Perfect Match: 10 Best Super Bowl Matchups
In a few weeks, we'll all gather 'round the TV and watch Super Bowl XLVII—and we can only hope that the 2013 edition will be as good as the last few have been.
But how have the latest Super Bowls stacked up against historical ones? Which have been the best in history, and made every second worth watching?
These are the top 10 Super Bowls from the first to No. 46.
10. Saints vs. Colts (2010)
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Super Bowl XLIV featured a favored Indianapolis Colts team led by Peyton Manning against a gutsy New Orleans Saints team with nothing to lose.
The Colts jumped out in front early, going up 10-0 in the first quarter. However, the Saints kicked two second-quarter field goals to make it 10-6 going into the half.
What happened next was one of the gutsiest calls in Super Bowl history, as Sean Payton decided to kick an onside kick to open the second half. The Saints recovered and drove down the field for a touchdown, swinging momentum in their favor.
The Colts would take the lead back while the Saints later tied it, and the Saints had to march down the field on nine plays to score a touchdown to take a 24-17 lead after the Colts missed a field goal.
Manning then threw a pick-six with 2:30 left, and the Saints won the game, 31-17.
9. Broncos vs. Packers (1998)
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The NFC had won 13 straight Super Bowls, and it looked like the Green Bay Packers would make it 14 by winning back-to-back titles.
However, Super Bowl XXXII was a game of change.
The Denver Broncos, led by John Elway, took down Brett Favre's Packers, but it wasn't without a fight.
Tied at 24 with about three minutes left, the Broncos took over and drove 49 yards to score the go-ahead touchdown, with Terrell Davis punching it into the end zone with 1:45 left in the game.
The Packers wouldn't give up and would drive to Denver's 31-yard line before the Broncos forced a difficult 4th-and-6.
John Mobley then became a hero, knocking away Brett Favre's final pass with 32 seconds left to seal the win for the Broncos and the AFC.
8. Steelers vs. Cowboys (1979)
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Super Bowl XIII was supposed to be a defensive battle between Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" and Dallas' "Doomsday Defense."
Apparently the offenses didn't get the message, because both quarterbacks had field days, picking apart these legendary defenses.
Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw took home Super Bowl MVP honors as he outdueled Dallas' Roger Staubach, throwing four touchdowns compared to Staubach's three.
Jackie Smith's drop in the end zone cost Dallas the game, as the Cowboys were forced to kick a field goal and lost the game, 35-31.
7. Patriots vs. Panthers (2004)
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Scoring came in spurts during Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.
The first 26 minutes of the game were scoreless, but with 3:05 left in the first half, both teams decided to pick it up. The two teams combined to score 24 points in 185 seconds.
The second half was almost the exact same, as neither team scored again until the fourth quarter.
The Pats opened up the final quarter of play with a 14-10 lead and then ran it in from 2 yards out to make it 21-10, but the Panthers scored on a 33-yard run and an 85-yard pass to take the lead.
However, that was more than enough time for the Brady Bunch, as the Pats marched down the field to set up an Adam Vinatieri field goal for a 32-29 victory, as Brady won his second Super Bowl.
6. Giants vs. Bills (1991)
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Super Bowl XXV was the first of four consecutive Super Bowl appearances for the Buffalo Bills, but the loss to the New York Giants was the closest the team came to winning a Super Bowl.
The Bills' atrocious 19:27 time of possession was overcome, as the team was down by just a single point in the fourth quarter and had the ball.
The Bills had a shot, but had to drive 61 yards against a New York defense led by Lawrence Taylor to set up a long field goal to even have a shot at winning.
They did it.
However, Scott Norwood did not.
His kick was wide right on the 46-yarder, and the Bills lost 20-19, marking the beginning of four straight losses in the Super Bowl.
5. 49ers vs. Bengals (1989)
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Super Bowl XXIII got off to a slow start, and the game was tied at three going into the half. However, both teams came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, and that's when the game got really interesting.
Both teams scored a touchdown and kicked a field goal to make it 13-13 before the Cincinnati Bengals took the lead on a field goal with 3:20 left in the game.
The 49ers were in trouble, as they had to start on their own 8-yard line as they made their final attempt to win the game.
Joe Montana was undeterred, however, and he took his team 92 yards for the score, which came on a 10-yard pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds left in the game.
Jerry Rice was named MVP for his 215 receiving yards and one touchdown on 11 catches.
4. Steelers vs. Cardinals (2009)
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It's hard to forget about Super Bowl XLIII—especially since it happened just four years ago.
The Steelers were heavily favored over the Arizona Cardinals, and an early 10-0 lead did nothing to diminish that fact.
The Cards battled back, however, and seemed to be on the verge of tying the game heading into the half. It was all for nothing, though, as James Harrison took back a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown, setting a new Super Bowl record.
Still, Arizona fought on, and Larry Fitzgerald's insane fourth quarter (115 yards and two scores on six receptions) led the team to a late 23-20 edge.
Ben Roethlisberger didn't give up, however, leading his team down the field on a 78-yard drive in the final 2:38 of the game, capped by Santonio Holmes' incredible touchdown catch to propel Pittsburgh to a 27-23 victory.
3. Patriots vs. Rams Super Bowl (2002)
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Super Bowl XXXVI was the beginning of the Legend of Tom Brady.
The young kid's first Super Bowl came against Kurt Warner's Rams, but it was the Pats who jumped out ahead early.
After going up 17-3, the Rams came storming back, as Warner threw for a touchdown and ran one in himself to tie things at 17.
Brady was young and inexperienced, but New England believed in him, giving him the chance to march down the field with 1:30 left in the game and no timeouts left.
Driving 53 yards, he set up Adam Vinatieri for a 48-yard field-goal attempt that he nailed to win the game.
2. Rams vs. Titans (2000)
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A single yard determined Super Bowl XXXIV, which makes this arguably the best ending to a Super Bowl in history.
Kurt Warner's St. Louis Rams built up a 16-0 lead before the Tennessee Titans even put up a fight.
However, starting late in the third quarter, the Titans battled back, and tied the game with 2:12 left in the contest.
It seemed like the Titans had all the momentum, but just one play later, Warner found Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard strike to go up 23-16.
The Titans still had two minutes to tie the game, and it looked like they would. The team drove all the way down the field, and the game came down to the last play. Kevin Dyson was heading toward the end zone when he was finally dragged down 1 yard short, giving the Rams the 23-16 victory.
1. Giants vs. Patriots (2008)
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"Who the heck is David Tyree?"
That's something that could have been asked before Super Bowl XLII, but certainly not after.
The 18-0 Patriots came into the contest heavily favored over the Giants, who had to scrape a wild-card berth to get into the postseason.
The Pats were supposed to light up the scoreboard with their prolific offense, but the Giants' stingy defense had other plans, and the score was 7-3 in favor of New England going into the fourth quarter.
The G-Men took the lead four minutes into the quarter after some guy named Tyree scored a touchdown.
But the 2007-08 Patriots were led by Tom Brady and Randy Moss. These two record-setting players hooked up for a touchdown with 2:42 left in the game.
The Giants would not have it. The team came out and put together one of the most incredible drives in history. Eli Manning dropped back on a 3rd-and-5 and should have been sacked, but he managed to fight his way out of it and heave up a pass that Tyree caught on his helmet. The team then scored on a 13-yard strike to Plaxico Burress to go up 17-14 with 35 seconds left.
The G-Men then held on to win the best Super Bowl in history.
Let's hope that the 47th Super Bowl can outshine even this historic contest!