Roy Ben-Joseph Journal Staff
On Feb. 3 America will hold its breath once again. For the 47th time, two teams will face off in the nation’s biggest sporting event to decide the champion of the 2012 NFL season. This years’ Super Bowl is nothing less than special. For the first time in the history of the NFL, two brothers will compete against each other as head coaches for the Lombardi Trophy. Second year head coach Jim Harbaugh has taken the San Francisco 49ers team, once the NFL’s biggest dynasty in the 1980s, to a second straight postseason appearance after failing to do so in almost a decade. Jim’s older brother, John, has coached the Baltimore Ravens since 2008. After a heartbreaking loss to the New-England Patriots on the same stage in 2011, the Ravens overcame their usual obstacle and made it to the Super-Bowl. For the special occasion, here are the Top 10 Super Bowl moments of all time.
10. “The onside kick:” Super Bowl XLIV was played following the 2009 season and featured the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. New Orleans Coach Sean Peyton knew that the only way he could win was to keep Indianapolis Quarterback Peyton Manning out of the game. Therefore he decided to attempt an onside kick that would have kept Manning on the bench. The kick was successful and the Saints ended up winning the game by a margin of two touchdowns.
9. Steve Young throws six: In Super Bowl XXIX the San Francisco 49ers played the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers put 26 points against the San Francisco defense which most of the time would have been enough for a win. But on that day Steve Young set a Super Bowl record with six touchdown passes, a Super Bowl record, and the 49ers won 49-26.
8. Montana to Taylor: Super Bowl XXIII was played following the 1988 season. Down by three points with 3:10 minutes left, Joe Montana led the 49ers in a 92-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to John Taylor and a 20-16 49ers win.
7. Hester to the end zone: Prior to Super Bowl XLI that followed the 2006 season, no opening kickoff has ever been returned for a TD. But in Super Bowl XLI Chicago Bears’ Devin Hester returned Indianapolis Colts’ Adam Vinatieri opening kick for a touchdown. The early lead didn’t intimidate the Colts as they went on to win 29-17. Indianapolis Quarterback Peyton Manning won his first and only Super Bowl trophy.
6. Brady and Vinatieri win it in the clutch: In Super Bowl XXXVI the Patriots faced the heavily favored St. Louis Rams who were nicknamed the greatest show on turf. The Pats had a second year quarterback named Tom Brady who got his first playing time in that very season. With 1:30 left in the game and the score tied at 17, everyone thought the Patriots would kneel to end the game and go to OT since neither team had any timeouts left. Bill Belichick decided to go for a drive that started from his own 15 yard line and his young quarterback led the Patriots to the St. Louis 30 yard line, where Adam Vinatieri scored a 48-yard field goal with 0:01 on the clock, winning the first of three Super Bowls in four years for the Patriots, and set the cornerstone of a dynasty that will dominates the NFL to this day.
5. Harrison goes all the way: Super Bowl XLIII featured the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. With 14 seconds left at the half, Arizona had the ball on the Pittsburgh two yard line. Quarterback Kurt Warner threw a pass to the end zone that was intercepted by Steelers linebacker, James Harrison, who returned the ball 100 yards for a touchdown as time expired. It was the longest play in Super Bowl history.
4. The Ravens defense: In Super Bowl XXXV the New York Giants got crushed by the Ravens 34-7. The Ravens defense ended up putting more points than their quarterback Trent Dilfer, and Ray Lewis won the MVP award, the last time a defensive player won the trophy.
3. The Helmet Catch: with less than a 1:30 left in Super Bowl XLII, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a 32- yard pass to David Tyree, who memorably caught the ball with his helmet despite having Patriots safety Rodney Harrison all over him. On the very next play Eli Manning hit Plaxico Burress for the game winning touchdown.
2. Wide Right: The final play of Super bowl XXV following the 1990 season. The score was 20-19 in favor of the New York Giants, and Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood was ready to kick a 47-yard field goal to clinch the victory for Buffalo. Instead, the kick went wide right, and the Giants won the Super Bowl.
1. The Tackle, or, “one yard short”: The final play of Super Bowl XXXIV that concluded the 1999 season. The St. Louis Rams had a 23-16 lead over the Tennessee Titans. After Titans quarterback Steve McNair led his team 84-yards to the Rams 10-yard line, the clock showed six seconds to the end of the game with no timeouts left. The term “defense wins championships” was born then. Steve McNair threw a 9-yard pass to his wide receiver Kevin Dyson, who was tackled at the one yard line by Rams linebacker Mike Jones as time expired, preserving the Rams victory.