FROM MY SEAT: Super Bowl Top 40 (Part II)

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Resuming where we left off last week, here’s a primer for your Super Bowl party this Sunday. The top 20 stars in the game’s history.

20. Jack Lambert (Pittsburgh) -- Gap-toothed, Hall of Fame face of four-time-champion Steel Curtain defense. Edges out Joe Greene, Jack Ham, and Mel Blount.

19. Lawrence Taylor (Giants) -- With Butkus, one of two greatest linebackers in NFL history. Backbone of championship teams in XXI and XXV.

18. Larry Csonka (Miami) -- MVP in VIII. His 297 yards rushing (in three games) are second most in game’s history.

17. Kurt Warner (St. Louis Rams) -- Former stockboy came out of the arena league to lead the Rams and their “Greatest Show on Turf” to a pair of Super Bowls, beating Tennessee in XXXIV when he passed for a game-record 414 yards and was named MVP.

16. Marcus Allen (Raiders) -- MVP in XVIII when he ran through Washington for 191 yards. 74-yard touchdown jaunt is longest run in game’s history.

15. Richard Dent (Chicago) -- MVP of XX, Dent was the player honored among the finest defense in Super Bowl history. Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton, Gary Fencik, Wilber Marshall . . . and the Fridge.

14. Jim Plunkett (Raiders) -- Representing Oakland in XV and Los Angeles in XVIII, Plunkett led the Raiders to a pair of championships after two franchises had given up on his career.

13. Doug Williams (Washington) -- The first (and still only) black quarterback to win the Super Bowl, Williams led the Redskins in the most dominant offensive half in the game’s history, tearing up Denver before halftime in XXII.

12. Roger Staubach (Dallas) -- Led the Cowboys to victory over Miami in VI and Denver in XII. Lost a pair of close ones to Pittsburgh.

11. Bart Starr (Green Bay) -- Winning quarterback and MVP of the first two games. The face of Vince Lombardi’s dynasty.

10. Lynn Swann (Pittsburgh) -- NFL Films has made a fortune on Swann, slow-motion replays of his acrobatic catches in X and XIII being highlights among Super Bowl retrospectives. Only one receiver has compiled more yardage than Swann’s 364 (in four games).

9. Troy Aikman (Dallas) -- One of only four quarterbacks to win three Super Bowls. MVP of XXVII.

8. Emmitt Smith (Dallas) -- Star among stars for three championship teams in the Nineties. MVP of XXVIII, Smith rushed for 289 yards and 5 touchdowns in his three appearances.

7. John Elway (Denver) -- No other quarterback has started five Super Bowls. The Broncos’ Hall of Famer gained redemption for his losses in XXI, XXII, and XXIV by beating the favored Packers in XXXII and the Falcons in XXXIII.

6. Tom Brady (New England) -- One of only four quarterbacks to win three Super Bowls. MVP of XXXVI and XXXVIII.

5. Franco Harris (Pittsburgh) -- A record 354 yards rushing in four victories. MVP in IX.

4. Jerry Rice (San Francisco, Oakland) -- He’s to NFL receiving records as Wayne Gretzky is to NHL scoring records. And that includes his 33 receptions and 589 yards in four Super Bowls. MVP of XXIII (though let’s remember John Taylor caught the game-winning touchdown pass).

3. Terry Bradshaw (Pittsburgh) -- Four Super Bowls, four victories, twice the MVP. So he had a Hall of Fame tailback and two Hall of Fame receivers to catch his passes. Bradshaw showed the Cowboys’ Thomas Henderson he could do far more than spell “cat.”

2. Joe Montana (San Francisco) -- Leading that brilliant game-winning drive against Cincinnati in XXIII gives Montana a slight edge over Bradshaw. And he was just as good as a third-year pro in XVI (also beating the Bengals), whipping the Dolphins in XIX, and  lighting up the Broncos in XXIV. A three-time MVP.

1. Joe Namath (Jets) -- From the fur coats to the Fu Manchu, from the panty hose(!) to the playmates, he was and remains the definitive Joe Cool. With that ridiculous guarantee of victory for his AFL New York Jets over the mighty NFL’s Baltimore Colts in 1969, Namath -- once and forever -- put the SUPER in Super Bowl. Jets 16, Colts 7.

  

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