Go Down In History
Nobody believed it would continue. Surely it would be canceled. But luckily, we approach the final game of the 2020-2021 NFL season, a season unlike any other. Two teams duking it out for the title of World Champion and the Lombardi Trophy. Will we see Brady take home his seventh ring, or will Patrick Mahomes lead the Chiefs to their second straight Super Bowl win? No matter the outcome, it has been one of the most chaotic roads to the playoffs. In honor of the upcoming game, let’s take a look at some memorable moments in recent Super Bowl history.
- The Helmet Catch
When you think of the NFL, usually the first team that comes to mind is the New England Patriots, who won six rings with Tom Brady at quarterback. But in all honesty, it should have been seven. In Super Bowl XLII, Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots looked to run over Eli Manning and the Giants on their way to a Lombardi Trophy. Everyone believed that the Pats would stomp the Giants, and the game would not even be worth watching. If the Patriots won, they would be only the second team in NFL history to go undefeated, the other team being Don Shula’s Dolphins in 1972. Everyone was wrong. The game was a defensive slugfest, culminating in a final drive in which Manning had the ball on the New York 44-yard line with 75 seconds left in the game. Down 14-10, they needed a miracle. The ball was snapped, and the New England linemen swarmed Manning. The first miracle occurred when Manning was able to escape from the pile of bodies and set his feet to throw. The second occurred on the catch. The ball was thrown to David Tyree, who was covered by the New England safety. In one of the most improbable catches in history, Tyree held the ball against his helmet to secure the catch. It would end up being the most important play in the entire game. The Giants went on to upset the Patriots in a stunning 17-14 win.
- One Yard Short
If Kevin Dyson’s arm was three feet longer, it would look very odd. But at least it would have a Super Bowl ring on the end of it. In Super Bowl XXXIV, the Rams and Titans faced off in Atlanta. It was a close game for the entire 60 minutes. It all came down to one final play. With six seconds left on the clock and no timeouts, the Titans faced a 23-16 deficit from the St. Louis 10 yard line. If they got in the endzone, the game would go to overtime. If they could not make it, the game was over. Quarterback Steve Mcnair threw down the middle to Kevin Dyson at the three yard line. As he was being tackled, he reached his arms out to the goal line, ending up less than a yard from the endzone. As time expired, the St. Louis Rams were able to come out of Georgia with a Lombardi Trophy
- 28-3 Comeback
Once again, the Patriots were in the Super Bowl. After dominating the AFC, all they had to do was beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI in Houston. The first half of the game proved to be an entirely different story. Quarterback Matt Ryan led his team to a dominating 28-3 lead going into halftime. They couldn’t be stopped. The pass was lethal, and the run was outstanding. But this was where things started to change. Tom Brady must have given the greatest, most inspirational halftime speech in history because the Patriots emerged from the locker room looking like an entirely different team. Suddenly the defense mauled the Atlanta offense, and Brady threw amazing passes to tie the game 28-28 at the end of the fourth quarter. It was the first Super Bowl to go into overtime. The Pats stepped up, won the coin toss, and the rest is history. When the dust settled, the Patriots scored 31 unanswered points to seal the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.
- Philly Special
We start this moment with a familiar team. The New England Patriots were yet again in the Super Bowl, this time facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. The Eagles had been the most surprising team of the year. Quarterback Carson Wentz had dominated in the regular season but tore his ACL in Week 14. Nobody thought that they could win once their star quarterback was gone. Backup Nick Foles set out to prove everyone wrong, leading the Eagles throughout the rest of the regular season and through the playoffs. The first half was full of ridiculous passes, but one stole the show. The Eagles were at the New England one yard line on 4th and goal. Instead of kicking a field goal, they took a bold move and went for the touchdown. It was a direct snap to the running back, who flipped it to the tight end Trey Burton, who then threw to a wide open Nick Foles in the corner of the endzone. The play led to a 22-12 lead at half, but more importantly, it led to the first Lombardi trophy in Philadelphia. The Philly Special has since gone down as one of the greatest trick plays in sports history.
No matter the stories behind it, Super Bowl LV is sure to be one of the best. A battle of old and new. Tampa Bay has the home advantage for the first time in Super Bowl history, but Mahomes owns one of the best offensive attacks of all time. This Super Bowl can lead to a new era in football, but it is always exciting to look back and remember the plays of old.