Super Bowl Greatness: Top 10 Big Game Moments

Mark LeonardCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2011

Super Bowl Greatness: Top 10 Big Game Moments

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    Sean Payton and the greatest prize in all of sports
    Sean Payton and the greatest prize in all of sportsDoug Benc/Getty Images

    Yep it's that time of the year again. Time to play the granddaddy of them all-- the Superbowl. Every year there are big plays and great moments in the Superbowl. There have been many great individual accomplishments as well as team accomplishments. This lists contains both individual and team accomplishments in the Super Bowl. Feel free to comment and give your opinion.

10. John Riggins Gallops Away in Super Bowl XVII

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    John Riggins brings it home
    John Riggins brings it homeGetty Images/Getty Images

    The Redskins dominated the Dolphins in the 2nd Half of Super Bowl XVII, but that would've probably never happened if weren't for John Riggins. "The Diesel" ran wild over the highly touted "Killer B's" Miami defense. Riggins' best run of the game was a 43 yard touchdown run to give Washington the lead in the 4th quarter. This led John Riggins in becoming the game's MVP. Overall this was an impressive victory for Washington, because they were trailing to Miami throughout the game but they took the lead and won in the 4th quarter.

9. Steve Young and Company Win Super Bowl XXIX

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    Steve Young got the monkey off his back in Super Bowl XXIX
    Steve Young got the monkey off his back in Super Bowl XXIXGeorge Rose/Getty Images

    Even though the 49ers cruised to a 49-26 victory en route to winning Super Bowl XXIX over the Chargers, this win was still very significant. Before Steve Young was traded to San Francisco he was considered a lost cause to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers even though he had enormous success in college with BYU. Young had to sit on the bench behind Joe Montana until injuries forced Young in the lineup (San Francisco later traded Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs which paved the way for Young to take the reins). Even when he was in the lineup he suffered injuries as well, giving in to Steve Bono. Eventually, Young got his starting job back, but he was still getting compared to the Hall of Famer Montana. Young finally put the naysayers to rest when he won Superbowl XXIX and when he was named the game’s MVP. Not a bad way to do it huh?

8. Miami Stays Perfect

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    Larry Csonka was key part of the Dolphins success
    Larry Csonka was key part of the Dolphins successAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    In Super Bowl VII the Miami Dolphins made history. The Dolphins captured their first Super Bowl crown, but more importantly they became the first team to finish the entire season undefeated. Not even the 2008 Spygate Patriots could even manage this feat. Miami defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7 en route to wrapping up their season with a 17-0 mark. Many people throw rocks at the '72 Dolphins because they only played two teams in the regular season with a winning record, but what the naysayers forget is that Miami won all of its playoff games, including the Super Bowl, and all of those teams had winning records. Enough said.

7. Santonio Holmes Snatches Victory from the Cardinals' Jaws

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    Santonio Holmes makes a circus catch
    Santonio Holmes makes a circus catchDoug Benc/Getty Images

    At first Super Bowl XLIII looked like it would be a snoozer, but the Arizona Cardinals made an inspired comeback thanks to Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald along with some untimely Pittsburgh penalties. However, Santonio Holmes put all hopes of a Cardinals' victory to rest when he made an incredible touchdown catch in the back of the end zone with three defenders around him with only 35 seconds left on the clock in the 4th quarter. Holmes was named Super Bowl MVP for his efforts.


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    Broncos owner Pat Bowlen grasps victory
    Broncos owner Pat Bowlen grasps victoryJamie Squire/Getty Images

    "This one is for John" was pure sweetness especially for John Elway who suffered inconsistency and three  Super Bowl losses, but this night the franchise's fortunes were reversed. The 11-point underdog Denver Broncos pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in Superbowl history over the heavily favored Green Bay Packers. Thanks to one of the most brilliant Super Bowl game plans employed by head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. In which they used an unorthodox Twins I-Formation (two WRs are on the same side leaving the TE one-on-one with SS). This neutralized Packer SS LeRoy Butler from messing up Denver's running game since he had to respect Denver's TE Shannon Sharpe who was a big threat in Denver's air attack. Add that to John Elway's precise passing, Terrell Davis' punishing running, and John Mobley's game breaking deflection of Brett Favre's pass in the 4th quarter and you have one of the most memorable moments in Super Bowl history.

