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Recap / Super Bowl

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Super Bowl Champions by Year

Dates are listed in American order (month/day/year).

As mentioned on the main page, the first four games were officially termed "the AFL-NFL World Championship game", as the two leagues didn't officially merge until 1971. Super Bowl III was the first one to be called a "Super Bowl".

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    Super Bowls I to V
  • I — January 15, 1967 / Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California / Green Bay Packers def. Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10
    MVP: Bart Starr, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Ray Scott, Jack Whitaker, Frank Gifford) / NBC (Curt Gowdy, Paul Christman)
    National Anthem: University of Arizona Band, University of Michigan Band, and Anaheim High School Drill Team
    Coin Toss: Norm Schachter, referee
    Halftime: University of Arizona and University of Michigan Bands
    • Ranked the #53 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary, mainly for its historic significance.
    • A fitting match-up for the first NFL-AFL clash:
      • The Packers were the most decorated team in the NFL, having joined the league in its second year back in 1921 and won nine championships prior to this season. Three of them had come in the past five years thanks to the coaching of the legendary Vince Lombardi and a team full of seasoned veterans and future Hall of Famers, including the season's MVP, QB Bart Starr. The Packers had gone 12-2 in the regular season, posted the league's best defense, and defeated the Dallas Cowboys in a thrilling NFL Championship that went Down to the Last Play; most saw the Super Bowl as a guaranteed afterthought win after this accomplishment.
      • The Chiefs were owned by AFL founder Lamar Hunt, were coached by future Hall of Famer Hank Stram, had previously won an AFL Championship in 1962 as the Dallas Texans, had gone 11-2-1 in the regular season, posted the league's best offense, and had beaten the two-time defending AFL champion Buffalo Bills for this year's title. However, Chiefs' QB Len Dawson, the #5 overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft and a former AFL MVP, was viewed as an NFL washout. Betting odds placed the Packers as 14-point favorites, with most analysts thinking that no AFL team was truly competitive with the NFL's roster of talent.
    • First Super Bowl played in the Orange Bowl, which would become the most commonly used venue in the game's early days.
    • Televised by both CBS and NBC, with each network using its own production and announcers (the networks had held exclusive rights to the NFL and AFL, respectively, during the regular season). Every subsequent Super Bowl has been exclusive to one network.
      • Despite this, TV footage of the game no longer exists (apart from short clips that got used in other formats), as both networks wiped their tapes in order to save money and reuse them. However, NFL Films, the league's in-house production company, did film the game using its own equipment; that footage still exists, and the company used a surviving radio broadcast to put together a solid assembly cut for those who want to view it.
      • Some other Early Installment Weirdness on the broadcasting side: Sportscasting legend Frank Gifford appeared in the booth for CBS but would not return there (at least in the Super Bowl) for nearly two decades (he and Jack Whitaker, also only in the booth for this game, were relegated to sideline reporter gigs). Conversely, Pat Summerall, who would eventually set the record for most Super Bowl announcing roles, was a sideline reporter here. NBC color commentator Paul Christman made his sole Super Bowl booth appearance here.
    • The only Super Bowl that was not a sellout, as the game had not been awarded to Los Angeles until less than two months prior to kickoff, many fans still viewed the event as essentially an exhibition game, and the Coliseum is a massive structure that often struggles to fill seats. Additionally, the broadcasts were actually blacked out of the L.A. market, much to the dismay of NFL executives, though this would have occurred even if the game had sold out under the league's backward blackout rules.note  Despite this, both broadcasts together brought in over 50 million viewers, proving the interest in the game that would continue to grow for years to come.
    • As the halftime show would not become a main feature for many years, the most memorable non-game element of the first Super Bowl were two guys wearing jetpacks who flew around in the pre-show. (Expect any Super Bowl retrospective to marvel at this and ask why we don't all have these over half a century later.)
    • The Chiefs almost proved the doubters wrong; the first half was much closer than most had expected. Dawson's Chiefs matched the Packers' first touchdown and responded to the second with a field goal before halftime. Starr threw only his fourth interception of the season, and the Packers only had a 14-10 lead at the half. Adjustments at halftime and a 50-yard interception return from Packers safety Willie Wood in the third quarter turned the tide, however, and the Packers put up three TDs for 21 unanswered points in the second half on the way to a decisive victory.
    • Though Bart Starr was awarded game MVP for a typically effective showing, Packers WR Max McGee put in a legendary performance. Expecting to ride the bench, he broke the team's curfew policy and spent the entire night before the game partying and drinking. However, starting wideout Bowd Dowler left the game with a separated shoulder, pressing McGee into duty. McGee, hungover and on no sleep, caught seven passes on ten targets, including an impressive twisting one-handed catch and a long gain of 37 yards, for 138 total yards and two touchdowns, including the first touchdown ever scored in a Super Bowl game. This was far and away the most prolific performance of the game on offense. A Drunken Master indeed.
    • The Super Bowl slump did not apply in the game's first year; both teams would get one more shot in (and win) the Big Game over the next three seasons.
  • II — January 14, 1968 / Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida / Green Bay Packers def. Oakland Raiders, 33-14
    MVP: Bart Starr, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Ray Scott, Pat Summerall, Jack Kemp)
    National Anthem: Grambling State University Band
    Coin Toss: Jack Vest, referee
    Halftime: Grambling State University Band
    • First Super Bowl to be preceded by a playoff tournament. Super Bowl I had only been preceded by the respective league championships fought between the highest seeded teams in each conference/division. This would remain the set-up in the AFL until 1969, but the NFL added a conference championship round for this season. Like the previous year, Lombardi's Packers entered the clear favorites, this time by 13.5.
      • Even though the Raiders had led both leagues in scoring and put up a much better record (13-1 to the Pack's 9-4-1) on their way to their first AFL Championship, where they had obliterated the Houston Oilers 40-7, the NFL was still expected to dominate the AFL once again.
      • Even after losing several of their central players following the previous seasonnote  caused their offense to regress, the Packers defense was still one of the strongest in the NFL. After struggling through the regular season, the Packers trounced the Rams before proceeding to one of the most legendary games in NFL history "Ice Bowl" NFL Championship against the Dallas Cowboys. This game, played in some of the worst conditions ever seen in an NFL game and which went Down to the Last Play, was seen as the ultimate accomplishment for Lombardi's team; few anticipated the next game would be anything more than an afterthought, and indeed most histories of the '60s Packers treat the Super Bowl as a glorified epilogue.
    • Buffalo Bills QB (and future U.S. Congressman/HUD Secretary) Jack Kemp joined Pat Summerall and Ray Scott in the broadcast booth while still an active player. With just one station airing the game, total ratings went down from the previous year, with just shy of 40 million viewers in the least watched Super Bowl ever. The complete broadcast of this game also does not exist, with the tapes having been wiped.
    • The halftime show remained a standard band performance; once again, the most memorable non-game element of the event was in the pre-game, when the league rolled out two giant paper-mache players to face off on the 50-yard line. This event was also the first Super Bowl to feature a flyover from the U.S. Air Force.
    • Though the final score was slightly closer than the last bout, the Packers once again wiped the floor with the AFL's rep. This game was truthfully even more one-sided. The Raiders held the Packers to just a field goal in the first quarter but slid to 13-0 after surrendering another field goal and a 62-yard touchdown pass from Starr in the second. They only came within one score of the Packers for a few minutes in the second quarter after a TD pass from Daryle Lamonica, after which the Packers put up 20 unanswered points (two field goals and two TDs, including a 60-yard pick-six from future Hall of Fame corner Herb Adderley). Lamonica only scored the Raiders' second touchdown in the last two minutes of the game, long after the Packers had essentially clinched their win. The Packers put up zero turnovers through the whole game, a fitting retirement present to their perfection-obsessed coach.
    • The Packers' victory made them the first of a few teams to win back-to-back Super Bowls. However, since the Packers also won the 1965 Championship, this win technically made them the only team to secure a title "threepeat". Likewise, Bart Starr became the first of two players to win back-to-back Super Bowl MVPs, despite sitting on the bench through most of the fourth quarter after a thumb injury.
    • This was the final game that Vince Lombardi coached for the Packers prior to retiring. He remained the general manager for the 1968 season, then left to become the head coach at Washington for 1969 before losing his battle with stomach cancer shortly before the 1970 season began; the Super Bowl championship trophy was subsequently renamed after him. Several other Packer legends of the '60s dynasty also retired after "winning one for the old man", as most of the team had been playing in Green Bay since before the AFL had even been founded. At an average age of 27.5 years old, this was the oldest team to win a Super Bowl for several decades and is still one of the oldest.note  This victory thus marked a real End of an Age; it would be another 25 years before the Packers returned to championship contention.
    • The Raiders, on the other hand, remained one of the strongest teams in the league for the next two decades. However, despite playing in eight of the next ten AFL/AFC Championships, they didn't actually reach the Super Bowl again for nearly another decade. Their humiliating loss here particularly incensed the AFL's commissioner, Al Davis, who had been the team's head coach prior to their then-HC, John Rauch, and was also a part-owner.
  • III — January 12, 1969 / Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida / New York Jets def. Baltimore Colts, 16-7
    MVP: Joe Namath, QB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Curt Gowdy, Kyle Rote, Al DeRogatis)
    National Anthem: Washington National Symphony Orchestra
    Coin Toss: (n/a)
    Halftime: Florida A&M University Band (now Marching 100)
    • Ranked the #6 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the second highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • Jets QB Joe Namath's famous "guarantee" of a Jets win over the 18-point-favorite Colts immediately became NFL lore, but it truly can't be overstated just how favored the Colts were entering the game.
      • The Colts had the best record in the NFL in the last two seasonsnote  and had won Coach of the Year and MVP in both. The COTY awards had both gone to the legendary Don Shula, still early in his career. The MVPs, on the other hand, were two different quarterbacks. The '67 MVP, the great Johnny Unitas, was benched early in the '68 season after a Game-Breaking Injury to his esteemed "Golden Arm". Remarkably, 12-year journeyman Earl Morrall stepped in and put up the best season of his career while leading the team to an improved 13-0 record, performing so well he kept the starting job after Unitas recovered. The Colts utterly dogwalked the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship, shutting them out 34-0 at home. Almost every sports writer assumed that this Super Bowl would be even more anticlimactic than the last two, considering the Packers had fought much closer contests in their penultimate bouts with the Cowboys.
      • The Jets were no slouches in their own league, going 11-3 on their way to their first AFL Championship appearance with Namath winning AFL MVP. Despite his prolific passing ability, many in the media dismissed Namath as an image-obsessed celebrity, particularly after his perceived boast of a "guaranteed" win. Even those who respected Namath's individual talent thought little of his team, which was a mix of young guns and older NFL rejects and had only narrowly bested the Raiders in the AFL Championship. Jets' coach Weeb Ewbank had been Shula's predecessor as the Colts' head coach and a decade prior had, ironically, led a Colts team captained by Unitas to a victory against a New York team in the 1958 Championship, still widely recognized as "The Greatest Game Ever Played". However, outside of his two Championship seasons in Baltimore, Ewbank's Colts had never seen the sustained degree of dominance that Shula's had with many of the same pieces, another knock against the Jets. With the AFL already seen as having a lower bar of competition, few thought their performance could match up to any NFL team, let alone one as historically strong as the Colts.
    • Only time the Super Bowl was played in the same stadium in consecutive seasons.
    • NBC marketed the NFL-AFL World Championship as the "Super Bowl" for the first time to an audience of around 41.6 million; the 36% Nielsen rating remains the lowest of any Super Bowl. Unlike the first two, however, the unanticipated outcome ensured the full broadcast of this Super Bowl was preserved.
      • What was not preserved was the pre-show, which featured recently-returned Apollo 8 astronauts leading the pledge of allegiance (a short-lived tradition dropped after NASA stopped sending people to the moon), people dressed as footballs, and performers dressed as Colts and Jets players Jumping Out of a Cake.
    • While any Jets win would have been one of the biggest upsets ever, what made the game truly shocking is just how decisive their victory was. Despite generally matching the Jets in yards, the Colts offense just couldn't manage to score at all until the final quarter, at which point the game was nearly decided. Baltimore's formidable defense kept Namath from scoring a touchdown pass, but they had clearly underestimated the Jets' capabilities and allowed 16 points (a rushing TD in the second quarter and three field goals in the second half).note  Colts kicker Lou Michaels missed both of his field goal attempts (his counterpart on the Jets missed two as well).
      • The biggest responsibility for the loss, however, laid on Morrall, whose Cinderella season came to a crushing end as he completed less than half of his passes and threw three costly interceptions, all near or in the end zone after the offense had made big gains leading up to that point. The most devastating one came right before the half, as Morrall missed a wide open receiver in the end zone off of a flea flicker play, allegedly because his uniform blended in with that of the marching band standing in the sideline tunnel preparing for halftime. Shula put in Unitas in the fourth quarter, only for him to also threw an end zone interception.
    • Namath injured his thumb in the third quarter and didn't even attempt a pass in the fourth. Though a still-hurting Johnny U did manage a fourth quarter TD drive, even he couldn't get a pass into the end zone; this was the first Super Bowl without a touchdown pass, and Namath remains the only quarterback MVP to not throw one.note 
    • The shot of Namath walking off the field, index finger aloft in a "#1" gesture, remains one of the most iconic images in football history and marks a real turning point for the Super Bowl and the NFL in general. While the AFL merger's terms had already been finalized, this victory established that the new AFL teams could actually compete in a merged league, quieting worries among fans and executives that the expansion was going to result in lots of boring and predictable games/seasons.
    • Ewbank's win marked the first time a team's former head coach beat them in the Super Bowl.
    • "Namath's Guarantee" remains the undisputed pinnacle of success for the Jets organization to this day; over half a century after their first title win, they have yet to even appear in another Super Bowl and have put up one of the NFL's worst franchise records.
    • The Colts soon bounced back and won a Super Bowl two years later, with Morrall getting to play hero and help salvage the win. They did so without Shula, who would depart the Colts after the 1969 season; he and Morrall saw even greater success with the Miami Dolphins not long after.
    • This is the only Super Bowl ever played whose matchup could not currently occur as a Super Bowl again, as the realignment shortly afterward placed the Jets and Colts in the same conference.
  • IV — January 11, 1970 / Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana / Kansas City Chiefs def. Minnesota Vikings, 23-7
    MVP: Len Dawson, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Jack Buck, Pat Summerall)
    National Anthem: Doc Severinsen and Pat O'Brien
    Coin Toss: John McDonough, referee
    Halftime: "Tribute to Mardi Gras" by Southern University Band
    • Final game before completion of AFL-NFL merger. Interestingly, the AFL's rep faced off against an NFL team that was younger than the AFL, just one reason the game carried a lot of historic and symbolic resonance. The Vikings were originally meant to be a charter AFL franchise, but the owners jumped ship to the NFL when they were offered a franchise a few months before the inaugural AFL season; they agreed to wait another year to play while the schedules got sorted.note  Thus, the Vikings meeting AFL founder Lamar Hunt's own team in the Super Bowl right before every AFL team joined the NFL was a fitting culmination of the AFL's decade-long story, showing that these new teams could compete and even dominate against the old guard.
    • Despite the Jets' upset victory the year prior and the NFL's representative not having any claim to being a "more storied" franchise, the Vikings were still 13-point favorites entering the game. Some sports writers were adamant that III was just a fluke and that any NFL team was better prepared by their superior competition.
      • The 12-2 Vikings had the best record, offense, and defense in the NFL under head coach Bud Grant. Their exciting rushing QB, Joe Kapp, had led the team to a number of wins with his head-first playstyle. Even more importantly, their dominant defensive unit, nicknamed "The Purple People Eaters", posted two shutouts in the regular season and helped to sustain the team through their postseason battles against the Rams and Browns, making them the victors of the final NFL Championship game.
      • The Chiefs head coach Hank Stram and star QB Len Dawson had proven to their anti-AFL detractors that they didn't have "it" in a decisive loss to the Packers three years prior. The Chiefs had struggled somewhat through the season, particularly after Dawson missed multiple games due to injury and rookie Mike Livingston filled in. Thankfully, their defense (which featured even more future Hall of Famers than the Purple People Eaters) carried them to an 11-3 record while Dawson recovered. They came second in their division and were technically the first "Wild Card" participant (and winner) in a Super Bowl, though that term wasn't yet in use by the AFL for their playoff system. They managed to narrowly best the division champion Jets and Raiders in the first and only full-fledged AFL playoffs, winning the final AFL Championship, but few expected they'd perform well against the dominant Vikings.
    • Another reason for skepticism about the Chiefs going in: five days before the game, Dawson had his name attached to a federal gambling investigation, and it was questionable whether he'd be allowed to play. That quickly turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, but it put him under substantial stress (Dawson, who had also lost his father to a heart attack earlier in the season and was still struggling with injuries, later stated he got almost no sleep in the week before the game).
    • The CBS TV broadcast went out to an audience of around 44.3 million. Their recording was wiped, but since the Vikings were rather popular in Canada due to a number of their stars and staff (including their coach and starting QB) being CFL veterans, the CBC carried the broadcast and archived a recording.
      • Play-by-play duties went to Jack Buck in his sole appearance as the TV announcer. The broadcasting legend would go on to set the record as the most frequent play-by-play man for the Super Bowl on CBS Radio, hosting a whopping 17 games; his son, Joe, has announced six and counting on TV for FOX.
      • The most famous media from the game was not from the live broadcast but from NFL Films, which mic'd up the famously verbal Stram and managed to catch several gems of his enthusiastic coaching, including his order to "Keep matriculating the ball down the field", which quickly entered the football lexicon.
    • The pre-game festivities just kept getting weirder: This time a Viking attempted to take an anachronistic hot air balloon ride from center field, only for the wet and windy climate to send his aircraft hurtling into the stands. No one was hurt in this blatant bit of cosmic foreshadowing.
      • The national anthem was pretty bizarre, too: Pat O'Brien, a character actor who had played famed Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne decades prior, delivered "The Star Spangled Banner" in Spoken Word while Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen accompanied him on trumpet.
    • The first score went to the Chiefs' future Hall of Fame kicker Jan Stenerud, who nailed a (then-impressive) 48-yard field goal, the longest in a Super Bowl for 24 years. Stenerud was a pioneer of European "soccer-style" kicking, and his success in this game helped to cement it as the preferred style in the NFL into the present day.
    • The game was expected to be a major defensive battle, as both teams led their respective leagues in fewest points allowed. The Chiefs' unit proved to be the better squad in this game, continuing their domination by completely shutting down the Vikings run game to just 67 yards, recovering two fumbles in the second quarter, and allowing no points in the first half, leaving the halftime score 16-0 after Stenerud landed two more field goals and the offense executed a "65 Toss Power Trap" run play for a touchdown.
    • The halftime show featured the band celebrating in advance of the upcoming Mardi Gras festivities in the game's host city, down to bringing out a cannon to recreate the Battle of New Orleans.
    • The Vikings showed signs of life in the second half and scored a rushing TD. The Chiefs immediately responded with a touchdown of their own in a six-play drive that ended in a 46-yard reception from Otis Taylor, who broke two tackles heading to the end zone. No team scored in the fourth quarter, a Super Bowl first. The Chiefs defense forced three interceptions from Kapp and backup Gary Cuozzo while the offense ran out the clock, making them the only defense in the Super Bowl era to not allow a double-digit score through the entire postseason.
    • Dawson was awarded MVP seemingly more in recognition of his leadership and stoicism in the face of personal trials than his performance; he threw for only 142 yards and one TD and committed the Chiefs' sole turnover with a second quarter interception.
    • Kansas City's win put the AFL at 2-2 in Super Bowls, proving that the Jets' win wasn't a fluke and ending the AFL's run with a victory from its founder's team. Unfortunately, the team continued the trend started in Super Bowl II of the victors entering massive slumps: the Chiefs put up two playoff appearances and zero playoff wins over the next two decades and did not return to the Super Bowl until their victory in LIV exactly 50 years later.
    • The '69 Vikings are often considered one of the best teams to not win a Super Bowl, and the loss seemed to have a devastating ripple effect (some would say a Curse) on the entire organization. While they remained regular contenders with Coach Grant and the Purple People Eaters, returning to the Big Game three more times in the next decade, IV turned out to be the first of four crushing defeats; while the team technically were the final NFL league champions prior to appearing in this game, they have still yet to end a season on a title win despite generally performing very well in the regular season.
      • Also unfortunately, due to a contract dispute, Joe Kapp never played another game for the Purple and Gold; his difficulties in getting signed to another team despite his otherwise successful season was one of many reasons Kapp sued the NFL, an act that had long-term ramifications for the league's policies on player agency.
