In almost every Super Bowl there is a play, a play that forever resonates as an unforgettable moment in our lives. It can turn an everyday type of player into a hero, or turn a great player into an NFL legend. It’s almost impossible to pick and choose which plays have been the most iconic of the Super Bowl’s 45 year history, but I’ve narrowed it down to the five plays that I will never forget.
The first is a moment that Buffalo Bills fans would all like to forget. Super Bowl XXV, simply referred to nowadays as “wide right.” The Bills got the ball at their own 10-yard line with 2:16 remaining in the game. Getting 33 yards from Thurman Thomas, who was deserving of the game’s MVP award with 190 total yards and a touchdown, the Bills moved the ball to just inside the Giants’ 30-yard line with 8 seconds left. Despite having enough time for a quick sideline completion that could have gotten them 5 yards closer, the Bills opted to send out kicker Scott Norwood for a 47-yard field goal. Norwood’s career long was only 48 yards so it was no “chip shot” for the Bills’ kicker and as you all know, his attempt sailed right of the goal post, giving the New York Giants the Super Bowl victory.
The next moment is an example of a player becoming a household name after kicking a game-winning field goal. Adam Vinatieri, kicker for the New England Patriots, had already become a hero after his overtime field goal against the Oakland raiders in the infamous “tuck rule” game. However, this was the Super Bowl, not the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs, so what Vinatieri did in Super Bowl XXXVI was truly remarkable. After being led down the field by a young Tom Brady, Vinatieri lined up for a 48-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining and drilled it right down the middle to beat the St. Louis Rams. It marked the first Super Bowl winning kick in 31 years, sending the Patriots on their way to three NFL titles in four seasons.
Alright, enough with the kickers. These next two plays actually happened in the same game, one on offense and the other on defense. The first play happened right at the end of the first half in Super Bowl XLIII. With only 17 seconds remaining, Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals were looking to take the lead going into halftime, James Harrison had other ideas. Harrison intercepted Warner’s pass over the middle intended for Anquan Boldin and returned it a record 100 yards for the touchdown, marking the longest returned interception in the history of the Super Bowl. The second miraculous play came in the final minute of the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers were trailing late and it was starting to look like an upset was in the making. Not so fast. Big Ben did what he does best and in memorable fashion to say the least . With 35 seconds remaining, Roethlisberger connected with Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. This earned the Steelers their record sixth Super Bowl title in a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
The final moment is quite possibly the greatest play in the history of the Super Bowl. It turned a nobody into someone that will always be remembered, and it put Eli Manning out of big brothers shadow for good. Down 14-10 to the undefeated, 18-0 New England Patriots with 1:15 left in the game, the Giants were facing a third-and-five at their own 44-yard-line. Quarterback Eli Manning dropped back and the pocket immediately collapsed on him. Somehow Manning managed to pull away from three linemen and heaved a pass down the middle of the field. David Tyree, in a full battle with New England safety Rodney Harrison, took control of the ball against his helmet, temporarily with a single hand, as he warded off Harrison’s frantic attempts to dislodge it. Tyree ended up on his back while on top of Harrison with the ball held in both hands above his head, inches from the grass, and the Giants were on their way to the biggest upset in Super Bowl history. Amazing.
More stories you might like