Greatest games in Super Bowl history

By Grant Suneson, Michael B. Sauter and John Harrington
February 02, 2018, 3:11:23 PM EST


On February 4, much of America will settle into easy chairs and sofas and turn its attention to the Super Bowl, America’s unofficial holiday. The favored New England Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Americans have been munching on chips, imbibing beer, and downing Buffalo wings and pizza for more than 50 years to watch the two professional teams battle for the Super Bowl, whose self-importance is stamped with Roman numerals.

The game routinely draws more than 100 million viewers to celebrate this singular American event. Many will tune in to watch the commercials, while others look forward to the halftime show. But most viewers are hoping to see a game that they will talk about for years and engage in debates over what is the greatest Super Bowl ever.

We don’t know yet where Super Bowl LII will rank among the greatest of Super Bowls, but the previous 51 have produced some of the greatest moments in American sports.

It hasn’t always been the case. Many of the games have been one-sided, and a few were decided early. In 2014, the Seattle Seahawks took the quickest lead in Super Bowl history by scoring a safety 12 seconds into the game against the Denver Broncos. It was a harbinger of disaster for the Denver Broncos, who lost Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8. It took the San Francisco 49ers all of three plays into Super Bowl XXIX in 1995 to score against San Diego Chargers, when Steve Young connected on a 44-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice.

With Super Bowl LII set to kickoff Sunday, 24/7 Wall St. has weighed in on the debate by ranking all 51 Super Bowls. To create this rank, we considered factors like margin of victory, fourth quarter points, the time of the game-deciding score, the number of lead changes, and favored comeback and overtime games.

Few athletic events have been more riveting than last year’s game between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. New England overcame a 25-point deficit in the second half to force overtime and eventually win its fifth Super Bowl.

The Patriots have been involved in some of the most memorable Super Bowls. Two games were won with field goals with fewer than 10 seconds left. One was decided on an interception in the New England end zone with 20 seconds to play. The Patriots fell short twice against the underdog Giants by a total of seven points. All seven of the Super Bowls in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era have been decided by six points or fewer. The 2004 Super Bowl saw a record 37 points scored in the fourth quarter before the Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32-29.

The Patriots are the latest dynasty to put their imprint on the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s and early 1980s won four Super Bowls, but none were blowouts. In the 1980 Super Bowl, there were five lead changes before Pittsburgh overcame a third-period deficit to beat the Los Angeles Rams.

Though not a dynasty, the New York Giants have won four Super Bowls, and all four are among the top 16 games on our list. Three of those games were decided late in the fourth quarter, and all three were decided by a total of eight points.

In terms of dynasties, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys dominated the league in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively. The 49ers, who have triumphed in five Super Bowls, won two close games against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1982 and 1989, but the other contests were one-sided. The Cowboys, who had enjoyed Super Bowl success in the 1970s with Roger Staubach at the helm, won three Super Bowls decisively in the 1990s. They also have won five Super Bowls.

The Super Bowl has also served as a cultural signpost. When Doug Williams led the Washington Redskins to victory in Super Bowl XXII in 1988, he was the first African-American quarterback to do so. Joe Namath, whose shaggy hair and white cleats flouted NFL convention, famously guaranteed that the underdog New York Jets would defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III -- and he backed up his assurance with a victory.

Like all debates involving sports, the criteria for determining what is the best of anything is itself subject to debate. We looked at, among other factors, how close the games were, how late the outcome was decided, the number of lead changes, and the amount of points scored in the fourth quarter.

After careful consideration, here are the greatest Super Bowls of all time, ranked from worst to first.



51. SB XXIV (1990)


> Matchup: San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos


> Result: 49ers win 55-10


> 4th Quarter points scored: 14 (tied, 22nd most)


> MVP: Joe Montana



The San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos combined for 65 points at Super Bowl XXIV. Unfortunately for the Broncos, the 49ers scored 55 of them. After the Broncos kicked a field goal to cut San Francisco’s lead to 7-3, the Niners scored 34 unanswered points. Joe Montana won the MVP trophy by throwing five touchdown passes.




