The stage has been set.
Super Bowl XLV: The Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Green Bay Packers at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX.
This game has all the makings of a classic, and many believe that it will be just that. With two of the best quarterbacks in the league, two of the top defenses in the league and two of the most successful coaches in the league over the past half-decade, this game very well could be one for the ages.
But keep in mind, not every Super Bowl game has been a good one. In fact, there have arguably been just as many bad games as good ones. In the Super Bowl's 44 years of existence, there have been some unforgettable matchups and some that you just want to erase permanently.
Let's break down all 44 Super Bowl games and count them down from the worst to the best all-time. This should be enjoyable for all.
Let's just say that we can only hope that there will never be another Super Bowl matchup as ugly as this one was.
In 1990, Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to the most lopsided victory in Super Bowl history, with the final score reading 55-10 in favor of the 49ers. There is a ton of football history that was made in this game, but perhaps not the type of history that fans were hoping for.
The 55-10 outcome remains the most lopsided game in Super Bowl history to date. The 49ers' 55 points were the most ever scored by one team, and their 45-point margin of victory over the helpless Broncos was the largest ever. In addition to that, the 49ers were the only team in Super Bowl history to score eight touchdowns and at least two touchdowns in every quarter played.
On the other side of the ball was young John Elway, who dropped to 0-3 in Super Bowl appearances after this humiliating defeat.
Like I said, we can only hope that this game will always top the list as the worst Super Bowl ever played.
This 1986 Chicago Bears team will go down in history as one of the greatest Super Bowl teams ever to be assembled. The same cannot be said about their opponent, the New England Patriots.
The NFC champion Chicago Bears won their first-ever Super Bowl in this 46-10 trouncing of the Patriots. The Bears' 36-point margin did hold the victory for the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history until Super Bowl XXIV.
The Bears' defense forced New England quarterback Tony Eason to go 0-for-6 with a fumble and he was sacked three times. He was replaced by backup Steve Grogan, who didn't fare much better.
The Patriots were held to negative yardage (-19) throughout the entire first half and just 123 total yards in the game, which was the second lowest total in Super Bowl history.
As if the 1990 Super Bowl wasn't bad enough, just three years later came this 52-17 blowout victory for the Dallas Cowboys over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII.
This game marked the Bills' third consecutive trip to the Super Bowl, and after coming up short on the last two attempts, something had to give, right?
Not so much. The Bills recorded a Super Bowl record nine turnovers in this contest. Buffalo became the first team to lose three consecutive Super Bowls, and the sad part was, it didn't end there. The streak kept going, so stay tuned.
Doesn't it seem like a lot of these lopsided Super Bowl games were all played very close together? Well, this 1988 Super Bowl matchup was right there with the worst of them.
The Washington Redskins, led by MVP quarterback Doug Williams, won their second Super Bowl in team history by defeating John Elway and the Denver Broncos 42-10.
The most shocking thing about this Super Bowl matchup is that Washington actually trailed 10-0 to start the game and then scored 42 unanswered points to complete the one-sided victory.
Williams passed for 340 yards and four touchdowns in the win. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter.
Four years before the Washington Redskins completed one of the biggest blowout victories in Super Bowl history, they were on the losing end of a Super Bowl blowout that was nearly as bad.
Super Bowl MVP Marcus Allen ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns as the Raiders demolished the Redskins 38-9 in this 1984 Super Bowl matchup. The Raiders' 38 points put up and their 29-point margin of victory were both Super Bowl records until Super Bowl XX.
The worst part about this one is that the Redskins finished the regular season with a 16-2 record and were heavily favored to win this game. Their embarrassing loss to the Raiders led to this Super Bowl being known as "Black Sunday."
The Baltimore Ravens came into this game known as a team that was led by their dominant defense and their aggressive style of play.
But in this 2001 Super Bowl matchup, it was the Ravens offense that came to life in a 34-7 one-sided victory over the helpless New York Giants. Well, after only allowing 152 yards of total offense, I guess that you could say that the Ravens defense played well as well. In fact, the most shocking statistic of this Super Bowl was that all 16 of the Giants possessions ended with punts or interceptions, with the exception of the last one, which ended when time expired in the game.
