Your greatest Super Bowl memories may be dependent on your team or age, but allegiances aside these iconic moments will go down in history and will be shown year after year for a very long time:
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10. Devin Hester You are Ridiculous – Super Bowl XLI
Not once in the previous 40 Super Bowls had the opening kick-off been returned for a touchdown – step forward Devin Hester. The rookie took the opening kick- off 92 yards in 13 seconds to the house for the Chicago Bears. The Bears eventually lost 29-17 to the Indianapolis Colts, otherwise this moment could have ranked higher.
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9. Adam Vinatieri is Mr Reliable – Super Bowl XXXVI
The new kids on the block, the New England Patriots, against the Greatest Show on Turf, the St Louis Rams. This game was supposed to be a relatively comfortable win for Kurt Warner and co, but what they and the world were about to find out is that they were witnessing the start of a dynasty. Adam Vinatieri kicked the winning field goal as time expired making it the first time in Super Bowl history that the game was won on the very last play.
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8. John Elway’s Helicopter – Super Bowl XXXII
Despite John Elway’s brilliant career and the Broncos consistently being one of the league’s best teams, the Lombardi trophy had always eluded him. In the third quarter on a crucial third down, Elway scrambled for the first down, but got sandwiched by two Packers defenders, spinning sideways into the air. It wasn’t the first time that the Broncos QB had put his body on the line for his team, but this moment seemed to inspire the Broncos who went on the win 31-24.
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7. The Gutsy Call – Super Bowl XLIV
Unable to get much going on offense, the New Orleans Saints trailed 10-6 at halftime to the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning. The Colts were also set to receive the second half kick-off, or so we thought. Saints head coach Sean Payton opted to on-side kick which caught the Colts out and the Saints recovered. New Orleans turned this possession into 7 points and never looked back.
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6. The Fridge Hits the End Zone – Super Bowl XX
The 1985 Chicago Bears defense still ranks as the greatest ever and held the Patriots to 123 yards of total offense, the second lowest amount in Super Bowl history. The sight of defensive tackle William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry lining up as a running back and knocking a defender clean over on his way to the end zone really put an exclamation mark on the Bears dominance.
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5. The Fastest Score Ever – Super Bowl XLVIII
Billed as a chess match between the league’s number one offense, the Denver Broncos, and the league’s number one defense, the Seattle Seahawks, this game was a difficult one for the experts to call. The opening play of Super Bowl XLVIII set the tone for the entire game. On the first play from scrimmage at the 14-yard line, Manning stepped forward to make a protection adjustment at the very moment Broncos center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball. The ball sailed over Manning’s head and into the end zone for an eventual safety. Seattle had brought their vaunted 12th man and their ‘legion of boom’ defense and the stage was set for a dominating display from the Seahawks.
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4. Wide Right – Super Bowl XXV
With 8 seconds remaining and the Buffalo Bills trailing the New York Giants by 1, Buffalo’s Scott Norwood lined up to kick a 47-yard field goal to win it for the Bills. Norwood’s career record of kicks of 40 yards or more on grass was 1 for 5 so perhaps we should have guessed what was coming next. With the wind at his back, Norwood’s kick had the distance, but sailed wide right and the Giants escaped with the win in dramatic fashion.
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3. The Drive – Super Bowl XVI
Trailing 16-13 with 3 minutes and 10 seconds remaining, the San Francisco 49ers were backed up on their own 8-yard line. Waiting in the huddle during a commercial time out, Joe Montana looked up to the stands and pointed out John Candy to his team mates. It must have been from that point on that they knew what was coming next. The 49ers drove the ball 92 yards in 11 plays to take a 20-16 lead which they held on to, breaking Bengals hearts in the process.
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2. One Yard Short – Super Bowl XXXIV
The St Louis Rams were up by 7, but the Tennessee Titans had 4th down at the Rams 10-yard line with 6 seconds to play. The elusive Steve McNair took the snap and hit receiver Kevin Dyson on a slant at the 5-yard line as Dyson went to the inside he had one man to beat, Rams linebacker Mike Jones. Jones held on to the waist of Dyson as he reached out to the end zone stopping him at the one-yard line as time expired.
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1. The Catch – Super Bowl XLII
The Giants were down 14-10 and facing 3rd and 5 on their own 43-yard line with 1 minute and 15 seconds to go. The first miracle on this play is that Eli Manning somehow escapes what looks like a certain sack and launches the ball downfield where receiver David Tyree, covered by Patriots Rodney Harrison, leaps up and grabs the ball with one hand. It appeared Tyree held the ball next to his helmet as he was on his way to the ground until he could get two hands on it. The dramatic 32-yard completion would then lead to the Giants game-winning touchdown, ending the Patriots’ unbeaten season at the final hurdle.