50. SB XXXV (2001)


> Matchup: Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Giants


> Result: Ravens win 34-7


> 4th Quarter points scored: 10 (tied, 23rd fewest)


> MVP: Ray Lewis



The Baltimore Ravens completely dominated the Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV with one of the best defenses in NFL history. In the space of less than a minute in the third quarter, the two teams scored back-to-back-to-back touchdowns. However, the Ravens scored two of them, and the second one -- a Jermaine Lewis 84-yard kickoff return -- broke the Giants’ back. Linebacker Ray Lewis won the MVP.




49. SB XLVIII (2014)


> Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos


> Result: Seahawks win 43-8


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Malcolm Smith



The Seattle Seahawks took the quickest lead in Super Bowl history, scoring a safety 12 seconds into the game enroute to a 43-8 thrashing of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Seahawks’ defense would continue to make life miserable for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, piling up a 36-0 lead by the third quarter.




48. SB VI (1972)


> Matchup: Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins


> Result: Cowboys win 24-3


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Roger Staubach



Roger Staubach directed the Dallas Cowboys to a 24-3 victory over emerging NFL power Miami Dolphins in one of the lowest-scoring games in Super Bowl history. The game was also noteworthy for Dallas running back Duane Thomas’ awkward post-game interview with broadcaster Tom Brookshier.




47. SB XX (1986)


> Matchup: Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots


> Result: Bears win 46-10


> 4th Quarter points scored: 9 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Richard Dent



If you remember the Super Bowl Shuffle, then you’ll recall that the Chicago Bears routed the New England Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX. The Bears’ cast of characters included quarterback Jim McMahon, running back Walter Payton, linebacker Mike Singletary, and lineman William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who scored the final Bears touchdown. The Bears MVP was lineman Richard Dent, one of the anchors of a defense coached by Buddy Ryan that powered the Bears to a 15-1 regular-season record, one of the greatest seasons ever.




46. SB I (1967)


> Matchup: Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs


> Result: Packers win 35-10


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Bart Starr



In the first ever Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers overtook the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10, in the first pairing of the National Football League and the American Football League. The Chiefs hung in for a half, trailing 14-10, but the Packers wore down the AFL champions, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, who passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns.




45. SB XVIII (1984)


> Matchup: Los Angeles Raiders vs. Washington Redskins


> Result: Raiders win 38-9


> 4th Quarter points scored: 3 (4th fewest)


> MVP: Marcus Allen



The Los Angeles Raiders, behind a stunning performance by Marcus Allen, defeated the favored Washington Redskins, 38-9, in Super Bowl XVIII. Allen, who was voted the most valuable player, rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard burst at the end of the third quarter that put the game away.




44. SB VIII (1974)


> Matchup: Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings


> Result: Dolphins win 24-7


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Larry Csonka



The Miami Dolphins followed up their undefeated season by successfully defending their Super Bowl title in Super Bowl VIII against the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7. Burly running back Larry Csonka blasted his way to 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns on his way to winning the MVP. This was the third straight appearance by the Dolphins in the Super Bowl.




43. SB XII (1978)


> Matchup: Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos


> Result: Cowboys win 27-10


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Harvey Martin, Randy White



The Dallas Cowboys won their second Super Bowl under coach Tom Landry as a stout defense led by co-MVPs Harvey Martin and Randy White shut down the Denver Broncos, 27-10, in Super Bowl XII. It was the first of eight Denver appearances in the Super Bowl.




42. SB IV (1970)


> Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings


> Result: Chiefs win 23-7


> 4th Quarter points scored: 0


> MVP: Len Dawson



The Kansas City Chiefs won their only Super Bowl by downing the favored Minnesota Vikings, 23-7, in Super Bowl IV. The Chiefs shut out the Purple People Eaters 16-0 in the first half, and quarterback Len Dawson won the MVP, even though he was linked to a federal inquiry into gambling. It was the first of four Super Bowl losses for Minnesota.