Ray Lewis recorded 11 tackles on his way to being name the Super Bowl MVP. He was the first linebacker to win the Super Bowl MVP award on a winning team.
Not only was this one of the worst Super Bowl games to ever be played, but it very well could have been the most unlikely matchup in Super Bowl history.
The Raiders were a veteran group that many believed was past their prime, and the Buccaneers had been one of the worst franchises in football over the past decade before making this Super Bowl run.
Nonetheless, the game went on, and was it ever an ugly one. The Raiders entered the game as the favorite, but Tampa Bay's defense played tremendous and walked away with a 48-21 win in this unexpected 2003 Super Bowl matchup.
Tampa Bay's defense forced Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon into throwing a Super Bowl record five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. The game was just simply ugly in every possible way.
This one was ugly from start to finish—for the Miami Dolphins, that is.
The Dolphins set, and still hold, the lowest scoring mark in Super Bowl history as the Dallas Cowboys walked all over them 24-3 in this 1972 Super Bowl matchup.
Roger Staubach and the Cowboys dominated this game, setting Super Bowl records for the most rushing yards, least total yards allowed and the least points allowed. The Cowboys are also the only team to this day to not allow an opposing team to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
The Oakland Raiders had an incredible season in 1976, capping it off with a convincing 32-14 victory over the Vikings in Super Bowl XI.
The Raiders owned this game, gaining a Super Bowl record 429 yards, including a record 288 yards in the first half. This can be credited as much to the Vikings defense playing bad as much as the Raiders offense playing good. The win marked the first Super Bowl victory for the Raiders in franchise history.
The Vikings did not score a single point until late in the third quarter in this one. The Raiders starting wide receiver, Fred Biletnikoff, was named the Super Bowl MVP. He is one of six receivers to be named the MVP of the Super Bowl.
And people wonder why it was a such a big deal when John Elway finally won his first Super Bowl. Take a look at how many blowout Super Bowl losses he was involved in, and here is another one to add to the list.
Elway and the Broncos were dominated by the Giants, which cruised to a 39-20 victory and earned their first Super Bowl trophy. The Giants scored 26 consecutive points during the second, third, and fourth quarters, and a Super Bowl record 30 points after the first half.
Giants quarterback Phil Simms threw for three touchdowns and only had three incompletions total in the game. That 88 percent completion percentage is still a Super Bowl record to this day.
This game got out of hand early on and turned into one of the ugliest games in Super Bowl history.
Minnesota scored the first 24 points of the game and went on to cruise to a 24-7 victory over the Dolphins in this 1974 matchup.
The MVP of this game was Miami running back Larry Csonka, who set original Super Bowl records in that game with his 145 yards rushing. He became the first running back to win MVP honors in the Super Bowl, which has obviously since been changed.
If scoring points was the main criteria for this list, this game would be way up on the top.
But in reality, while this game was filled with scoring, most of that scoring was done by the 49ers. Steve Young threw a record six touchdown passes and San Francisco crushed the Chargers Super Bowl chances with a 49-26 victory over San Diego in the 1995 big game.
The combined score of 75 and the 10 total touchdowns are both Super Bowl records.
The most eye-popping statistic about this game is that the Minnesota Vikings were heavily favored by two touchdowns heading into this game.
But when it was all said and done, it was the Chiefs that owned this contest, leaving the city of New Orleans with a 23-7 Super Bowl victory under their belts. The Chiefs defense dominated the game by holding Minnesota's offense to just 67 rushing yards, forcing three interceptions and recovering two fumbles.
This was the first Super Bowl to surpass 80,000 people in attendance. Too bad all those fans didn't get to see much of a game in this one.
The Eagles entered this game as the favorite and left not even being close.
Oakland quarterback Jim Plunkett threw for just under 300 yards and three touchdowns as the Raiders raced to a 27-10 victory over the Eagles in this 1981 Super Bowl matchup.
