A BOWL FULL OF MEMORIES
In honor of Super Bowl XXXVII, here are 37 reasons that despite far too many blowouts, the Super Bowl remains a sports spectacle second to none (okay, second to the World Series).
1. Placekicker Garo Yepremians pass attempt in SB VII. Almost cost the Dolphins an undefeated season. Remains the funniest play in the history of pro sports.
2. Don Beebes capture of Leon Lett in SB XXVII. Hot dogs have their place, Leon, and this was it.
3. Joe Montana. The legends rise above the merely great when a championship is on the line. A three-time MVP.
4. Max McGee in 1967. Before it was even called the Super Bowl, McGee showed the Kansas City Chiefs that Lombardi and liquor do mix after all.
5. The 1985 Bears defense. Wow. Jim McMahon and the rest of the Chicago offense could have played with their helmets on backward.
6. Fran Tarkenton was 0 for 3. This guy is easy to root against NOW.
7. Troy Aikman was 3 for 3. Amid all the chaos and controversy of the Nineties Cowboys, this guy was a rock.
8. The Gibbs way. Washington won three Super Bowls under Joe Gibbs with three different quarterbacks. Yes, the QB is important, but . . . .
9. A flying Swann. Has football ever looked more beautiful in slow motion than it does when Pittsburghs Lynn Swann flies over the Cowboys in SB X (or SB XIII)?
10. Jim Plunkett in SB XV and SB XVIII. One of the games class acts, let go by the Patriots and 49ers.
11. Adam Vinatieri in SB XXXVI. With one swing of his leg, brought redemption and joy to a region of poor Red Sox fans who deserved some bubbly.
12. Scott Norwood in SB XXV. With one swing of his leg, set a franchise on a course of bridesmaidhood unlike any seen since the Brooklyn Dodgers.
13. John Elway. No other quarterback has seen action in five Super Bowls. After losing in his first three turns, upset the Packers in SB XXXII. One Terrell Davis can go a long way.
14. 49ers vs. Dolphins in SB XIX. Every Super Bowl should have this kind of marquee. Montana vs. Marino, combined record: 29-3. (Ignore the final score, if you will.)
15. Jake Scott, Harvey Martin, Randy White, Richard Dent, Ray Lewis. Defensive MVPs. Yes, the QB is important, but . . . .
16. Willie Browns interception in SB XI. Again, slow-motion has never looked so good.
17. Stretch, Kevin, stretch! Though Kevin Dyson fell a foot short and broke the hearts of Titan fans far and wide, his grab capped the greatest Super Bowl played to date.
18. Patriotic unity. At a time when our whole country needed to walk arm-in-arm, the Patriots chose to be introduced en masse prior to SB XXXVI. Did the Rams stand a chance?
19. Timmy Smith in SB XXII. The finest performance in a Super Bowl by a player no one had ever heard of . . . and we havent heard from since.
20. Phil Simms in SB XXI. This kind of efficiency (22 of 25) on a championship stage? Think Bill Walton, 1973.
21. Chiefs over Vikings in SB IV. The AFL was no fluke.
22. Bob Lilly chicken-hunting in SB VI. Have you ever seen a quarterback retreat like Bob Griese? Had he ever heard of grounding the ball?
23. Bradshaw to Stallworth in SB XIV. This game got these two into the Hall of Fame.
24. Favre, White, and the 96 Pack. Brett, Reggie, and the Yankees of pro football. Too bad their title came under a roof.
25. Jim OBrien in SB V. Redemption for the once-mighty Baltimore Colts.
26. Staubach to Johnson in SB XII. Did Butch actually catch that ball? Sure . . . second prettiest reception in Super Bowl history (see no. 9).
27. Jerry Rice going deep. Montana (XXIII and XXIV) and Young (XXIX) never had it so good.
28. The opening acts. Only at the Super Bowl can you find Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, and KISS in the supporting cast.
29. ODonnell to Brown in SB XXX. The Steeler quarterback seemed to go color-blind when it came to the Cowboy cornerback.
30. Starr of stars. Forget Johnny Unitas a moment. Has there ever been a better name for a quarterback than Bart Starr, MVP of the first two Super Bowls?
31. SB XXXV quarterbacks. Trent Dilfer vs. Kerry Collins. (Hey, try and remember these two a decade from now.)
32. Marcus Allen to paydirt. His jaunt in SB XVIII is the prettiest run in the history of the event.
33. A Fridge over the top. William Perry -- a defensive tackle -- rushing for six points in SB XX? Attaboy, Ditka.
34. Doug Williams in SB XXII. Yes, the quarterback is important . . . but his skin color is not.
35. The 94 Chargers and 98 Falcons. Overmatched, yes, but much-deserved spotlight for long-suffering franchises.
36. Jackie Smith in SB XIII. Kickers arent the only goats, you know.
37. Joe Willie Namath in 1969. There has never been a more American fairy tale come to life than the Jets upset of Baltimore (and the entire NFL) in Super Bowl III.