  • V — January 17, 1971 / Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida / Baltimore Colts def. Dallas Cowboys, 16-13
    MVP: Chuck Howley, LB (for the Cowboys)
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Curt Gowdy, Kyle Rote)
    National Anthem: Tommy Loy
    Coin Toss: Norm Schachter, referee
    Halftime: Southeast Missouri State College Marching Golden Eagles Band, with Anita Bryant
    • The first post-merger Super Bowl played between the conference champions of the NFC and AFC. The Colts represented the NFL two years prior but represented the AFC in the first Super Bowl after the merger - they, along with the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, moved to the AFC in order to balance the conferences at 13 teams each. Also the first Super Bowl to award the winning team the Lombardi Trophy (newly renamed after the winner of the first two Super Bowls following his death from stomach cancer) and the first to be played on artificial turf.
    • Both teams had been very strong through the Super Bowl era, with the Colts having already made a Super Bowl (and lost in dramatic fashion) while the Cowboys had recorded more wins than any other team in the last five years despite always coming up just short in the playoffs. Both teams also had very notable quarterback controversies, their strong defenses covering up for inconsistencies at offense.
      • Aging Colts legend Johnny Unitas continued to compete with Earl Morrall for the starting position; he put up worse numbers in the regular season but was allowed by first-year head coach Don McCafferty (a long-time assistant with the Colts dating back to Unitas' early years) to take the reins for the playoffs. Even with these issues, they had the #3 passing offense in the league, but one of the weakest ground games.
      • The Cowboys, meanwhile, were forced to choose between their existing starter, Craig Morton, and their newer talent, Roger Staubach; Staubach was a fan favorite and had a higher ceiling, but his improvisational playstyle didn't match as well with Cowboys' coach Tom Landry's more meticulous game plans, so Morton stayed under center.
    • After four years of gambling odds predicting a heavy favorite and two years of them being dead wrong, this year's contest was anticipated to be much closer, with the 11-2-1 Colts being favored by just 2.5 points over the 10-4 Cowboys. This prediction turned out to be right on, though not quite in the manner most anticipated...
    • Broadcast to an audience of 46 million. Much of the broadcast was preserved, but a good chunk of the fourth quarter was somehow lost. In the prior four matchups, this wouldn't have been an issue, but many of the most dramatic events of the game exist on film only in the NFL Films recordings and a few fragments preserved by the CBC.
    • Sometimes referred to as the "Stupor Bowl" or "Blunder Bowl" due to the poor play, particularly on the offense. While many of the game's players have expressed frustration with how the game played out, it was, at the very least, entertaining, featuring a fourth-quarter comeback win after four straight years of blowouts essentially decided in the first half. Other observers note that it was an intensely physical game, with many of the "blunders" being caused by how hard the teams' defenses were hitting on the day. The Stupor Bowl included costly penalties (adding up to the most penalized yards in Super Bowl history), officiating miscues, a missed PAT, and a cumulative eleven turnovers, with five made in the fourth quarter alone. Some highlights/lowlights include:
      • In the first quarter, Unitas threw an interception on the first play of their second drive. Penalties cost the Cowboys the possession, but a muffed punt return from the Colts and a recovery by Cowboys safety Cliff Harris gave Dallas possession right next to the end zone; they still failed to convert it to a touchdown and only scored a field goal. A subsequent drive saw the Cowboys stall out again on a 1st-and-6 situation thanks to a penalty, scoring a second field goal as consolation.
      • In the second quarter, Unitas nearly threw his second interception off of a shaky pass that bounced off the intended receiver; it bounced again off a Dallas defender and landed in the hands of Colts star tight end John Mackey, who ran in a 75-yard touchdown. However, the Colts' rookie kicker Jim O'Brien hesitated under the bright lights, allowing the Cowboys to block the PAT and leave the score tied 6-6.
      • Unitas followed this lucky break by committing two more turnovers, a fumble and an interception, both caused by him getting smashed by the defense. Unitas was taken out of the game from injury and Morrall stepped in, a reverse of the dynamic in III. The Cowboys capitalized off the turnovers and scored their only touchdown. The Colts attempted a fourth down TD before the half rather than go for an easy field goal, Morrall failed to convert, and the score sat 13-6 at halftime.
      • Things got even worse right away in the second half, as the Colts returner fumbled the ball and gave it to Dallas. The Cowboys took the ball to the one-yard line, nearly scoring before Colts LB Mike Curtis punched the ball out of Dallas RB Duane Thomas' hands. A massive pileup ensued, and at this point, the refs got in on the blunders, ruling that Baltimore recovered the ball even though it appeared to most observers that a Cowboy managed to secure it.
      • The Colts failed to fully take advantage of this second chance and attempted a 52-yard field goal from O'Brien, which fell well short (not at all uncommon at that time). However, under that era's rules, the kick was treated as a punt since it didn't enter the end zone; none of the Cowboys realized just how short it fell and did not attempt to return it, so the Colts were able to down the ball at the Cowboys' one yard line.note 
      • After no scoring in the third quarter, the fourth is where things truly got head-spinning. After an end zone interception from Morrall resulted in another stalled Cowboys drive, the Colts attempted to mix things up with a flea-flicker trick play. What resulted was one of the most bizarre and unsophisticated plays in Super Bowl history: The Cowboys stormed the Colts backfield before RB Sam Havrilak could toss the ball back to Morrall. Thinking fast, he instead threw it forward to WR Eddie Hinton, who bolted for the end zone, only to be stripped by a Cowboys defender. In a mad scramble, at least six players laid hands on the ball before it rolled out of the back of the end zone, returning it to the Cowboys.
      • With hope rapidly fading for the Colts, Craig Morton stepped up to keep things interesting. Morton had already had a generally poor game but hadn't committed any turnovers to that point; with victory still in sight, he melted down completely in the game's final minutes. He first threw an interception to Colts safety Rick Volk, who ran it back 30 yards and set up a Colts touchdown; after two unfortunate kicks, O'Brien kept his cool and nailed the PAT, tying the game. During his next potential game-winning drive, Morton threw another interception by bouncing a ball off of RB Dan Reevesnote , allowing a now cool-as-ice O'Brien to fully redeem himself with a game-winning field goal with :05 left on the clock. Morton ended the game with one final interception on his last-ditch pass attempt.
    • As the clock ran out, Cowboys DT Bob Lilly threw his helmet halfway down the field in despair. This just about summed up the response to the game; while there was goodwill for Morrall's redemption arc, McCafferty's rookie coaching win, and the strength of the Colts defense, most observers agreed that the Cowboys, especially their offense, lost the Big Game more than the Colts won it. Up until the very end of the game, the Doomsday Defense had played excellent football, and the Cowboys had committed just one turnover that arguably was due to referee error. However, they also put up ten penalties that totaled up to a Super Bowl-record 133 lost yards, preventing them from getting in the end zone and putting points on the board.note 
    • The only time the MVP award went to a player from the losing team, Cowboys LB Chuck Howley, who made two interceptions, forced a fumble, and generally dominated both of the Colts QBs. He was also the first defensive player to win the award after four straight occasions of the winning teams' QBs receiving them for fairly average performances. He turned down the award on principle, which is probably why it's never been given to a losing team again.
    • Despite its messiness, neither team massively slumped right away following this game. However, despite the win, the Colts came out worse. They stayed competitive for one more year before being shut out by Shula's Dolphins in the next AFC Championship. A subsequent owner change and the aging-out of their greatest players led the franchise into a spiral; it would be another 36 years (and a move out of Baltimore) before the Colts revisited a Super Bowl.
    • If anything, frustration at having come so close only to throw everything away greatly improved the Cowboys, and Morton's abysmal performancenote  helped the case of Roger Staubach, who took the starting position during the next season and lead the 'Boys to four more Super Bowls and two wins in his Hall of Fame career.

    Super Bowls VI to X
  • VI — January 16, 1972 / Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana / Dallas Cowboys def. Miami Dolphins, 24-3
    MVP: Roger Staubach, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Ray Scott, Pat Summerall)
    National Anthem: United States Air Force Academy Chorale
    Coin Toss: Jim Tunney, referee
    Halftime: Tribute to Louis Armstrong by Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt, and the United States Marine Corps Drill Team
    • Coming off their stinging loss in Super Bowl V, the Cowboys had initially struggled, going 4-3 in the first half of the season. Their QB controversy between Craig Morton and Roger Staubach persisted to the extent that head coach Tom Landry had them alternating plays in a memorable Week 7 loss to the Bears. After that, Landry finally settled on Staubach, and the team went undefeated in the back half of the season, improving their record from the last year to 11-3. Staubach finished the season as the league's top rated passer, and the Cowboys boasted the league's most productive offense. Their Doomsday Defense remained as strong as ever, and the team bested Minnesota and San Francisco in the playoffs on the way to the first consecutive Super Bowl appearance since the Packers.
    • After languishing for their first four seasons as an AFL expansion franchise, the Dolphins had immediately emerged as competitors in their first season under coach Don Shula in 1970. One year later, boasting a league-leading run game based around star RB Larry Csonka and his sidekick Jim Kiick, an efficient QB in Bob Griese, and a defense that outperformed Dallas in points allowed, the Fins had made an unexpected run through the playoffs. First, they defeated the Chiefs in the longest game in NFL history, a double-overtime bout on Christmas Day. The next week, they shut out Shula's former team, the defending champion Colts, in the AFC Championship, in the process making him the first head coach to guide two different teams to a Super Bowl appearance.
    • After last year's exciting bout and the chance to see the extremely popular Cowboys finally claim a crown, the ratings saw a huge uptick, with over 56.6 million viewers, more than had watched Super Bowl I five years prior when it aired on two different networks. This was also with the local New Orleans market being blacked out, the last year this policy was in effect.
    • The coldest Super Bowl ever played, with a temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff.note 
    • After winning six straight division titles and posting the best winning record through the Super Bowl era, the Cowboys were the favored team heading into the game... but only by six points. This reflected both the greater respect Vegas had finally developed for former AFL teams and the Cowboys' reputation as "Next Year's Champions" who were unable to win when it counted most. The Cowboys finally shed that reputation in this match, dominating both sides of the ball in a very one-sided affair.
    • The Cowboys took the lead with a field goal in the first quarter and never let it go. Staubach threw no interceptions and two touchdown passes to fellow future Hall of Famers Lance Alworth and Mike Ditka. The Cowboys' ground game put up most of the offense's yardage against a seemingly helpless Dolphins defense, scored another TD, and coughed up only one turnover in the final minutes of the game when the winner had already been decided.
    • Ultimately, the Doomsday Defense were the real stars. They held the Dolphins' score to just one field goal in the second quarter and would be the only defense to prevent a single opposing touchdown in the Super Bowl for the next 47 years. The game was very much still winnable for the Dolphins at the half, with the score at 10-3, but the Cowboys prevented a single Dolphins first down in the third quarter and previous year's Super Bowl MVP Chuck Howley pulled off a 41-yard interception return in the fourth, permitting the offense to run up the score.
    • In some ways, the Dolphins were their own worst enemy, even despite committing zero penalties: Csonka made his only fumble of the season on a flubbed handoff in the first quarter, which led to the Cowboys' first scoring drive. Griese likewise fumbled and surrendered a snap in the last quarter, but his most embarrassing mistake came in the first when he scrambled backwards 29 yards before being brought down by Bob Lilly, still the longest negative play in Super Bowl history.
    • After the heavily penalized play in the last title game (the most penalized yards in Super Bowl history, which many believed cost the Cowboys the game), the refs were very hands-off in this match, penalizing the fewest total yards in any Super Bowl (just 15 distributed over three penalties to Dallas).
    • Staubach's 119 passing yards is the fewest among Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks. Reportedly, Dallas running back Duane Thomas was the voters' actual pick for MVP, but as Thomas had chosen to be an Elective Mute for most of the season over a contract dispute and had given one-word answers to the press corps the entire preceding week, the more charismatic and popular Staubach was selected instead; Thomas never played another game for the Cowboys.
    • Once again, no real slump after this Super Bowl. The Landry-Staubach Cowboys remained one of the strongest teams in the league for the rest of the decade, making several more Super Bowl appearances and one more win, though they sat out of the Big Game for the next few years.
    • This was the only game the Dolphins lost in 1972: the Dolphins bounced back even stronger the next season and put up the only "perfect" record of the modern era on the way to two straight Super Bowl victories.
  • VII — January 14, 1973 / Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California / Miami Dolphins def. Washington Redskins, 14-7
    MVP: Jake Scott, S
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis)
    National Anthem: Little Angels of Holy Angels Church in Chicago
    Coin Toss: Tom Bell, referee
    Halftime: Andy Williams, Woody Herman, and the Michigan Marching Band
    • Coming off their somewhat humiliating loss in Super Bowl VI (head coach Don Shula's second embarrassment in the Big Game after III), the Dolphins reassembled and came back even stronger. Eugene "Mercury" Morris joined the existing running back duo of Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick, producing the most productive run game in NFL history to that point. The "No Name" Defense (named after an off-handed comment from Tom Landry right before VI) proved to be more dominant than any other unit in the league and put up three shutouts. Even an injury to quarterback Bob Griese couldn't keep the team down; after Griese broke his leg in Week 5, good ol' Earl Morrall, who had just reunited with his former coach Don Shula, once again stepped in and kept the team surging ahead until Griese was ready to reclaim his position in the AFC Championship to secure a narrow win over Pittsburgh at the start of their dynastic run. With the league's best offense and defense (and, admittedly, a very easy schedule), the Dolphins didn't lose a single game all season and were one game away from not just claiming the title but accomplishing something that no NFL or AFL team had ever done: completing a perfect season.
    • Despite the Dolphins' dominant record entering the game, however, they were not the favorites to win, with Vegas very narrowly favoring the 11-3 team from Washington by a single point due to their tougher schedule. After new head coach George Allen broke a 25-year franchise playoff drought the previous season, they had ascended to the upper echelons of the league after years in the wilderness. Allen favored experienced veterans who could run his advanced plays, and the "Over-the-Hill Gang" he assembled was one of the oldest teams the NFL has ever seen, with an average age of 31 among the starters. Journeyman Billy Kilmer had taken the starting QB job from aging veteran Sonny Jurgensen and led the league in passer rating and touchdowns for his sole Pro Bowl season. One of the few young players on the team, fourth-year running back Larry Brown, had won the season's MVP and the first Offensive Player of the Year award with his tenacious running ability, and the team sported the best defense in the NFC. They defeated the Packers and Cowboys in the playoffs to break an even longer postseason losing streak and reach their first championship game since 1945.
    • With the old blackout rules lifted, the Super Bowl returned to Los Angeles. Only one of the first six Super Bowls after the merger not played on artificial turf.
    • Ratings were down slightly (53.3 million viewers), possibly reflecting last year's blowout.
    • Last pre-game to feature the pledge of allegiance, traditionally led by recently returned Apollo astronauts, on account of the Apollo missions ending.
    • Primarily a defensive game, with the lowest total points scored in a Super Bowl for the next 46 years. The No Name Defense held the Washington offense from scoring a single point (though they lucked out from a missed field goal in the third quarter) and intercepted Kilmer three times, giving him an abysmal 19.6 passer rating. Washington's defense was also impressive; after surrendering two touchdowns in the first half, it held the Dolphins from scoring a single point in the second, the only time this has happened to a winning team in the Super Bowl, thanks in part to a clutch end zone interception after a drive that featured a 49-yard run from Csonka.
      • The Dolphins ground game pulled most of their offensive weight, as it had most of the season; Griese threw for only 88 yards (28 of those being from a single touchdown pass in the first quarter, his only one of the game).
    • The Dolphins completed their perfect season, but not before Miami got a few scares in the fourth quarter:
      • First, in the play before his third interception, Kilmer attempted a touchdown pass to a wide-open Jerry Smith in the end zone. This would have made it a one-score game in the fourth quarter were it not for the ball hitting the goalpost instead and falling incomplete. The goalposts would be moved behind the end zone just over a year later, at least in part due to frustration over this play; many football historians look at this moment as a massive What Could Have Been for Smith, one of the few known gay athletes in NFL history who also set numerous records and might well be in the Hall of Fame had he pulled off such a key play.
      • The second, more famous flub, came when Shula called for Garo Yepremian to kick a field goal in the last minutes of the game, hoping to end their 17-0 season on a score of 17-0. Yepremian's attempt was blocked, and his attempt to grab the ball and pass it to a teammate resulted in Washington CB Mike Bass picking it up and returning it 49 yards for a touchdown with just over two minutes left. Thankfully for Yepremian, the Dolphins still held the lead, Miami's defense held out to still win the game, and he remained a Pro Bowl kicker for many more seasons. Still, he never lived down "Garo's Gaffe" and was only consoled by a supportive letter from Shula... which he found out decades later was actually written by Shula's wife without his knowledge.
    • For the second time, the game MVP was awarded to a defensive player, Miami safety Jake Scott, who was responsible for two of the team's interceptions. Many players on the defense later expressed that lineman Manny Fernandez had the game of his life with a sack and 17 tackles and deserved the honor as much as Scott.
    • Washington remained a competitive team for several years after this game, but Allen, who had never won a postseason game before this season, would never win one again in the NFL despite continuing to see great success in the regular season. It would be another ten years before Washington secured another playoff win and returned to the Super Bowl, where they'd have a chance at revenge against Miami.
    • The Dolphins, on the other hand, kept things rolling into the next season, with most of the same players returning for another run at the Super Bowl.
  • VIII — January 13, 1974 / Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas / Miami Dolphins def. Minnesota Vikings, 24-7
    MVP: Larry Csonka, RB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Ray Scott, Pat Summerall, Bart Starr)
    National Anthem/"God Bless America": Charley Pride
    Coin Toss: Ben Dreith, referee
    Halftime: University of Texas Longhorn Band and Westchester Wranglerettes
    • First Super Bowl in which both franchises had played in at least one previous one. The Dolphins become the first team to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls.
      • While Don Shula's Dolphins did not replicate their 1972 perfect record, instead going 12-2, their '73 team is believed by many to have been even better, as they had a much tougher schedule. Their offensive production regressed, particularly their passing game (this time under a healthy Bob Griese through the whole season), but their run game remained top of the league. Most significantly, their No Name Defense surrendered even fewer points than the year prior thanks in part to the efforts of the league's Defensive Player of the Year, safety Dick Anderson. After besting the Bengals and Raiders in the playoffs, the Dolphins became the first team to play in three Super Bowls, let alone three in a row (and they'd be the only ones until the Bills went 0-4 in the early '90s). They were 6.5-point favorites in this game, the first time a former AFL team had been favored in the Super Bowl.
      • Four years after the Vikings got dismantled in Super Bowl IV, Bud Grant and the Purple People Eaters were ready to give it another go after a 12-2 record and besting both of Miami's former Super Bowl adversaries in the playoffs. They boasted the second-best defense in the league behind the Dolphins with most of the same pieces in place from their last Super Bowl run. Their offense had one key difference from that game: future Hall of Famer and prototype scrambling quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who had been in the midst of a forgettable tenure with the New York Giants during the team's first title game appearance.
    • First Super Bowl hosted outside of Miami, New Orleans, or L.A.; first Super Bowl hosted in a stadium not then in-use by the NFL (the Oilers had played at Rice a few years prior before moving to the smaller Astrodome).
    • Last NFL game with the goal posts in front of the end zone (unless you count the Pro Bowl the following week).
    • Two-time Super Bowl MVP Bart Starr joined Ray Scott and Pat Summerall in the booth; this was Scott's last Super Bowl as an announcer and Summerall's last as the color commentator.
    • Ratings were once again down after the last year (51.7 million), possibly reflecting the general lack of excitement in last year's low-scoring bout.
    • First Super Bowl where "America the Beautiful" was sung in addition to the National Anthem. This wouldn't become a regular occurrence for decades, eventually becoming the standard 35 years later.
    • The game was even more one-sided than Vegas predicted; Miami played almost perfectly, with no turnovers and only a single pentalty for four yards (compared to seven for 65 for Minnesota). The Dolphins also became the first team to score a touchdown in their first drive in the Super Bowl and never surrendered that lead, scoring another TD on their second while completely shutting down the Minnesota offense to just one first down in the quarter. Their 14-0 first quarter lead in the Super Bowl has only been tied twice.
    • Miami scored a field goal in the second quarter. The Vikings tried to turn the momentum around by going for a fourth down TD as halftime approached rather than attempt an easy field goal; they fumbled the ball, leaving the score at 17-0 and making the rest of the game essentially a Foregone Conclusion.
    • After scoring another touchdown in the third quarter, Miami's offense took their foot off the gas. Tarkenton got Minnesota some points on the board in the fourth quarter with the first QB rushing TD in Super Bowl history, but an offsides penalty cost the Vikings an offside kick recovery and a later interception from Tarkenton cost them any chance at a comeback.
    • Shula's Dolphins became the second team (after Lombardi's Packers) to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
    • Larry Csonka became the first running back to win Super Bowl MVP. No one could really justify giving it to Griese; Csonka rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, while the Dolphins QB attempted only seven passes the whole game (a record low for a winning QB) for an efficient but unremarkable total of 73 yards.
