Top 7 Super Bowl Plays Of All Time
The jet-propelled pass. The bone-crushing sack. The heart-breaking penalty. These are the Super Bowl plays you’ll always remember. Here’s our Top 7 list of great, game-changing Super Bowl moments.
Like every list, this list of the Super Bowl’s greatest plays is subjective.
I’m happy to say that only some of mine appear on mainstream rankings. My criteria involves plays that either changed games, decided them, or were simply phenomenal.
In the eyes of this beholder, these seven plays form a touchdown:
- Super Bowl 52: ‘Philly Special.’ This terrific play occurred at the end of the first half of the memorable 2017 game, with the Philadelphia Eagles staring at fourth-and-goal from roughly the New England Patriots two-yard-line. Field goal, right? Nope. On this play, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles walked down the line of scrimmage, barking out signals. The ball was snapped to back Corey Clement, who pitched to Trey Burton. All the while, Foles drifted into the open. Burton threw the ball, and Foles scored in the most daring Super Bowl play ever, culminating a play that had been worked out in the Eagles’ hotel room. Nobody saw it coming, the Eagles went on to win, and Foles became the first player ever to throw and catch a Super Bowl touchdown pass in the same game.
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- Super Bowl 42: The Tyree Catch. In 2008, New York Giants receiver David Tyree ended the New England Patriots’ bid for an unbeaten season. Giants QB Eli Manning avoided a sack and fired a desperation heave, which Tyree caught by trapping it against his helmet. The miracle catch set up the winning touchdown, moments later. New England was two plays away from joining the Miami Dolphins as the only unbeaten team in NFL history. The 1972 Dolphins still have that mark. This was the closest anyone has ever come to joining them.
- Super Bowl 49: Seahawks Blow It. In 2015, the Seattle Seahawks were on the verge of capturing a second straight Super Bowl with the ball on the New England two. The Seahawks simply had to run it in with running back Marshawn Lynch behind the best line in football. Everybody knew they couldn’t be stopped, but Seattle inexplicably called a pass into the end zone. It was picked off. It was a great break for New England. One of the all-time boneheaded calls in Super Bowl history made it a greatest-ever play for all Pats fans.
- Super Bowl 25: The Norwood No-No. Way back in 1991, the Buffalo Bills came as close as they ever have to winning a Super Bowl—a foot or so. That’s how wide kicker Scott Norwood’s miss was on the final play of the game, giving the New York Giants a one-point win. Although Norwood has been blamed, the Giants’ ball-control offense had much to do with this too. Buffalo didn’t have enough time on its last possession to run a play into the middle of the field, which would have given Norwood his best chance. The ball was spotted on the right hash, and he did kick it dead-straight—it ended up just wide.
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- Super Bowl 34: Rams Stop Titans. The year was 2000. The Tennessee Titans came up one yard short of forcing a tie on the final play of the game. Trying to cross up the St. Louis Rams, they threw a pass short of the end zone, hoping wide receiver Kevin Dyson could run it in. He was ready to score until linebacker Mike Jones made a great open field tackle at the one-yard line. It’s the greatest tackle in Super Bowl history, an all-time play that saved the game.
- Super Bowl 41: ‘Devin Hester. You Are Ridiculous.’ That’s what one commentator called out in 2007, when the Chicago Bears’ return specialist made Super Bowl history with the first-ever opening kickoff touchdown return. The Indianapolis Colts would come back from this opening shock and win the game, but Hester’s return remains one of the most electrifying plays in Super Bowl history.
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- Super Bowl 10: Lynn Swann, the Levitating Leap. Now we’re going way back, to 1976, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. Steelers’ receiver Lynn Swann kept his concentration to snag a 60-yard pass off a deflection while he was in mid-air and on his way to the ground. It was one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history, and not only propelled Swan’s team to victory, but earned him the MVP.
My own list could go on for pages. Some you’ll recognize, some will probably be on your list, some you may dispute. But each set of rankings is unique, and that’s the beauty of personal favorites.