The Raiders held a 24-3 lead after the first three quarters, and the game was all but over from there. With the victory, the Raiders became the first Wild Card team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl. There would be many more to come after that.
At least John Elway wasn't playing in this game. But just like this list has already made evident, the Denver Broncos have not had the best luck in the big game, and this one was no different.
The Cowboys defense was the biggest story in their 27-10 blowout victory over the Broncos. The Cowboys defensive unit forced an eye-popping eight turnovers and allowed only eight pass completions by the Broncos for just 61 yards. Denver was held scoreless in every quarter except the third.
One thing that did stand out about this game is that it was the first time in Super Bowl history that two players won the game's MVP award: defensive linemen Randy White and Harvey Martin shared the award in the victory.
This game was one of those matchups that everyone looked forward to because of the great quarterback play of Joe Montana and Dan Marino. It was also a matchup of great teams, as the two teams combined for only three losses on the season.
The quarterbacks certainly lived up to the hype, as both passed for over 300 yards and there was over 800 yards of combined offense in this shootout. But in the end, Joe Cool and the 49ers never let this game get too close, as they cruised to a 38-16 victory in this 1985 Super Bowl matchup.
Unfortunately for Marino, this wound up being his only trip to the Super Bowl during his NFL football career.
This game was a re-match of the previous year's Super Bowl, which ranked No. 3 on the all-time worst Super Bowl list. This one really wasn't much better.
After Buffalo held a 13-6 lead at halftime, Dallas came out and scored 24 unanswered points in the second half while routing the Bills 30-13 in this 1994 Super Bowl matchup.
This marked the fourth Super Bowl win for the Cowboys, which was tied for the record. It also marked the third consecutive Super Bowl appearance for the Bills, and yes, all three of them ended with a Super Bowl loss.
This one could have very well been put further down on the list, but the fact that it was only the second Super Bowl ever to be played makes it a big game when you put it into historical context.
Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr earned his second consecutive Super Bowl MVP award. He passed for 202 yards and a touchdown as he helped lead the Packers to a convincing 33-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
This game marked the only loss that Oakland had on the season.
This Super Bowl marked the first time that a team with nine wins or fewer reached the Super Bowl, which was the case for the Los Angeles Rams.
While it wasn't a blowout victory, the Steelers did put an end to the Rams quest to complete history. Terry Bradshaw passed for over 300 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Steelers to a 31-19 victory over the Rams in this 1980 Super Bowl matchup.
It was a memorable victory for the Steelers, but not so memorable for the Rams. They would not appear in the Super Bowl again until after they moved to St. Louis in 1995.
This wasn't such a great game as far as the score goes, but it certinaly was a memorable one for Denver quarterback John Elway.
With the victory, Elway became the oldest player ever to be named Super Bowl MVP. Elway was outstanding in this one, throwing for over 330 yards and a touchdown.
This was the ideal game to close out Elway's career as this marked the final game he played in his memorable NFL career.
As far as the game goes, this one wasn't very close from start to finish. The Broncos jumped out to a 17-6 lead at halftime and never looked back.
This game was actually the first championship game to officially bear the "Super Bowl" title.
This game is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The Jets were a huge underdog in this game and the Colts were the best team in the league this season. But in the end, quarterback Joe Namath was too much for the Colts as he went on to lead the Jets to a 16-7 victory.
While the score was close, there wasn't much to get excited about in this game. The two teams combined for seven total points in the first half. Namath was the MVP, but he didn't pass for a single touchdown in the victory.
Close score, major upset, not much offense: Spot No. 25 feels just about right for this one.
The Washington Redskins were the best team around in 1991 and they capped off that season with an impressive 37-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI.
With the win, the Redskins became the fourth team to win three Super Bowls, while the Bills became the third team to lose back-to-back Super Bowls. Unfortunately, the Bills would continue to build on their Super Bowl streak, but not in the way they would have hoped to.