    • This marked the end of the Dolphins' era of dominance. While the team remained generally winning under Shula all the way through the 1990s, they would not win a playoff game nor return to the Super Bowl for nearly a decade, and they still have yet to win another championship title.
    • The Vikings were the first team to lose two Super Bowls, but Grant and the Purple People Eaters weren't done trying to win a title; they'd remain a force in the NFC for several years and return to the Big Game the next season to face the next great AFC dynasty.
  • IX — January 12, 1975 / Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana / Pittsburgh Steelers def. Minnesota Vikings, 16-6
    MVP: Franco Harris, RB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis, Don Meredith)
    National Anthem: Mardi Gras Barbershop Quartet with Grambling State University Band
    Coin Toss: Bernie Ulman, referee
    Halftime: Tribute to Duke Ellington, by his son Mercer and the Grambling State University Band
    • Though the Steelers had been competitive for the past two seasons, their appearance in this game officially kicked off a run of championship dominance for Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain dynasty. In the franchise's 42-year history, it had never once even appeared in a championship game, and you could count Steelers winning seasons on your fingers. Starting in 1969, coach Chuck Noll and a crew of savvy executives had steadily built one of the greatest rosters in NFL history through the draft, aiming to finally bring their Hall of Fame owner Art Rooney on-field success that reflected his contributions to the game.
      • In the 1974 season, former #1 pick Terry Bradshaw had initially struggled to win the starting position from Joe Gilliam. Neither QB had performed particularly well, but Bradshaw secured it for the back half of the season while the running game led by Franco Harris pulled most of the weight. The team's true strength laid in its famous defense: DT Joe Greene earned his second Defensive Player of the Year award, LB Jack Lambert won Defensive Rookie of the Year, and CB Mel Blount led a league-leading secondary. After going 10-3-1 in the regular season, they bested the Bills and Raiders in the playoffs, the latter match being an unexpected upset after the Raiders' memorable defeat of the defending champion Dolphins the week before.
    • The Vikings had gone 10-4 in the regular season and secured a narrow victory against the L.A. Rams in the NFC Championship. With their third Super Bowl appearance, the most of any team but the Dolphins at the time, but no wins, Bud Grant and the Purple People Eaters had a lot to prove, especially when going against a franchise that had largely been known for failure.
      • While the Steelers were narrow 3-point favorites, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, set in Minneapolis, infamously aired an episode the day prior predicting a Vikings win. (Mary Tyler Moore issued an apology after the episode to anyone who lost money from this.)
    • Final pro game played at the aging Tulane Stadium, as the Louisiana Superdome (which was originally supposed to host) was not yet complete. This proved to have a massive impact on the game, as rains the night before and a cold temperature (colder than any Super Bowl but VI) led to a slippery playing surface that would not have existed in the indoor dome and influenced several key plays. This snafu led to the NFL instituting a rule that prohibited assigning a new stadium a Super Bowl in its first slated season.
    • Don Meredith makes his first appearance in the Super Bowl booth.
    • After two years of slight decline, ratings were up to 56 million viewers, though it still didn't match the success of VI.
    • The pre-game featured a barbershop quartet singing the anthem.
    • Yet another low-scoring slog between two legendary defenses. The first half was especially slow-moving, with a record-low score of 2-0 (the only possible lower tally would be a completely points-less half). A big part of this was due to the slippery field leading to a lot of blunders, some quite amusing.
      • The wet surface was hell for the kickers, limiting both teams' options for scoring. The Steelers came away with no points in the first quarter after missing two makeable FG attempts, the latter due to a bungled snap. The Vikings likewise missed an attempt in the second quarter despite recovering a fumble at the Steelers' 24-yard line.
      • Pittsburgh scored the first safety in Super Bowl history after the slippery conditions led to more blunders, specifically rookie Sam McCullum failing to secure a punt back from the Vikings' 7-yard line and halfback Dave Osborn subsequently fumbling a backwards pitch into the end zone. Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton saved Minnesota five points by running back in time to jump on the ball and prevent a Steelers touchdown.note 
      • Things only got more frustrating for Tarkenton that quarter, as a solid drive right before halftime was brought to an end when the Steelers' formidable secondary forcefully knocked the ball out of receiver John Gilliam's hands and "intercepted" it five yards from the end zone.
    • Did things improve for the Vikings in the second half? Please, this is the Vikings in the Super Bowl: On the very first play, kicker Bill Brown slipped running up to the ball, allowing the Steelers to pick it up close to the end zone to start a very short drive capped with a Franco Harris touchdown.
      • Tarkenton pulled off one of the more impressive plays in Super Bowl history after he caught his own deflected pass, kept his cool, and threw a successful 41-yard follow-up. Unfortunately, the refs ruled this was an illegal pass, and the drive stalled out with an interception.
      • Early in the fourth quarter, with victory still in reach, a fumble recovery and a favorable pass interference penalty brought the Vikings just five yards from scoring, only for Joe Greene to force and recover a fumble. The Vikings defense managed to make the best out of this by preventing a first down then blocking and recovering a punt in the end zone for a touchdown. Unfortunately, this was not only the Vikings' only score, but they also missed the PAT, bouncing the ball off the upright.
      • Any chance the Vikings had was effectively quashed by the Steelers' next drive when the refs controversially ruled against Minnesota once again. TE Larry Brown caught a 30-yard pass from Bradshaw but fumbled the ball; despite initially calling that the Vikings recovered, which would have opened the window for them to come back and score, the head linesman overruled and stated that he had been downed by contact. Bradshaw and company resumed moving right down the field, with Brown catching a TD pass.
      • With just three minutes to go, the Vikings needed to move fast and rely on the pass to make up the deficit. Their last hopes blinked out when Tarkenton threw his third interception on his first pass attempt, giving him a terrible 14.1 rating that didn't fully reflect his performance in the game.
    • Grant raged afterwards that the game featured three "terrible teams": the opposing players and the officials that arguably cost the Vikings possession twice. Despite his frustrations, the score doesn't quite convey how one-sided this bout was. The Vikings' total offense accrued 119 net yards, the fewest in Super Bowl history (Franco Harris alone rushed for more). Minnesota's ground game only rushed for 17 net yards; such was the power of the Steel Curtain. In fact, the only thing that kept the Vikings in the game at all was the sheer number of costly penalties the refs leveled against the physically brutal Steelersnote .
    • For the second year in a row, the MVP was awarded to the running back, Franco Harris (who had rushed for a TD and a then-Super Bowl record 158 yards), rather than the QB.note  Harris was the first African-American player to win the award.
    • The Steelers' victory launched an enduring dynasty: they appeared in the Super Bowl three more times in the subsequent decade and win each bout, laying the groundwork for consistent success that endured for years and all but erase the memory of their pre-merger struggles.
    • Grant's Vikings still weren't going to give up: they'd be back in the Super Bowl in two years for what turned out to be the final time.
  • X — January 18, 1976 / Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida / Pittsburgh Steelers def. Dallas Cowboys, 21-17
    MVP: Lynn Swann, WR
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Pat Summerall, Tom Brookshier, Hank Stram)
    National Anthem: Tom Sullivan and Up with People
    Coin Toss: John Warner, Navy secretary
    Halftime: Tribute to the 200th anniversary of the USA, by Up with People
    • Ranked the #45 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the fifteenth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • First Super Bowl in which both teams, head coaches, and starting QBs had previously won a Super Bowl. Considering these were (and still are) two of the most popular franchises in the NFL, this exciting matchup drew in the greatest market share of any TV broadcast in U.S. history, with an estimated 78% of American households with the TV on that Sunday tuning into CBS to watch the game. This remains the best market share of any Super Bowl and potentially any TV broadcast outside of a massive news event, even though its total ratings (i.e. the percentage of all households watching the game) were pretty average by Super Bowl standards, indicating that there really wasn't much else on. Regardless, this game had the biggest audience (57.7 million) of any Super Bowl at the time; one decade in, this experiment in sports spectacle had proven to be a massive success.
    • First Super Bowl determined by a seeded playoff system.
      • The Steelers were the first official #1 seed and 7-point favorites entering the game. Chuck Noll's defending champions had improved on last year's record, going 12-2, and boasted the second-best rushing offense in the league with Franco Harris (behind only the Buffalo Bills with O.J. Simpson), a much more reliable passing attack than the last year (with Terry Bradshaw making his first Pro Bowl), and a still mighty Steel Curtain led by the Defensive Player of the Year, CB Mel Blount, and a host of Hall of Famers (though "Mean" Joe Greene had struggled with injuries much of the season). Their +211 point differential remains the best in franchise history. In the playoffs, they bested the Colts and narrowly defeated the Raiders in a thrilling Championship match played out over a frozen field that saw both Bradshaw and star receiver Lynn Swann go out from concussions. The latter spent two days in the hospital and was limited in practice but still insisted on playing to defend Pittsburgh's title.
      • The Cowboys, on the other hand, were a Cinderella team despite being only four years removed from their last championship. Many of the veterans of coach Tom Landry's original contending team had moved on after their win in VI and two subsequent defeats in NFC Championships. They'd missed the playoffs entirely the previous season, though Landry, QB Roger Staubach, and a few key defensive pieces of the "Doomsday II" defense had helped them secure a 10-4 record and sneak into the postseason with a wild card spot. Their path through the playoffs had been extremely exciting, with Staubach coining the phrase "Hail Mary pass" with his Down to the Last Play game-winning throw to Drew Pearson to beat the Vikings in the divisional round, then blowing out the highly-favored Rams in the NFC Championship, making them the first wild card team to play in the Super Bowl.
    • Pat Summerall's first Super Bowl as the play-by-play announcer, and Tom Brookshier's first Super Bowl in the booth. Former Super Bowl winning coach Hank Stram filled in for Brookshier in the exciting final quarter while he ran down to the locker rooms to prep for post-game interviews.
    • The film adaptation of Black Sunday was shot at this game.
    • Last outdoor Super Bowl played on artificial turf until Super Bowl XLVIII (played on the newer FieldTurf).
    • The game lived up to its massive hype: the score stayed close all the way to the last play, with the victors actually having to make up a deficit in the last quarter. Unlike the last time this had happened in V, however, both of the teams played excellent football throughout with the fewest penalties in Super Bowl history (two, both to the Cowboys). Thus, the game is remembered more for its So Cool, It's Awesome performances than the So Bad, It's Good blunders of the last "exciting" Super Bowl.
    • Many of the narratives of the game were established in the first two plays:
      • The Cowboys ran a trick play on the opening kickoff return, with rookie LB Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson taking a reverse handoff and returning the ball 48 yards, likely making a touchdown on the opening play were it not for a last-ditch tackle from Steelers kicker Roy Gerela. Tackling is not typically in a kicker's job description with good reason; Gerela suffered bruised ribs in the effort that affected his performance for the rest of the game.
      • On the first regular play of the game, Steelers DE L.C. Greenwood sacked Staubach and forced a fumble, though the Cowboys recovered it. This was the story of the rest of the game: Staubach was sacked a Super Bowl-record seven times, with Greenwood responsible for a single-player record four of them (though the NFL didn't officially recognize sacks as a stat until 1982).
    • This was the first Super Bowl in which both teams scored in the first quarter. The Cowboys scored first after capitalizing from another Steelers special teams blunder. Punter Bobby Walden fumbled his snap and gave Dallas possession at the Steelers' 29-yard line; Staubach threw a TD pass the very next play. This was the first time the Steelers had surrendered points in the first quarter all season, and with eight of the last nine Super Bowls going to the team that scored first, that was a bad sign for them.
      • It was a good sign for the viewers, though, as it forced the Steelers to respond on offense. Despite Bradshaw and Swann's injuries two weeks prior, both played very well the whole game, with Swann making one out of several impressive catches in the Steelers' subsequent drive that culminated in a TD pass to TE Randy Grossman.
    • In the second quarter, Dallas retook the lead with a field goal but was later prevented from making a second when the Steel Curtain drove the Cowboys offense back 25 yards and out of range with a tackle for loss and two sacks. Unfortunately for the Steelers (and Swann, who made another impressive 53-yard catch), Pittsburgh was unable to make up the points after the bruised Gerela missed a field goal attempt, leaving them down 10-7 at the half.
    • First of four half-time shows to feature squeaky-clean singing group Up with People, brought in for this event to celebrate America's bicentennial. That's still the most performances for any single act at the Super Bowl aside from the Grambling State Marching Band, but they're probably best known nowadays for scathing parodies of their act on The Simpsons and other programs.
    • In the third quarter, the Steelers picked off a Staubach pass and ran it back to Dallas' 25-yard line. However, Gerela again missed a field goal. Dallas safety Cliff Harris mockingly patted Gerela on the head to thank him for helping Dallas out; the feared Pittsburgh LB Jack Lambert responded by picking Harris up and throwing him to the ground. This could have gotten Lambert removed for Unnecessary Roughness, but the officials all seemed to agree that Harris had that coming (or just didn't want to test Lambert).
    • The fourth quarter was one of the most exciting in Super Bowl history:
      • Early on, the Steelers special teams got it together in a big way: First, they blocked a punt in the Cowboys end zone, sending it back for a safety. On the subsequent drive, Gerela finally made a field goal, giving the Steelers their first lead. On the first play of the next drive, Pittsburgh intercepted Staubach for a second time deep in Dallas territory. Doomsday II held back a touchdown, but Gerela nailed a second field goal, expanding the lead to 15-10.
      • Pittsburgh's next drive featured one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history: Under pressure from a Dallas blitz, Bradshaw threw a tremendous deep pass to Lynn Swann seconds before being knocked out cold from a direct helmet hit; he wouldn't know that Swann had caught the ball and run it in for a 64-yard TD until after he woke up in the locker room. However, Gerela missed the PAT, leaving the score 21-10.
      • With three minutes left, a Cowboys comeback would be a miracle, even with the Steelers missing their QB. But the Cowboys had just proven a few weeks prior that they were extremely dangerous even when hope seemed lost, and the next drive saw them score in just five plays with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Staubach to the obscure bench player Percy Howard, an undrafted rookie who hadn't played football in college, hadn't made a catch all season, and never made a catch in the NFL again. Still, with the score now 21-17, the Cowboys needed one more touchdown to win.
      • The last 90 seconds of the game were extremely tense. With their offense very hampered, the Steelers hadn't been able to secure the first down they needed to run out the clock. Noll elected to go for it on fourth down and let the defense win the game if need be rather than risk something unexpected happening with their unreliable punting team. Doomsday II held firm, giving the Cowboys just enough time and field position to make another game-winning drive. Staubach took the offense into Steelers territory and had two chances to make another "Hail Mary" pass. The first throw bounced off Howard's head, costing the rookie a chance at glory; the second was intercepted in the end zone, securing the win for Pittsburgh.
    • The Steelers became the third team to win consecutive Super Bowls. Outside of their special teams foibles, they put up one of the most disciplined performances in Super Bowl history, with no penalties or turnovers.
    • First Super Bowl without a rushing touchdown.
    • Lynn Swann's incredible performance, with multiple all-time great catches totaling for a then-Super Bowl record 161 receiving yards, made him the first receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP and essentially secured his place in the Hall of Fame despite having lower career stats than many of his peers. The concussed Bradshaw had to wait until the team's next Super Bowl appearance to win the award, but his fearless performance in this game mostly quieted the last of his critics in Pittsburgh for many years.
    • Neither team slumped after this excellent game, and most of their players remained in place to try to run it back. Dallas would return to the Super Bowl to win it all in just two seasons, and the two teams faced off in a rematch the year after that in XIII, cementing one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL.

    Super Bowls XI to XV
  • XI — January 9, 1977 / Rose Bowl, Pasadena (Los Angeles), California / Oakland Raiders def. Minnesota Vikings, 32-14
    MVP: Fred Biletnikoff, WR
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Curt Gowdy, Don Meredith)
    National Anthem: (none) — Vikki Carr sang "America the Beautiful"
    Coin Toss: Jim Tunney, referee
    Halftime: Disney's "It's a Small World" presentation, featuring the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club
    • After last year's face-off of former champions, this matchup was a "bridesmaid" game guaranteed to give one of two popular and successful #1 seed teams accustomed to always coming up short a Lombardi Trophy. As a result, ratings and audience (over 62 million people) were at an all-time high once again.
      • Since losing Super Bowl II, the Raiders had been the most consistent team in the AFL/AFC, putting up the best record in the conference, reaching six Championship games in eight years, and losing each one. Coach John Madden had led the team through most of this era, succeeding predecessor John Rauch just two seasons after the loss in II; only four Raiders from that game (WR Fred Biletnikoff, CB Willie Brown, G Gene Upshaw, and RB Pete Banaszak) remained on the team a near-decade later, and all four put up critical performances in this one. QB Ken "The Snake" Stabler had led the team brimming with future Hall of Famers and colorful characters (and "borderline criminals" to their critics) to a league-leading 13-1 record. They followed that with a narrow Miracle Rally victory over a Cinderella New England Patriots teamnote  in the divisional round and a gratifying AFC Championship win over their greatest rival, a Franco Harris-less Pittsburgh Steelers.
      • The Vikings, on the other hand, had the best regular season record in the league over the last decade, were making their fourth Super Bowl appearance (the most of any franchise at the time), and still hadn't won one. With Fran Tarkenton (who had just passed most of the all-time QB records) and the Purple People Eater defense all getting older and all of their prior Big Game appearances being fairly embarrassing blowouts, coach Bud Grant and his team were desperate for a win. The team had the Offensive Rookie of the Year (receiver Sammy White) and the second-best defense in the league that season, which had taken them to an 11-2-1 record and decisive victories against Washington and L.A. in the playoffs. Even still, they were 4-point underdogs, which would have actually been preferable to the outcome of this game.
    • First Super Bowl hosted in a stadium that never had an NFL team as a tenant. The Rose Bowl was selected as an ideal "neutral site" as one of the largest and most iconic sports venues in the world with an ideal location in terms of weather and proximity to America's entertainment capital. It remained in regular rotation until the '90s when the NFL decided it would be better to keep the Super Bowl an in-house project.
    • Last Super Bowl to finish in daylight. Earliest Super Bowl in the calendar year (the NFL had experimented with moving the season up to avoid playoff games on Christmas Day).
    • Only Super Bowl to not include the National Anthem in the pre-show.
    • There would be no happy ending for the Vikings: For the fourth time, Minnesota was completely shut out of scoring in the first half. The Vikings' inability to score reached new heights of ridiculousness when they successfully blocked a punt from future Hall of Famer Ray Guy early on and recovered three yards from the end zone only to fumble it right back to Oakland two plays later. Meanwhile, despite a missed field goal in the first quarter, the Raiders ran up the score in the second, securing a field goal and two touchdowns, with kicker Errol Mann missing the second PAT to leave the score 16-0 at the half.
    • The halftime show featured the L.A. Unified School District's All-City marching band backing up a truly Tastes Like Diabetes performance by the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club- no, not the versions from the '50s or the '90s that produced all the famous kid stars, but the short-lived '70s iteration full of kids barely anyone heard from again. This alone made the show immediately dated; the fact that it featured not one but two performances of "It's a Small World", the second featuring a bunch of people dressed up in ethnic costumes, made it even more so. On a more positive note, it also featured the first crowd stunt in halftime show history, with the audience being given colored cards to hold up on cue.
    • The Raiders scored another field goal in the third quarter, but a lucky penalty gave Minnesota the chance to get back in the game, with Tarkenton throwing his first TD pass and leaving the score 19-7 entering the fourth... only for Tarkenton to then throw a costly interception, which set up Stabler to throw a 48-yard pass to Biletnikoff and Banaszak to then score his second TD of the day. Now down by three scores with less than eight minutes left, the Vikings' loss was basically a Foregone Conclusion.
    • Forced to pass, Tarkenton was picked off a second time by Willie Brown, who ran the ball back 75 yards for a TD and a long-standing record for Super Bowl returns (Mann missed the PAT again). NFL Films captured the perfect angle of "Old Man Willie"'s long run back; it remains one of the most enduring images from this era of football.
      • Grant benched Tarkenton after this for backup Bob Lee, who put up a commendable last minute effort on paper, completing 7-of-9 passes for a touchdown and a better passer rating than Stabler. In reality, of course, Lee was throwing against a defense that had already won the game; the Raiders ran out the clock after that.
    • The first post-merger Super Bowl to be won by a charter AFL franchise, and a major victory for the irascible former AFL commissioner Al Davis. The Raiders had dominated all aspects of the game outside of some flubs on kicking and punting; they committed no turnovers, put up nearly four times as many rushing yards as the Vikings, and kept command of the score the whole game.
    • Biletnikoff caught four passes for 79 yards and zero TDs but was still awarded game MVP with easily the lowest numbers of any receiver to win the award. Many have questioned this choice, pointing to Stabler, Brown, RB Clarence Davis (who led the team with 137 rushing yards), or TE David Casper (who also caught four passes, one of them a TD, for 70 yards). However, Biletnikoff had the longest catch of the game, and three of his four came just short of the end zone and set up a touchdown the very next play.
