Top 10 Super Bowl Performances of the Last Decade

Eli ChesnerCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2010

Top 10 Super Bowl Performances of the Last Decade

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    Usually, most pressure comes onto a player when he is in a huge game or when he has had issues off the field.

    In the Super Bowl, this is when players take advantage of the big stage and play their guts out. Take, for example, Drew Brees from last year's Super Bowl. He had a fantastic game.

    Here is a list of the top 10 performances in the Super Bowl in the last 10 years.

10. Super Bowl XXXV: Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens 2001

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    Back in 2001, Lewis led the Baltimore Ravens to an emphatic 34-7 win over the New York Giants in a dominating performance that capped off Baltimore’s jaw-dropping, season-long defensive effort. Led by the Hall of Fame-bound Lewis, Baltimore allowed the third fewest yards in Super Bowl history.

    Lewis is just one of two defensive players to win the Super Bowl MVP award in the last decade, but the only one to truly "earn" it.

9. Super Bowl XXXVI: Adam Vinatieri, K, New England Patriots 2002

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    Yeah, Tom Brady won the first Super Bowl MVP award of his career in this game, but I say it was Adam Vinatieri that was the best player on the field in this contest, as he coolly nailed the game-winning kick from 48 yards out to lift the Pats to their first Super Bowl title.

    If any kicker ever deserved to win a Super Bowl title, it’s Adam Vinatieri. Besides, Brady completed just 16 of 27 passes for one touchdown, so it’s not like he actually led the Pats to victory with an impressive aerial performance.

8. Super Bowl XXXVII: Dexter Jackson, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2003

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    Jackson won the Super Bowl MVP award in this contest, and I guess I have to say he was the best player on the field that day—even though he didn’t have to do much except open up his arms for two of the five interceptions that Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon so willingly tossed that day.

7. Super Bowl XXXVIII: Adam Vinatieri, K, New England Patriots 2004

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    Once again, I’m going to say the best player on the field was Adam Vinatieri after he saved the Patriots from what could have turned out to be an embarrassing collapse.

    I know Tom Brady won this Super Bowl MVP award, but he wasn’t even the best quarterback in this game, as he threw three TD passes and one interception while Carolina’s Jake Delhomme tossed three TD passes with no picks.

    Thanks to the ice in his veins, Vinatieri nailed the game-winner with just four seconds remaining.

6. Super Bowl XXIX: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots 2005

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    Ironically, this is the one Super Bowl MVP award that I think Brady should have won after completing 23 of 33 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

    Instead the MVP award went to teammate Deion Branch after he caught 11 passes for 133 yards—and no scores.

5. Super Bowl XL: Willie Parker, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers 2006

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    Yes, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward won the Super Bowl MVP award in this contest after grabbing five passes for 143 yards and one touchdown.

    However, if you saw this game and know the sport of professional football thoroughly, then you know it was "Fast" Willie Parker’s Super Bowl-record 75-yard run in the third quarter that really won this contest for the Steelers.

    Not only did Parker’s jaunt put the Steelers up 14-3 at the time, but it also put the Seahawks back on their heels, which then opened up the passing game for Ward to make his five receptions.

4. Super Bowl XLI: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts 2007

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    I guess Peyton Manning should have won this Super Bowl MVP award in the Colts' 29-17 win over Chicago, but let’s be for real for a moment and admit that Manning’s 25-of-38 day for 247 yards with one TD and one interception is not the stuff of legend, no matter how much you like the older of Archie’s two NFL-playing sons!

3. Super Bowl XLII: Eli Manning/David Tyree, QB/WR, New York Giants 2008

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    I know Giants quarterback Eli Manning won this award after going 19-of-34 for 255 yards and one touchdown, but there is no way he wins the award—or the game, for that matter—without David Tyree’s now legendary "helmet catch" where he miraculously held Manning’s high pass against his helmet while being tackled by a throng of defenders.

    Yeah, Manning won this MVP, but it is Tyree’s one-of-a-kind play that NFL fans everywhere will remember for decades to come.

2. Super Bowl XLIII: Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers 2009

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    Why the Steelers jettisoned their 2009 Super Bowl MVP and kept the disgraceful Ben Roethlisberger is beyond me, but this isn’t a morality contest.

    I’ll let it go by saying that were it not for Holmes’ miraculous grab in the corner of the end zone—off a great pass from Roethlisberger—the Steelers don’t win this contest, and Kurt Warner wins the MVP!

1. Super Bowl XLIV: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints 2010

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    Who else?

    Brees outplayed Peyton Manning in this Super Bowl matchup by completing 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while hooking up with a whopping eight receivers in the contest, seven of those on multiple passes.