Super Bowl Rankings (#41-32 Edition) Part I of IV

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41. Super Bowl XXVII: 52 Dallas Cowboys 17 Buffalo Bills – MVP Troy Aikman – Rose Bowl Pasadena, CA Favorite – Dallas by 7 – Coin Toss: O.J. Simpson – Halftime Show: Michael Jackson – Announcing Crew: NBC’s Dick Enberg & Bob Trumpy – Interesting Stat: Buffalo Bills SB Record of 9 Turnovers (4 INT, 5 Fumbles Lost).  1-Star Rating – Buffalo took an early 7-0 lead on a Thurman Thomas TD run, taking advantage of a Steve Tasker blocked punt.  After capitalizing off a Dallas mistake to set up a TD for their only lead of the game, the Bills then went downhill in a hurry.  MVP Troy Aikman and the aggressive attack of Dallas’ defensive unit lead the way en route to an impressive rout.  The turning point came early in the 2nd quarter when safety Thomas Everett picked off a Jim Kelly pass on 4th down in the end zone, finishing a key goal line stand.  Aikman finished 22 of 30 for 273 yards and four scores, with two of them going to All-Pro WR Michael Irvin.  Sidenote: The game was scheduled to be played at the newly built Tempe Stadium in Phoenix, AZ, but was not because of a controversy in which Arizona did not observe Martin Luther King Jr Day as an official holiday.

40. Super Bowl XXVI:  37 Washington Redskins 24 Buffalo Bills – MVP Mark Rypien – Metrodome Minnesota – Favorite –  Washington by 7 – Coin Toss: Chuck Noll – Announcing Crew: CBS – Pat Summerall & John Madden – Impressive: Joe Gibbs wins his 3rd Super Bowl with his 3rd different Starting QB and Washington ties for largest shutout lead at 24-0, also both teams go scoreless in the 1st quarter.  1-Star Rating – From Thurman Thomas misplacing his helmet (missed 2 plays) to Jim Kelly’s 4 picks (had to throw a record 58 passes), the Bills played like they did not belong in the SB.  Art Monk and Gary Clark teamed up and both went for over 100 yards receiving and Washington held Buffalo to just 43 rushing yards.  For the ‘Skins Rypien threw for 2 scores and RB Gerald Riggs entered into the end zone twice also.  Couple them together along with a stifling Washington defense, the Bills lost their second SB in a row.  Sidenote:  Metrodome was the smallest stadium ever to host a Super Bowl.

39. Super Bowl VIII: 24 Miami Dolphins 7 Minnesota Vikings – MVP Larry Csonka – Rice Stadium Houston, TX – Favorite – Miami by 7 – Interesting:  Bart Starr joins CBS as color commentator and Csonka becomes first RB to win MVP honors, carrying the pigskin an astounding total of 33 times.  1-Star Rating – Another SB in which the winning team went ahead 24-0, this time Miami was up by this margin in the 4th quarter.  Miami began the contest taking the opening kickoff and driving for a TD on their first possession.  Csonka ran for 145 yards and 2 TD’s and the “No-Name Defense” swarmed to halt any chances of a successful Viking offensive attack.  Bob Griese threw a record low 7 passes (completed 6), an amount that is unheard of nowadays and a record that will stand forever!  Sidenotes:  Bud Grant complained about the poor locker room conditions and practice field facilities before the game.  Joe Namath said, “If Miami gets the kickoff and scores on the opening drive, the game is over.”   

38. Super Bowl XXXV: 34 Baltimore Ravens 7 New York Giants – MVP Ray Lewis – Raymond James Stadium Tampa – Favorite – Baltimore by 3 – SB MVP’s and Coaches of the past SB’s at Tampa Stadium participate in the Coin Toss (Marcus Allen & Tom Flores – SB XVIII and Ottis Anderson & Bill Parcells – SB XXV).  Impressive: Baltimore allows 152 yards of offense and no offensive TD’s and all 16 of Giants possessions end with a punt or INT, except the last one when time ran out.  1-Star Rating – Ray Lewis becomes the 2nd LB ever to win the MVP award and the Ravens became just the 2nd team (L.A. Raiders in SB XVIII) to score a TD in all 3 facets of the game.  New York put up high numbers in some categories, only to have them associated with Collins’ 4 picks and punter Brad Maynard’s record-setting 11 boots (punts).  Ray Lewis’ pregame dance as they introduced the starting line-ups was the most exciting thing to watch that nite in an otherwise boring and defensive-minded game (I literally fell a sleep).  Sidenotes: Jermaine Lewis followed up Ron Dixon’s kickoff return for a TD with one of his own.  The teams combined for the lowest amount of total yardage in SB history with 396.

