There have been so many amazing Super Bowls in the game’s history, making it tough to choose the top ten. However, some stand out for being both competitive and exhilarating while also leaving a lasting impact. The best Super Bowls of all time hold a particular place in NFL history, from acrobatic receptions to goal-line stands, from redemption stories to dramatic comebacks.
Steelers 35, Cowboys 31 (1979)
There was so much at stake in Super Bowl 13. The reigning champions, the Dallas Cowboys, faced the Steelers in a rematch of Super Bowl 10, which the Steelers won.
This time, Pittsburgh came out on top, but there was a lot of drama along the way. The Steelers went into the fourth quarter with a 21-17 advantage and then scored 14 consecutive points. On the other hand, Dallas rallied, scoring a touchdown, recovering an onside kick, and then scoring again with 22 seconds left to get within four points.
Dallas’ second onside kick attempt was unsuccessful, and Pittsburgh kneeled to end the game.
This game had a lot of firsts. It was the first rematch in the Super Bowl, and the first time a reigning champion lost in the championship game, and a losing Super Bowl participant scored 30 points. It also earned Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw his first of two Super Bowl MVP medals.
Steelers 27, Cardinals 23 (2009)
The excitement for Super Bowl 43 was palpable, with the Pittsburgh Steelers vying for a record-tying sixth Lombardi Trophy. In the twilight of his career, quarterback Kurt Warner had guided the Arizona Cardinals to their first championship game.
With 35 seconds left, Ben Roethlisberger’s touchdown throw to Santonio Holmes gave the Steelers the victory. With fewer than three minutes remaining, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald scored a go-ahead 64-yard touchdown.
One of the most memorable Super Bowl moments is Holmes’ tightrope catch towards the end of regulation, as is James Harrison’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown with no time remaining before halftime.
Jets 16, Colts 7 (1969)
The victory aided in the development of the AFL-NFL world championship into the Super Bowl we know today. Namath is hailed as the most popular New Yorker of all time, and the Jets have been hoping to replicate his success ever since. It is a tough call, given their low position in the OddsShark.com Super Bowl 56 odds.
Patriots 20, Rams 17 (2002)
A seemingly random upset ended up undermining a potential Rams dynasty and setting the stage for a Patriots dynasty. Brady and coach Bill Belichick would go on to win two of the next three Super Bowls, solidifying their position as the best team of the decade.
Rams 23, Titans 16 (2000)
Rams coach Dick Vermeil stepped down after the season, handing the team over to offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Two years later, the Rams returned to the Super Bowl, but were beaten by the Patriots in a heartbreaker. Warner’s Hall of Fame career began in 1999, when he played in his third Super Bowl with Arizona.
Patriots 28, Seahawks 24 (2015)
It will be remembered for Seattle’s bad choice to pass in the short term, which ended in Malcolm Butler intercepting the ball with less than a minute remaining at the goal line. As time goes on, though, it will be more about Tom Brady cementing his four-ring legacy by leading an incredible fourth-quarter comeback against a top-notch defense.
49ers 20, Bengals 16 (1989)
Bill Walsh, the 49ers’ coach, made a surprise announcement of his retirement in the locker room following the game. He took the 49ers to three Super Bowl championships and 10 wins in 14 postseason games. Defensive coordinator George Seifert was appointed to take his position, leading the 49ers to their fourth Super Bowl the following year, establishing their reputation as the ’80s’ team.
Giants 20, Bills 19 (1991)
With the Giants, Bill Parcells had won his second ring in five years, solidifying his reputation as a premier coach and team builder. The Bills went on to win the next three Super Bowls, a record that still stands, despite not faring any better against the Redskins in Super Bowl 26 or the Cowboys in Super Bowl 27. Rather than an AFC powerhouse with four conference titles, Buffalo is known as a four-time loser on the biggest stage.
Giants 17, Patriots 14 (2008)
The Giants’ triumph was the biggest upset in Super Bowl history, given the circumstances of the Patriots’ quest for perfection. The Dolphins’ victory over the Patriots ensured that they would remain the only unbeaten team in Super Bowl history, at least for the time being.
Patriots 34, Falcons 28 (2017) (OT)
Tom Brady rode the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl victory in dramatic fashion, rallying his team from 21-0 and 28-3 deficits to earn a thrilling 34-28 overtime victory. The Falcons’ Super Bowl setback was overshadowed by Brady earning his status as the best quarterback and athlete of the modern era.