII and the Redskins were confronted with a fourth-and-1 at the Miami 43. Trailing 17-13, coach Joe Gibbs recognized that time was running out and that he had to take a gamble, so he called '70 Chip.' It was one of the Washington's most reliable plays, a handoff to running back John Riggins from the I formation.

    For some reason, even though the Redskins had run the play countless times during the 1982 season, Don Shula's Dolphins were caught off guard. Joe Theismann handed to Riggins who plowed through left tackle, got a great block by Rick Walker, and after breaking a tackle by Miami's Don McNeal, he rumbled 43 yards for the touchdown that put the Redskins ahead to stay.

    On the day the Redskins won their first Super Bowl, Riggins carried 38 times for 166 yards and was named the MVP of the game.

    6. Lynn Swann's Ballet Act

    Two weeks before Super Bowl X, Swann suffered a concussion during Pittsburgh's defeat of Oakland in the AFC Championship Game. It was originally thought that Swann would be unavailable for the Steelers' showdown with Dallas at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

    Not only did the future Hall of Famer play, he played the game of his life and was named Super Bowl MVP after catching four passes for 164 yards in Pittsburgh's 21-17 victory.

    "My big catches that day are what people remember," said Swann, who studied ballet and has said that his work in dance helped him make some of those balletic catches. "But in coming back from my concussion, my biggest catch occurred on the first pass that Terry (Bradshaw) threw to me. I went up for a high, graceful reception that gave me the confidence I needed to make the other catches later on."

    Those other receptions were a 32-yarder down the sidelines despite tight defensive coverage by Mark Washington, and it set up a Steelers touchdown. The next was a circus grab down the middle as he dived, tipped the ball, did a midair twist, and caught it while laying the ground for a 53-yard gain. And then his biggest catch of the game came with just 3:02 left when he burned the Dallas defense for a 64-yard touchdown that put the Steelers ahead 21-10 and iced the victory.

    5. Marcus Allen's Run to Daylight

    Super Bowl XVIII had long been decided as the third quarter was counting down to a close. The Los Angeles Raiders were blowing out the Redskins 28-9 and as long as the Raiders didn't implode in the final period they were going to win their third Super Bowl in eight years.

    Quarterback Jim Plunkett pitched out to Marcus Allen who was immediately greeted by a wall of defenders, but rather than take a dive and live to play another play, Allen decided to get creative. He bounced out of trouble, reversed his field, then found a seam in the middle of the field and blew through it in a flash. All of a sudden he was in the clear and running 74 yards for a knockout touchdown.

    That run is considered the greatest in Super Bowl history, and it helped Allen achieve the greatest day any running back has ever had in the Super Bowl, a 191-yard performance that remains the championship game's standard. Obviously, Allen was named MVP of Los Angeles' 38-9 victory.

    4. Elway Grabs the Elusive Ring

    Elway had been the kingpin of the famous quarterback draft of 1983 when six quarterbacks were taken in the first round including Elway (No. 1 overall), Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

    But for all their individual greatness, those three and another first-rounder that year, Tony Eason, had an all-time record of 0-9 in Super Bowl games heading into Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, including three losses by Elway. But as his career was winding down, Elway got two more chances to win the ultimate game, and he succeeded both times, capping his Hall of Fame career.

    During Denver's 31-24 victory over Brett Favre and Green Bay, Elway didn't have a great passing day as he threw for only 123 yards, but he directed the Broncos' game-winning drive that ended with Terrell Davis plunging into the end zone with 1:45 remaining. Earlier in the game Elway was involved in one of the great plays of the day when he took off on a scramble, leaped into the air trying to get the first down, and a hit by Green Bay's Leroy Butler sent Elway helicoptering around. "As soon as I saw John do that, I knew the game was ours," said Davis.

    The following year Elway capped his career with another Super Bowl victory, only this time he passed for 336 yards and one touchdown and ran for another score, earning MVP honors in Denver's 34-19 triumph over Atlanta.

    3. Vinatieri: Mr. Clutch Squared

    It wasn't like it was any big deal to Adam Vinatieri. Forty-eight yards, off a perfect artificial turf surface in a domed stadium with no wind or rain or snow to contend with. Piece of cake, even with the NFL championship hanging in the balance.

    A few weeks before the Patriots met St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI, Vinatieri made what has to be considered the greatest field goal in the history of the NFL. There's no other way to describe his 45-yarder through a driving New England snowstorm that forced overtime against the Raiders in the AFC divisional round.

    Without that kick, and the one he made moments later in OT to win the game, the Patriots aren't even in the Super Bowl. Now, after blowing a 17-3 lead and watching the Rams tie the game with 1:30 remaining, Tom Brady struts onto the field, completes 5 of 7 passes to position the ball at the 30, and Vinatieri steps into the biggest spotlight of his career. As the clock strikes zero, Vinatieri sends the ball straighter than a laser through the uprights to give the Patriots their first Super Bowl title.

    "When Adam hit it, it was so true," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "It was so high and so far. If you want a guy to make a play at the end of the game, he's the one."