This one wasn't really even as close as the scoreboard made it out to be. The Redskins led 17-0 at halftime and increased that lead to 24-0 midway through the third quarter.
Quarterback Mark Rypien threw two touchdowns and was named the game's MVP.
Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and the Pittsburgh Steelers made sure that the Seahawks were not going to win their first-ever Super Bowl ring. Ward caught five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers went on to beat Seattle 21-10 in the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit.
With the victory, the Steelers became the first No. 6 seed to win the Super Bowl.
Perhaps the most memorable play from this game came early on in the third quarter when Pittsburgh running back Willie Parker busted through Seattle's defense and broke off a 75-yard touchdown run to give the Steelers a 14-3 lead. That run by Parker is the longest run from scrimmage by a running back in Super Bowl history.
It was also a fitting win for Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis, who won a Super Bowl championship in his hometown of Detroit.
This Super Bowl featured two of the most feared defenses in NFL history as Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain went up against Minnesota's Purple People Eaters.
But in the end, it was the Steel Curtain that came up big when it mattered most, leading the Steelers to a 16-6 victory over the Vikings for their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
The Steelers held the Vikings to Super Bowl lows in first downs, 119 yards of total offense and 17 rushing yards. The Steelers also tied Super Bowl records for the least rushing first downs allowed and the least passing first downs allowed.
It was the start of a legacy with the Pittsburgh Steel Curtain.
This game might be a little more memorable then others, simply because it is still fresh in our minds.
Trailing 10-6 at halftime, New Orleans came out and executed one of the most memorable onside kicks in NFL history. The Saints went on to outscore the Colts 25-7 in the second half and ended up winning the game 31-17.
With the victory, the Saints became the fourth team to win in their only Super Bowl appearance.
Drew Brees was the hero in this one, passing for 288 yards and two touchdowns on his way to being named the game's MVP. His 32 completions tied a Super Bowl record set by Tom Brady.
After spending the past decade as one of the most dominant quarterbacks in NFL history, Peyton Manning finally added the ultimate chapter to his legacy as he led the Colts to a 29-17 victory over the Bears in the 2007 Super Bowl.
Manning passed for 247 yards and a touchdown as he went on to earn the game's MVP honors. It was the first Super Bowl victory for the Colts since they moved to Indianapolis in 1984.
It was also the Bears first Super Bowl appearance in a long time. Their last time was when they won the big game back in the 1985 season.
Perhaps the most memorable moment in this game came from the losing team when Devin Hester ran back the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. The Bears controlled the first quarter, but the Colts went on to outscore them 23-3 in the final three to wrap up the Super Bowl victory.
Although he didn't have his best playoff performance, this was certainly the most memorable for Brett Favre.
He can thank special teams ace Desmond Howard for helping him get this Super Bowl ring. The former Heisman Trophy winner scored the game-winning touchdown on a Super Bowl record 99-yard kickoff return to help lead the Packers to a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots in the 1997 Super Bowl.
This was the Packers third Super Bowl victory, but their first one since Super Bowl II back in 1968.
This is the game that made John Riggins an icon in Redskin nation.
The Super Bowl MVP running back carried the ball 38 times for 166 yards while leading the Redskins to a 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in this 1983 Super Bowl game played at the Rose Bowl.
With his outstanding performance, Riggins became the leading rusher in Super Bowl history. In total, Riggins had more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense. The game was close in the first half, but then Washington scored 17 straight points while totaling a Super Bowl record 276 yards as a team on the ground.
This game marked the third meeting between these two teams in Super Bowls, which is still, to this day, the most of any NFL teams.
Dallas cornerback Larry Brown intercepted two of Neil O'Donnell's passes and was named the game's MVP as Dallas went on to beat Pittsburgh 27-17 in this 1996 Super Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.
This Super Bowl victory was significant for Dallas because it marked the Cowboys third title in four years, joining the 49ers as the only team to accomplish such a feat.
The NBC television broadcast averaged 95.13 million people in the United States, then making it the most-watched sporting event ever on American television.
