Tuesday, January 21, 2003



Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2003 at 4:00 AM

A BOWL FULL OF MEMORIES In honor of Super Bowl XXXVII, here are 37 reasons that despite far too many blowouts, the Super Bowl remains a sports spectacle second to none (okay, second to the World Series).
  • 1. Placekicker Garo Yepremian’s pass attempt in SB VII. Almost cost the Dolphins an undefeated season. Remains the funniest play in the history of pro sports.
  • 2. Don Beebe’s capture of Leon Lett in SB XXVII. Hot dogs have their place, Leon, and this was it.
  • 3. Joe Montana. The legends rise above the merely great when a championship is on the line. A three-time MVP.
  • 4. Max McGee in 1967. Before it was even called the Super Bowl, McGee showed the Kansas City Chiefs that Lombardi and liquor do mix after all.
  • 5. The 1985 Bears defense. Wow. Jim McMahon and the rest of the Chicago offense could have played with their helmets on backward.
  • 6. Fran Tarkenton was 0 for 3. This guy is easy to root against NOW.
  • 7. Troy Aikman was 3 for 3. Amid all the chaos and controversy of the Nineties Cowboys, this guy was a rock.
  • 8. The Gibbs way. Washington won three Super Bowls under Joe Gibbs with three different quarterbacks. Yes, the QB is important, but . . . .
  • 9. A flying Swann. Has football ever looked more beautiful in slow motion than it does when Pittsburgh’s Lynn Swann flies over the Cowboys in SB X (or SB XIII)?
  • 10. Jim Plunkett in SB XV and SB XVIII. One of the game’s class acts, let go by the Patriots and 49ers.
  • 11. Adam Vinatieri in SB XXXVI. With one swing of his leg, brought redemption and joy to a region of poor Red Sox fans who deserved some bubbly.
  • 12. Scott Norwood in SB XXV. With one swing of his leg, set a franchise on a course of bridesmaidhood unlike any seen since the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • 13. John Elway. No other quarterback has seen action in five Super Bowls. After losing in his first three turns, upset the Packers in SB XXXII. One Terrell Davis can go a long way.
  • 14. 49ers vs. Dolphins in SB XIX. Every Super Bowl should have this kind of marquee. Montana vs. Marino, combined record: 29-3. (Ignore the final score, if you will.)
  • 15. Jake Scott, Harvey Martin, Randy White, Richard Dent, Ray Lewis. Defensive MVPs. Yes, the QB is important, but . . . .
  • 16. Willie Brown’s interception in SB XI. Again, slow-motion has never looked so good.
  • 17. Stretch, Kevin, stretch! Though Kevin Dyson fell a foot short and broke the hearts of Titan fans far and wide, his grab capped the greatest Super Bowl played to date.
  • 18. Patriotic unity. At a time when our whole country needed to walk arm-in-arm, the Patriots chose to be introduced en masse prior to SB XXXVI. Did the Rams stand a chance?
  • 19. Timmy Smith in SB XXII. The finest performance in a Super Bowl by a player no one had ever heard of . . . and we haven’t heard from since.
  • 20. Phil Simms in SB XXI. This kind of efficiency (22 of 25) on a championship stage? Think Bill Walton, 1973.
  • 21. Chiefs over Vikings in SB IV. The AFL was no fluke.
  • 22. Bob Lilly chicken-hunting in SB VI. Have you ever seen a quarterback retreat like Bob Griese? Had he ever heard of grounding the ball?
  • 23. Bradshaw to Stallworth in SB XIV. This game got these two into the Hall of Fame.
  • 24. Favre, White, and the ‘96 Pack. Brett, Reggie, and the Yankees of pro football. Too bad their title came under a roof.
  • 25. Jim O’Brien in SB V. Redemption for the once-mighty Baltimore Colts.
  • 26. Staubach to Johnson in SB XII. Did Butch actually catch that ball? Sure . . . second prettiest reception in Super Bowl history (see no. 9).
  • 27. Jerry Rice going deep. Montana (XXIII and XXIV) and Young (XXIX) never had it so good.
  • 28. The opening acts. Only at the Super Bowl can you find Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, and KISS in the supporting cast.
  • 29. O’Donnell to Brown in SB XXX. The Steeler quarterback seemed to go color-blind when it came to the Cowboy cornerback.
  • 30. Starr of stars. Forget Johnny Unitas a moment. Has there ever been a better name for a quarterback than Bart Starr, MVP of the first two Super Bowls?
  • 31. SB XXXV quarterbacks. Trent Dilfer vs. Kerry Collins. (Hey, try and remember these two a decade from now.)
  • 32. Marcus Allen to paydirt. His jaunt in SB XVIII is the prettiest run in the history of the event.
  • 33. A Fridge over the top. William Perry -- a defensive tackle -- rushing for six points in SB XX? Attaboy, Ditka.
  • 34. Doug Williams in SB XXII. Yes, the quarterback is important . . . but his skin color is not.
  • 35. The ‘94 Chargers and ‘98 Falcons. Overmatched, yes, but much-deserved spotlight for long-suffering franchises.
  • 36. Jackie Smith in SB XIII. Kickers aren’t the only goats, you know.
  • 37. Joe Willie Namath in 1969. There has never been a more American fairy tale come to life than the Jets upset of Baltimore (and the entire NFL) in Super Bowl III.
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