    • This was Madden's only championship as Raiders head coach, as he would retire in two years to enter broadcasting and branding video games. The Raiders remained strong under his successor, Tom Flores, and returned to and won two more Super Bowls in the next decade.
    • The final appearance of the Vikings in a Super Bowl. Though the team remained competitive for another year before losing in the next NFC Championship game, Grant, Tarkenton, and the Purple People Eaters had expended their chances to win a Lombardi. The team's luck in subsequent decades has been even worse, as they've posted the fourth-longest active Super Bowl appearance drought, longer than than any team save the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns (who have never appeared in one) and the New York Jets (who were one-and-done in III). The generally poor regular season records of these teams in the Super Bowl era helps to explain their droughts; the Vikings, on the other hand, have consistently performed right up with some of the most-titled teams in the NFL, only to always fail to complete the mission come January.
  • XII — January 15, 1978 / Louisiana Superdome (now Mercedes-Benz Superdome), New Orleans, Louisiana / Dallas Cowboys def. Denver Broncos, 27-10
    MVP: Randy White and Harvey Martin, DE and DT
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Pat Summerall, Tom Brookshier)
    National Anthem: Phyllis Kelly of Northeast Louisiana Universitynote 
    Coin Toss: Red Grange, Hall of Fame RB
    Halftime: Tyler Junior College Apache Belles, Pete Fountain, and Al Hirt
    • Often considered one of the worst Super Bowls ever, being both a very one-sided affair and a fairly poor showing from both teams on offense, which played a role in the league altering its rules the following season to penalize more defensive plays and quicken the pace of the game.
      • The Denver Broncos had been the worst franchise in the AFL and historically one of the worst in the NFL, going their first 14 years without a winning season and having never previously made the playoffs. In 1977, however, the team put up a conference-leading 12-2 record (the best in franchise history) under a brand-new head coach, Red Miller, and starting QB, Craig Morton. Morton had lost the starting position to Roger Staubach in Dallas years ago and had played poorly for the Giants for several seasons, only to bounce back as a steady-handed game manager in Denver and win Comeback Player of the Year. The exuberant Miller won Coach of the Year. Receiver Rick Upchurch put up over 600 punt return yards, far outstripping his competition on special teams. However, the real star of Denver's season had been their dominant Orange Crush defense, the best run defense in the league and third best overallnote . The Broncos' Cinderella season had continued through the playoffs as they defeated the last two Super Bowl winners, the Steelers and Raiders.
      • Despite the excitement around Denver and both teams being the #1 seeds in their respective conferences, Tom Landry's Cowboys entered their fourth Super Bowl as six-point favorites. Their offense had been second in the league, with Roger Staubach still under center and rookie Heisman-winner RB Tony Dorsett winning Offensive Rookie of the Year after dominating the back half of the season. The Doomsday II Defense had been #2 against the pass and #3 against the run, with DE Harvey Martin posting an unofficial record 23 sacks on the season and winning Defensive Player of the Year. The #1 seed Cowboys bested Chicago and Minnesota in the playoffs.
    • First Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season game, with Dallas defeating Denver in the final week of the season with a final score of 14-6; with both teams already having clinched their playoff spots, the starters didn't see much play in that first match.
    • First Super Bowl scheduled to air in prime time. This, combined with the massive popularity of the Cowboys, led to a huge spike in audience (nearly 79 million, up close to 17 million from last year) despite having the lowest share of active viewers of any prior Super Bowl due to greater competition.
    • First Super Bowl to be played indoors, being set in the Superdome, which (appropriately given the name) would eventually become the most-used Super Bowl venue.
    • The game was expected to be a defensive showdown going in; not only were both teams feared for their defenses, 1977 overall had been the lowest scoring season in decades. It certainly was no fun for the quarterbacks: while Staubach passed efficiently and threw no interceptions,note  he was sacked five times, four in the first half. The Broncos' QBs were sacked four times. Quarterbacks plural, you ask? Well...
    • Morton was the only starting QB to lead two different franchises to their first Super Bowl. This is pretty much the only positive Super Bowl-related thing attached to his resume; his terrible performance in V had been a major reason for Dallas' loss, and he managed to somehow perform even worse for Denver. He completed only 4 of his 15 passes before being benched in the third quarter, and only one of those resulted in positive yards. He completed as many passes to the other team in the first half as he did to his own, resulting in a 0.0 passer rating. That grade's rare enough as it is, but it's almost inconceivable from a QB that led their team to the postseason; to date, it remains the worst passer rating in Super Bowl history. If there had been any doubt remaining about who should have won the Cowboys' old QB competition, this game completely erased it.
    • Morton's play was just the tip of the iceberg for this game's messiness, especially in the first half:
      • Nobody on offense seemed able to handle the ball, with ten total fumbles. The Cowboys fumbled six times, five of them in the first half (including on their very fist play). They recovered all but two. The Broncos, on the other hand, lost all four of their fumbles to a Dallas defense that was playing out of its mind, bringing Denver's total turnover tally to eight to Dallas' two. Between Morton's interceptions and the rest of the team's fumbles, six of Denver's first eight possessions ended with turnovers. In almost every case, this would result in the game being a Foregone Conclusion well before halftime. However...
      • Dallas' special teams were in total disarray. After they nearly avoided surrendering a muffed punt early in the game, kicker Efren Herrera missed three straight field goals in the second quarter, which was the main reason the final score was even somewhat close. NFL and TV execs were probably glad for that, as it gave viewers a reason to keep watching the mess after halftime; had he made them, the Broncos would have been down 22-0 rather than than 13-0 at the half after they had already given up a touchdown and two field goals.
      • Unsurprisingly, both teams' play was pretty undisciplined in other ways: the refs set the record for most penalties in a Super Bowl at 20 and the most dealt to a single team (the Cowboys) at 12. These records have been tied, but never surpassed.
    • The Broncos converted the opening drive in the second half into points with a fairly impressive 47-yard field goal. However, Staubach proceeded to twist the knife by throwing a 45-yard pass that Butch Johnson caught with his fingertips while diving into the end zone.
    • On the Broncos' next possession, Upchurch pulled off some of his usual magic, running a punt back for a then-Super Bowl record 67 yards. Morton nearly threw another interception on the next play, which resulted in him being benched for backup Norris Weese; Denver ran in the ball for their only touchdown, bringing the score up 20-10.
    • Entering the fourth quarter, the Broncos had another Hope Spot after strip sacking Staubach and recovering the ball. Doomsday II held firm, however, and later returned the favor with a strip sack of their own. On the very next play, Dallas sealed the game with a flashy trick play; Staubach pitched the ball to fullback Robert Newhouse, who threw a 29-yard TD pass, becoming the first running back and first Black player to throw a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
    • First and only time that two players were awarded MVP, and the only time that a defensive tackle (Randy White) has been given the honor. The voters had actually pushed to give MVP to the entire Doomsday II defense, but the NFL told them they had to keep it down to two; they elected to give it to the players who sacked the Denver QBs rather than those that intercepted their passes.
    • In fitting with their performance here, this Broncos roster turned out to be one of the most forgettable in Super Bowl history. While they stayed a playoff team for a few more years, almost the entire roster would be gone by the time the franchise returned to the Big Game nearly a decade later. Despite his terrible performance in this game, Morton mostly bounced back and remained starter until 1982, actually outlasting Staubach. Despite his immediate success as head coach and never posting a losing record, Red Miller would be fired in just three seasons after a change in team ownership and never coached in the NFL again. Ultimately, no players from this Broncos unit made it to the Hall of Fame, making them currently the first team in Super Bowl history with that distinction.
      • With this loss, many fans have observed the Broncos picked up the Curse from last year's Super Bowl loser; like the Vikings, the Broncos would also lose their first four Super Bowls in humiliating fashion.
    • The Cowboys, on the other hand, mostly stuck together and kept their momentum going into another Super Bowl appearance the following year.
  • XIII — January 21, 1979 — Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida / Pittsburgh Steelers def. Dallas Cowboys, 35-31
    MVP: Terry Bradshaw, QB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Curt Gowdy, John Brodie, Merlin Olsen)
    National Anthem: The Colgate Thirteen
    Coin Toss: George Halas, Hall of Fame founder and coach of the Chicago Bears
    Halftime: Various Caribbean bands
    • Ranked the #17 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the ninth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list. Between Pittsburgh and Dallas, 15 players in this game went on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There were 21 Hall-of-Famers in all counting both head coaches, Steelers owner Art Rooney, both team presidents, and an assistant coach, making it potentially the most star-studded Super Bowl in league history.
    • First Super Bowl to be a rematch of a previous Super Bowl (the Cowboys and Steelers previously faced one another at Super Bowl X) and the second to pit two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks against each other, let alone QBs who had both won two. Despite that exciting premise driving up the audience share from the last year, ratings and viewership actually declined around four million from XII, with an audience of around 74.74 million.note 
    • First Super Bowl played in the 16-game season era. This was accompanied by a new playoff format: a 10-team tournament with four wild-card teams, which faced off against each other first in a "play-in" phase. Both Dallas and Pittsburgh were competing to be the first team to win three Super Bowls.
      • Pittsburgh were narrow 3.5-point favorites to win. Coach Chuck Noll's Steel Curtain was once again the league's #1 defense, even despite the league altering its rules to open up the passing game (one rule forbidding contact with receivers downfield became known as the "Mel Blount rule" after the feared Steelers corner). Ironically, this only wound up helping their offense; QB Terry Bradshaw led the league in TD passes and was named MVP. The Steelers ultimately posted the best record in the league (14-2) and had cruised through the playoffs, delivering decisive defeats to the Broncos and Oilers.
      • Coming of their victory in XII, Dallas became the first franchise to appear in five Super Bowls. QB Roger Staubach, now a veteran of four Super Bowls as an active player, was the highest rated passer in the league leading the NFL's #1 offense. Coach Tom Landry's Doomsday II defense remained dominant and led the whole league against the run. After a slow start, the Cowboys shook off their Super Bowl hangover, finishing with a 12-4 record, good for the #2 seed. After narrowly avoiding a massive upset loss to the Falcons that benched Staubach with a concussion, they recovered exceptionally well in the NFC Championship and shut out the #1 seed Rams 28-0. LB Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson's boasting during and after this game (most famously mocking Bradshaw's intelligence by saying he "couldn't spell 'cat' if you spotted him the c and the t") elevated him to national celebrity status and became a mostly unwelcome media distraction for the reserved Landry.
    • Final of seven Super Bowl broadcasts for Curt Gowdy; first of five for Merlin Olsen (and first of one for John Brodie).
    • Fifth and final Super Bowl played at the Orange Bowl; it would hold the record for most Super Bowls exclusively until 1993 and wouldn't be passed by the Superdome until 2002.
    • The National Anthem was delivered by an A Cappella group.
    • NFL and Chicago Bears founder George Halas drove onto the field in a 1920s automobile for the coin toss, celebrating the league's upcoming 60th anniversary.
    • The score stayed close throughout the first half of one of the more thrilling and high-scoring games in Super Bowl history:
      • A first quarter TD pass from Bradshaw to John Stallworth gave Pittsburgh an early lead. Just like in X, after not surrendering a first quarter touchdown the whole season, the Steel Curtain parted and allowed the Cowboys to break their streak; Staubach threw a 39-yard TD pass as the quarter expired, tying the score.
      • Early in the second quarter, Henderson assisted fellow LB Mike Hegman in strip sacking Bradshaw. Hegman returned the ball 37-yards for a touchdown, giving Dallas the lead. This was Bradshaw's third straight turnover following an interception (his first in a Super Bowl) and another strip sack in the first quarter, seemingly confirming Henderson's prior insults. However, Dallas' lead didn't even last two minutes before Bradshaw threw a pass to Stallworth, who broke a tackle and evaded numerous defenders on the way to a 75-yard touchdown, re-tying the score. The Steelers would not commit another turnover or fall behind in points for the rest of the game.
      • After a field goal attempt from Pittsburgh bounced off an upright, Dallas attempted to regain the lead at the half. However, an interception from Blount set Bradshaw up to lead another drive and throw his third TD pass of the day, leaving the score 21-14 at the half.
    • Cowboys' fans best remember this game for backup tight end Jackie Smith (a veteran who had just come out of retirement after a 15-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals) dropping a potentially game-tying touchdown late in the third quarter. Dallas had to settle for a field goal that narrowed the score to 21-17; a different outcome on this play could have resulted in the game going into overtime.
    • Just like in X, the final quarter is where things got real interesting:
      • A number of controversial calls and actions by the officials fell in the Steelers' favor early in the quarter. First, a questionable pass interference penalty allowed the Steelers to advance after a third down incompletion. Three plays later, Henderson sacked Bradshaw after the officials had called a delay-of-game penalty on Pittsburgh. While there was nothing particularly challengeable on this call, Henderson's subsequent confrontation with the refs over "undoing" his sack led many to question whether it was an accident when, on the next play, umpire Art Demmas got tangled up in the fray and impeded Cowboys safety Charlie Waters' attempt to tackle Steelers RB Franco Harris as he ran in a 22-yard TD. By the end of the game, the Cowboys had been penalized for more than twice as many yards as the Steelers; where one falls on the debate over whether this was warranted typically depends on your team.
      • On the subsequent kickoff, Dallas DT Randy White (playing with a broken hand in a cast) fumbled an unintended squib kick and allowed Pittsburgh to claim possession. On the very next play, Bradshaw threw his fourth TD pass, setting the score at 35-17 with less than seven minutes to go. With the Cowboys now three possessions behind, the game was essentially sealed up...
      • ...but nobody told the Cowboys that. Dallas put forth a truly heroic effort as all parts of their productive offense efficiently moved the ball as the clock wound down. Staubach was able to throw two TD passes in the last minutes of the game thanks to a successful offside kick attempt (much to the despair of Vegas, as it brought the score right to the money line and cost the sportsbooks many of their wagers). A second offside kick with 22 seconds remaining was unsuccessful, however, and Pittsburgh claimed their third Lombardi Trophy.
    • After the game, Bradshaw asked Henderson (via the reporters) whether he could spell "MVP", accepting the game award for the first time after setting then-Super Bowl records for passing yards and touchdown passes.
    • This was Staubach, Landry, and all of the "America's Team" Cowboys' final Super Bowl. Staubach retired after the following season, still near the peak of his skills but worn down by all of the concussions he had sustained. Landry's team remained strong, coming one game short of a return to the Super Bowl three times in the next four years, but his two decades of success finally came to a close by the mid-'80s, after which new owner Jerry Jones would clean house to make way for a new dynasty.
    • Pittsburgh's dynasty was not yet done; they ran it back next year for one more effort to extend their lead in Super Bowl titles.
  • XIV — January 20, 1980 / Rose Bowl, Pasadena (Los Angeles), California / Pittsburgh Steelers def. Los Angeles Rams, 31-19
    MVP: Terry Bradshaw, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Pat Summerall, Tom Brookshier)
    National Anthem: Cheryl Ladd
    Coin Toss: Art Rooney, Hall of Fame owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers
    Halftime: Tribute to the Big Band era, by Up with People.
    • Ranked the #92 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary.
    • The first Super Bowl under the seeding system in which neither #1 seeded team reached the game.note  Also the first Super Bowl between two teams established before 1960 (the Steelers were established in 1933, followed by the Rams in 1936).
    • Though their defense was no longer best in the league, the defending champion Steelers were overall as dominant as they had been all decade and boasted the best offense in the league (though Terry Bradshaw's interception issue had become more of a problem, which contributed to the team also leading the league in turnovers). They went 12-4 and easily cruised past the Dolphins and Oilers in the playoffs. They likely would have been favorites in any matchup, but they were 10.5-point favorites to win this game, the most lopsided spread since the merger: most of the media didn't believe their opponents deserved to even share the same field.
    • The Rams' first appearance in the Big Game was a long time coming; they had played in four of the last five NFC Championships and lost each one. Their appearance in this game was seen as a minor miracle: they were the first (and for three decades only) team with less than 10 wins in the regular season (9-7) to reach the Super Bowl. With this appearance, they became the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home market (with the Rose Bowl located 12 miles from the Rams' then-home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum).note  The Rams' season was even more of a Cinderella story than their record implies, as the franchise faced more obstacles in this season than most teams ever have to:
      • Prior to the season, popular team owner Carroll Rosenbloom died in a mysterious drowning accident, leading to a Succession Crisis between his wife, Georgia Frontiere, and his son from a previous marriage, Steve. Frontiere, his named heir, eventually won out the power struggle, becoming the only active woman owner in the NFL at the time; unsurprisingly, she was faced with intense criticism from many parts of the media, especially when she announced the team would be moving out of L.A. to Anaheim the following season (a deal made by Carroll).
      • On the field, the Rams' issues were even worse. The team was plagued with injuries, including to their starting QB Pat Haden, who was benched for first-time starter Vince Ferragamo, who would become easily the most inexperienced Super Bowl starting QB to that point. Their offense and defense were both middle-of-the-pack, their total point differential was only +14 (though their defense did hold the Seahawks to a league-record -7 net yards in one memorable shutout), and their roster had no future Hall of Famers save for DE Jack Youngblood and OT Jackie Slater.
      • In the playoffs, the Rams delivered a massive upset to the #1 seed Cowboys in what turned out to be Roger Staubach's final game; however, Youngblood broke his leg, and though he continued to play through it, their most potent weapon was severely weakened. Their victory in the NFC Championship was a defensive battle in which they scored no touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which were making their first franchise playoff run two years removed from being arguably the worst team in NFL history. With so much against them and with the Steelers so dominant, an easy Pittsburgh victory seemed assured.
    • Tom Brookshier's last Super Bowl as a commentator; CBS was so pleased with the performance of the recently-retired John Madden in the pre-game that they moved him to join Summerall in the booth the following season, paving the way for likely the most beloved broadcast duo in NFL history.
    • Possibly because of the lopsided odds, ratings and market share were again down slightly from last year, though the total audience (around 76 million) was an improvement. Additionally, the game holds the Super Bowl record for in-person attendance: 103,985 people packed the massive Rose Bowl to the gills.
    • Despite the final score just edging over the money line, this game turned out to be far from a blowout; in fact, it was one of the closest in Super Bowl history. The lead changed a still-Super Bowl record seven times (it had never changed more than three before). It was also one of the best played championships: for the first time ever, no one fumbled the ball in the Big Game.
    • The first quarter set the tempo for most of the game. After the Steelers scored a field goal on their first possession, the Rams responded with a touchdown drive that featured both the longest run the Steel Curtain had allowed all season and the first rushing TD they had permitted in a Super Bowl. The Steelers immediately responded with a scoring drive of their own, ending with a Franco Harris TD in the second quarter. However, an interception from Bradshaw kept Pittsburgh from scoring again in the half while L.A. scored two field goals, leaving the favored team down 13-10 at the half.
    • Another Tastes Like Diabetes cheese-fest halftime show from Up with People, this a tribute to the "Big Band" era featuring a conga line and an assurance from the announcer that "Whatever the hits of the '80s will be, those great songs of the swing era will keep coming back!" It's good for a laugh.
    • After getting roasted by coaches in the locker room at the half, the Steelers came back dangerous, scoring a touchdown in four plays off of an impressive 47-yard pass from Bradshaw and an equally impressive leaping catch from Lynn Swann, giving them back the lead. L.A. then humiliated Pittsburgh on the subsequent drive. Ferragamo threw a 50-yard pass, and on the very next play, RB Lawrence McCutcheon threw a 24-yard TD on a trick play (though L.A. missed the PAT). The Rams intercepted Bradshaw twice in the rest of the quarter and knocked Swann out of the game, leaving them seemingly in control and leading 19-17 entering the fourth...
    • ...only for Bradshaw to then throw a 73-yard TD pass to John Stallworth, retaking the lead. Ferragamo was intercepted for the Rams' only turnover on the next drive. Another massive pass to Stallworth and a costly pass-interference penalty set up Harris' second TD run with under two minutes left, putting the game away for Pittsburgh.
    • The Steelers extend their lead in Super Bowls to four; it took another decade for a team to tie their record and fifteen years for it to be surpassed. Chuck Noll would remain the only head coach to win four Lombardis until Bill Belichick surpassed him in the 2010s; Bradshaw would be the only QB with four until Joe Montana tied him in the next decade and Tom Brady eventually surpassed them both. They do remain the only franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice, and the "four titles in six years" dynastic run is still the most dominant in NFL history. This also was the last championship team comprised solely of "homegrown" players initially drafted or signed by the organization that never played for another franchise.