This was a memorable one because of the history that was made. The undefeated Dolphins went on to defeat the Redskins 14–7 in the 1973 Super Bowl and became the first—and the only—team in NFL history to complete an undefeated season.
The game itself was not so exciting until the very end. In fact, this game stands as the lowest-scoring Super Bowl to date with a total of only 21 points.
Miami's defense dominated this contest, allowing Washington to cross midfield only once in the first half and only four times overall.
Dolphins safety Jake Scott was named the game's MVP as he recorded two interceptions in the victory.
As far as the scoreboard goes, this Super Bowl should be near the bottom of the list. But simply because it was the first Super Bowl ever, it has to be towards towards the middle-to-top end.
In what was originally known as the "super game", Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns while being named Super Bowl MVP.
As for the game itself, it never was really much of a contest. The Packers scored three second half touchdowns and cruised to a 35-10 win over the Chiefs in the first Super Bowl of many.
Now is where we start getting into the conversation of some of the best Super Bowls to have ever been played.
In this one, Steelers receiver Lynn Swann caught four passes for a Super Bowl record 161 yards and one touchdown as he helped lead the Steelers to a 21-17 victory over the Cowboys in 1976. He became the first receiver to win the MVP award.
This was the first of many heated matchups between these two teams that were considered the cream of the crop in the NFL during this time period.
The game has been referred to in the past as being known as the the "Blunder Bowl" because it was filled with poor play, penalties and all kinds of turnovers.
The two teams committed a Super Bowl record 11 combined turnovers in the game, and the Colts' seven turnovers are currently the most ever committed by a winning team in a Super Bowl. Dallas also set a Super Bowl record by committing a total of 10 penalties.
In the end, Colts kicker Jim O'Brien hit a field goal with five seconds remaining to seal a 16-13 victory for the Colts.
It might not have been pretty, but it was close, and it was one to remember.
This is the first of many great Super Bowl games that the New England Patriots were involved in over the past decade.
This one featured a matchup of two the of best quarterbacks in the NFL in New England's Tom Brady and the Eagles' Donovan McNabb. In the end, it was three points that separated the two teams, as Tom Brady hooked up with Deion Branch 11 times for 133 yards and helped the Pats defeat the Eagles 24-21 in this 2005 Super Bowl matchup.
With the win, New England became the second team after the Dallas Cowboys to win three Super Bowls in four years. This was the Patriots' third straight Super Bowl victory by a margin of three points.
At the time, this game became the first Super Bowl rematch in NFL history. And what a great game it was.
Pittsburgh controlled much of the game, but Roger Staubach did all he could to try and lead his Dallas Cowboys back. He threw two touchdown passes late in the final quarter, but in the end, Pittsburgh held on to win 35-31 in this 1979 Super Bowl matchup.
Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw was named Super Bowl MVP. He completed 17 out of 30 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns. His 318 passing yards and four passing touchdowns broke Super Bowl records at the time.
Joe Montana was the hero in this memorable game, passing for 157 and a touchdown and also running for a touchdown as the 49ers defeated the Bengals 26-21 in a very memorable Super Bowl.
Cincinnati actually fared better than the 49ers on the offensive end throughout the game; they just ended up turning it over one too many times. This contest marked the first time in Super Bowl history that the team which compiled the most yards and touchdowns lost.
This marked the only Super Bowl to ever be played at Pontiac Silverdome, the former home of the Detroit Lions.
This one was legendary not only because it was a great game, but because the great John Elway finally got his first Super Bowl ring. After suffering four previous Super Bowl losses, Elway and the Broncos put together a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, which was capped by a Terrell Davis touchdown, and went on to beat the Packers 31-24 in this 1998 Super Bowl game.
The victory for the Broncos also snapped a 13-game losing streak for AFC teams in the Super Bowl.
Davis was named the game's MVP after rushing for 157 yards and a Super Bowl record three touchdowns, including the game winner.