41. SB 50 (2016)


> Matchup: Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers


> Result: Broncos win 24-10


> 4th Quarter points scored: 11 (tied, 23rd fewest)


> MVP: Von Miller



The Denver Broncos shocked the favored Carolina Panthers, 24-10, in Super Bowl 50 (the only Super Bowl that did not use Roman numerals). This would be Peyton Manning’s second and last Super Bowl win. He was efficient enough but not the MVP of the game. That went to linebacker Von Miller, who led a robust defense that thwarted Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (18 completions in 41 attempts and six sacks). The Broncos took the lead for good less than four minutes into the game.




40. SB VII (1973)


> Matchup: Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Redskins


> Result: Dolphins win 14-7


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Jake Scott



The Miami Dolphins topped off the first 14-0 season in NFL history by outplaying the Washington Redskins, 14-7, in Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins “No-Name Defense” dominated the game, shutting the Redskins, whose only score came on Mike Bass’ return of a blocked field goal attempt in the fourth quarter. It was fewest number of points scored by both teams in a Super Bowl, and the teams combined for fewer than 500 total yards.




39. SB IX (1975)


> Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings


> Result: Steelers win 16-6


> 4th Quarter points scored: 13 (tied, 23rd fewest)


> MVP: Franco Harris



The Steel Curtain notched the first of its four Super Bowl victories by beating the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6. If you like defense, then Super Bowl IX was for you -- the Steelers led 2-0 at halftime, the lowest-scoring first half in Super Bowl history. Franco Harris emerged as MVP, rushing for 158 yards and a touchdown. It was the second straight Super Bowl loss for the Vikings.




38. SB XV (1981)


> Matchup: Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles


> Result: Raiders win 27-10


> 4th Quarter points scored: 10 (tied, 23rd fewest)


> MVP: Jim Plunkett



The Oakland Raiders dumped the favored Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10, in Super Bowl XV. MVP Jim Plunkett had the Raiders air attack in gear with three touchdown passes. Two of the aerial scores occurred in the first quarter, when Oakland grabbed a 14-0 lead. The Oakland defense limited Philadelphia running back Wilbert Montgomery to just 44 yards, and the Eagles only gained 69 yards on the ground. For the Raiders, it was their second Super Bowl victory. The Eagles were making the first of two appearances in the big game.




37. SB II (1968)


> Matchup: Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders


> Result: Packers win 33-14


> 4th Quarter points scored: 14 (tied, 22nd most)


> MVP: Bart Starr



In what would cap the Green Bay Packers dynasty and Vince Lombardi’s final game as Packers coach, Green Bay defeated the Oakland Raiders, 33-14, in Super Bowl II. Bart Starr was the Super Bowl MVP for the second straight year, throwing for 202 yards and one touchdown pass. After winning the first two Super Bowls, the Packers would not return to the big game until 1997.




36. SB XI (1977)


> Matchup: Oakland Raiders vs. Minnesota Vikings


> Result: Raiders win 32-14


> 4th Quarter points scored: 20 (tied, 11th most)


> MVP: Fred Biletnikoff



The Oakland Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings, 32-14, in Super Bowl XI, in a game that was pretty much over in the first half when the Raiders took a 16-0 lead. In all four Super Bowls the Vikings have played, they have been shut out in the first half. Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff won the MVP even though he did not catch a touchdown pass.




35. SB III (1969)


> Matchup: New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts


> Result: Jets win 16-7


> 4th Quarter points scored: 10 (tied, 23rd fewest)


> MVP: Joe Namath



Despite being the underdogs, the New York Jets schooled the 18-point favorites Baltimore Colts, 16-7, in Super Bowl III. The game made Joe Namath a legend and put the American Football League on equal footing with the older National Football League. The Jets dominated the game for the better part of three quarters, and the Colts were guilty of five turnovers, including four interceptions. Namath, who had famously guaranteed the victory, completed 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards and was named MVP.




