The dream for every NFL player is to win the Super Bowl. Some players are lucky enough to win the Super Bowl more than once, others are lucky enough to win it once but most will fail in their bid to lift American Football’s most prized accolade.
Some of the most talented players in NFL history missed out on winning the Super Bowl but it would be foolish to focus too much on that. Dan Marino, arguably the best quarterback in NFL history during the regular season, is the highest profile figure in that group.
Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. The Super Bowl brings added drama, excitement and nerves in a way that regular season games cannot. From the inaugural Super Bowl in 1967 to last season’s clash, the Super Bowl has – more often than not – lived up to the hype.
We looked at five of the greatest ever Super Bowls; four of which involve the New England Patriots. As the NFL’s most successful team in Super Bowl history, the Patriots naturally feature on a regular basis. Without further ado, let’s get down to business…
Super Bowl LI (2017)
Without a doubt, the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. In fact, it might even rank as the greatest comeback in sport.
Trailing 28-3 midway through the third quarter, the Patriots were down and out. Everyone thought New England were done… except for New England themselves.
The great Tom Brady led the Patriots to 25 unanswered points in the closing stages, taking the game to overtime.
Once New England won the toss, you knew Bill Belichick’s side were going to go and win the game. James White capped a perfect 75-yard drive to send Patriots supporters wild while gloating Falcons fans were left red-faced.
Super Bowl XLIX (2015)
Another heart in the mouth affair for the Patriots. With the scores locked at 14 apiece at the half, the game was still up for grabs.
The Seahawks were leading deep in the fourth quarter before New England scored with just over two minutes remaining. Russell Wilson had one chance to lead Seattle to victory.
The momentum was with Seattle until THAT play call. With the ball on the two-yard line, the Seahawks, with 26 seconds and a timeout, called a passing play.
Rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler made the game-clinching interception, much to the dismay of Marshawn Lynch and Seahawks fans around the world.
Super Bowl XLII (2008)
Nobody was backing against the Patriots here. New England had completed the perfect 16-0 regular season and the AFC East outfit had been labelled ‘the best team in NFL history’ prior to the Super Bowl.
However, the Giants had other ideas and defied the odds to complete one of the biggest shocks in the NFL showpiece fixture.
David Tyree’s helmet catch will go down in history as one of the league’s most memorable plays.
The Giants wide receiver had made just four receptions during the regular season yet finished Super Bowl XLII with three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. For that reason alone, he will go down in New York folklore.
Super Bowl LII (2018)
The Philly Special. Competing in the Super Bowl for the third time, Doug Pederson’s men rolled the dice and they were rewarded with a first Super Bowl success.
Nick Foles stepped up to the plate in the absence of the injured Carson Wentz to lead the franchise to glory – and Eagles fans will be forever grateful.
There were several key moments throughout the game, with momentum shifts throughout. That Patriots fumble deep in the fourth quarter to give Philadelphia a field goal opportunity was perhaps the biggest, with the exception of the Philly Special play of course.
Tom Brady’s Hail Mary effort was unsuccessful and the city of Philadelphia went wild.
Super Bowl XIII (1979)
A ‘first’ for so many reasons, Super Bowl XIII is one for the purist. It was the first Super Bowl that featured a rematch of a previous match and both teams were hunting their third Super Bowl title.
Dallas were defending champions but the Pittsburgh Steelers were favourites to emerge victorious at the Orange Bowl, Miami.
Everything went against Dallas from start to finish. The Cowboys struggled to get going on offense and, despite a late surge, were forced to relinquish their crown to the Steelers.
At that time, a 35-31 scoreline was very high for the Super Bowl and individual records set by Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach and Franco Harris only help bolster its status.
*Credit for the main photo belongs to Frank Franklin II / AP Photo*