37. Super Bowl II: 33 Green Bay Packers 14 Oakland Raiders – MVP Bart Starr – Miami Orange Bowl – Favorite – GB by 13.5 – Interesting: Jack Kemp of Buffalo, who was still an active player at the time, helped provide commentary for the game alongside Summerall & Ray Scott.  1- Star Rating – A storybook ending for Vince Lombardi and the GB Packers, as Lombardi finishes his head coaching career by saying farewell after the 2nd of back-to-back victories in the first 2 Super Bowls for the Pack in the NFL.  Lombardi gets carried off the field and whenever SB II is brought up you remember it for Lombardi’s last game with the Pack as it was very emotional (Think back to: SB XXIII Post Game Interview with 49ers Coach Bill Walsh retiring)  and what a great way it was to end a tremendous run for GB’s leader on the sidelines.  CB Herb Adderley capped off GB’s scoring with a 60-yard INT return for TD early in the 4th quarter.  Starr went for 202 yards and a score and kicker Don Chandler booted 4 through the uprights.  Sidenotes: At halftime, Packers guard Jerry Kramer said to his teammates (referring to Lombardi), “Let’s play the last 30 minutes for the old man.”  Chandler and SB I legend WR Max McGee also played in their final game.

36. Super Bowl VI: 24 Dallas Cowboys 3 Miami Dolphins – MVP Roger Staubach – Tulane Stadium New Orleans, LA – Favorite – Dallas by 6 – Impressive: Dallas is the only team ever to not allow their ooponent a TD in SB history.  Dolphins safety Jake Scott entered Super Bowl VI with a broken left hand. He broke his right wrist during the game but never came out.  1-Star Rating –  Cornell Green said it best, “The difference between the Dolphins and Cowboys was that the Dolphins were just happy to be in the game and the Cowboys came to win the game.”  Dallas controlled and dominated the game on both sides of the ball, especially on defense, where they held Miami without a 1st down in the 3rd quarter, as they did not advance past their own 42-yard line.  Roger Staubach threw for two short touchdown passes and the key 1-2 punch of Miami’s Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick were held to just 80 yards rushing (40 each).   While on the other hand, the combo of Duane Thomas and Walt Garrison combined for 169 rushing yards for Dallas.  Sidenotes: When asked about the Dolphins’ defensive team prior to Super Bowl VI, Landry said that he could not recall any of the players’ names, but they were a big concern to him. This remark immediately led to the nickname “No-Name Defense”.  Also President Nixon offered coach Don Shula a specific passing play drawn up to star and legendary WR Paul Warfield, while Miami used the play call late in the 1st quarter, it was an unsuccessful one, going down as an imcomplete pass on a crossing pattern – who knew President Nixon was such a big ‘boys fan?!?  This game marked for the first time the Super Bowl used the NFL shield logo painted at the 50-yard line.   

35. Super Bowl XXIV: 55 San Francisco 49ers 10 Denver Broncos – MVP Joe Montana – Louisiana Superdome – Favorite – 49ers by 11.5 – Interesting: George Seifert became just the 2nd  rookie head coach to win a SB title.  Montana became the 3rd player ever to win a SB MVP and the AP MVP (Bart Starr in ’66 and Bradshaw in ’78).  1- Star Rating –During the halftime show of the game their was a float dressed up as a riverboat that was so big they had to move one of the goalposts to get it onto the field, it was something to behold and that float could’ve been the 49ers offense in disguise ( in relation to their big play after big play) or at least something to describe their monster performance in SB XXIV!  They were up by an insurmountable 27-3 lead at half and scored two touchdowns in each quarter, racking up a still standing SB record 55 points!  Their 45-point margin of victory handed to Denver is another record that stands and will not broken.  Montana went 22-29 for 297 yards and five TD’s!  John Elway ran in for the Broncos only score and Jerry Rice caught 7 passes for 148 yards and three TD’s!  This game produced the best offensive performance to be witnessed in Super Bowl history and the 49ers flawless execution was no match for Denver’s defense, thus showing us that the 49ers reign as the team of the 80s was not something to overlook nor shrug off, as the dynasty was completed in a one-of-a-kind fashion in SB XXIV.  Sidenotes: Terry Bradshaw was part of the coin toss and the NFL Today pregame.  One of the best of all-time hosted his final Super Bowl for CBS, as legendary great Brent Musberger did his final work for the NFL. 

34. Super Bowl XXII: 42 Washington Redskins 10 Denver Broncos – MVP Doug Williams – Jack Murphy Staduim San Diego, CA – Favorite – Denver by 3 – Halftime Show: Chubby Checker & The Rockettes Impressive: Little-known and used RB Timmy Smith rushed for a SB record 204 yards and Washington tallied a phenomonal record 35 points in the 2nd quarter to go along with 356 yards.  Washington won both of the “strike-shortened” season Super Bowls, rallying off 42 unaswered points with their highly potent offensive attack led by QB Doug Williams, who became the first African-American signal caller to reach the SB and win it.  1-Star Rating – Elway started off the contest on fire by connecting with rookie speedster WR Ricky Nattiel on a 56-yard TD strike.  After jumping out to this 10-0 lead, Denver fell flat on their face once again under the spotlight.  However, in the limelight Doug Williams made sure it was his game to win as he hooked up with Ricky Sanders for long bombs of 80 & 50 yards.  Williams went deep often after coming back strong from a twisted leg in the 1st quarter, as he threw two more scores to Gary Clark and Clint Didier.  Timmy Smith ran all day wildly past Denver’s pathetic defense and the ‘Skins sacked Elway five times and picked him off for three.  Sidenotes: This was the only SB Elway (’87 Regular Season MVP) did not rush for a TD.  The teams combined for 929 offensive yards and this was the first SB to use instant replay (1st quarter – Washington recovered fumble on kickoff return – play stood).  The pilot of the hit show “Wonder Years” premiered on ABC after the game was over.

