January 27, 2013

The 5 Greatest Plays in Super Bowl History

By - Lauren Dundee

With Super Bowl XLVII still a week away, what better way to fill the down time than by looking back at great Super Bowls moments from the past?

Each game is great in its own way, but sometimes, there is one moment that stands out. One play that changes the course of football history. So with that, here's a look at what I believe are the top 5 greatest plays in the history of Super Sunday.

5. Montana Magic

Photo by: Getty Images
The Cincinnati Bengals were up 16-13 on the San Francisco 49ers with a little over 3 minutes remaining in Super Bowl XXIII. The 49ers needed to go 92 yards to take the lead, but that's nothing when you're Joe Montana. San Fran moved to Cincinnati's 10 yard line with 39 seconds left, and living up to his "Joe Cool" reputation, Montana threw a touchdown pass to John Taylor to secure the comeback win for the Niners, 20-16.

4. The Longest Yard

The final play of Super Bowl XXXIV was one of the most nail-biting moments in Super Bowl history. The St. Louis Rams were up 16-0 late in the 3rd quarter, and the Tennessee Titans looked beat. However, quarterback Steve McNair led a furious rally, and the Titans managed to tie the game with a little over 2 minutes remaining. On the ensuing drive, Rams quarterback Kurt Warner found Isaac Bruce for a 73 yard touchdown. But the Titans hadn't come this far to simply lay down, and they soon found themselves at the St. Louis 10 yard line with only 6 seconds remaining. The game would be decided on the final play. McNair's pass to Kevin Dyson was complete, but he was tackled just 1 yard short of end zone as time expired, giving the Rams a 23-16 victory.

3. San'toe'nio's Grab

The Arizona Cardinals led Super Bowl XLIII 23-20 with just a little over 2 minutes remaining in the game. However, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes had been on fire all night long, making big grab after big grab. The play of the night came with 35 seconds remaining, with the Steelers 6 yards away from taking the lead. Ben Roethlisberger threw to Holmes deep in the corner of the end zone. Holmes caught it, with just the tips of his toes scraping the ground. The play was reviewed and ruled a touchdown. Pittsburgh would hold on for the victory and Holmes would win MVP honors with a 9 catch, 131 yard performance.

2. Swann's Super Showing

Super Bowl X between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys was very close throughout. In fact, the Cowboys would have probably won had it not been for the efforts of one player: Lynn Swann. The play of the game was an acrobatic catch by Swann off a tipped pass, which many consider to be the best catch of all-time in any game. He would finish with 4 receptions for 161 yards, becoming the first wide receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP in the process.

1. Tyree's Helmet Catch

The matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII was the most watched in history. The Patriots were looking to go undefeated, and Giants quarterback Eli Manning was looking to escape his big brother's shadow. The game was a defensive struggle, and late in the 4th, the Patriots took the lead 14-10 on a Tom Brady to Randy Moss touchdown. On the Giants next possession, on a 3rd and 5 from their own 44, Eli escaped a would-be sack and heaved a prayer to wide receiver David Tyree. On a play that still seems too mind-boggling to be true, Tyree secured the ball against his helmet like it was covered in glue to keep the drive alive. The first down would lead the Giants to an eventual game-winning touchdown, securing the victory in their David versus Goliath story.


  1. Good list. I wouldn't have Swann that high, though.

  2. No. 5 was a routine catch from a WIDE OPEN John Taylor. Great play? No. Great drive? Yes. Marcus Allen's run was great.

  3. I like the 5, but I think I'd put the Rams/Titans play at 1 or 2.

  4. I wouldn't have Swann in the top 5. I'd put the John Riggins long touchdown run on 4th and 1 against the Dolphins in Super Bowl 17 on there instead.

  5. Nice list. I think I agree with Les as far as the Taylor catch goes, though. I'd bump it, move the Swann catch to 5, move #4 to #2 and put the Marcus Allen run at 4.

  6. This play is probably more memorable than great, but Leon Lett being caught from behind at the goal line by Don Beebe in Super Bowl 27 still sticks out in my mind.