Monday, January 23, 2006

FROM MY SEAT: Super Bowl Top 40

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

With Super Bowl XL approaching -- and with a nod to Casey Kasem -- we’re devoting the next two weeks to a countdown of the top 40 stars in Super Bowl history.

40. Max McGee (Green Bay) -- Should have been MVP of the first NFL-AFL championship (not yet called the Super Bowl) in 1967, if only because he caught 7 passes for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns while nursing a killer hangover. Not expecting to play much, he spent Saturday night enjoying the bright lights of Los Angeles.

39. Phil Simms (Giants) -- Perhaps the most efficient quarterbacking performance in the game’s history. Simms completed 22 of 25 passes for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns to beat Denver in XXI.

38. Timmy Smith (Washington) -- Only running back to gain more than 200 yards in a game, with 204 in XXII. Never heard from him again.

37. Isaac Bruce (St. Louis Rams) -- Darn right we’re getting a Memphis Tiger on this list. Bruce caught six passes for 162 yards, including a 73-yard score in XXXIV.

36. Dwight Smith (Tampa Bay) -- Safety intercepted two passes and returned one 50 yards to paydirt to help beat Oakland in XXXVII.

35. Steve Young (San Francisco) -- Former backup to someone else on this list, the Hall of Famer threw six touchdown passes in XXIX.

34. Walter Payton (Chicago) -- He may have only gained 61 yards in XX, but he was Walter Payton, and this is my list.

33. John Riggins (Washington) -- Ran for 166 yards behind the Hogs to help Redskins win their first Super Bowl (XVII).

32. Andre Reed (Buffalo) -- His poor Bills lost all four games he played in, but Reed’s 323 receiving yards are third in Super Bowl history.

31. Randy White (Dallas) -- Hall of Fame defensive tackle started in three Super Bowls and shared MVP honors with Harvey Martin in XII.

30. Desmond Howard (Green Bay) -- 99-yard kickoff return in XXXI remains longest play in Super Bowl history.

29. Nick Buoniconti (Miami) -- Hall of Fame linebacker for the Dolphins’ “No-Name Defense” that went to three straight Super Bowls, winning VII and VIII. His 1972 squad remains the only team to finish an NFL season undefeated.

28. Rod Martin (Raiders) -- Had three interceptions for Oakland in XV. Still tied for most career interceptions in Super Bowl history.

27. Terrell Davis (Denver) -- MVP of XXXII. One of four players to score three touchdowns in a game.

26. Adam Vinatieri (New England) -- What’s a kicker doing on this list? Vinatieri booted game-winning field goals in XXXVI and XXXVIII.

25. Reggie White (Green Bay) -- Greatest pass rusher in NFL history. Three sacks vs. New England in XXXI. Will be elected posthumously to Hall of Fame the day before Super Bowl XL.

24. Ray Lewis (Ravens) -- What a difference a year makes. Lewis was named MVP of XXXV after having been arrested on allegations of involvement in a homicide the night of Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta. If you can forget Lewis’s silly pre-game dance, this was a fearsome performance against the overmatched Giants.

23. Deion Branch (New England) -- MVP of XXXIX. His 11 catches against Philly tied a Super Bowl record.

22. Roger Craig (San Francisco) -- Supporting role for dominant 49er teams. His 410 combined yards (rushing and receiving) in three games is third most in game’s history.

21. Willie Brown (Oakland) -- Hall of Famer’s 75-yard interception return in XI is longest in game’s history.

Check back next week for the top 20.

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