33. Super Bowl XI: 32 Oakland Raiders 14 Minnesota Vikings – MVP Fred Biletnikoff – Rose Bowl Pasadena, CA – Favorite – Raiders by 4.5 – Interesting: 1st Super Bowl to feature both Conference’s #1 Seeds and the last SB to finish under daylight.  Halftime show was produced by Disney.  1-Star Rating – From the one of the biggest and most ferocious hits of all-time in SB and NFL history (Jack Tatum “The Assasin” delivered to Sammy White – still caught the ball despite his helmet getting knocked off) to Fred Biletnikoff’s “determined” face after each reception he made, and to the memorable and unforgettable audio and film footage of NFL Films when HOF legend “old man” Willie Brown returned an interception 75 yards  to the end zone, putting away the Vikings for good (32-7 at the time) in the 4th quarter.  This game was a blowout but John Madden led his Oakland Raider squad to a victory that was a true, dominating masterpiece in every sense and aspect of the game in SB XI.  Kenny “the Snake” Stabler finished with a TD, throwing for 180 yards, Clarance Davis went for 137 yards on just 16 rushes (8.5 YPC), and Dave Casper was on the receiving end of four Stabler passes through the air for 70 yards and a score.  Bruising FB Pete Banaszak took care of business by steamrolling his way in for two well-earned and hard-fought TD’s on the ground, while MVP Fred Biletnikoff helped anchor the aerial attack with four key catches to set up TD’s, ending up with 79 yards.  All-Pro talents Chuck Foreman, Sammy White, and Fran Tarkenton could not keep up with the Raiders offensive continually lighting up the scoreboard, but they still had good days yardage-wise, with Tarkenton throwing for two scores and White getting his hands on one of ’em in the end zone for six, as the “spin move master” himself Foreman racked up 106 total yards (44 rush/62 pass), pulling off more moves than a bunch of qualifiers at an afternoon gymnastic competition and completing more spin moves than an out of control baby trying to get dizzy.  Oakland’s HOF OL led by Art Shell and Gene Upshaw helped stop the very talented and explosive duo of Puprle People Eaters Alan Page and Carl Eller, as the Raiders had a field day both running and passing the ball.  Sidenotes: Hard-hitting Raider safety George Atkinson landed a broken nose to the face of Patriots TE Russ Francis in a 24-21 playoff win, and knocked out Lynn Swann twice in the season, including a concussion he landed to the brilliant, spectacular-catching WR Swann in the AFC Championship Title Game.  Tatum & Atkinson were known for dishing out their share of punishment to opposing receivers who dared to across the middle of the field.  This SB was the first to be played at the Rose Bowl and the first time a team used the 3-4 as their base defense (Raiders).

32. Super Bowl XV: 27 Oakland Raiders 10 Philadelphia Eagles MVP Jim Plunkett – Louisiana Superdome – Favorite Eagles by 3 – Impressive: Plunkett would become only the second Heisman Trophy winner (Stanford) to take home the MVP award (Roger Staubach).  Oakland became the first team to win the Super Bowl as a Wild Card.  This was Bryant Gumbel’s first SB coverage for NBC and their were pregame celebrations to honor the end of the Iran hostage crisis with a large yellow bow attached to the outside of the Superdome.  2-Star Rating – RB Kenny King caught an 80-yard TD pass from Plunkett as he raced past defenders, breaking Herman Edwards (coach of KC Chiefs) tackle for a score that “quickly” put the Raiders ahead 14-0 in the 1st quarter.  Before speeding out to a two score advantage, the Raiders benefited from an illegal motion penalty that called back a Ron Jaworski 40-yard TD pass to WR Rodney Parker.  Oakland was in full control and held Philadelphia star RB Wilbert Montgomery to just 44 rush yards (91 receiving) and picked off Jaworski three times, all by the record-setting LB Rod Martin.  Philly managed to throw for 291 yards (more than Oakland) but turnovers were the name of the game like they always are, as bad execution plagued the Eagles like it usually does to teams going up against sound, fundamental, well-balanced units like the Raiders.  Sidenotes: Cliff Branch caught two of Plunkett’s 3 TD passes.  Plunkett was released by the 49ers before the ’78 season.  Oakland became the first team to overcome a regular-season loss in the Super Bowl. The Eagles defeated the Raiders 10-7 on November 23 at Veterans Stadium. This game showed the first time where both teams used the 3-4 formation as their base defenses in the Super Bowl.  Prior to the season the NFL and Commissioner Pete Rozelle rejected the Raiders and Owner Al Davis’ plan to move the team from Oakland to Los Angeles.                    

    


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