The greatest Super Bowl moments are not just some of the best plays in NFL history, but a few of the most memorable occasions in sports ever. However, deciding which are the very best among the many legendary moments in the league’s 56 championship games is cause for much debate.
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However, the discourse can end here because we have you covered with the five plays that are undoubtedly the greatest Super Bowl moments of all time. Gaze upon them and all of their glory.
5. Seattle Seahawks’ epic blunder in the last seconds of Super Bowl XLIX (2015)
By Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, the New England Patriots were already knee-deep in their dynasty years and had already appeared in five Super Bowls — winning three. However, after back-to-back big game losses, and being down 24-14 in the fourth to the Seattle Seahawks, it seemed like that reign of dominance was coming to an end. That is until they made a miraculous comeback and took the lead 28-24 with just minutes left in the game.
However, the Seahawks showed their championship grit by driving the ball all the way down to the Patriots’ one-yard line and seemed primed to win a second straight Super Bowl. That is until the greatest blunder in bowl history occurred.
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Instead of handing the ball off to superstar monster running back Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks got cute and threw a pass down near the endzone. Right into the hands of Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler, with just 20 seconds left on the clock. Creating the greatest “what if” moment in Super Bowl history.
4. Buffalo Bills blow Super Bowl XXV win in final seconds (1991)
Super Bowl XXV set the standard for the horrors the Buffalo Bills would endure in the coming years in NFL Championship games. With seconds on the clock, 1988 All-Pro kicker Scott Norwood had to nail a 47-yard field goal to give Buffalo their first NFL championship and deny their in-state rivals, the New York Giants, a second in five years.
Unfortunately, the star kicker who had succeeded from the same distance many times before, made “wide right” forever a part of the football lexicon when he missed the kick and created the most heartbreaking moment in Super Bowl history — unless you were a Giants fan.
3. Denver Broncos icon John Elway goes air bourne at Super Bowl XXXII (1998)
John Elway is one of the greatest QBs the game had ever seen, but winning the big game had evaded him for much of his career. By the time he reached Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, he was a grizzled legend hoping to achieve the impossible in what could be his last shot at an NFL title.
In the third quarter of a tied game against fellow QB legend Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, Elway turned back the clock and showed he would not be denied, when he tucked the ball and looked to run out a key first down near the endzone.
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Elway would jump for the first down and be spun around 180 degrees from a midair hit. It was an iconic moment that set the tone for his team as Elway put it all on the line for the Lombardi trophy, which he won that day, and the following year. Capping off one of the greatest QB careers of all time.
2. St. Louis Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV by one yard (2000)
After recovering from a 16-point deficit against a then-St. Louis Rams team with one of the greatest offenses in NFL history, the Tennessee Titans were primed to win Super Bowl XXXIV with an amazing final minutes drive. However, it would be halted by the best Super Bowl tackle ever.
With six seconds left, and on the Rams’ 10-yard line, Steve McNair connected with Kevin Dyson on a pass that seemed to set him up for a run-in, game-tying touchdown. But linebacker Mike Jones made a literal championship-saving tackle that stopped Dyson and his outstretched arm just one-yard shy of the endzone.
It is one of the greatest Super Bowl moments of all time because it delivered one of the most memorable photos in sports history.
1. David Tyree’s legendary catch helps New York Giants win Super Bowl XLII (2008)
With just over a minute left in the game, the 2007-2008 New England Patriots were on the doorstep of immortality and were about to become just the second team in NFL history to cap off an undefeated season with a Super Bowl victory. That was until destiny and the Giants intervened.
On a third and five play that followed quarterback Eli Manning nearly throwing a loss-clinching interception, the young star was somehow able to avoid a sack by the New England pass rush and scurry off to temporary open space. Once his feet were set, he uncorked a 50-yard bomb that was caught by fourth-tier wide receiver David Tyree.
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The play is legendary for Manning’s evasion, the desperate throw, and Tyree’s miraculous catch that he pinned to his helmet with defensive great Rodney Harrison draped all over him. It extended an improbable drive that would culminate in a last-second touchdown and the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.