Ranking the 10 best plays in Super Bowl history: Patrick Mahomes’ game-winning TD pass in OT fouls list
The Super Bowl is associated with many things, including the national anthem, halftime entertainment, commercials and, of course, food. When it comes to the game itself, big plays have been instrumental in the Super Bowl becoming the big event it is today.
There have been several big plays made in Super Bowls that help change the course of history. These plays included Max McGee’s one-handed catch in Super Bowl I, Jim O’Brien’s game-winning field goal in Super Bowl V, Lynn Swann’s levitating jump in Super Bowl X and, in recent years, Dont’a Hightower’s struggles – a sack that helped launch the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
As good as each of these plays were, they didn’t crack my list of the top 10 plays in Super Bowl history. Below are the plays that made it, but first, here’s a look at the criteria I used when compiling this list.
- The real greatness of the play
- Impact on the outcome of the game
- A lasting legacy
Honorable mention: Mark Ingram, Super Bowl XXV
Ingram’s herculean effort is largely forgotten, but not here. It came in a contest decided by one point, so it’s safe to say the Giants would have lost this game if not for Ingram’s 14-yard gain on a third-and-13 play. way through the third season.
Ingram caught the ball well 7 yards short of the mark. He broke four tackles before launching himself over the sticks to give the Giants a big lead. Ottis Anderson gave Big Blue the lead five plays later.
Buffalo took the lead back in the fourth quarter, but the Giants answered with what turned out to be the game-winning field goal. New York then fell apart when Buffalo missed its 47-yard field goal attempt with just seconds left.
9. John Stallworth, Super Bowl XIV
As champions three of the last five years, the Pittsburgh Steelers were in serious danger of being upset by a gritty Rams team entering the fourth quarter. They trailed 19-17. Lynn Swann was injured and is no longer in the game. Pittsburgh’s amazing running game was now undiscovered and Terry Bradshaw had already thrown three interceptions.
One play, however, changed everything. Facing a third-and-8 from his own 27, Steelers coach Chuck Noll ordered Bradshaw to throw a deep pass to Stallworth that Bradshaw had had no success with during practices that week. Of course, Bradshaw called the play, and executed it to perfection. He lofted a perfectly thrown pass to Stallworth, who caught it over the outstretched hands of Rod Perry before running the remaining distance to pay dirt.
The 73-yard score gave Pittsburgh the lead for good.
Yes, the Patriots had started their comeback when Edelman snapped his finger. The catch, however, was the moment when I and probably millions of others came to the conclusion that New England was going to achieve the impossible.
Down 28-3 earlier in the half, the Patriots had cut their deficit to 28-20 when Brady fired the pass to Edelman with 2:28 left. The pass was dropped before Edelman managed to corral the ball just before it had a chance to hit the turf.
Edelman’s spectacular catch set up the Patriots’ game-tying touchdown. New England completed the historic comeback in the first Super Bowl decided in overtime.
7. John Riggins, XVII
Super Bowls have had longer and brighter runs. But none of them had the impact that Riggins’ 43-yard run that gave Washington the lead for good over Miami.
Locked in a defensive battle, Joe Gibbs decided to go when his team was down 17-13 and facing a fourth-and-1 with 10:28 left. Because of the play design, Riggins knew he would have a one-on-one matchup with a defensive back, who would be the only one standing between him and a first down.
As you can see below, Riggins won the game with Dolphins cornerback Don McNeil, who then looked helpless as Riggins ran towards the end zone and into the history books. The touchdown (which at the time was the longest run in Super Bowl history) capped an MVP performance for Riggins, whose 38 carries that day is still the Super Bowl record.
6. Mike Jones, Super Bowl XXXIV
Jones made the save on one of the most intense moments in Super Bowl history. Down 16-0 at one point, the Titans stormed back to tie the score, only to watch as Kurt Warner and Isaac Bruce gave the Rams the lead again on a 73-yard field goal.
Tennessee, led by the indomitable will of quarterback Steve McNair, drove wildly to the Rams’ 10-yard line with the game clock winding down. On the final play of regulation, McNair fired a dart to Kevin Dyson, who would have had an easy path to the end zone if Jones had taken the bait and followed tight end Frank Wycheck, who ran past him there the attempt to clear the middle. the range for Dyson.
