There have been so many great Super Bowls in the history of the game, it’s hard to pick the top ten. However, some stand out for being both competitive and exciting, while also making a lasting impact. The best Super Bowls of all time occupy a special place in NFL history, from acrobatic receptions to goal-line stands, from redemption stories to dramatic comebacks.
Steelers 35, Cowboys 31 (1979)
There was so much at stake in Super Bowl 13. The reigning champion, the Dallas Cowboys, faced the Steelers in a rematch of Super Bowl 10, which the Steelers won.
This time, Pittsburgh came out on top, but there was a lot of drama along the way. The Steelers went into the fourth quarter with a 21-17 lead, then scored 14 points in a row. On the other side, Dallas rallied, scored a touchdown, recovered an onside kick and scored again with 22 seconds left to come within four points.
Dallas’ second onside kick attempt was unsuccessful and Pittsburgh knelt to end the game.
This game had many firsts. It was the first rematch in the Super Bowl, and the first time a reigning champion lost in the championship game, and a losing Super Bowl contestant scored 30 points. It also earned Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw his first of two Super Bowl MVP medals.
Steelers 27, Cardinals 23 (2009)
The excitement for Super Bowl 43 was palpable, with the Pittsburgh Steelers vying for a record-breaking sixth Lombardi Trophy. In the twilight of his career, quarterback Kurt Warner had led the Arizona Cardinals to their first championship game.
With 35 seconds left, Ben Roethlisberger’s touchdown throw to Santonio Holmes gave the Steelers the win. With less than three minutes to go, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald scored a decisive 64-yard touchdown.
One of the most memorable Super Bowl moments is Holmes’ cord catch towards the end of the regulation, as is James Harrison’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown with no time for rest.
Jets 16, Foals 7 (1969)
The win helped develop the AFL-NFL World Championship into the Super Bowl we know today. Namath has been hailed as the most popular New Yorker of all time, and the Jets have been hoping to repeat his success ever since. It is a difficult decision, given their low position in the OddsShark.com Super Bowl 56 odds.
Patriots 20, Rams 17 (2002)
A seemingly random disturbance eventually sapped a potential Rams dynasty and set the stage for a Patriots dynasty. Brady and coach Bill Belichick would go on to win two of the next three Super Bowls, cementing their position as the best team of the decade.
Rams 23, Titans 16 (2000)
Rams coach Dick Vermeil retired after the season and handed over the team to offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Two years later, the Rams returned to the Super Bowl but were defeated in a heartbreak by the Patriots. Warner’s Hall of Fame career began in 1999, when he played in his third Super Bowl with Arizona.
Patriots 28, Seahawks 24 (2015)
It will be remembered of Seattle’s poor choice to pass at short notice, which ended in Malcolm Butler intercepting the ball with less than a minute left on the goal line. However, as time goes on, it will be more about Tom Brady cementing his legacy of four rings by leading an incredible fourth quarter comeback against a first-rate defense.
49ers 20, Bengal 16 (1989)
Bill Walsh, the 49ers coach, made a surprising announcement of his retirement in the locker room after the game. He took the 49ers to three Super Bowl championships and 10 wins in 14 post-season games. Defensive Coordinator George Seifert was hired to take his position and lead the 49ers to their fourth Super Bowl the following year, establishing their reputation as the ’80s’ team.
Giants 20, Bills 19 (1991)
With the Giants, Bill Parcells had won his second ring in five years, cementing his reputation as a premier coach and team builder. The Bills won the next three Super Bowls, a record that still stands despite not going better against the Redskins in Super Bowl 26 or the Cowboys in Super Bowl 27. Rather than an AFC powerhouse with four conference titles, Buffalo is known as a four-time loser on the biggest podium.
Giants 17, Patriots 14 (2008)
The Giants’ triumph was the greatest disappointment in Super Bowl history, given the circumstances of the Patriots’ quest for perfection. The Dolphins’ victory over the Patriots meant they would remain the only undefeated team in Super Bowl history for the time being.
Patriots 34, Falcons 28 (2017) (OT)
Tom Brady dramatically drove the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl win, taking his team from 21-0 and 28-3 deficits to a thrilling 34-28 win in overtime. The Falcons’ Super Bowl setback was overshadowed by Brady earning his status as the greatest quarterback and athlete of modern times.