The weeks leading up to the Super Bowl are full of amazing stories that catch the attention of almost every sports fan. Whether it be an injured player coming back to play when no one expects him to, or a teams’ improbable run to the final game, these stories are followed closely. Many times, they create some of the most unforgettable moments in sports history. Here are a few of our favorites.
Super Bowl LI featured the biggest comeback in NFL history. The New England Patriots were down by as much as 25 points, and trailed 28-9 heading into the fourth quarter. Then Tom Brady and the Pats scored 19 unanswered points to force overtime against a now shell-shocked Falcons team. As luck would have it, New England won the overtime coin toss, then proceeded to march down and score the game-winning touchdown and walk away with a 34-28 victory. It’s worth noting that the Patriots also ended up covering the spread as 3-point favorites, a feat Pats backers surely thought was impossible when they fell behind 28-3 late in the second quarter.
Some of the best moments come when your team is against the wall and time is against you. In Super Bowl XXIII, the San Francisco 49ers were down 16-13 to the Cincinnati Bengals with nearly 3 minutes to play. The 49ers got the ball on their own 3-yard line and, led by one of the best postseason quarterbacks of all-time, Joe Montana drove the offense 97 yards for the winning touchdown. The game was clearly on the line, and the 49ers did the improbable by driving almost the entire length of the field on a defense that had pretty much held them in check the whole game.
The Denver Broncos came into XXXII against the Green Bay Packers as 12-point underdogs and were given little to no chance to take down the defending champs. The Broncos might not have been the most talented team on the field that day, but they had a quarterback who wanted it more than anyone else. John Elway had already let three chances slip by him in previous Super Bowls, but this year he wasn’t going to let that happen. Elway scored one of the most remarkable touchdowns in Super Bowl History when he dove into the end zone and collided with two Packer defenders before crossing the goal line. The Broncos won the game, and Elway finally got to kiss the Lombardi Trophy.
Back in Super Bowl XXXVI, the New England Patriots came in against the high-powered offense of the St Louis Rams as 14-point underdogs. The Rams were supposed to come in and demolish the Pats, but with the score tied 17-17 and little time remaining, the Pats drove down and set up a game-winning field goal. Adam Vinatieri came in and nailed a 48-yard field goal to secure the game. What makes this moment so great is that a team with no chance to win came in and surprised the world.
Super Bowl XXXIV played witness to two of the greatest moments, and maybe the best ending ever to a Super Bowl. The St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans were all tied with 2:05 remaining before Kurt Warner hit Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown. While many thought the game was over, Tennessee wasn’t going to go down with a fight. The Titans drove clear down the field, but on the last play from scrimmage, they were tackled at the 1-yard line as time expired. Kevin Dyson caught the ball and was fighting for the end zone before he was shut down just short of the goal line. One other great story that went along with this game was Kurt Warner going from a guy stocking groceries in Iowa, to the Super Bowl MVP.
The New England Patriots had just completed the most dominant 18-game run that the league had ever seen heading into Super Bowl XLII. They were trying to become just the 2nd team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl without a loss on the season, and the first to go 19-0. But the Giants weren’t having it despite being 12-point underdogs. Eli Manning hit David Tyree on what is known as the “Helmet Catch” on 4th down to extend the final drive, and then he found Plaxico Burress on the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left to win 17-14 and end the Patriots’ perfect season.