34. SB XXVII (1993)


> Matchup: Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills


> Result: Cowboys win 52-17


> 4th Quarter points scored: 21 (tied, 8th most)


> MVP: Troy Aikman



The Dallas Cowboys dominated the Buffalo Bills, 52-17, in Super Bowl XXVII, the third straight loss by the Bills in the Super Bowl. Buffalo scored first in the first period, but it was all Cowboys after that. Dallas pulled away in the fourth quarter by scoring 21 points. The Bills hurt themselves by losing five fumbles. MVP Troy Aikman completed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of 140.7.




33. SB XXII (1988)


> Matchup: Washington Redskins vs. Denver Broncos


> Result: Redskins win 42-10


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Doug Williams



Doug Williams became the first African-American quarterback to helm a Super Bowl winning team by leading the Washington Redskins to a 42-10 thrashing of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. It was the Redskins’ second Super Bowl victory. After spotting the Broncos a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, the Redskins scored 35 points, a Super Bowl record, in the second quarter. Williams, who won the MVP, connected on four touchdown passes in the second quarter and set a Super Bowl record for passing yards for one period with 228. The Redskins rolled up 602 total yards, also a Super Bowl record.




32. SB XIX (1985)


> Matchup: San Francisco 49ers vs. Miami Dolphins


> Result: 49ers win 38-16


> 4th Quarter points scored: 0


> MVP: Joe Montana



The San Francisco 49ers spoiled Dan Marino’s only Super Bowl appearance by whipping the Miami Dolphins, 38-16, in Super Bowl XIX for the 49ers' second Super Bowl win. It was another MVP performance for Joe Montana, who outgained Marino in passing yardage, 331 to 318, and tossed three touchdown passes.




31. SB XL (2006)


> Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks


> Result: Steelers win 21-10


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Hines Ward



The Pittsburgh Steelers revisited the glory of the Steel Curtain teams of the 1970s by defeating the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in Super Bowl XL. Wide receiver Hines Ward caught five passes for 123 yards and one touchdown, including the last score in the final period on his way to the MVP.




30. SB XXIX (1995)


> Matchup: San Francisco 49ers vs. San Diego Chargers


> Result: 49ers win 49-26


> 4th Quarter points scored: 15 (tied, 20th most)


> MVP: Steve Young



Super Bowl XXIX was among the more one-sided of all 51 Super Bowls, but it gets bumped up the ranking slightly because it was represents a master class of offensive excellence. Steve Young’s San Francisco 49ers, the third team in NFL history to score 500 points in a season, clobbered the San Diego Chargers, 49-26. The combined 75 points are the most in Super Bowl history. The Niners got the ball first and took just three plays to score on a 44-yard Steve Young pass to Jerry Rice. And the deluge was on.




29. SB XXX (1996)


> Matchup: Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


> Result: Cowboys win 27-17


> 4th Quarter points scored: 17 (tied, 15th most)


> MVP: Larry Brown



The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys renewed their Super Bowl rivalry in Super Bowl XXX as the Cowboys won their fifth Super Bowl with a 27-17 victory. Defensive back Larry Brown picked off two interceptions and returned them 77 yards to win the MVP trophy. In an illustration of how statistics can be deceiving, Pittsburgh outgained Dallas in total yards (310-254) and had more first downs than the Cowboys (25-15). Yet Dallas never trailed in the contest.




28. SB XXVIII (1994)


> Matchup: Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills


> Result: Cowboys win 30-13


> 4th Quarter points scored: 10 (tied, 23rd fewest)


> MVP: Emmitt Smith



The Dallas Cowboys played the second of their two Super Bowl contests against the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII, and the Cowboys won decisively, 30-13. It was the final game as the Cowboys coach for Jimmy Johnson, who beat the Bills in both times in the Super Bowl. Buffalo held a 13-6 lead at the half. The play that turned the game around occurred less than a minute into the second half, when Dallas tackle Leon Lett hit Buffalo running back Thurman Thomas, who fumbled, and Dallas safety James Washington picked up the ball and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown. Running back Emmitt Smith, the eventual MVP, got loose for two touchdowns in the second half to lead Dallas to victory.