    • Despite throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, Bradshaw became the first player since Bart Starr to win Super Bowl MVP twice. He set a still-standing Super Bowl record for yards per pass attempt (14.7 yards), which is almost as impressive as Stallworth's also-record efficiency numbers from this game: he posted a game-leading 121 yards and a touchdown off of just three catches, averaging 40.3 yards a catch.
      • The Steel Curtain pulled their weight with four sacks to Ferragamo that helped to stall out drives (though they also lucked out from multiple dropped catches in the end zone from Rams receivers).
      • Other unsung heroes of the Steelers' win: their o-line, which didn't allow a single sack all game, and kick returner Larry Anderson, who quietly doubled L.A.'s kick return yards on fewer attempts and helped set up several drives.
    • The Rams generally remained consistent playoff competitors for the next decade but once again regressed back to always coming up short of the Super Bowl. However, most of the Rams' biggest names from this game would soon be out of the picture, and it would take another twenty years (and a move to St. Louis) for the franchise to return to—and finally win—the Big Game.
      • Despite potentially being just one interception away from pulling off a massive upset, Ferragamo remains one of the more obscure passers to start in a Super Bowl. He had a solid performance as the Rams starter the following year before leaving the NFL after the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL offered him a massive contract; he performed terribly in the Canadian game, came crawling back to the Rams after a year, and put up one more decent season as the starter before fading back into obscurity.
      • Rams head coach Ray Malavasi is likewise one of the more obscure Super Bowl coaches; the second-year coach would be out of the NFL in three years after posting two losing seasons. He hopped around a few other leagues before dying of a sudden heart attack in 1987 at age 57.
      • In 1986, Georgia Frontiere's seventh and final husband, film composer Dominic Frontiere, spent time in jail for having scalped 1,000 tickets for this game at much higher prices. Georgia pled ignorance of this, divorced Dominic afterwards, and never remarried.
    • As the NFL entered the '80s, this was the End of an Age for the Steel Curtain dynasty that had so dominated the '70s, as its key players started to retire in subsequent years. Noll remained the team's head coach for another twelve years, but despite reaching one more AFC Championship a few years later, the four-time Super Bowl winner rarely took his team more than one game above or below .500 for the rest of his tenure. The Steelers would not return to Super Bowl contention until the '90s and did not bring more titles to Pittsburgh until the 2000s.
    • One last note: While the famous "Hey Kid, Catch" Coca-Cola ad starring Mean Joe Greene did air during this Super Bowl, this most famous of "Super Bowl ads" had been airing on TV since October.
  • XV — January 25, 1981 / Louisiana Superdome (now Mercedes-Benz Superdome), New Orleans, Louisiana / Oakland Raiders def. Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10
    MVP: Jim Plunkett, QB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Dick Enberg, Merlin Olsen)
    National Anthem: Helen O'Connell
    Coin Toss: Marie Lombardi, widow of Vince Lombardi, legendary Green Bay Packers coach
    Halftime: Mardi Gras presentation by Jim Skinner Productions and the Southern University Marching Band
    • Since their last Championship victory two decades prior, the Eagles had endured a 17-year playoff drought before coach Dick Vermeil brought them back to playoff contention in 1978. In 1980, the team led the league in scoring and posted a 12-4 record with the help of the league's #1 defense and QB Ron Jaworski posting the best season of his career and his sole Pro Bowl selection. The #2 seed Iggles handily bested the Vikings before beating their division rivals, the Cowboys, in the NFC Championship. They were narrowly favored by three entering the game.
    • That said, all eyes were on Oakland before, during, and after the Super Bowl, for a few reasons:
      • First and most importantly, the Raiders—specifically owner Al Davis—had been at war with the NFL all season. Following a long dispute over improvements to the Oakland Coliseum, Davis had declared his intention to move the team to Los Angeles. After the league's other owners refused to approve the move, a flurry of antitrust lawsuits and countersuits between the Raiders, the NFL, and the cities and venues of Oakland and Los Angeles ensued, and Oakland's loyal fans staged numerous organized protests over the loss of their team. The notoriously outspoken Davis had not minced words about his feelings towards the rest of the league, and the idea of Commissioner Pete Rozelle having to congratulate Davis and hand him the Lombardi Trophy if his team won had football fans on the edge of their seats.
      • Their play on the field was just as exciting. The Raiders had an okay offense and a middling defense that season, but they sported a number of exciting stars, including Defensive Player of the Year CB Lester Hayes. Their most notable on-field storyline all season had been at quarterback. The team had traded away their aging starter Ken Stabler the previous offseason for the Oilers' QB, Dan Pastorini, only for him to break his leg early in the year. His backup was Jim Plunkett, the #1 pick of the 1971 Draft who had been a huge bust for the Patriots and had bounced around the league before landing on Oakland's bench. After initially playing terribly, Plunkett managed to get things together and led the Raiders to an 11-5 record and a wild-card berth, earning Comeback Player of the Year.
      • After an easy victory over the Oilers in the Wild Card game, their faceoff against a resurgent Browns went Down to the Last Play. Down two points and well within field goal range, the Browns opted to attempt a touchdown pass (the infamous "Red Right 88") that was intercepted in the end zone. After narrowly avoiding elimination, the Raiders proceeded to upset the #1 seed Chargers in the AFC Championship.
    • Second Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest; however, whereas Philadelphia won the regular season matchup in Week 12 10-7, Oakland won the Super Bowl.
    • First of eight Super Bowls announced by Dick Enberg. ("Oh my!") Audience was down to around 68.29 million, the lowest since the last time the Raiders had played (and Pittsburgh or Dallas hadn't); its 63% market share was likewise the lowest numbers seen by the Big Game to that point.
    • In celebration of the 52 American hostages being released from Iran five days earlier, this game had Patriotic Fervor coming out of its pores. The Superdome was decorated with a giant yellow bow, while yellow stripes were placed on the bottom of both teams' helmets.
    • The script of this episode was essentially written after Jaworski's first pass was intercepted by LB Rod Martin. Martin intercepted Jaworski thrice, a Super Bowl record. Jaworski committed four total turnovers, also surrendering a fumble; the Raiders did not commit any.
    • The Raiders matched the Dolphins' Super Bowl VIII feat of early game dominance, putting up 14 unanswered points in the first quarter off of two touchdown passes from Plunkett (the second a then-Super Bowl record 80-yard pass). Jaworski threw a touchdown pass that was nullified by a penalty to the team's sole future Hall of Famer, WR Harold Carmichael.
    • The second quarter gave the Eagles slim hope as they got points on the board with a field goal and the Raiders missed their own. However, Jaworski overthrew some key passes and their attempt at a field goal before the half was blocked by Raiders LB Ted Hendricks, leaving the score 14-3.
    • After another cheesy Up With People performance, the Raiders immediately launched into another successful TD drive; after another interception, they scored a field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Eagles finally scored a touchdown, but the Raiders responded with one last field goal. Down three possessions with eight minutes left, the Eagles were basically done already, and Jaworski's last two turnovers ensured the Raiders could run out the clock.
    • Despite Martin's dominant defensive performance, the Super Bowl MVP went to Plunkett. The first Latino/Native American player to win the award, his then-Super Bowl record performance in passer rating termsnote  capped off his remarkable comeback year. It was certainly a finer showing than Jaworski's, who set his own record for most pass attempts in the Big Game but couldn't make anything productive from themnote .
    • The Oakland Raiders become the first wild-card team to win the Super Bowl. Their second-year coach Tom Flores becomes the first minority head coach to win one and first to win as a player and a coach (he was a backup QB for the Chiefs in IV).
    • Davis behaved himself just fine accepting the trophy from Rozelle. It still didn't prevent him from ditching Oakland for Los Angeles two seasons later. In perhaps a bit of Laser-Guided Karma, the Raiders slumped noticeably in their final season in Oakland. Plunkett regressed hard, leading to their offense being shut out in three straight games and the team posting their first losing record since Davis had been the coach in 1964. Both Plunkett and the Raiders quickly bounced back upon reaching their new home in L.A. and returned to the Super Bowl in a few years time.
    • Unfortunately for the Eagles and their die-hard fanbase, just reaching this game only to get beaten pretty soundly remained a franchise high point for several decades. They'd fall out of playoff contention for a few years after the next season, and while they'd be generally strong in the Randall Cunningham-era of the late '80s and early '90s, they wouldn't become a major league power until the 21st century. Dick Vermeil would get another shot at a Lombardi, but it would be with another team.

    Super Bowls XVI to XX
  • XVI — January 24, 1982 — Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (Detroit), Michigan / San Francisco 49ers def. Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21
    MVP: Joe Montana, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Pat Summerall, John Madden)
    National Anthem: Diana Ross
    Coin Toss: Bobby Layne, Hall of Famer
    Halftime: Tribute to the music of The '60s and Motown, by Up with People
    • The highest rated Super Bowl ever, with 49.1% of all American households with a TV viewing the broadcast on CBS. This was the third highest rated TV broadcast ever at the time, behind only the "Who Done It" episode of Dallas and the finale of Roots. Since then, only the current record-holder, the finale of M*A*S*H, has surpassed this game's ratings (though plenty of subsequent Super Bowls have surpassed it in total audience due to population growth).
    • First of eleven Super Bowls featuring John Madden's iconic color commentary. Also the first NFL game ever to feature the telestrator, which soon became one of Madden's favorite toys.
    • The first Super Bowl played in a cold-weather city (albeit in a domed stadium).
    • Third Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest, with San Francisco edging Cincinnati in Week 14, 21-3.
    • First Super Bowl to feature a team founded in the Super Bowl era; the Bengals started play in the AFL in 1968, after Super Bowl II.
  • XVII — January 30, 1983 — Rose Bowl, Pasadena (Los Angeles), California / Washington Redskins def. Miami Dolphins, 27-17
    MVP: John Riggins, RB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Dick Enberg, Merlin Olsen)
    National Anthem: Leslie Easterbrook
    Coin Toss: Elroy Hirsch, Hall of Fame end for the L.A. Rams
    Halftime: Los Angeles Super Drill Team and Bob Jani Productions
    • Ranked the #73 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary.
    • A fictionalized version of this Super Bowl provided the basis for the plot of Ace Ventura, where fictitious Miami kicker Ray Finkle wanted revenge against Dan Marino (who, in real life, joined the Dolphins the following season) for a failed field goal attempt that cost Miami a win.
    • First rematch Super Bowl in which the previously defeated team avenged themselves (the Dolphins originally defeated Washington at Super Bowl VII).
  • XVIII — January 22, 1984 — Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida / Los Angeles Raiders def. Washington Redskins, 38-9
    MVP: Marcus Allen, RB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Pat Summerall, John Madden)
    National Anthem: Barry Manilow
    Coin Toss: Bronko Nagurski, Hall of Fame RB
    Halftime: Tribute to film actors by the University of Florida and Florida State University marching bands.
    • From Super Bowl XVI to Super Bowl XXXI, the NFC team won 15 out of 16 Super Bowls. This is the one exception.
    • Probably best known among non-sports fans as the Super Bowl where Apple's famous "1984" commercial, hyping the Macintosh computer, was broadcast for the first and only time.
    • The third matchup between two starting quarterbacks who had previously won a Super Bowl.
    • Fourth Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest; however, whereas Washington won the regular season matchup in Week 5, 37-35, Los Angeles won the Super Bowl.
  • XIX — January 20, 1985 / Stanford Stadium, Stanford (San Francisco Bay Area), California / San Francisco 49ers def. Miami Dolphins, 38-16
    MVP: Joe Montana, QB
    Network/Announcers: ABC (Frank Gifford, Don Meredith, Joe Theismann)
    National Anthem: San Francisco Boys Chorus, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Piedmont Children's Chorus, and San Francisco Children's Chorus
    Coin Toss: President Ronald Reagan (via satellite) and Hugh McElhenny, Hall of Fame RB
    Halftime: Tops In Blue (United States Air Force artists)
    • First Super Bowl televised by ABC, resulting in a very strange broadcasting situation. Frank Gifford and Don Meredith returned to the Super Bowl announcing booth for the first time in many years (for Gifford, since Super Bowl I). For the first time since Super Bowl II, the network also scooped up an active player, Washington QB Joe Theismann, just a few weeks after his team had been eliminated from playing in the Super Bowl for a third year in a row. While the idea of two charismatic former players pairing with an active one fresh from a Super Bowl victory and defeat who had recently played both competing teams sounds like a fun/interesting idea on paper, in practice it turned out to be a mess; neither Meredith nor Theismann would announce another Super Bowl, and Gifford was relegated to color commentary.
      • This hosting arrangement turned out to be Harsher in Hindsight when, later that year, Theismann's career was cut short during a Monday Night Football match hosted by Gifford, who had to offer his commentary on his former co-host's gruesome leg injury—another reason this experiment hasn't been repeated.
    • Dolphins QB Dan Marino's lone Super Bowl appearance, arguably the best quarterback never to win one. He is also the youngest quarterback (23 years, 4 months, 5 days) to start a Super Bowl.
    • The 49ers became the second team to play in the Super Bowl within their designated home market and the first to win. Stanford Stadium was about 25 miles south of now-demolished Candlestick Park, where the 49ers played at the time.
    • This loss effectively broke both the Dolphins organization, who have still yet to return to the Super Bowl, and the entire American Football Conference; starting with this win, the NFC's representative would win 13 straight Super Bowls.
  • XX — January 26, 1986 / Louisiana Superdome (now Mercedes-Benz Superdome), New Orleans, Louisiana / Chicago Bears def. New England Patriots, 46-10
    MVP: Richard Dent, DE
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Dick Enberg, Merlin Olsen, Bob Griese)
    National Anthem: Wynton Marsalis
    Coin Toss: Bart Starr, Hall of Fame QB and MVP of the first two Super Bowls, on behalf of all MVPs from the last two decades
    Halftime: Up with People
    • Oh, those Bears and their Super Bowl Shuffle.
    • To date, the last Super Bowl in which both teams were making their first appearance. As of 2020, the only teams without any Super Bowl appearances are the Detroit Lions (the only remaining NFC team), the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
    • Retired two-time Super Bowl-winning QB Bob Griese joined the Super Bowl broadcast booth for the only time.
    • The Patriots claim an early lead with a field goal, but then get buried by the Bears for 44 unanswered points. Patriots starter Tony Eason is switched out for Steve Grogan in the second half after Eason fails to make even a single completed pass, and the Patriots score one more touchdown in garbage time for a final tally of 46-10. At the time, this was the most lopsided outcome in a Super Bowl.
    • Of their eleven appearances in the big game as of 2020, this was the only time the Patriots got to the Super Bowl as a wild card team, wearing their original red-and-white "Pat Patriot" uniforms, and under the ownership of the Sullivan family.
    • Fifth Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest with Chicago beating New England in Week 2, 20-7.
    • Sadly, this game was soon overshadowed by the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion only two days later, which meant President Reagan had to cancel his meeting with the Super Bowl-winning Bears. In 2011, President Obama made up for it by inviting the surviving members of the '85 Bears, his hometown team.
    • Despite the strength of Ditka's Bears throughout most of the '80s and early '90s, this was this team's sole appearance in the Super Bowl. The storied franchise would revisit the Super Bowl again two decades later, but they still have yet to win another Lombardi.
    • The Patriots' success this entire season had been an anomaly in the team's mostly terrible history, and being destroyed by the Bears remained the highpoint of the franchise for another decade, something that's Hilarious in Hindsight considering the team's later success following its purchase by Robert Kraft.

    Super Bowls XXI to XXV
  • XXI — January 25, 1987 / Rose Bowl, Pasadena (Los Angeles), California / New York Giants def. Denver Broncos, 39-20
    MVP: Phil Simms, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Pat Summerall, John Madden)
    National Anthem: Neil Diamond
    Coin Toss: Willie Davis, Hall of Fame DE
    Halftime: Tribute to the centennial of Hollywood, narrated by George Burns and featuring Mickey Rooney and the Grambling State Marching Band
    • Sixth Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest with New York beating Denver in Week 12, 19-16.
    • Giants QB Phil Simms, an above-average QB that few outside of New York would put on a list of all-time greats, put up the best passing performance in Super Bowl history from a purely statistical standpoint. Simms completed 22 of his 25 passes, ten of them in a row, for a passer rating of 150.9—all Super Bowl records that still stand today—on the way to winning game MVP.
    • A very important Super Bowl for tropes: Dumping Gatorade on coaches and saying "I'm Going to Disney World!" both became a thing here.
    • Parcells and the Big Blue Wrecking Crew experienced one of the worst Super Bowl slumps ever in the 1987 season, losing their first five regular season games on the way to finishing last in their division and missing the playoffs. However, this was primarily due to the wider ripple effects of the 1987 player strike; they quickly bounced back to strength in subsequent seasons and won another Super Bowl in just a few years (though a Game-Breaking Injury during that season prevented Simms from returning to the Big Game).
    • Elway and Reeves' Broncos weren't done trying to win a Lombardi. They'd come back in two of the next three Super Bowls... for even worse blowouts.
  • XXII — January 31, 1988 / Jack Murphy Stadium (now SDCCU Stadium), San Diego, California / Washington Redskins def. Denver Broncos, 42-10
    MVP: Doug Williams, QB
    Network/Announcers: ABC (Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf)
    National Anthem: Herb Alpertnote 
    Coin Toss: Don Hutson, Hall of Fame end who pioneered the receiver position
    Halftime: Chubby Checker, with The Rockettes and the USC Marching Band
    • Ranked the #85 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary.
    • First of ten Super Bowls with Al Michaels in the broadcast booth, and first of three with Dan Dierdorf offering commentary.
    • Contrary to popular belief, no one asked Redskins QB Doug Williams, the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl, "So how long have you been a black quarterback?"
    • The first Super Bowl to see a team win after falling behind by a double-digit margin. The comeback was much more Curb-Stomp Battle than Miracle Rally. The Broncos led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Redskins outscored them 35-0 in the second quarter (not second half, second quarter) and cruised to the win.
    • Rookie RB Timmy Smith's 204 rushing yards remain the most recorded in a Super Bowl game. However, he is often described as a One-Hit Wonder; this performance was more yards than Smith had run in the entire preceding regular season, and Smith only played 15 more career games before he was out of the league by 1990.
  • XXIII — January 22, 1989 / Joe Robbie Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium), Miami (now Miami Gardens), Florida / San Francisco 49ers def. Cincinnati Bengals, 20-16
    MVP: Jerry Rice, WR
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Dick Enberg, Merlin Olsen)
    National Anthem: Billy Joel
    Coin Toss: Nick Buoniconti, Bob Griese, and Larry Little, Dolphins veterans
    Halftime: 3D imagery and South Florida dancers, led by Elvis Impersonator Alex Cole
    • Ranked the #19 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the tenth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • Last Super Bowl played in the Eastern time zone where the game started before dark.
    • Final game coached by 49er head coach Bill Walsh prior to his retirement.
    • Best remembered for Joe Montana leading the 49ers 92 yards down the field before throwing the winning touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left.
    • The Bengals regressed back to the bottom of the league's hierarchy after this game. Esiason took them to one more playoff victory in 1990; it would be the franchise's last for three decades and counting.
  • XXIV — January 28, 1990 / Louisiana Superdome (now Mercedes-Benz Superdome), New Orleans, Louisiana / San Francisco 49ers def. Denver Broncos, 55-10
    MVP: Joe Montana, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Pat Summerall, John Madden)
    National Anthem: Aaron Neville
    Coin Toss: Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Art Shell, and Willie Wood, recent Hall of Fame inductees
    Halftime: Tribute to New Orleans and the 40th anniversary of Peanuts by Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw, and Irma Thomas
    • After Bill Walsh's retirement following last year's victory, former defensive coordinator George Seifert took the reigns in San Francisco and led them right back to another win.
    • The first back-to-back Super Bowl victory since the Steel Curtain Steelers.
    • Reeves' Broncos capped off their run of being blown out in the Super Bowl by losing their third and final appearance by the largest margin in Super Bowl history. Now matching the Vikings' record of going 0-4 in the Big Game, the Broncos needed to regroup. They slumped hard to a losing record the next season, though Reeves held onto his job a few more years and took the team to one more AFC Championship appearance before being axed. Elway would not quit, however, and eventually redeemed himself and the franchise when they returned to the Super Bowl nearly a decade later.
  • XXV — January 27, 1991 / Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida / New York Giants def. Buffalo Bills, 20-19
    MVP: Ottis Anderson, RB
    Network/Announcers: ABC (Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf)
    National Anthem: Whitney Houston
    Coin Toss: Pete Rozelle, former NFL commissioner
    Halftime: New Kids on the Block
    • Ranked the #10 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the fifth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • Three words to sum up: Norwood Wide Right
    • A year after the game with the largest margin of victory to date, the Super Bowl is decided with the lowest margin of victory possible, one point. This remains the only one point margin of victory in Super Bowl history.
    • Also the first Super Bowl played entirely after dark, something that stayed the case in all subsequent Super Bowls played in the Eastern Time Zone.