    Well, two years later, Belichick wanted another play at the end of a game and in Super Bowl XXXVIII, Vinatieri did it again. This time the NFL ultimate clutch kicker nailed a 41-yard field goal with four seconds left to give the Patriots a 32-29 victory over Carolina in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever played.

    2. The Guarantee

    A few days before the heavy underdog New York Jets of the rebellious American Football League were to take on the NFL's Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, Joe Namath told a gathering at the Miami Touchdown Club that "We're going to win Sunday. I guarantee it."

    Thirty-six years have passed since that notorious statement came rumbling off Namath's tongue, but it is because of that bold proclamation that Broadway Joe - a man who hasn't thrown a pass in more than 25 years - will always remain a larger-than-life superstar with a place etched in sports history as permanent as the carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore.

    Namath backed up his guarantee as the Jets throttled the Colts, 16-7, at the Orange Bowl. Namath completed 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards, Matt Snell rushed for 121 yards and scored New York's lone touchdown, Jim Turner kicked three field goals, and the Jets defense forced five turnovers in the game that officially announced the viability of the AFL.

    One year later, the AFL and NFL would merge, forming the most dynamic sports league in the world.

    1. Montana to Taylor

    San Francisco was trailing upstart Cincinnati, 16-13, with 3:10 left to play in Super Bowl XXIII at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium. Backed up at his own 8-yard line, 49ers quarterback Joe Montana was cooler than San Francisco in the summer.

    Standing in his own end zone waiting for the completion of a TV timeout, Montana, nonplussed by the perilous position the 49ers were in, turned around to face the crowd directly behind him and he noticed the hulking figure of a Hollywood star. He turned to offensive tackle Harris Barton and said "There's John Candy."

    Oh, back to the game. Montana completes two passes to Roger Craig and John Frank to produce a first down. Then a pass to Jerry Rice followed by a pair of Craig runs result in another first down at the 49ers 35. Next, Montana hits Rice for 17 yards, then he finds Craig over the middle for 13 and the ball is sitting at the Bengals 35 with about 1:30 to go.

    After an incompletion and a 10-yard penalty on Randy Cross, Montana is confronted with seocnd-and-20. No problem. He threads a strike between two defenders to Rice for a 27-yard gain to the Cincinnati 18. An 8-yard pass to Craig brings up second-and-2 from the 10 and Montana calls timeout with 39 seconds to go.

    He comes to the sidelines, is told to look for Rice, nods his head, trots back out, takes the snap, sees that Rice is blanketed so he looks to his second read, John Taylor, running a post over the middle. Perfect throw, great catch, touchdown, 49ers win 20-16 and the legend of Montana grows even larger.

    New England's Tom Brady has directed two last-second game-winning Super Bowl drives, but until he - or someone else - takes his team into the end zone in the waning moments to win the big game, Montana's 11-play, 92-yard march will remain the standard.

    Sal Maiorana covers the Buffalo Bills for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and is the Sr. Historical writer for The Sports Xchange.

    Copyright (C) 2004 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.
  2. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner

    Pretty good list.

    I'd add the Titans coming up a yard short as time ran out, and Scott Norwood missing a FG that would have given Buffalo a win over the Giants.
  3. BucksFan27

    BucksFan27 Buckeye Pride

    I say the guarantee goes #1, and I'm glad they mentioned Elway finally winning one on the list. That was the 2nd greatest sports moment for me, being a lifelong Broncos fan and getting to see Elway and the team win Super Bowl XXXII.
  4. tibor75

    tibor75 Banned

    1. Montana to Taylor

  5. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope Banned

    I think the guarantee is #1 because that Jets victory brought the two leagues together.

    I'm surprised how the first ever game-winning Super Bowl kick never seems to make these lists. Jim O'Brien kicked a last second FG to give the Colts a 16-13 win over Dallas in Super Bowl V.

    In light of the many blowouts in SB history, a game that ends in such fashion shouldn't be forgotten.
  6. BuckeyeNation27

    BuckeyeNation27 Goal Goal USA! Staff Member

    never even happened. nice to see a fake event on a "most memorable" list.
  7. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope Banned

  8. BuckeyeNation27

    BuckeyeNation27 Goal Goal USA! Staff Member

    im shocked to see wilbon linked to a race in sports issue :roll1:

    thanks for doing the reporting misanthrope :biggrin:
  9. FCollinsBuckeye

    FCollinsBuckeye Senior Former Game Champion

    Sadly, this is one of my more memorable SB moments:


    Somehow, I was thinking it was Eddie that came up short - glad to see it wasn't...
  10. OilerBuck

    OilerBuck Sweet Crude

    Buffalo's Don Beebe strips Leon Lett of the football during a premature celebration just shy of the endzone.
  11. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope Banned

    That probably missed the list because the game was such a blowout, but the hustle Beebe showed is even more remarkable BECAUSE his team was hopelessly behind at the time.

    How 'bout we make it the 8th one on the list? :tongue2:

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