The Super Bowl. The biggest, most anticipated sports championship game of the year. And while many of the 46 previous contests failed to live up to the hype, many are among the greatest games ever played in any sport.
Here's a look at what I believe are the 5 greatest Super Bowls of all-time.
5. Super Bowl XIII -- Pittsburgh: 35, Dallas: 31
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4. Super Bowl XXIII -- San Francisco: 20, Cincinnati: 16
The score was only 3-3 at the half, but some big fireworks were in store. After the Bengals took the lead 16-13 on Jim Breech's 40-yard field goal with just over 3 minutes to go in the game, Joe Montana bailed the 49ers out in one of the greatest individual moments of his career. Ever the epitome of "Joe Cool," Montana was flawless on the final 92-yard drive and hit John Taylor for the game-winning touchdown with just 34 seconds remaining.
3. Super Bowl XXXIV -- St. Louis: 23, Tennessee: 16
Today, the tale of Kurt Warner is well-known. But in 1999, his out-of-nowhere rise to fame from stock boy to Super Bowl made the media giddy. The high-powered Rams built a 16-0 lead, but the underdog Titans battled to tie the game in the final minutes. St. Louis struck one play after the score was tied at 16, as Warner found Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown. Game over, right? Wrong. Steve McNair passed and scrambled down the field on one last desperate drive, which ended with Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackling Titans wideout Kevin Dyson one yard from the end zone as the clock hit zero.
2. Super Bowl XLII -- New York: 17, New England: 14
When one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history is crucial to the winning drive against an undefeated team, you've got a valid case for this one being one of the best ever. After the Patriots took a 14-10 lead late in the 4th quarter on a Tom Brady to Randy Moss touchdown, Eli Manning led the Giants on a 12-play, 83-yard drive in the final minutes. It included his improbable escape from the clutches of the Pats pass rush and a 32-yard prayer that David Tyree somehow caught and held to his helmet as he was tackled by Rodney Harrison. Plaxico Burress caught the winning score with only 35 seconds left, ending New England's dream of perfection.
1. Super Bowl XLIII -- Pittsburgh: 27, Arizona: 23
Few expected much from a Steelers-Cards Super Bowl, but an array of big plays, crucial calls and instant replay reviews combined for an amazing game. The Cardinals appeared ready to be blown out after trailing 10-0 early, but were positioned for at least a halftime tie before James Harrison's spectacular 100-yard interception return for a touchdown to closeout the first half. But Arizona fought back, and thanks to Larry Fitzgerald's insane 4th quarter (6 catches, 115 yards, 2 touchdowns) the Cardinals were on the verge of securing the biggest comeback win in Super Bowl history -- until Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes struck four times on Pittsburgh's final drive, including a spectacular score deep in the corner of the end zone in the final minute to win it for the Steelers.