    • Whitney Houston's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner", sung just a few weeks after the start of Operation: Desert Storm, was popular enough to be released as a single, resulting in the only time the national anthem made the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100; it remains the standard to which every anthem performance is held to this day and is viewed as a high point of the late artist's career.
    • After years of marching bands, multimedia presentations, and so much Up with People, New Kids on the Block become the first A-list headliner of a Super Bowl halftime show. However, they were not the sole focus of the show (which also featured the performances of Tampa-area children and Disney characters) and it was aired on tape delay after the game due to ABC News' Gulf War coverage at halftime.
    • Seventh Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest; however, whereas Buffalo won the regular season matchup in Week 15, 17-13, New York won the Super Bowl.
    • This was the first Super Bowl in which neither team committed a turnover.
    • The Giants' ball possession of 40 minutes and 33 seconds is the longest in Super Bowl history.
    • Though no one knew it at the time, especially with how close this game had been, the 0-4 Super Bowl Curse started by the Vikings had been passed on from the Broncos to the Bills; they would reach that record even more quickly and dramatically then their predecessors.

    Super Bowls XXVI to XXX
  • XXVI — January 26, 1992 / Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota / Washington Redskins def. Buffalo Bills, 37-24
    MVP: Mark Rypien, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Pat Summerall, John Madden)
    National Anthem: Harry Connick Jr.
    Coin Toss: Chuck Noll, Hall of Fame coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers
    Halftime: Gloria Estefan, with Olympic figure skaters Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill, in celebration of winter and the 1992 Winter Olympics, which took place just a couple of weeks after the game
    • Calgary-born Mark Rypien becomes the first Canadian to be named Super Bowl MVP.
    • NBC was supposed to broadcast this game, but the league allowed them to swap this Super Bowl with the next one with CBS, so that CBS could use it as a lead-in to their coverage of the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France a month later. This was the last Super Bowl televised by CBS until Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, as FOX jumped into the sports business, swooping up CBS's NFC package; FOX's deal began in 1994.
    • Speaking of FOX, they successfully countered the halftime show with a special episode of In Living Color!, giving this broadcast the lowest total market share and one of the lowest ratings of any Super Bowl. This forced future broadcasts to adapt to broaden their appeal, most notably by further upping their game with their halftime shows.
    • Joe Gibbs became the only head coach to win a Super Bowl with three different starting quarterbacks, including Joe Theissman (Super Bowl XVII), Doug Williams (Super Bowl XXII), and Mark Rypien.
  • XXVII — January 31, 1993 / Rose Bowl, Pasadena (Los Angeles), California / Dallas Cowboys def. Buffalo Bills, 52-17
    MVP: Troy Aikman, QB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Dick Enberg, Bob Trumpy)
    National Anthem: Garth Brooks
    Coin Toss: O.J. Simpson, Hall of Fame RB for the Bills
    Halftime: Michael Jackson
    • This game was originally slated to be played in Tempe, Arizona but was famously moved to Pasadena by the NFL when voters rejected a ballot initiative to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Realizing the loss of millions of dollars of revenue, Arizona quickly passed a new initiative approving the holiday two years later and the NFL rewarded them with hosting Super Bowl XXX, demonstrating the Super Bowl's considerable weight and influence on American politics.
      • Last Super Bowl hosted in the Los Angeles area (at the time tied with New Orleans for the most popular Super Bowl site) for nearly three decades, as the Raiders and Rams would leave town two seasons later. New Orleans and Miami would later pass LA in number of Super Bowls, though the Big Game is set to finally return to Los Angeles after the 2021 season for LVI.
    • This edition saw the halftime performances become a highlight in itself, thanks to Michael Jackson. Viewing numbers were higher for the halftime show than the rest of the game for the first time in history, and Jackson's performance is the Trope Maker for today's halftime spectacles.
    • The game itself was a total Curb-Stomp Battle that is probably best remembered for a famous blooper that occurred well after the outcome was already decided. Late in the fourth quarter, Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett scooped up a fumble on the Dallas 35-yard-line and had a clear path to the end zone. However, around the 10, he foolishly showboated by slowing down and holding the ball out to one side, allowing the Bills' Don Beebe to catch up and knock the ball away for a touchback. Had Lett scored the touchdown, Dallas would've set a new record for highest score in a Super Bowl.
  • XXVIII — January 30, 1994 / Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia / Dallas Cowboys def. Buffalo Bills, 30-13
    MVP: Emmitt Smith, RB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Dick Enberg, Bob Trumpy)
    National Anthem: Natalie Cole, daughter of Nat King Cole
    Coin Toss: Joe Namath, Hall of Fame QB and Super Bowl III MVP, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Jets' upset win
    Halftime: A tribute to Country Music by Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Brooks & Dunn, and The Judds
    • First (and only) Super Bowl in which the same two teams met in consecutive years. Ironically, due to the reshuffling of the network rotation a few years prior, this was also the only time the same broadcast duo covered the Super Bowl in consecutive years (These were also the only Super Bowls with Bob Trumpy in the booth).
    • Eighth Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest; however, whereas Buffalo won the regular season matchup in Week 2, 13-10, Dallas decisively won the Super Bowl.
    • The End of an Era for the Bills' unprecedented four-straight-streak of Super Bowl appearances (and losses). The team remained competitive for a few more years before falling off hard entering the 21st century; while they have since recovered from their time in the NFL's basement, they have still yet to return to the Super Bowl.note
  • XXIX — January 29, 1995 / Joe Robbie Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium), Miami (now Miami Gardens), Florida / San Francisco 49ers def. San Diego Chargers, 49-26
    MVP: Steve Young, QB
    Network/Announcers: ABC (Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf)
    National Anthem: Kathie Lee Gifford
    Coin Toss: Otto Graham, Joe Greene, Ray Nitschke, and Gale Sayers, inductees into the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and recent Hall of Fame inductees Steve Largent, Lee Roy Selmon, and Kellen Winslow
    Halftime: Disney's Indiana Jones-themed presentation with Patti LaBelle, The Miami Sound Machine, and Tony Bennett
    • The 49ers entered the game as 18.5-point favorites, surpassing the 18-point spread in which the Baltimore Colts were favored over the New York Jets in Super Bowl III 26 years prior. This remains the most lopsided Super Bowl odds ever; unlike the Jets, the Chargers were not only unable to overcome them for a victory, but were blown out even harder.
    • First Super Bowl to have two teams from the same state (in this case, California).note 
    • Gifford's last of five appearances in the Super Bowl broadcast booth (and Dierdorf's last of three).
    • Ninth Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest with San Francisco beating San Diego in Week 15, 38-15.
    • The highest combined score in any Super Bowl, at 75 points, and first Super Bowl in which both teams scored in all 4 quarters. 49ers QB Steve Young threw 6 touchdown passes, breaking the Super Bowl record of 5 thrown by his predecessor Joe Montana in XXIV.
    • First Super Bowl to feature a successful 2-point conversion, with the Chargers scoring two of them. (The NFL had only introduced the two-pointer that season.)
    • The Chargers made the playoffs the following year but slumped pretty hard after that, enduring an eight-year playoff drought. They still have yet to return to a Super Bowl and have only reached the AFC Championship once.
      • In hindsight, the Chargers' appearance in this game as their only Super Bowl visit stands out as rather bizarre. Most familiar with the franchise's history identify its post-merger peaks as being the "Air Coryell" era of the early '80s (when QB Dan Fouts was setting league passing records) or the mid-2000s (when RB LaDainian Tomlinson was setting scoring records with Philip Rivers under center). The fact that this relatively anonymous roster was the only one to actually make the Super Bowl is in some ways a testament to just how weak the AFC was at this time.
    • The Niners' victory gave them the most Super Bowl wins of any franchise at five; this would be tied the following year and eventually passed by the Steelers and Patriots, as San Francisco hasn't been able to add another title since. This game was not quite the end of their'80s-'90s dynasty, as they remained very competitive for another four years until injuries forced Young into retirement. It was, however, an End of an Age for the 49ers' run as league champions; while they later returned to two more Super Bowls, they still have yet to win another.
  • XXX — January 28, 1996 / Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe (Phoenix), Arizona / Dallas Cowboys def. Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17
    MVP: Larry Brown, CB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Dick Enberg, Phil Simms, Paul Maguire)
    National Anthem: Vanessa Williams
    Coin Toss: Joe Montana, 3-time Super Bowl MVP and Hall of Fame QB, on behalf of the previous MVPs of the past three decades
    Halftime: Diana Ross
    • The Cowboys and Steelers become the first (and so far only) two teams to face one another three times in the Super Bowl (after X and XIII). Like the last time they met, the winner of this match would claim the most Super Bowl wins of any franchise at that time (five, tied with the San Francisco 49ers).
    • Former Super Bowl MVP Phil Simms makes his first of eight appearances as a Super Bowl commentator. (Paul Maguire makes his first of two.)
    • First Super Bowl in which the Lombardi Trophy was presented on-field at the end of the game.
    • Cowboys' cornerback Larry Brown caught two interceptions to prevent a Steelers comeback; he remains the only corner to receive the game MVP. Brown spun this success off into an immensely lucrative contract with the Raiders the following season; he would start a grand total of one game for the rest of his NFL career.
    • The End of an Age for the '90s Cowboy dynasty. Dallas remained competitive the following year, but locker room drama and a decline in performance the following season led Switzer to retire, and most of the Cowboys stars would likewise retire early due to injuries. In the decades since, Jerry Jones has struggled to recapture his early success. Dallas has yet to even revisit an NFC Championship, let alone another Super Bowl, and in that time the franchise has lost their lead in both Super Bowl appearances (to the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos) and Super Bowl wins (to the Pats and Steelers).

    Super Bowls XXXI to XXXV
  • XXXI — January 26, 1997 / Louisiana Superdome (now Mercedes-Benz Superdome), New Orleans, Louisiana / Green Bay Packers def. New England Patriots, 35-21
    MVP: Desmond Howard, KR/PR
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Pat Summerall, John Madden)
    National Anthem: Luther Vandross
    Coin Toss: Hank Stram, Mike Ditka, Tom Flores, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, and George Seifert, winning coaches from Super Bowls that were held in New Orleans
    Halftime: James Brown, ZZ Top, and The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi)
    • First Super Bowl televised by FOX, bringing back iconic broadcasting dueo Pat Summerall and John Madden.
    • This game was the apex of the Bledsoe era in New England, fulfilling Robert Kraft's promise to bring the Pats to the Super Bowl after purchasing the team in 1994. The Patriots returned to the Superdome five years later to win their first Lombardi. A number of Patriots from this team played in that game: Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Ted Johnson, Otis Smith, and Adam Vinatieri. Historically, this makes the game an interesting prelude to the later Patriots dynasty. The playoffs leading up to this game featured the only AFC title game ever played at Foxboro Stadium.
      • This is the only one of their eleven Super Bowl appearances where the Patriots wore their white-on-gray Nineties era away uniforms.
    • Bill Parcells became the second head coach to guide two different teams to the Super Bowl, previously leading the New York Giants to Super Bowl XXI and XXV victories.
    • Kick and punt returner Desmond Howard was the first and only special teamer to win Super Bowl MVP after scoring a 99-yard kick return touchdown.
    • With Brett Favre under center, the Packers built an early 10-point lead, which the Patriots overcame to end the first quarter at 14-10. The Packers then exploded for another 25 points, featuring feats such as Favre's 81-yard TD pass to Antonio Freeman and the aforementioned Desmond Howard's 99-yard punt return TD. The Packers' victory revitalized a franchise that had been dire since the late Sixties and snapped a twenty-nine year championship drought.
  • XXXII — January 25, 1998 / Qualcomm Stadium (now SDCCU Stadium), San Diego, California / Denver Broncos def. Green Bay Packers, 31-24
    MVP: Terrell Davis, RB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Dick Enberg, Phil Simms, Paul Maguire)
    National Anthem: Jewel
    Coin Toss: Doug Williams and Joe Gibbs, Redskins player (and MVP) and coach, respectively, who won the last Super Bowl held in San Diego, joined by Eddie Robinson, longtime coach of the Grambling State University Tigers
    Halftime: Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Martha Reeves, The Temptations, and The Four Tops, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Motown.
    • Ranked the #27 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the twelfth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • Last Super Bowl announced by Dick Enberg.
    • John Elway, after multiple devastating Super Bowl losses throughout his career, finally wins the big one. He also makes the iconic "Helicopter Dive" in a crucial third-quarter drive, scrambling to get a critical first down despite taking a massive hit from two directions mid-dive, spinning through the air like a helicopter blade, and getting right back on his feet. The broadcasters and everyone on the field immediately recognized after that play that the game was effectively over: after all the disappointments he had endured to get to this point, there was simply no way Elway was going to lose this game.
    • Terrell Davis gets his own moment of perseverance that night, suffering a migraine in the second quarter and sitting for all but one play that essentially used Davis as a decoy. After taking some medication during halftime, Terrell got back into the action for the second half and ultimately win MVP honors.
    • The Broncos become the first AFC team in 14 seasons to win the Super Bowl, another fitting accomplishment for Elway considering how many of those losses had been on his teams. The NFL could exhale; viewership was not going to go down from games being a Foregone Conclusion. Since this win, no conference has put up a win streak longer than four years.
  • XXXIII — January 31, 1999 / Pro Player Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium), Miami (now Miami Gardens), Florida / Denver Broncos def. Atlanta Falcons, 34-19
    MVP: John Elway, QB
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Pat Summerall, John Madden)
    National Anthem: Cher
    Coin Toss: Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker, Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti, Frank Gifford, Roosevelt Brown, Don Maynard, Sam Huff, and Tom Landry, alumni of 1958 NFL Championship Game exactly 40 years ago, widely claimed to be the "Greatest Game Ever Played"
    Halftime: Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, in celebration of soul, salsa and swing
    • Atlanta's appearance in this Super Bowl remains one of the greatest Cinderella stories in pro football. The Falcons had always been an infamously dysfunctional franchise, failing to put up a single pair of back-to-back winning seasons throughout their entire 30+ year history. In 1997, the Falcons had hired coach Dan Reeves, who had previously led the Broncos to three devastating Super Bowl losses. In his second season, Reeves and his "Dirty Birds", led by veteran journeyman QB Chris Chandler and a likewise mostly anonymous roster, unexpectedly posted a (still) franchise-best 14-2 record, earning the NFC's #2 seed. Reeves almost didn't make it that far, as he had to sit out two games late in the season while recovering from a quadruple bypass surgery. After beating the 49ers in the divisional round, the Falcons delivered one of the biggest upsets in NFL history to the #1 seed Minnesota Vikings, who had produced a record-breaking offense and were just one game away from breaking their lengthy Super Bowl drought, in the NFC Championship. Reeves became the third head coach to guide two different teams to the Super Bowl.
    • Elway rides into the sunset with a second straight Super Bowl victory; his age was one contributor to this Broncos' team having the highest average age of any Super Bowl-winning team (28.5 years old).
    • Fair or not, Elway coming out on top in the end and seeming to prove that he was not the problem in those losses likely put the nail in coffin for Reeves' chances at the Hall of Fame. The Falcons' bizarre inconsistency streak continued, as they slumped hard the following year to a losing record. Reeves lasted a few more years with the Falcons before being fired in the middle of the 2003 season; the Falcons wouldn't break their franchise curse with consecutive winning seasons until 2009, and wouldn't return to the Big Game until after the 2016 season.
  • XXXIV — January 30, 2000 / Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia / St. Louis Rams def. Tennessee Titans, 23-16
    MVP: Kurt Warner, QB
    Network/Announcers: ABC (Al Michaels, Boomer Esiason)
    National Anthem: Faith Hill
    Coin Toss: Bud Grant, Lamar Hunt, Bobby Bell, Paul Krause, Willie Lanier, Alan Page, and Jan Stenerud, alumni from Super Bowl IV, the last pre-merger NFL-AFL championship game
    Halftime: Disney's "Tapestry of Nations", inspired by the same-named attraction from the Epcot park in Florida, featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, and Edward James Olmos
    • Ranked the #16 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the eighth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • To date, the last Super Bowl in which neither team previously won a Super Bowl. This was the first season the Titans had played under that name after changing their name from the Oilers two years after leaving Houston for Tennessee (a state that is not particularly famous for its oil). Since the Oilers had never appeared in a Super Bowl due to a well-known inclination for choking in the playoffs and this team was sporting brand new uniforms and attitude, more than a few casual viewers who didn't keep track of football outside the Super Bowl mistakenly thought the Titans were a brand new team.
    • Only Super Bowl TV broadcast to feature former QB Boomer Esiason in the booth. After spending the last two seasons paired with Michaels, where they had fought behind the scenes over issues of professionalism, the recently retired Esiason left the booth before the end of the game to go be part of the celebrations. This was the last straw for Michaels, and Esiason was subsequently let go by the network, though he'd still end up commentating for a record 18 straight Super Bowls on CBS/Westwood One radio.
    • Tenth Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest; however, whereas Tennessee won the regular season matchup in Week 3, 24-21, St. Louis won the Super Bowl.
    • Three words to sum up: One Yard Short.
    • The second Super Bowl in which neither team committed a turnover.
    • Dick Vermeil became the fourth head coach to guide two different teams to the Super Bowl, previously guiding the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl XV loss.
    • While the Titans remained strong for the next few seasons as long as Steve McNair stayed healthy, the franchise has tragically yet to appear in another Super Bowl after coming so close to victory in this one.
  • XXXV — January 28, 2001 / Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida / Baltimore Ravens def. New York Giants, 34-7
    MVP: Ray Lewis, LB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Phil Simms)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Backstreet Boys / Ray Charles
    Coin Toss: MVP and coach from the last two Super Bowls held in Tampa — Ottis Anderson and Bill Parcells from the Giants (XXV) and Marcus Allen and Tom Flores from the Raiders (XVIII)
    Halftime: Aerosmith, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly
    • First of two Super Bowls announced by Greg Gumbel.
    • First Super Bowl to feature "America the Beautiful" in the pre-show since the '70s, and first to use it as an excuse to loop in one more celebrity to help boost ratings (before, it had either been used instead of the national anthem or sung by the same artist). It remained a common inclusion for the next few years before being solidified as an annual event.
    • The Ravens became the last #4 seeded wild card to reach the Super Bowl, as the 2002-03 season amended the seeding system so that the first four seeds are awarded to division winners and the last two seeds are the wild cards.
    • If not for Ron Dixon's 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter, the Giants would've become the first team to ever be shut out in the Super Bowl. Hilariously enough, Jermaine Lewis returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown, making this the only Super Bowl to feature two kickoff return touchdowns, and they occurred back-to-back! Even wilder was the fact that that was the third consecutive scoring play in that sequence; Dixon's return was preceded by Duane Starks' interception of a Kerry Collins pass and returning that for a touchdown.
    • The win made the Ravens the fastest expansion team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. However, they were not an "expansion" team in the traditional sense, being just five years removed from their relocation from Cleveland, which held onto the rights to the original Browns name; the "new" Browns still have yet to reach a Super Bowl.

    Super Bowls XXXVI to XL
Click here to see the original logo for Super Bowl XXXVI.
  • XXXVI — February 3, 2002 / Louisiana Superdome (now Mercedes-Benz Superdome), New Orleans, Louisiana / New England Patriots def. St. Louis Rams, 20-17
    MVP: Tom Brady, QB
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Pat Summerall, John Madden)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Mariah Carey / Mary J. Blige, Marc Anthony, and the Boston Pops Orchestra
    Coin Toss: President George W. Bush and Roger Staubach, Hall of Fame QB and MVP of Super Bowl VI, held 30 years ago in New Orleans
    Halftime: U2
    • Ranked the #20 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary, and the eleventh highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • First Super Bowl played in February, as the 9/11 attacks pushed the entire NFL schedule back a week that year.
    • The logo was redesigned to cash in on the wave of Patriotic Fervor that had swept up the country in the ensuing year. George H. W. Bush becomes the first US president to participate in a Super Bowl coin toss in person (Ronald Reagan had participated via satellite during Super Bowl XIX).
    • Last Super Bowl to be played on the older AstroTurf artificial surface.
    • Last game to feature the long-running TV announcing duo of Pat Summerall and John Madden, who worked together for 21 seasons on CBS (1981-94) and FOX (1994-2002), as Summerall retired afterwards (Madden lasted a few more years). Summerall had been a sideline reporter in Super Bowl I and announced more Super Bowls on TV than any other broadcaster (15).
    • Eleventh Super Bowl to be a rematch of a regular season contest; St. Louis won the regular season matchup in Week 10, 24-17.
    • The New England Patriots shocked the St. Louis Rams—and the country—by building a commanding 14-3 lead by the end of the first half, primarily through their stingy man-to-man defense which stifled the productivity of the "Greatest Show on Turf." The Patriots score points off of a pick-six by Patriots cornerback Ty Law and a TD reception by David Patten.