27. SB XLI (2007)


> Matchup: Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears


> Result: Colts win 29-17


> 4th Quarter points scored: 7 (tied, 15th fewest)


> MVP: Peyton Manning



Peyton Manning gained his first Super Bowl victory and won the game’s MVP when the Indianapolis Colts downed the Chicago Bears, 29-17, in Super Bowl XLI. Each team had a 100-yard rusher -- the Colts were paced by Dominic Rhodes (113 yards) and Thomas Jones led the Bears (112 yards). The game was also remembered for Prince’s performance of the song “Purple Rain” during a rainstorm at halftime.




26. SB XXXI (1997)


> Matchup: Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots


> Result: Packers win 35-21


> 4th Quarter points scored: 0


> MVP: Desmond Howard



The Green Bay Packers won their first Super Bowl since the glory years of coach Vince Lombardi behind the gunslinging heroics of quarterback Brett Favre in their 35-21 triumph over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. The Packers trailed 14-10 in the second quarter and then scored 17 unanswered points in that period to take the lead for good. Desmond Howard closed out out the scoring with an electrifying 99-yard kickoff return on his way to winning the MVP.




25. SB XLV (2011)


> Matchup: Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


> Result: Packers win 31-25


> 4th Quarter points scored: 18 (14th most)


> MVP: Aaron Rodgers



The Green Bay Packers won their fourth Super Bowl by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the difference, throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns enroute to winning the MVP. Green Bay jumped out to a 14-0 first-period lead and never trailed, though the Steelers rallied to cut the deficit to three in the fourth period.




24. SB XXVI (1992)


> Matchup: Washington Redskins vs. Buffalo Bills


> Result: Redskins win 37-24


> 4th Quarter points scored: 20 (tied, 11th most)


> MVP: Mark Rypien



The Washington Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI, 37-24, over the Buffalo Bills for their third Super Bowl crown. It was the second of four consecutive Super Bowl losses by the Bills, all of them to NFC East teams. Mark Rypien outdueled Jim Kelly by throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Two Redskins receivers, Art Monk and Gary Clark, caught 14 passes for more than 200 yards. Kelly, a future Hall of Famer, also had two touchdown tosses, but he was victimized by four interceptions.




23. SB XLVII (2013)


> Matchup: Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers


> Result: Ravens win 34-31


> 4th Quarter points scored: 14 (tied, 22nd most)


> MVP: Joe Flacco



Joe Flacco led the Baltimore Ravens to their second Super Bowl title by defeating the rejuvenated San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens boosted their lead to 28-6 early in the third period highlighted by Jacoby Jones’ Super Bowl record 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. But the 49ers rallied behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick to slice the lead to three in the fourth period.




22. SB XXXVII (2003)


> Matchup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Oakland Raiders


> Result: Buccaneers win 48-21


> 4th Quarter points scored: 26 (4th most)


> MVP: Dexter Jackson



The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their only Super Bowl by beating the Oakland Raiders, 48-21, in Super Bowl XXXVII. After Oakland took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, it was all Tampa Bay, which built a 34-3 lead in the third quarter. Three of Tampa Bay’s scores were by interception returns from Dwight Smith (two) and Derrick Brooks, the latter of whom would win the MVP. Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon threw five interceptions in the game, a Super Bowl record.




21. SB V (1971)


> Matchup: Baltimore Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys


> Result: Colts win 16-13


> 4th Quarter points scored: 10 (tied, 23rd fewest)


> MVP: Chuck Howley



The Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, on Jim O’Brien’s field goal with 5 seconds remaining. Critics called Super Bowl V the "Stupor Bowl" because of turnovers, missed points after touchdown, penalties, turnovers, and officiating mistakes. The two teams committed a Super Bowl record 11 combined turnovers in the game, five of which were in the fourth quarter. Dallas was penalized 10 times for 133 yards. Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas won his only Super Bowl, though he left the game with an injury. Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley intercepted two passes and became the first defensive player and the first player from a losing team to be named MVP.




