Top 10 Super Bowl Finishes

The Love of Sports compiled a list of the top 10 Super Bowl finishes of all-time.

Super Bowl XLII2. Super Bowl XLII: New York Pulls Off Giant Upset (2007)
Maybe it was due to the historical implications, with New England looking to go down as the greatest team in NFL history, but the ending was epic and had fans on the edge of their seats (and couches) with history unfolding in front of their eyes. The Giants were a resilient bunch late in the game to pull off the upset and secure its place as the second most exciting finish. Eli Manning, of course, drove his team downfield with 35 seconds left after Randy Moss helped the undefeated Patriots take a 14-10 lead. Similar to the Patriots-Panthers game in ’03, there wasn’t much scoring early, as both teams could only muster points on their first possessions of the game. The AFC representatives only led 7-3 at the half on the strength of a Laurence Maroney score, but it was the quest for an undefeated season that kept things intriguing – until late in the fourth quarter when both teams marched up and down the field Down 10-7 after David Tyree put New York on top, Tom Brady engineered an 80-yard touchdown drive, after the Giants defensive line shut him down during the first three and a half quarters. Moss’ six-yard TD catch crushed the hearts of those anti-Patriots supporters, seemingly sealing the deal. The Patriots looked destined for perfection, but the student (Eli) beat the master (Brady). Eli, taking a page out of Peyton’s book, calmly marched his offense down the field in the final two minutes. He eluded three Patriot defenders to set up Tyree’s unbelievable one-handed-to-helmet catch before Plaxico Burress’ game-winning score. 21 points were tallied in the final frame to make it a great finish, with the Giants winning 17-14 in arguably the second greatest upset in Super Bowl history.

1. Super Bowl XXXVIII: Vinatieri’s Second Act (2003)
A game that was so dull in the first quarter and a half, with neither team scoring until late second quarter amidst a tight defensive battle, turned out to be the best finishes ever. A 14-10 halftime score was met by another scoreless quarter in the third before the fun really began. After an Antowain Smith two-yard TD run to open the fourth, the Panthers’ offense can alive on its next two possessions. The latter of which resulted in a thrilling 85-yard catch and run by Muhsin Muhammad into the end-zone to give Carolina its first lead, 22-21, with a little under seven minutes left. This was just the start of something special under the domed Reliant Stadium in Houston! Mike Vrabel was the recipient of his first of two career Super Bowl touchdowns to put the Patriots back on top, ahead 29-22 with 2:51 remaining. Just over a minute left in the game, Delhomme marched the Panthers downfield and hit Ricky Proehl to tie it up (his second game-tying TD against New England). At this point, the game was almost destined for overtime. But then, Carolina kicker John Kasay makes the mistake of his life, booting it out of bounds with 14 seconds left to give Tom Brady prime field position – and we all know what he can do in the two-minute drill. He put the Pats in field-goal range and Adam Vinatieri did his thing with another game-winning kick with no time on the clock. New England won its second title in three years with a 32-29 victory to cap off the greatest ending to any Super Bowl.

Considering the amount of points scored in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXVIII, I could see why the boys at TLOS would choose that finish as the best. But last year’s ending with Eli avoiding the sack, Tyree’s catch and Burress’s game-winning score was my top finish. Given the magnitude of the Patriots’ undefeated season being on the line, that was one of the best Super Bowls ever played and that finish got your heart racing. Either way – this is a great list.

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