Everyone will remember this Super Bowl as the big game that began to shape the career of Adam Vinatieri and help cement his name as the most clutch kicker in NFL history
Vinatieri drilled a game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired in this one, and the Patriots went on to beat the heavily-favored Rams 20-17 in this 2002 Super Bowl. The Rams came into the game as 14-point favorites, making the Patriots' victory one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 16 of 27 passes for 145 yards with a touchdown. His biggest contribution came when he led his team down the field for the game winning score. He was named MVP of the game.
This Super Bowl was memorable in so many ways.
But no play stood out more than Santonio Holmes' tiptoe touchdown reception with under a minute remaining in the game to give the Steelers a 27-23 win over the Cardinals just two years ago.
Holmes caught nine passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, including four for 71 on their final scoring drive on his way to being named Super Bowl MVP. He was the third Steelers receiver ever to win the award, following Lynn Swann and Hines Ward.
This one was certainly a treat to watch for the 70,000-plus that attended this game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fl.
Getting down to the final five here, and these five games really can go in any order. This one was an instant classic and will be remembered forever as being one of the greatest quarterback performances in Super Bowl history.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady set a Super Bowl record for the most pass completions in the big game with 32. Brady threw for 354 passing yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots topped the Panthers 32-29 in what many fans and sports writers consider to be one of the most well-played and exciting Super Bowls ever.
Just like the Super Bowl from two years ago, this one came down to Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal that sealed the win for the Pats.
This game is remembered for its incredible finish, which became known as "the drive".
Down 16-13, San Francisco got the ball on their own eight-yard line with just over three minutes left on the clock. Joe Montana led the 49ers down the field as they marched 92 yards in under three minutes. They then scored the winning touchdown when Montana hooked up with John Taylor for a 10-yard touchdown score with just 35 seconds left in the game.
That drive sealed a 20-16 victory for Montana and the 49ers over the Bengals in one of the most memorable Super Bowl finishes in history.
Jerry Rice was honored as the Super Bowl MVP. He caught 11 passes for a Super Bowl record 215 yards and a touchdown in the win.
This game is remembered as the best game in NFL history for Giants fans and probably the worst in NFL history for Bills fans.
First, the finish was one of the greatest ever recorded in sports history. Bills' place kicker Scott Norwood missed a game-winning field goal attempt wide right, which will forever haunt Buffalo Bills fans.
There were five total lead changes in this game, but in the end, it was the Giants that prevailed, 20-19, in this 1991 Super Bowl matchup. This game remains the only time in history that a Super Bowl has been decided by one point.
Giants running back Otis Anderson was named the game's MVP.
This game will forever be remembered for how close it came at the end.
Trailing by a touchdown with time ticking down in the game, Steve McNair and the Titans drove to the St. Louis 10-yard line with six seconds remaining, but on the final play of the game, Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Tennessee wide receiver Kevin Dyson one-yard short of the goal line to prevent a potential game-tying touchdown. The game came to an end with Dyson's arm reaching out, but just short out the end zone.
The play later became known as simply "The Tackle".
While there have been missed field goals, made field goals, and game-winning touchdowns to conclude a Super Bowl victory, there has never been anything as close as this play to end the big game.
Why was this game the best Super Bowl ever played?
There are an abundance of reasons that could be used, but the main reason has to be that on the final drive of the game, the Giants Plaxico Burress caught a game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left as the Giants defeated the undefeated New England Patriots. Not one person in the football world saw this win coming.
The Patriots were considered by many to be the most dominant team in NFL history. They had not lost once all year, which was a near impossible accomplishment in this day and age. But the underdog Giants, led by an under-spoken quarterback in Eli Manning, put together one of the most memorable drives in sports history when it mattered most.
This game also featured what very well could be the most incredible catch in Super Bowl history as the Giants' David Tyree pinned the ball against his helmet and came down with a game-changing catch that set up the final touchdown. It is known by many to be the greatest catch in NFL history. And for that, this game is the best Super Bowl in NFL history. It had everything any NFL fan could want in a Super Bowl...and then some.