20. SB XVI (1982)


> Matchup: San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals


> Result: 49ers win 26-21


> 4th Quarter points scored: 20 (tied, 11th most)


> MVP: Joe Montana



The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21, in Super Bowl XVI, as the 49ers’ dynasty was born. Joe Montana won the first of his three Super Bowl MVPs, running for one touchdown and throwing for another. The 49ers led 20-0 at the half and staved off a 14-point rally by the Bengals. Kicker Ray Wersching tied a Super Bowl record with four field goals.




19. SB XVII (1983)


> Matchup: Washington Redskins vs. Miami Dolphins


> Result: Redskins win 27-17


> 4th Quarter points scored: 14 (tied, 22nd most)


> MVP: John Riggins



The Washington Redskins avenged their loss to the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII by beating the favored Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. Washington scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 17-13 deficit at the half. Running back John Riggins rushed for 166 yards and a touchdown. The Redskins ground the Dolphins into submission, outgaining them on the ground, 276-96.




18. SB XXXIV (2000)


> Matchup: St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans


> Result: Rams win 23-16


> 4th Quarter points scored: 17 (tied, 15th most)


> MVP: Kurt Warner



The St. Louis Rams held on to defeat the Tennessee Titans to win their only championship title, 23-16, in Super Bowl XXXIV. The Titans, making their only Super Bowl appearance, overcame a 16-0 deficit to tie the game 16-16 in fourth quarter. Eventual MVP Kurt Warner (414 passing yards) went to work, hooking up with wide reciever Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard scoring strike with less than two minutes to play. The Titans then drove to the St. Louis 10-yard line with 6 seconds remaining, but on the last play of the game, Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Tennessee wide receiver Kevin Dyson a yard shy of the goal line to prevent a potential game-tying touchdown.




17. SB XXXIII (1999)


> Matchup: Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons


> Result: Broncos win 34-19


> 4th Quarter points scored: 30 (2nd most)


> MVP: John Elway



The Denver Broncos successfully defended their Super Bowl title with a 34-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. The game also marked the end of John Elway’s storied career. At 38 years old, Elway became the oldest player, at the time, to be named Super Bowl MVP. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown. Elway also rushed for another touchdown. This was the first of two Super Bowl appearances for the Falcons.




16. SB XXI (1987)


> Matchup: New York Giants vs. Denver Broncos


> Result: Giants win 39-20


> 4th Quarter points scored: 23 (tied, 6th most)


> MVP: Phil Simms



The New York Giants returned to glory with a decisive 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. The Giants took control of the game in the third quarter by scoring 17 unanswered points. Phil Simms, who would win the MVP, completed 22 of 25 passes and three touchdowns and posted a quarterback rating of 150.9.




15. SB X (1976)


> Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys


> Result: Steelers win 21-17


> 4th Quarter points scored: 21 (tied, 8th most)


> MVP: Lynn Swann



In the first of three Super Bowl meetings between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh prevailed, 21-17, in Super Bowl X. Of the 38 total points, 21 were scored in the fourth quarter, as Hall of Fame quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw dueled for supremacy. Trailing 10–7 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl X, the Steelers rallied to score 14 unanswered points, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by Pittsburgh wide receiver Lynn Swann. Swann, who would be named MVP, caught four passes for 161 yards. One of them was one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history, an acrobatic 53-yard reception in the second quarter.




14. SB XXIII (1989)


> Matchup: San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals


> Result: 49ers win 20-16


> 4th Quarter points scored: 17 (tied, 15th most)


> MVP: Jerry Rice



In a rematch of Super Bowl XVI, the San Francisco 49ers turned back the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-16, in Super Bowl XXIII. Seventeen of the game’s 36 points were scored in the fourth quarter. The teams exchanged field goals in the first half before the Bengals grabbed a 13-6 lead in the third period. The 49ers would scored two touchdowns on passes from Joe Montana, the second one to John Taylor with less than a minute remaining.