    • The halftime also saw a heartfelt tribute by U2 to the victims of 9/11, singing "Where the Streets Have No Name" as their names are scrolled on a large piece of cloth.
    • An illegal tackle penalty on Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest negated a 93-yard fumble recovery touchdown by Tebucky Jones which would have extended their lead to 23-3. Instead, with the ball placed on the 1, the Rams were able to shorten their deficit to 17-10 in the 4th quarter. A subsequent TD reception by wideout Ricky Proehl tied the game. With 90 seconds on the clock, QB Tom Brady led a drive to set up the game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri, securing the greatest Super Bowl upset outside of Super Bowl III.
    • Vinatieri's kick marked the first and only time to date in the Super Bowl that the winning points were scored on the final play of the game of regulation.
    • The Patriots' final, game-winning drive had an important effect on how fourth quarter buzzer-beater situations were game-planned. Before this game, it was standard practice to play for overtime. It would have been considered foolhardy to even attempt it in a tie game — if the quarterback mishandled the snap or if the ball was fumbled or intercepted deep in their own territory, it could easily mean a disastrous reversal. Belichick had his reasons for making the attempt anyway. The Pats' defense was exhausted and since the aforementioned holding call on McGinest, the Rams offense had finally woken up and had outscored them 14-3. He was concerned, if they lost the coin toss, that the Rams would just march down the field and win the game. In the present-day game, 90 seconds is considered more than enough time to build one last scoring drive, and it's basically expected that a team in this situation would make the attempt.
    • Third time's the charm: this was the third time that an 11-5 Patriots team contested the Super Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome.
    • This loss derailed "The Greatest Show on Turf"'s apparently assured dynasty. While the Rams remained competitive for a few more years, they never managed another deep playoff run while in St. Louis; after spending over a decade at the bottom of the NFL's standings, the team eventually returned to their original home in Los Angeles in 2016.
    • The Patriots, on the other hand, inherited the Rams' dynasty mantle and went on to greater success under Brady and Belichick than almost anyone had expected, dominating the AFC and the Super Bowl for the next two decades; they'd be back in the Big Game in just two years.
  • XXXVII — January 26, 2003 / Qualcomm Stadium (now SDCCU Stadium), San Diego, California / Tampa Bay Buccaneers def. Oakland Raiders, 48-21
    MVP: Dexter Jackson, S
    Network/Announcers: ABC (Al Michaels, John Madden)
    National Anthem/"God Bless America": Dixie Chicks / Céline Dion
    Coin Toss: Don Shula, Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Jim Langer, Nick Buoniconti, and Paul Warfield, alumni of the 1972 Dolphins that enjoyed a 17-0 season, including winning Super Bowl VII 30 years ago
    Halftime: Shania Twain, No Doubt, and Sting
    • Last Super Bowl played in January.
    • Known as the "Gruden Bowl" due to the unique circumstances of both teams' coaching situation and recent history. Buccaneers' then-head coach Jon Gruden was Oakland's head coach from 1998 to 2001 before he was traded to Tampa Bay during the offseason in exchange for draft picks and cash, where he had inherited a fantastic defense formed by coach Tony Dungy that had never sealed a title for the long-suffering Tampa franchise. The Raiders' new head coach, Bill Callahan, had been Gruden's offensive coordinator and friend for many years, and their quarterback Rich Gannon had risen from obscurity as a journeyman backup to a Pro Bowler while under Gruden.
    • Also known as the "Pirate Bowl", due to both teams involved having pirate-related logos.
    • John Madden's Channel Hop to ABC allows him to commentate two consecutive Super Bowls.
    • Only time "God Bless America" was performed in the pre-show.
    • Gruden's advanced knowledge of the Raiders' unchanged offensive system has been understood as a key factor in Tampa's lopsided victory over Oakland. Despite being fresh off of leading the NFL in passing yards and being named league MVP, Gannon was intercepted a Super Bowl record five times, three of which were returned for touchdowns.
    • Tampa's success in this game was treated as a possible turning point for what had been known for decades as the worst franchise in the league and was especially held up as a sign of Gruden's brilliance as a coach. However, the team slumped quickly in the years after their win, putting up a losing record the very next season and not winning another playoff game until their second Super Bowl run in 2020, keeping them down in the very bottom of the league's all-time win-loss records. Gruden's middling output after this win, which notably contrasted with Tony Dungy's massive coinciding success with the Colts, also led many to question whether he could have won a Super Bowl without the defense Dungy constructed and the unique circumstance of facing off against his former team.
    • The Raiders' defeat was so devastating that it effectively broke the organization. Long one of the proudest and most successful teams in the NFL, the Raiders entered a death spiral immediately after their loss, putting up exactly one winning season/playoff berth in the nearly two decades after the game. Callahan would be fired after the next season, with many of his players (including Hall of Fame receiver Tim Brown) accusing him of throwing the game, either to help out his friend Gruden or to get back at Al Davis. Gannon was sidelined with injuries during that season and be out of football entirely the following year.
  • XXXVIII — February 1, 2004 / Reliant Stadium (now NRG Stadium), Houston, Texas / New England Patriots def. Carolina Panthers, 32-29
    MVP: Tom Brady, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Phil Simms)
    National Anthem: Beyoncé
    Coin Toss: Earl Campbell, Ollie Matson, Don Maynard, Y. A. Tittle, Mike Singletary, and Gene Upshaw, Texas-born NFL veterans
    Halftime: Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson, P. Diddy, and Kid Rock
    • Ranked the #37 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the fourteenth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • The Wardrobe Malfunction, starring Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the halftime.
    • Despite being hailed at the time by sports writers as one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played, XXXVIII today is an underrated game that doesn't feature as prominently in discussions of the Patriots dynasty as the other five of New England's championship wins, nor even as much as several of their losses. XXXVIII was nonetheless a series of firsts for them: the first season where they won more than eleven games, consequently the first where they captured the AFC No. 1 seed going into the Super Bowl, and the first in which they were favored to win (by 7).
    • The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, were a Cinderella team, winning the NFC Championship for the first time in franchise history.
    • This game was an offensive shootout in the second and fourth quarters, with Brady and Delhomme matching each other point for point. With a minute left on the clock, a punt by John Kasay veered out of bounds, giving the Pats a good field position. Starting at the 40-yard line, Tom Brady led a 4th quarter drive to set up the game-winning field goal by Adam Vinateri.
    • This was the last time the Patriots won the Super Bowl as the designated home team.
  • XXXIX — February 6, 2005 / ALLTEL Stadium (now TIAA Bank Field), Jacksonville, Florida / New England Patriots def. Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21
    MVP: Deion Branch, WR
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Combined choirs of the United States Military, Naval, Air Force and Coast Guard Academies, together with the United States Army Trumpet Herald / Alicia Keys (with a tribute to Ray Charles)
    Coin Toss: Tyler Callahan, Tyler Deal, Lawrence McCauley, and Jacob Santana, youth players, accompanied by their coach Tamaris Jackson
    Halftime: Paul McCartney
    • Joe Buck and former Super Bowl MVP Troy Aikman announce their first of six Super Bowls; Cris Collinsworth commentates his first of four, but his only one on Fox with this duo. Buck is the only son of a former Super Bowl broadcaster, IV announcer Jack Buck, to follow their father's footsteps.
    • Patriots QB Tom Brady leads a 4th quarter drive to set up the (eventualnote ) game-winning field goal by Adam Vinateri.
    • In response to the "Nipplegate" incident from the last year, Paul McCartney, who ended his performance with The Beatles' "Hey Jude", kicked off many years of the halftime performers being old male classic rock stars.
    • To meet the hotel space requirements for the Super Bowl, the organizing committee had to dock five cruise ships in the Jacksonville harbor.
  • XL — February 5, 2006 / Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan / Pittsburgh Steelers def. Seattle Seahawks, 21-10
    MVP: Hines Ward, WR
    Network/Announcers: ABC (Al Michaels, John Madden)
    National Anthem: Aaron Neville, Aretha Franklin, and Dr. John
    Coin Toss: Tom Brady, 2-time Super Bowl MVP and the first active player to officiate the ceremony, on behalf of all past MVPs of the past four decades
    Halftime: The Rolling Stones
    • Take a look at that eXtra Large logo! Also of note, this logo started a short-lived trend of adding a red star (representing the AFC) and a blue star (representing the NFC) to the logo.
    • Don't ask Seattle fans to comment on the quality of the officiating. Or its lack thereof. example 
    • Last Super Bowl televised by ABC. Also the last NFL game overall carried by ABC until the 2015 NFL playoffs, when ABC simulcast ESPN's coverage of that season's AFC wild-card game between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs.
    • The ripples of Nipplegate continue here, with the Stones being forced to censor two tame-by-2006-standards songs during their halftime show.
    • The Steelers become the first #6 seed team to win the Super Bowl.
    • Ben Roethlisberger becomes the youngest quarterback (23 years, 11 months, 4 days) to start and win a Super Bowl.
    • First Super Bowl to be played on a modern artificial surface (e.g., FieldTurf).
    • Mike Holmgren became the fifth head coach to guide two different teams to the Super Bowl, previously guiding the Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl XXXI and XXXII, winning the former.

    Super Bowls XLI to XLV
  • XLI — February 4, 2007 / Dolphin Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium), Miami Gardens (Miami), Floridanote ) / Indianapolis Colts def. Chicago Bears, 29-17
    MVP: Peyton Manning, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)
    National Anthem: Billy Joel
    Coin Toss: Dan Marino, former Hall of Fame QB for the Dolphins, and Norma Hunt, widow of Lamar Hunt, former Chiefs owner who gave the name "Super Bowl"
    Halftime: Prince, joined by Florida A&M University's Marching 100
    • The logo has a subtle shape of Florida, with the 4-point star representing the Panhandle, the pylon representing North and Central Florida, and the football representing South Florida.
    • First of six Super Bowls for announcer Jim Nantz.
    • First Super Bowl played in rainy conditions.
    • Bears return specialist Devin Hester becomes the first player in Super Bowl history to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown. The return takes a mere 14 seconds, making it the quickest the first TD has ever been scored in a Super Bowl, a record that still stands. It was also the quickest a team had ever taken the first lead in a Super Bowl, until Super Bowl XLVIII.
    • Prince's halftime show is considered one of the best, if not the best, Super Bowl halftime shows ever. He even played "Purple Rain" in the purple(-lit) rain at the end.
    • Featured the end of two Super Bowl appearance droughts: The Colts' first since Super Bowl V, when they were the Baltimore Colts, and the Bears' first since Super Bowl XX.
    • The Colts' Tony Dungy and the Bears' Lovie Smith became the first African-American coaches to coach in the Super Bowl, with the Colts' Dungy becoming the first to win one.
    • After this game, the Bears once again regressed into general mediocrity, posting a losing record the following season. Though Smith's Bears would revisit the NFC Championship in 2010, the franchise has since regressed to the middle of the pack and have not posted a playoff victory since, let alone an appearance in the Super Bowl.
  • XLII — February 3, 2008 / University of Phoenix Stadiumnote  (now State Farm Stadium), Glendale (Phoenix), Arizona / New York Giants def. New England Patriots, 17-14
    MVP: Eli Manning, QB
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman)
    National Anthem: Jordin Sparks
    Coin Toss: Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, and Steve Young, 49ers veterans, in honor of their recently-deceased Hall of Famer coach Bill Walsh, accompanied by Bill's children Craig and Elizabeth
    Halftime: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    • Ranked the #5 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary, and the highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • When 18-1 gets you second place.note 
    • Featuring one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history. Giants QB Eli Manning evades a sack to throw a pass to David Tyree who somehow catches the ball pressing it against his helmet to keep a drive alive that ultimately resulted in the game winning touchdown and establish Eli Manning as more than just Peyton's baby brother. The Mannings become the first brothers to get named Super Bowl MVPs (back-to-back, too).
    • This was a rematch of the week 17 game between the two teams (and the twelfth overall regular season Super Bowl matchup), which the Patriots won 38-35.
    • The Giants become the first NFC wild card team (in their case, #5 seed) to win the Super Bowl.
  • XLIII — February 1, 2009 / Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida / Pittsburgh Steelers def. Arizona Cardinals, 27-23
    MVP: Santonio Holmes, WR
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Al Michaels, John Madden)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Jennifer Hudson / Faith Hill
    Coin Toss: Gen. David Petraeus, former CIA director
    Halftime: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
    • Ranked the #12 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary, and the sixth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • The 11th and final Super Bowl (and final NFL game) to feature John Madden as a TV commentator.
    • The most memorable moment of the halftime show (from the TV viewers' perspective) was Springsteen sliding into the camera offstage, crotch first.
    • Ads were considered at the time to be a marker of the depths of the Great Recession, with almost every major automaker opting out and now-defunct (a mail-order/internet pawn service) running an ad featuring one of the last public appearances of Ed McMahon.
    • Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin became the youngest head coach (aged 36 years, 10 months, 17 days) to win the Super Bowl.
    • Rivaling the previous year's "Helmet Catch" is Santonio Holmes' tiptoe catch. Down 3 points with only a little more than 30 seconds to play, Ben Roethlisberger throws to Holmes, who makes the game-winning catch while standing on his tiptoes, barely remaining within bounds.
    • The fourth Super Bowl featuring two quarterbacks who had each previously won a Super Bowl, and the first with that distinction since Super Bowl XVIII, 25 years before.
  • XLIV — February 7, 2010 / Sun Life Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium), Miami Gardens (Miami), Florida / New Orleans Saints def. Indianapolis Colts, 31-17
    MVP: Drew Brees, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Carrie Underwood / Queen Latifah
    Coin Toss: Emmitt Smith, 2010 Hall of Fame inductee, on behalf of all his fellow 2010 inductees
    Halftime: The Who
    • Ranked the #97 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary.
    • Last to use a uniquely designed logo.
    • The Saints famously pulled off a risky move that they called "Ambush" to start the second half (they were down 10-6 at halftime) by having kicker Thomas Morstead make an onside kick that bounced off the facemask of Colts wide receiver Hank Baskett. The Saints successfully recovered the ball after many players piled up on it, which took officials over a minute to separate. They then drove it to the end zone to take the lead. The Colts then took the lead back, but the Saints completed another field goal to narrow it down to 17-16 by the fourth quarter. Afterwards, the Saints scored another fourteen unanswered points, which included the game-winning 74-yard pick six by Saints cornerback Tracy Porter.
    • The Colts remained a strong team the following season, only to lose Peyton Manning to a neck injury the next year. The team suffered a terrible regression without him, and though they bounced back in subsequent seasons, they have yet to return to a Super Bowl. Manning, on the other hand, made a remarkable comeback with another horse-themed team, the Denver Broncos, and played in two more Super Bowls.
    • The Saints joined the Jets as being the only franchise to win their single appearance in the Super Bowl; while the team remained very competitive with Payton and Brees for the next decade, they never managed to return to the Big Game. Part of this was due to several heartbreaking playoff losses, but one major reason that hangs over this game in hindsight is the fallout of "Bountygate". In the years following their Lombardi win, whistleblowing backed up with recordings from the Saints locker room revealed that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had operated a "bounty" program that offered financial rewards to players who caused deliberate injury to opponents. This was terrible PR for not just the Saints but the NFL, who were trying to avert the image of football as a bloodsport as the long-term effects of CTE became more widely known, and resulted in several punishments for the organization, including an unprecedented suspension for Payton for the 2012 season.
  • XLV — February 6, 2011 / Cowboys Stadium (now AT&T Stadium), Arlington (Dallas-Fort Worth), Texas / Green Bay Packers def. Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25
    MVP: Aaron Rodgers, QB
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Christina Aguilera / Lea Michele
    Coin Toss: Deion Sanders, 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, on behalf of all his fellow 2011 inductees
    Halftime: The Black Eyed Peas, with Usher and Slash
    • First to use the standardized logo, much to the dismay of graphic artists.
    • The music aspects of the game are considered to be some of the worst since the NFL started putting effort into that part of the spectacle, and that's despite being the first since Nipplegate to feature a then-popular artist rather than a well-past-their-prime star. It began with "America the Beautiful" being performed by the star of Fox's hit Glee rather than a more high-profile artist, then was followed by Christina Aguilera messing up the lyrics to the national anthem. This all peaked (or, rather, bottomed out) with the halftime show, which is widely considered to be one of the worst of the modern era and to have helped kill the A-list career of headliners the Black Eyed Peas.
    • The 10-6 Packers became the first #6 seed NFC team to win the Super Bowl.
    • In retrospect, this Super Bowl match-up has become more unique within the context of the 2010s with each passing year. Though both teams remained perennial playoff fixtures and reached their conference championship at least once, neither would appear in the Big Game again that decade.

    Super Bowls XLVI to 50
  • XLVI — February 5, 2012 / Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana / New York Giants def. New England Patriots, 21-17
    MVP: Eli Manning, QB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Kelly Clarkson / Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert
    Coin Toss: John Parry, referee
    Halftime: Madonna, featuring LMFAO, M.I.A., Nicki Minaj, and Cee Lo Green
    • A rematch of four years prior with another Giants win. Plus, like the lead-up to Super Bowl XLII, this game was also a rematch of a regular season game between the two teams (as well as the thirteenth overall regular season Super Bowl matchup). This time, the Giants won the regular season game 24-20, but both times, the visiting team won.
    • The fifth Super Bowl between two quarterbacks who had each previously won a Super Bowl. Also the first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXVIII to be a rematch between two teams featuring the same starting quarterback and head coach on both teams.
    • First Super Bowl announced by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.
    • During Madonna's halftime performance, British rapper M.I.A. flipped off the camera instead of singing a swear in one of the songs. The fallout and litigation from that incident dragged on for several years, but didn't become a national controversy the way that Nipplegate did eight years before. The NFL and M.I.A. ultimately settled out of court in 2014.
    • One of the most bizarre plays in Super Bowl history resulted in the last Giants touchdown. The Giants had the ball at the six and had called a run play. The New England Defense intentionally let the running back (Ahmad Bradshaw) through to score in order to get the ball back with time on the clock and a timeout. When Bradshaw recognized what was up, he had too much momentum to stop and was carried ass forward into the end zone. Ultimately, the Patriots failed to score again giving the Giants the win.
    • The Giants became the first team with less than 10 wins in the regular season (9-7) to win the Super Bowl. (The Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl XIV and the Arizona Cardinals at Super Bowl XLII also had 9-7 records, but both lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.)
    • The Giants managed to replicate their 9-7 record the next year, but a stronger performance by Washington kept them from reaching the playoffs and attempting another Cinderella run. The Giants have remained mediocre to bad ever since, only managing to reach the playoffs once since this victory.
  • XLVII — February 3, 2013 / Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana / Baltimore Ravens def. San Francisco 49ers, 34-31
    MVP: Joe Flacco, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Alicia Keys / Jennifer Hudson with the Sandy Hook Elementary Chorus
    Coin Toss: Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Warren Sapp, Bill Parcells, Jonathan Ogden, and Dave Robinson, 2013 Hall of Fame inductees
    Halftime: Beyoncé and Destiny's Child
    • Ranked the #30 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary, and the thirteenth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • Best known as the "Harbaugh Bowl" or simply the "HarBowl", as opposing coaches Jim and John Harbaugh are brothers.
    • The Superdome hosted its seventh Super Bowl, the most of any stadium. At the time, the New Orleans area also tied with the Miami area for most Super Bowls hosted at ten each.
    • The power went out for about half the stadium in the middle of the 3rd quarter.
    • Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones becomes the first player in Super Bowl history to return the second half's opening kickoff for a touchdown. The 108-yard return becomes the longest play in Super Bowl history. Jones had previously scored on a touchdown reception in the second quarter, making him the only player in Super Bowl history to have a receiving touchdown and a return touchdown in the same game.
    • Though this iteration of the Niners would make it to a third-straight NFC Championship appearance the following year, it ultimately fell apart almost as quickly as it came together; few of its players and coaching staff were present when the team returned to the Super Bowl seven years later:
      • All-time great WR Randy Moss missed his last chance for a Super Bowl ring and retired after this game.
      • Star DE Aldon Smith would start facing suspensions for off-field legal issues starting the next season, derailing his career.
      • Despite never putting up a losing record with the Niners, Jim Harbaugh was pushed into resigning and returning to the college ranks less than two years after reaching the Super Bowl due to a power-struggle with management; the Niners went through three different head coaches over the next three years, dropping to the bottom of the league.
      • Amidst all this administrative/coaching dysfunction, struggles with injuries, and his off-field activism for Black Lives Matter, Kaepernick's promising career ground to a halt, and he would be out of the NFL after 2016.
