Saturday, February 05, 2005SB: Top 5 Games
Sometime tomorrow I’ll have the Top 5 Things You’ll See in Super Bowl XXXIX and my prediction.
On We Go.
Grading the Top 5 Super Bowls in an impossible exercise. It’s different strokes for different folks. Super Bowl XXXVI was a close game, a great upset and it came down to the wire, however it was not a well-played football game. The Rams turned the ball over four times and the Patriots basically played chicken-ball on offense. What about Super Bowl XXXIV? Close game, came down to the final play but the coaching decisions throughout were poor.
As it is my criteria is pretty simple.
-- Historic Value. Did the game have a moment that was etched in NFL history? Did the game change NFL history?
-- Great Performances. Behind every great game there are several great performances.
--No Blowouts. Super Bowl XVIII, XX and XXIV are some of my personal favorite games because the dominant team actually dominated, but they weren’t good for 99% of the people yearning for some more excitement.
Here we go.
1) Super Bowl XXV (N.Y. Giants 20, Buffalo 19): A coaching exhibition and a very entertaining game with some notable efforts by Thurman Thomas, Ottis Anderson and Jeff Hostetler of all people. The Giants were a substantial underdog expecting to get blown out by the super offensive machine in Buffalo. Instead it was a grinding contest, a battle of wills and field position. Jim Kelly was game to lead the Bills to a title but Scott Norwood couldn’t come through.
2) Super Bowl XXIII (San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16): Two great performances (Joe Montana, Jerry Rice) and a great ending as Montana orchestrated a 92-yard drive with 3:08 remaining to give the Niners the victory. Cincinnati provided a much-better-than-expected opponent and Stanford Jennings kickoff return planted the seeds of an upset in the heads of many. Only bad thing was that San Francisco out gained Cincinnati 2-to-1.
3) Super Bowl XXXVIII (New England 32, Carolina 29): Five lead changes in the final quarter, a 37-point quarter at that. Two great QB performances, the longest touchdown play in Super Bowl history and a wardrobe malfunction. It’s safe to say that last year’s Super Bowl had a little bit of everything including a game-winning field goal with no time remaining.
4) Super Bowl III (N.Y. Jets 16, Baltimore 7): The historic value of this game should never be denied. If the Jets didn’t look good there would not have been a merger. The AFL owners met during the week with that in mind. Matt Snell and George Sauer were great for the Jets, but more than any one play we remember Joe Namath holding up the one finger and Bobby Orr waving frantically to get Earl Morrall’s attention.
5) Super Bowl X (Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17): Not as offensively stimulating as the game they would have three years later, but the most violent Super Bowl game the league has seen. The sheer brutality of this game led to one of the nasty feuds of the 70s between the NFL’s two most popular teams. And no one will forget the great concentration Lynn Swann showed on his catches.