At long last the conclusion to Past Interference's Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time series, just in time for the Super Bowl XLIV festivities (like we planned it). Here are PI's rankings of the ten best Super Bowls ever played. Click the links at the bottom of this post to read PI's deeper thoughts on each game.
(10) Super Bowl XXIII. San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16. Montana.
(9) Super Bowl XXXVI. New England 20, St. Louis 17. If this is number one on your own list I won't argue. Personally, I'm still mad about how the Rams D played on that last drive because I wanted me some Super Bowl overtime.
(8) Super Bowl XXXVIII. New England 32, Carolina 29. Pure insanity. Tons of mistakes and penalties, yet action-packed and suspenseful to the final play. Nipple!
(7) Super Bowl XXXI. Denver 31, Green Bay 24. A very underrated game. Given their own unfortunate Super Bowl history combined with the NFC's incredible run of dominance in the big game, Denver's triumph here ought to be more appreciated. High-scoring and close all the way. What more do you want?
(6) Tie: Super Bowl XIII. Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31. Super Bowl XIV. Pittsburgh 31, L.A. Rams 19. PI would love to go old school and pick one of these two for the number one spot but each game suffers from the same aesthetic fatal flaw, not going down to the wire. Each could have but the Cowboys just couldn't catch a break and Vince Ferragamo turned back into Vince Ferragamo in the 4th quarter.
(4) Super Bowl XXXIV. St. Lous 23, Tennessee 16. A slightly dull first half but a classic second half more than made up for it. You couldn't ask for a better fourth quarter. The Warner-to-Bruce TD bomb, the frantic final Tennesse drive and the fateful Jones' tackle still linger in the memory.
(3) Super Bowl XLIII. Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23. I had a very hard time figuring whether this game should rank second or third. It wound up third based on what I thought was a slightly lower quality of play than in PI's choice for number two. Both the Steelers and Cardinals looked listless for long stretches of the game especially in the third quarter. The fourth quarter fireworks came as a real shocker precisely because Harrison's awesome first-half ending INT TD appeared as though it would be the only dramatic moment of the night. Luckily the Cards woke up in the 4th and the Steelers then roused themselves for a game-winning drive.
(2) Super Bowl XXV. New York 21, Buffalo 19. An exciting game from start to finish is a real Super Bowl rarity so appreciate it when you get it! Sure you could knock the paucity of truly memorable plays, but the high drama, the wild momentum swings, the heroic efforts on both sides, the true clash of styles, and the final fateful miss earn this easy honors as the best Super Bowl of the first quarter-century of the Super Bowl era.
(1) Super Bowl XLII. New York 17, New England 14. With a perfect season hanging in the balance the NFL owed us a game for the ages. And we got one: the game's drama matched the game's importance. The team's combined for "only" 31 points but with neither team capable of consecutive scores every score equalled a lead change. The tension kept building and building and building in a way that no other Super Bowl's ever matched. And Manning-to-Tyree? I didn't see the Immaculate Reception live but I'm grateful I saw this one. A magical NFL moment, a shocking upset, and, in my opinion, the Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time.
The Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part I
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part II
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part III
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part IV
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part V
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part VI
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part VII
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part VIII
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part IX
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part X
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Conclusion