13. SB XXXII (1998)


> Matchup: Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers


> Result: Broncos win 31-24


> 4th Quarter points scored: 14 (tied, 22nd most)


> MVP: Terrell Davis



The Denver Broncos thwarted the dreams of the favored Green Bay Packers, 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII. The game is best remembered for quarterback John Elway gaining a crucial first down on a scoring drive in the fourth quarter. By winning the Broncos' first Super Bowl, Elway shook off the albatross that he could not win the big game. Running back Terrell Davis gained 157 yards and scored two touchdowns to win the MVP.




12. SB XXXIX (2005)


> Matchup: New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles


> Result: Patriots win 24-21


> 4th Quarter points scored: 17 (tied, 15th most)


> MVP: Deion Branch



The New England Patriots won their third Super Bowl by downing the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, in Super Bowl XXXIX. Donovan McNabb threw for 357 yards, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Patriots from defending their Super Bowl title. Wide receiver Deion Branch won the MVP for New England by catching 11 passes for 133 yards.




11. SB XLVI (2012)


> Matchup: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots


> Result: Giants win 21-17


> 4th Quarter points scored: 6 (5th fewest)


> MVP: Eli Manning



For the second time in four years, the New York Giants would deny the favored New England Patriots a Super Bowl title, winning Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17. Ahmad Bradshaw’s 6-yard touchdown run with less than a minute remaining lifted the Giants to victory. Eli Manning would win his second MVP for the Giants, who won their fourth Super Bowl, by completing 30 passes in 40 attempts for 296 yards. But it was the Giants defense that stifled the Patriots, who were held to 349 total yards.




10. SB XXXVI (2002)


> Matchup: New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams


> Result: Patriots win 20-17


> 4th Quarter points scored: 17 (tied, 15th most)


> MVP: Tom Brady



The New England Patriots began their historic run of Super Bowl success by defeating the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, in Super Bowl XXXVI. Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal as time expired to win the game. Seventeen of the 37 total points were scored in the fourth quarter. The Rams, with quarterback Kurt Warner leading the “Greatest Show on Turf,” scored 14 points in the final period to tie the game before the Patriots' winning field goal. Tom Brady completed 16 of 27 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown and was named MVP.




9. SB XIV (1980)


> Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Los Angeles Rams


> Result: Steelers win 31-19


> 4th Quarter points scored: 14 (tied, 22nd most)


> MVP: Terry Bradshaw



In a game that featured five lead changes, the most of any Super Bowl, the Pittsburgh Steelers overcame the feisty underdog Los Angeles Rams by scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter to win, 31-19. Terry Bradshaw was named MVP for throwing for 309 yards and two touchdowns, as the Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl. John Stallworth caught three passes for 121 yards and one touchdown. It would be the final Super Bowl triumph for the Steel Curtain-era Steelers.




8. SB XLIV (2010)


> Matchup: New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts


> Result: Saints win 31-17


> 4th Quarter points scored: 15 (tied, 20th most)


> MVP: Drew Brees



The New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl by defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17, in Super Bowl XLIV. There were three lead changes in the game, and the Saints, led by MVP Drew Brees, scored 15 unanswered points to win the game. Brees completed 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. New Orleans locked up the win when Tracy Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.




7. SB XXV (1991)


> Matchup: New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills


> Result: Giants win 20-19


> 4th Quarter points scored: 10 (tied, 23rd fewest)


> MVP: Ottis Anderson



The New York Giants won their second Super Bowl by defeating the Buffalo Bills, 20-19, in Super Bowl XXV. The game is remembered for the missed field goal -- wide right -- by Buffalo place kicker Scott Norwood with 8 seconds left that would have won the game. The Giants had the ball for more than 40 minutes to keep the Bills’ high-powered offense of quarterback Jim Kelly, running back Thurman Thomas, and wide receiver Andre Reed off the field. Ottis Anderson rushed for 102 yards to win MVP. It would be the first of four straight Super Bowl losses for the Bills.