Jones started to follow Wycheck, but turned back at the last second and saw what was going on. He turned and tackled Dyson 1 yard short of the end zone, preserving the Rams’ 23-16 victory.
5. John Elway, Super Bowl XXXII
After getting shut out in his previous three Super Bowls, Elway just hoped that Super Bowl XXXII would still be ready for a deep second half catch. Yes, and Elway took advantage by making the play that set up one of the Super Bowl’s all-time highs.
With the score tied and facing third-and-6 late in the third quarter, Elway dropped back and couldn’t find anyone open. As he had done hundreds of times before, Elway took off, but his streak was quickly thwarted by several Packers defenders. Elway, however, was determined to get to the bats. He got there, but he had to go, first, to the Packers defense.
Elway absorbed several blows that caused his body to literally move in the air before he came back down to planet Earth. When he did, it was over the first down, and the Broncos were able to regain the lead over the favored Packers.
Not only did the layup help give Denver the lead, it fired the Broncos while giving them the momentum they wouldn’t give up. The Broncos eventually won 31-24, eliminating the Packers while ending the NFC’s 13-year Super Bowl winning streak.
5. Patrick Mahomes, Super Bowl LVIII
Okay, this wasn’t a crazy play, but it was important because it ended the longest Super Bowl ever. It also put an exclamation point on the Chiefs’ dynasty while ending the NFL’s 19-year drought without a repeat champion.
The play featured the brilliance of Mahomes, who froze Fred Warner before firing the ball to Mecole Hardman, who slipped under the 49ers’ defense before hauling in the historic touchdown.
4. David Tyree, Super Bowl XLII
Perhaps No. 4, but Tyree’s catch may be the worst play in Super Bowl history. His helmet grab came at a crucial time while helping the Giants upset the previously undefeated Patriots.
It was a great play by both Tyree and Eli Manning. Manning somehow managed to elude several Patriots pass rushers before the ball was loaded down the field while giving Tyree a chance to make a play. Tire made the most of that opportunity.
Adding to the importance of the catch was the fact that it was on a third-and-5 play. If things had gone differently, the Super Bowl — and the fate of the Patriots — would have gone down to a fourth play.
Manning didn’t let Tyree’s catch go to waste. He hit Plaxico Burress for the game-winning score moments later, as New York won 17-14.
The first of two plays from this Super Bowl to crack the list. Holmes capped off his MVP performance by making a spectacular, head-to-head catch in the back of the end zone that gave the Steelers a 27-23 victory over the Cardinals. Making Holmes’ catch even more impressive is that he somehow managed to keep both feet in bounds.
It was also a great play by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who showed off his always-dangerous pump fake before marking Holmes’ path and throwing the ball out of reach but Holmes it. It is worth noting that Roethlisberger attempted such a dangerous throw because the Steelers were only down three points at the time.
The play helped the Steelers become the first franchise to win six Super Bowls.
Harrison’s pick is big for many reasons, one of which is that it is the longest six picks in Super Bowl history. Harrison’s 100-yard return is also special because he needed help from each of his 10 players to reach the end zone. The play includes the independent and determined look of one of the NFL’s greatest defenses of all time.
It was also a great individual play by Harrison, who went back into coverage before catching Kurt Warner’s pass and immediately going down the field.
It wasn’t Harrison’s pick that dictated the outcome, but it was a big move just before half time. Instead of trailing 14-10, the Steelers took a 17-7 lead into the intermission.
1. Malcolm Butler, Super Bowl XLIX
I can already hear the boos from Pittsburgh. Yes, Harrison’s play may be the greatest single play in Super Bowl history. But Butler’s play decided the outcome, which is why he sits at No. 1.
It was also an unbelievable play by Butler, with his perfect anticipation of Russell Wilson’s pass he jumped the route and made the game-winning interception.
From a legacy perspective, Butler’s selection prevented the Seahawks from joining elite company of teams that have won back-to-back titles. However, it sealed the fourth Super Bowl win of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era and the first in 10 years.
It is also the most controversial play in Super Bowl history. Seahawks fans are still wondering why Seattle didn’t just give the ball to Marshawn Lynch, who could have gotten the touchdown the Seahawks needed to repeat as champions.