Super Bowl 2011: How Will It Compare To Super Bowls XXXIV-XLIV
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers will play for all the marbles in North Texas on Sunday, February 6. These two franchises have two of the richest histories in all of professional sports.
The Packers famously won the first two Super Bowls in 1966-67, and won another with some guy named Brett in 1996.
The Steelers are going for their seventh Super Bowl victory, as Big Ben Roethlisberger looks for his third title as quarterback of the franchise.
Now, with all the lead up to the big game at "Jerryworld" in two weeks, we look to see how this game might compare to the Super Bowls of the past decade. Rankings are in reverse order from worst-best game.
10. Super Bowl XXV: Ravens Defeat Giants 34-7
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In one of the most lopsided games in Super Bowl history, Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense completely shut down Kerry Collins and the Giants offense. Collins had just led the Giants to a 41-0 rout of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game, so the expectations were there for the Giants to put up points.
The Ravens ended up intercepting Collins four times. The only points the Giants could muster came from a Ron Dixon 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Ray Lewis walked away with MVP honors, despite finishing with only 3 tackles and 4 passes defensed. The award came mostly for his role as the heart of the defense that shut down the Giants.
9. Super Bowl XXXVII: Buccaneers Defeat Raiders, 48-21
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In another lopsided victory, Tampa Bay, with ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden leading the team, defeated Oakland quite easily. They stopped Rich Gannon and a high-paced Raiders offense.
The Buccaneers defense completely shut down Gannon, intercepting him five times, inlcuding three interception returns for touchdowns.
Free Safety Dexter Jackson walked away the MVP honors, becoming just the third DB to win the award. He intercepted Gannon twice in the first half, anchoring the defense and propelling Tampa Bay to their first Super Bowl victory.
8. Super Bowl XLI: Colts Defeat Bears, 29-17
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Well, most people might not have saw this coming, but there was a slight quarterback difference between these two teams. The Colts, led by Peyton Manning, were one of the most stable teams in the league. The Bears, on the other hand, relied on their defense to bail out Rex Grossman and the Bears offense. This game also matched up the first two African American coaches in Super Bowl history, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith.
In the end, Dungy and Manning's Colts offense outdueled Brian Urlacher and the Bears defense, 29-17, in a sloppy game played in rainy South Florida.
As expected, Peyton Manning took home MVP honors, passing for 247 yards and a touchdown, en route to an easy victory.
Despite the thrill of Manning's first Super Bowl win, this game lacked the excitement of many of the other big bames of the decade.
7. Super Bowl XL: Steelers Beat Seahawks, 21-10
Jerome Bettis and the Pittsburgh Steelers rolled into the Motor City in search of their first Super Bowl title since 1980. Their opponents, the Seattle Seahawks, could only muster 10 points, as MVP Shaun Alexander was kept out of the endzone.
This was the first Super Bowl victory for Jerome Bettis and coach Bill Cowher. This was a bittersweet victory for Bettis, as he retired on top as a champion.
The highlight of this game came on a trick play, as Antwaan Randle-El passed to Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward for a 45-yard touchdown that put the icing on the cake.
6. Super Bowl XXXIX: Patriots Beat Eagles, 24-21
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Tom Brady and the New England Patriots marked their place in NFL History, winning three Super Bowl titles in four seasons. Brady led the Pats up against Donovan McNabb, an injured Terrell Owens, and the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles in Jacksonville.
Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch caught 11 passes for 133 yards, while the Pats defense forced four Eagles turnovers. In a back-and-forth game, both teams put up over 300 yards on offense, with multiple long scoring drives.
In the end, the Eagles could not overcome three McNabb interceptions and beat the Pats, who became the first "dynasty" since the 90's Cowboys.
5. Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots Hold off Panthers, 32-29
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The New England Patriots, two years removed from their Super Bowl XXXVI upset of the St. Louis Rams, came to Houston for their second title of the decade. Their opponents, the Carolina Panthers, were playing in their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Despite a scoreless first quarter, the two teams combined for 868 yards. MVP Tom Brady (his second MVP award) passed for 354 yards and three touchdown passes.
The Patriots sealed up their victory with four seconds remaining on the clock, as Adam Vinatieri booted a 41 yard field goal to give the Patriots a three-point victory.
4. Super Bowl XLIV: Saints Defeat Colts, 31-17
After all that New Orleans went through with Hurricane Katrina, there could not have been a more exhilarating victory for the Saints and the city of New Orleans. Drew Brees led the Saints to South Florida to take on the AFC Champion Colts, looking for the second South Florida Super Bowl victory in five years.
Brees had a remarkable game, completing 32 out of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. The biggest play of the game, however, was made by the Saints defense. Cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning pass at the Saints 32 yard line with 3:12 left in the game, and brought it all the way back 78 yards for a touchdown.
Brees won MVP honors, yet this victory was just as much for the city of New Orleans as it was for the Saints players.
3. Super Bowl XXXIV: Rams Beat Titans by The Nose Of The Ball, 23-16
The St. Louis Rams had one of the most prolific offenses in NFL History, led by Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and Isaac Bruce. The Tennessee Titans were led by quarterback Steve McNair.
This game will be remembered for the final play of the game. Down 23-16 on the Rams' 10 yard line with six seconds remaining, McNair quickly threw a slant to Kevin Dyson, who stretched towards the goal line. Linebacker Mike Jones wrapped up Dyson one yard short of the goal line, securing the victory for the Rams.
2. Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers Rally Against The Cardinals, 27-23
In one of the wildest games in Super Bowl history, the Steelers faced up against the historically irrelevant Arizona Cardinals, playing in their first Super Bowl since moving to Arizona. The Cardinals were led by former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner and All-Pro Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who had one of the greatest postseasons in NFL History.
As time expired in the first half, Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison intercepted Warner's pass at the goal line, and then ran 100 yards down the sideline for the longest play in Super Bowl history.
With 2:37 left, Warner hit Fitzgerald in the middle of the field, and Fitzgerald ran for a 62-yard touchdown, giving the Cardinals a 23-20 lead. Roethlisberger then led the Steelers down the field, all the way to the Cardinals six yard line. He scrambled left and right, and then found Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes in the corner of the endzone, who tiptoed his way into the history books with a remarkable catch.
1. Super Bowl XLII: Giants Shock The Patriots, 17-14
The New England Patriots compiled one of the best regular seasons in NFL history, steamrolling the competition on their way to a perfect 16-0 record. They won their sixteenth game at the Meadowlands against these same Giants, who refused to go down lightly, despite already clinching a wild card birth.
The Giants, as a five seed, defeated Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Green Bay all on the road to reach Super Bowl XLII. Led by Eli Manning, the Giants knew they had a shot if they held Brady's offense in check.
The key to this game was the Giants ability to sack Brady (they got to him five times).
The play that will be remembered, though, was Manning's escape from a sack and his subsequent Hail Mary to fourth-string wide receiver David Tyree, who fought off safety Rodney Harrison and pinned the ball to his helmet. Four plays later, the Giants took the lead for good on a fade route to Plaxico Burress in the the corner of the endzone.
This game has gone down in history as the biggest Super Bowl upset since Joe Namath and the Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in 1969.
Super Bowl XLV: Packers Vs. Steelers
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The game in Dallas puts two of the hottest teams in the NFL up against one another. This matchup has the makings of being a great game, with both teams clicking on all cylinders. Look for a back and forth game, with the winning team scoring on the final drive of the game.
Prediction: Steelers win, 24-21 on the strength of a monster game by MVP Rashard Mendenhall