6. SB XLIII (2009)


> Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals


> Result: Steelers win 27-23


> 4th Quarter points scored: 23 (tied, 6th most)


> MVP: Santonio Holmes



The Pittsburgh Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl by beating the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, in Super Bowl XLIII. The Steelers built a 20-7 lead through three quarters, but the Cardinals scored 16 straight points to take a 23-20 lead following a 64-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald from Kurt Warner with less than three minutes left. The Steelers responded with a scoring drive capped by a 6-yard scoring pass to eventual MVP Santonio Holmes from Ben Roethlisberger with less than a minute remaining.




5. SB XLIX (2015)


> Matchup: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks


> Result: Patriots win 28-24


> 4th Quarter points scored: 14 (tied, 22nd most)


> MVP: Tom Brady



The New England Patriots won their their fourth Super Bowl title by beating the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24, in Super Bowl XLIX. After the teams were tied 14–14 at halftime, the Seahawks took a 10-point lead to end the third quarter. The Patriots rallied to take a 28–24 advantage with about two minutes left. Seattle then drove to New England's 1-yard line. With 26 seconds remaining, Seattle decided to pass the ball in a controversial decision that resulted in an interception. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the game's MVP after a then Super Bowl-record of 37 completions on 50 attempts for 328 yards and four touchdowns.




4. SB XLII (2008)


> Matchup: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots


> Result: Giants win 17-14


> 4th Quarter points scored: 21 (tied, 8th most)


> MVP: Eli Manning



The New York Giants prevented the favored New England Patriots from making history by pulling off one of the biggest upsets in sports -- defeating the previously unbeaten Patriots, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLII. Eli Manning won the first of his two Super Bowl MVPs, but the Giants had many heroes. Among them was David Tyree, who made a circus catch of a pass thrown by Manning by pinning the ball against his helmet. The reception was good for 32 yards and led to the Giants’ game-winning touchdown. The stout Giants defense limited the Patriots to just 274 total yards.




3. SB XIII (1979)


> Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys


> Result: Steelers win 35-31


> 4th Quarter points scored: 28 (3rd most)


> MVP: Terry Bradshaw



The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 35-31, in Super Bowl XIII, the second time in three years the teams met in the Super Bowl. The teams scored 28 points in the fourth quarter, the third-most in Super Bowl history. It was a heavyweight match from the start and a showcase for Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, and Tony Dorsett. After Pittsburgh extended its lead in the fourth quarter to 35-17 on touchdowns from Franco Harris and Lynn Swann, Dallas stormed back with touchdowns from Billy Joe DuPree and Butch Johnson. But the rally fell short.




2. SB XXXVIII (2004)


> Matchup: New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers


> Result: Patriots win 32-29


> 4th Quarter points scored: 37 (the most)


> MVP: Tom Brady



Super Bowl XXXVIII turned into a shootout in the fourth quarter, as the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers combined for a record 37 points in that period. When it was over, the New England Patriots came on top, 32-29, to win their second Super Bowl, with Adam Vinatieri providing the difference with a 41-yard field goal with 4 seconds left. Carolina had tied the game on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme to Ricky Proehl with less than two minutes remaining. For the game, Delhomme threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Panthers, who were making their first Super Bowl appearance. Not to be outdone, Tom Brady added another Super Bowl MVP to his collection by completing 32 of 48 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns. The game was also noteworthy for its halftime show and the famous “wardrobe malfunction” when Janet Jackson's breast was exposed by Justin Timberlake.




1. SB LI (2017)


> Matchup: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons


> Result: Patriots win 34-28


> 4th Quarter points scored: 25 (5th most)


MVP: Tom Brady

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