5. Eli Manning to David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII

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    Tyree's catch is one for the ages
    Tyree's catch is one for the agesDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    When I saw this play I almost fainted, because Eli Manning evaded three defenders to throw a desperation bomb to David Tyree who caught the ball  on the side of his helmet. The completion was good for a 32 yard gain. Better yet, the play led to one of greatest upsets in sports history-- 10-6 New York Giants defeat the 16-0 New England Patriots in Superbowl XLII, 17-14. Nobody even thought that the 12-point underdog Giants would be able to even keep with the high flying Patriots record setting aerial attack which featured NFL MVP Tom Brady, Randy Moss (who had a NFL record 23 touchdown catches that season), and Wes Welker. This Super Bowl team will forever be immortalized because of the enormous upset they pulled like that other New York team in the green jerseys...

4. Tracy Porter Seals the Deal for the New Orleans Saints

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    Tracy Porter takes it to the house
    Tracy Porter takes it to the houseEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    When the New Orleans Saints desperately needed a big play to stop Peyton Manning and the Colts, they got it. The first turnover of Super Bowl XLIV came when a young corner by the name of Tracy Porter intercepted Manning's pass. The former Indiana Hoosier returned it 76 yards for a nail in the coffin touchdown on any hopes of an Indianapolis comeback.

    Winning Super Bowl XLIV wasn't only significant for the Saints (which was the first championship) but also to the city of New Orleans who had suffered through a nightmare in Hurricane Katrina, in which they almost lost the beloved Saints to San Antonio. This has solidified the Saints to stay in New Orleans.

3. Doug Williams Leads Washington to a Historic Victory

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    This was the last thing Denver's D wanted to see
    This was the last thing Denver's D wanted to seeGeorge Rose/Getty Images

    In Super Bowl XXII Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to start and win a Superbowl. Doug Williams had been drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had many up and down years with them, but overall he was the cornerstone of the franchise. He departed the Buccaneers due to a contract dispute and bolted for the USFL. After the USFL folded Williams landed with the Redskins. Joe Gibbs made a shocking decision to name Doug Williams the starter for the playoffs over Jay Schroeder, but it proved to be the right one. The Redskins routed the Broncos 42-10. This feat is impressive because Washington was down 10 points in the 1st quarter. Then in the 2nd quarter, led by Williams, Washington scored 35 points. Yep 35 points in a single quarter, no Super Bowl team has ever matched that. And to put the icing on the cake Doug Williams was named the game's MVP.

2. Mike Jones and the Game Breaking Tackle

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    The longest yard
    The longest yardTom Hauck/Getty Images

    Super Bowl XXXIV came down to one play and one yard. Tennessee Titans WR Kevin Dyson caught a Steve McNair pass for seven yards, but Dyson was tackled at the one yard-line by St. Louis LB Mike Jones. The play that the Titans dialed up was for TE Frank Wycheck to lineup in front of Kevin Dyson in order to get the attention of Mike Jones and give Dyson a free release off the line of scrimage for a quick and easy touchdown to force the game into overtime. Jones appeared to take the bait but at the last second he peeled back to tackle Kevin Dyson and handed the Rams their first Super Bowl victory.


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    Joe Namath put the Super Bowl on the map
    Joe Namath put the Super Bowl on the mapJarrett Baker/Getty Images

    Super Bowl III will always be remembered for Joe Namath's outrageous guarantee of victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. Namath made the outlandishly guarantee in response to a Colts fan heckling him while he was relaxing at the Jets' hotel. Superbowl III proved Joe Namath to be a prophet when the resilient Jets played a smart balanced offense and their defense capitalizing on Baltimore's miscues won convincingly 16-7. This victory is considered to be one of the largest upsets of all time due to the AFL getting humbled in back-to-back Superbowl's by the Green Bay Packers. The Baltimore Colts entered the game with NFL MVP, Earl Morrall and with an NFL best 13-1 record. At the time they were considered to be the best Pro Football team of all time. Unfortunately for the Colts they seemed to forget that they still had to play the 18-point underdog Jets to be World Champions and the Colts didn't even score until late in the 4th quarter. The New York Jets proved that AFL could compete with NFL and that a merger between the two leagues wasn't a bad idea. More importantly this established the significance of the Superbowl and without this all of the previous greatest moments mentioned wouldn't hold any significance.