  • XLVIII — February 2, 2014 / MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford (New York City area), New Jersey / Seattle Seahawks def. Denver Broncos, 43-8
    MVP: Malcolm Smith, LB
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Renée Fleming / Queen Latifah and the New Jersey Youth Chorus
    Coin Toss: Joe Namath and Phil Simms, Super Bowl MVPs and Hall of Fame QBs who played for New York teams
    Halftime: Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers
    • First northern Super Bowl to be subject to cold outdoor conditions (though it was 49°F (7°C) at kickoff, only the third-coldest in Super Bowl history after VI and IX), and the first to be officially hosted by two states (New York, the location of the nearest major city, and New Jersey, where the stadium actually is).
    • First Super Bowl to officially be hosted by two teams, the Giants and the Jets. Rather than sharing facilities during the preparation phase, the Broncos used the Jets' headquarters while the Seahawks used the Giants'.
    • Also jokingly called the Super "Bowl" (get it?),note  Bud Bowl, Weed Bowl, and variants, as Washington and Colorado were the first two states, and the only ones at the time, to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
    • Billed as the ultimate unstoppable force against immovable object game; Denver had set a season record for most points scored while Peyton Manning threw a record 55 touchdown passes, and Seattle had by several metrics the best performing defense since the '85 Chicago Bears.
    • Was over before it started: On the very first post-kickoff play, Denver center Manny Ramirez accidentally snapped the ball too early, causing it to fly past Manning, who was shifting to call an audible. Denver recovered the ball in the scramble but got tackled in their end zone, resulting in a safety and the earliest score in Super Bowl history at 12 seconds. It was all downhill from there for the Broncos; they didn't make their only touchdown and two-point conversion that night until the last play of the third quarter, when the Seahawks were up 36 points. As Seattle never relinquished the lead, they hold the Super Bowl record for longest continuous time in the lead at 59:48.
    • One year after the aforementioned Jacoby Jones becomes the first player in Super Bowl history to return the second half's opening kickoff for a touchdown, Seattle's Percy Harvin duplicates the feat. Unlike Jones's touchdown, Harvin's return is a mere 87 yards.
    • This is the only Super Bowl between two former division rivals. The Broncos and Seahawks were AFC West teams between 1977 to 2001.
    • John Fox became the sixth head coach to guide two different teams to a Super Bowl appearance, previously guiding the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl XXXVIII loss.
    • This is the most recent Super Bowl to feature a Scorigami (a football game having a final score that has never before been achieved). Fittingly, this was a game with a team coached by Pete Carroll, who SB Nation's Jon Bois has dubbed the "wizard of Scorigami" for repeatedly finishing games with unique final scores.
  • XLIX — February 1, 2015 / University of Phoenix Stadium (now State Farm Stadium), Glendale (Phoenix), Arizona / New England Patriots def. Seattle Seahawks, 28-24
    MVP: Tom Brady, QB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Idina Menzel / John Legend
    Coin Toss: Tedy Bruschi, linebacker and two-time All-Pro selection, and Kenny Easley, one of the best safeties in NFL history, representing the Patriots and Seahawks, respectively
    Halftime: Katy Perry with Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott, and the Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band
    • Ranked the #8 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary and the third highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • The most-watched Super Bowl ever, with 114,442,000 people tuning into the NBC broadcast. Subsequent TV broadcasts have gradually declined in numbers, most likely because of cord-cutting and the proliferation of alternate ways of viewing the game.
    • The sixth Super Bowl featuring two starting quarterbacks who had each previously won a Super Bowl. Billed as a clash of titans, this game was the first and only Super Bowl to be a toss-up with no betting favorite. On one side, the Patriots were returning to the playoffs looking to finally claim their fourth championship after two failed attempts and a decade since their last win. On the other side, Seattle was again buoyed by their record-setting Legion of Boom defense and the quarterbacking of Russell Wilson, hoping to make their mark as the new dynasty of the 2010s by becoming the first team since the Patriots to repeat as champions.
    • In retrospect, features something of an All-Star Cast of players from the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team: for the Patriots: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski, Chandler Jones, Darrelle Revis, and head coach Bill Belichick; for the Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, and head coach Pete Carroll. That's not including the rest of the Legion of Boom — Kam Chancellor, Byron Maxwell, Brandon Browner (this time as a Patriot) — and fixtures of the Patriots teams that played in three of the next four Super Bowls such as Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Dont'a Hightower, and Devin McCourty, making this game an impressive cross-section of the top shelf of the NFL in the middle of the decade.
    • The game was notable for featuring the coach of one team who had replaced the other as head coach. In this case, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was hired in 2000 to succeed Pete Carroll, who went on to become the coach of the Seahawks starting in the 2010 season.
    • There was also a controversy called "Deflategate" which concerned whether or not New England deliberately deflated their provided footballs for the AFC Championship Game to gain an advantage. (The Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in that game, with the offending footballs being removed at halftime, when the Patriots were ahead 17-7). Please leave it at that.
    • Down to the Last Play incarnate. In one of the single most critiqued and analyzed plays in NFL history, Seattle, down by 4, had driven to the Patriots' 1-yard-line with 26 seconds remaining. In a hurry-up offense with the clock ticking, head coaches Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick each waited for the other to call a timeout to reset their team gameplan; while the Patriots were in dire straits, the onus was on the Seahawks to take the lead. Seattle blinked first and dialed up a pass play. If unsuccessful, an incomplete pass would stop the clock and leave them time to run another play, whereas a run would leave the clock running and necessitate calling Seattle's last timeout, limiting their options. The pass was a slant to receiver Richardo Lockette in the shallow end of the end zone, but was diagnosed and intercepted by rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler, giving New England possession on their own 1. It was a controversial call because of the short yardage needed and that Seattle had in their possession running back Marshawn Lynch, a notoriously hard hitting player with a reputation for gaining yards after contact. Many felt that Seattle should have called for a Lynch run for a surer chance of scoring, regardless of the time management issues at work.
      • Even then, the game was not over. New England had the ball, but were trapped in the shadow of their own end zone, and Tom Brady could not kneel to run the clock without resulting in a safety, and any safe running play could result in the same, giving Seattle two points and possession; in that situation, down by only two, Seattle would only need to get within field goal range to still have a chance to win. Taking the field, Tom Brady used a hard count which drew a Seattle lineman into an encroachment penalty, giving New England wiggle room to now kneel and run out the clock. A frustrated Seahawks linebacker, Bruce Irvin, started a shoving match that resulted in him becoming the first player to ever be ejected from the Super Bowl and putting the ball another fifteen yards away from the end zone.
    • Like last year, it was a case where Seattle's "Legion of Boom" went against an offense headed by another big-name quarterback (this time Tom Brady). Also, this was second time in a row that the number one seeds of each conference went face-to-face, with Seattle being number one in the NFC both these times.
    • The Patriots win their first Lombardi Trophy in exactly a decade (XXXIX in 2005). Also, in a way, the win helped exorcise the demons of seven years ago, when what was supposed to be their 19-game, season-long streak to the title was spoiled by the Giants at the same venue.
      • In fact, this game had a David Tyree-esque moment; Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse made an improbable juggling catch that would have helped the Seahawks win the game had Butler (who helped tip the ball into Kearse's arms) not made the interception.
    • The game saw Tom Brady tie his childhood idol Joe Montana for most MVP trophies with three, as well as join Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most Super Bowl wins at four, while setting a new record in terms of completions (37) and touchdown passes (13).
    • This was the first time the Patriots won a Super Bowl by more than 3 points, and the only one where they won without scoring a field goal. This was also the only time, out of the six such teams that appeared in at least the AFCCG, that a 12-4 Pats team won the Super Bowl.
    • Madden NFL made its first-ever exact final score prediction with this game, with the bonus of predicting that New England would be down 14-24 in the third quarter. The person on the cover of the game used (Madden NFL 15)? Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
    • Also, Katy Perry's Left Shark.
    • This win reinvigorated the Patriots, kicking off a second wave of Super Bowl dominance for Brady and Belichick; they'd be back in the Super Bowl two years later for an even more thrilling ending.
    • The Seahawks, on the other hand, saw their hopes at a dynasty snuffed out. While they have remained one of the most competitive teams in the league since this loss, the Legion of Boom dissipated in subsequent seasons and they have yet to return to a Super Bowl.
  • 50note  — February 7, 2016 / Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara (San Francisco Bay Area), California / Denver Broncos def. Carolina Panthers, 24-10
    MVP: Von Miller, LB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Lady Gaga / U.S. Armed Forces Choir
    Coin Toss: Joe Montana, three-time Super Bowl MVP
    Halftime: Coldplay with Bruno Marsnote  and Beyoncé. This halftime included a montage of prior Super Bowl halftime show performances on the stage.
    • Dubbed the "Golden Bowl", a triple pun on California's nickname of the Golden State, the fact that the San Francisco 49ers (home tenant of Levi's Stadium) are named after the miners of the 1849 Gold Rush, and that 50th anniversaries are known as golden anniversaries. Oh, and there was also a 18-karat gold-plated "50" trophy to go with the standard Vince Lombardi Trophy. In addition to all that, the corporation whose name is on the stadium got its start making durable pants for the 1849-1850 gold miners.
    • The third year in a row that the Super Bowl featured the two #1 seeds in each conference. Also the first ever Super Bowl matchup between two #1 overall draft picks at quarterback.
      • The Broncos reached their 12-4 record in a completely different manner than their last Super Bowl run. Peyton Manning was, at the time, the oldest ever quarterback to start a Super Bowlnote , and his performance showed it, having fallen far from the record-setting offensive production of a few years prior. Manning had been bothered by injuries the whole year and had even been benched in the last few games of the regular season behind Brock Osweiler after posting a 0.0 passer rating; while he had been brought back for the post-season, many believed that he would hang up the cleats when the year was done. Fortunately, the Broncos' new-for-2015 coaching staff, consisting of long-time NFL veterans Gary Kubiak at head coach and Wade Phillips at defensive coordinator (who had both coached GM John Elway during his playing career in Denver), built up the #1 passing defense in the league, nicknamed the "No Fly Zone", around stars like LB Von Miller and CB Aqib Talib. Phillips won Assistant Coach of the Year for his efforts in reshaping a former Glass Cannon into a Stone Wall that blocked out Pittsburgh and Manning's old rivals in New England, setting the stage for one last rodeo for the Sheriff.
      • However, Vegas remained skeptical that a dominant defense alone was sufficient to win the Big Game in the 21st century NFL, instead favoring Carolina by 5.5. The Panthers were the far more exciting team in the regular season: led by Coach of the Year Ron Rivera and league MVP Cam Newton at QB, the Panthers had put up a 15-1 record thanks to having the best offense and one of the best defenses in the league and had put up dominant wins over Seattle and Arizona in the playoffs. Since Newton was known for his exceptional running ability, many questioned whether the "No Fly Zone" defense would even be particularly effective against the Panthers.
    • Last of eight Super Bowls announced by Phil Simms, who had been widely criticized as one of the dullest "color" commentators in the game for years.
    • Several records were broken in this game, including the longest punt return in a Super Bowl, the fewest total yards by the winning team, the most sacks between both teams, and the aforementioned oldest quarterback to start, and win, a Super Bowl.
      • Several other records were tied: most sacks by a single player in a Super Bowl (3 by Kony Ealy, tied with SB XXVI), most fumble recoveries by a single player in a Super Bowl (2 by Danny Trevathan), most fumble recoveries converted to touchdowns by a single player in a Super Bowl (1 by Malik Jackson), most 2 point conversions in a Super Bowl (1 by Bennie Fowler), and most Super Bowl games played (8 by Denver, with a 3-5 record, tied with Pittsburgh with a 6-2 record, Dallas with a 5-3 record, and New England with a 4-4 record at the time)
    • This game saw Peyton Manning becoming the first quarterback to win 200 total games (including playoffs), one more than Brett Favre, and the first to win the Super Bowl with two different teams (having previously won Super Bowl XLI with Indianapolis). Peyton was asked twice following the conclusion of the game about whether he would retire, to which he replied he would take some time to think before making a decision. (He eventually announced his retirement a month later.)
    • While the Broncos' performance in this game seemed to indicate that a strong enough defense was still all you needed to win a Super Bowl, their performance in subsequent seasons suggested otherwise, as they have yet to find a steady replacement at QB or return to the playoffs. Kubiak and Phillips both left Denver after the next season, and the team hasn't seen a winning record since.
    • After putting up a run in 2015 that had many wondering if the Panthers were set to be the NFL's next great dynasty, injuries to many of the stars (including Newton) led the franchise to soon decline back to mediocrity. While it is likely an exaggeration to attribute their upset loss here to that decline, many believe that the harsh criticism Newton faced after the game for the mistakes made under the bright lights at least partially contributed to the dimming of his star power.

    Super Bowls LI to LV
  • LI — February 5, 2017 / NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas / New England Patriots def. Atlanta Falcons, 34-28 (OT)
    MVP: Tom Brady, QB
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Luke Bryan / Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, and Jasmine Cephas Jones
    Coin Toss: George H.W. and Barbara Bush, 41st US President and First Ladynote 
    Halftime: Lady Gaga
    • Ranked the #9 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary, and the fourth highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.note 
    • First time in the standardized logo era where said logo is colorized, including the bar that says "Super Bowl",note  and the lettering has been changed so now it appears alongside the Vince Lombardi Trophy in blockier font.note  The host stadium is no longer part of the logo, though. The bar color is red.
    • Ninth overall Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots, the most of any team outright, and the seventh under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
      • Speaking of Brady, for him this game also exorcised the demons of "Deflategate", considering he had to serve his four-game suspension at the start of the 2016 season for his alleged involvement in that scandal. His year was, on almost every count, a record-breaking year across multiple stats. To Pats fans, he got his "revenge" on Commissioner Roger Goodell with the win. (Again, please leave it at that.)
    • First Super Bowl to go into overtime. New England overcame a 28-3 deficit to put the game into overtime, making it the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.
    • After spending the first 45 minutes of regulation time being thumped by Atlanta on both sides of the ball, New England threaded one of the toughest needles on the path to victory. This included two consecutive 2-point conversion attempts (the most in a Super Bowl), a strip sack by Dont'a Hightower, and an incredible diving catch just centimeters off the ground by Julian Edelman off a tip by Robert Alford. Tom Brady, in his seventh appearance in the big game, completed 43 of 62 passes (a record), for 466 (a record until he exceeded it in Super Bowl LII), was named MVP for his mastery of the fourth quarter, leading the Patriots to score 31 unanswered points. Running back James White was the unsung hero, scoring 20 points for New England (a record), including a 2-pointer and the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
    • Tom Brady throws the first pick-six of his career in a postseason game. He follows that up by being the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl in which he threw a pick-six.
    • One of the weirdest stats from this game is the fact that the winning team scored no points from a PAT kick. Stephen Gostkowski made the only attempt after New England's first touchdown, which bounced off the upright. Consequently, this made it necessary that the Patriots score not one but two 2-point conversions.
    • More than 30 records were broken or tied in this game, including the ones already mentioned above.
  • LII — February 4, 2018 / U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota / Philadelphia Eagles def. New England Patriots, 41-33
    MVP: Nick Foles, QB
    Network/Announcers: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": P!nk / Leslie Odom Jr.
    Coin Toss: Various Medal of Honor recipients with Hershel "Woody" Williams tossing the coin itself
    Halftime: Justin Timberlake
    • Ranked the #14 Greatest Game in NFL history by NFL Films for the league's 100th anniversary, and the seventh highest-ranked Super Bowl on that list.
    • The bar color in the logo is light blue.
    • Yes, Timberlake performed the halftime show again fourteen years after the infamous Wardrobe Malfunction. No, Janet Jackson did not appear and a lot of people were pissed that she wasn't even asked. A rumored *NSYNC reunion also did not happen. The show also featured a controversial tribute to Prince which was originally supposed to be a hologram before it was pointed out that Prince hated that kind of stuff in real life. Instead, Timberlake performed against a tarp with video of Prince projected onto it. However, the real star of that show was the "selfie kid" who managed to catch a selfie with Justin as he was performing "Can't Stop the Feeling!", and proceeded to become a meme.
    • Tom Brady made his eighth Super Bowl appearance, the most for any individual player as well as for any player on the same team; Brady also surpassed Peyton Manning as the oldest quarterback (aged 40) to start in a Super Bowl. Bill Belichick made his eighth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach, and eleventh overall when including his first three appearances as a defensive coordinator under Bill Parcels, earning Belichick the record for most appearances by a person in a Super Bowl in any capacity. The Patriots also broke the record for most Super Bowl appearances by a team, this being their tenth appearance.
    • For the second time in franchise history, the New England Patriots played their third Super Bowl in four years, with only a two year separation between the first and second Super Bowls in said four year period. What's more, the Pats' two previous victories came against NFC West (Rams/Seahawks) and NFC South (Panthers/Falcons) teams. Additionally, the Super Bowl between the two previous appearances pitted an AFC West team (Raiders/Broncos) against an NFC South team (Buccaneers/Panthers), though this time, the AFC team won. Even better, the Eagles, just like before in Super Bowl XXXIX, are the third team in the four year period that the Pats had to face off (what's more, the Eagles faced the same two teams in the playoffs, the Vikings and Falcons, in reverse order on their way to the Super Bowl). However, Philadelphia got to turn things around this time, get revenge on the Pats, and win their first ever Super Bowl.
    • This was the tenth year since the infamous 18-1 season, and once again the Patriots found themselves facing an NFC East team heavily considered an underdog, for the title. Unlike before, NE already faced (and defeated) Tom Coughlin (now with the Jacksonville Jaguars). But, just like a decade before, the NFC East underdog won.
    • The two teams combined for 1,152 yards, the most total yards in any NFL game ever.
    • Nick Foles became the first quarterback to catch a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl, when the Eagles used a trick play on 4th and goal to score by passing it to Foles. This play became known as the Philly Special. Tom Brady almost caught a pass on a similar trick play earlier in the game, but dropped it.
    • Foles also became the third quarterback in history, and the first in nearly three decades, to win the Super Bowl after making three or fewer starts in the regular season.
    • Although this game's total of 74 points is only the second highest combined score in Super Bowl history, one point short of matching Super Bowl XXIX's 75 points, it did come extremely close, with both teams combining for four missed point after attempts (each team missed an extra point kick and the Eagles failed two 2-point conversions). The Patriots' final score of 33 points is the highest losing score in Super Bowl history, breaking the previous record of 31 by the Dallas Cowboys at Super Bowl XIII and the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl XLVII.
  • LIII — February 3, 2019 / Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia / New England Patriots def. Los Angeles Rams, 13-3
    MVP: Julian Edelman, WR
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Gladys Knight / Chloe x Halle
    Coin Toss: Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.
    Halftime: Maroon 5, with guests Travis Scott and Big Boi
    • The bar color in the logo is navy blue.
    • First Super Bowl with Tony Romo in the booth.
    • An old-school defensive football game, this is the first Super Bowl where no touchdowns were scored in the first three quarters, with the score being 3-3 by the end of the third. The Patriots scored the only touchdown of the game about halfway in the fourth, and with a game-winning field goal made by Stephen Gostkowski with 72 seconds left, the two teams' combined score of 16 wound up being the lowest-scoring Super Bowl game ever, with the Patriots getting the lowest score by a Super Bowl-winning team at 13 and the Rams tying the lowest score for a Super Bowl-losing team at 3. The low point total comfortably broke the lowest-score record held by Super Bowl VII for 46 years, and the 2018 Rams earned the dubious honor of being the only team besides the Dolphins 47 years prior to make it to the Super Bowl and fail to score at least one touchdown in the big game.
    • The Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick extend their appearance records, this being the eleventh Super Bowl appearance for the team, the ninth for Brady, and the twelfth for Belichick.
    • The Patriots tie the Pittsburgh Steelers' record of six Super Bowl wins, getting all six of them with Brady and Belichick, both of whom now have the record for most Super Bowls won as player and head coach, respectively. Belichick also now won the most Super Bowls both as a coach and in any capacity at eight.
    • For the third time, the Patriots face a rematch of a previous Super Bowl (XXXVI), taking place exactly 17 years later. Unlike the past two Super Bowl rematches, however, the Pats won instead.
    • Rams' head coach Sean McVay became the youngest head coach (aged 33 years, 10 days) to reach the Super Bowl. On the flip side, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady both became the then-oldest respective head coach and quarterbacknote  to win the Super Bowl (Belichick aged 66 years, 293 days; Brady aged 41 years, 183 days).
    • Patriots left guard Joe Thuney sets a record of his own, becoming the first player to start in a Super Bowl in each of his first three years in the league. During the game, the Patriots offensive line's efficient containment of decorated Rams DT Aaron Donald, with Thuney's several one-on-one blocks in particular, were cited as key elements of the Pats' victory.
    • This year's halftime show was extremely controversial for a variety of reasons that we won't go into detail about here. As for the music itself, Maroon 5's performance was received poorly by critics and viewers.
    • First Super Bowl between both #2 seeds, and the first since Super Bowl XLVII to not feature a #1 seed.
    • Despite holding the league's top scoring offense to a single field goal and keeping them out of the red zone the whole game, no member of the Patriots defense received a vote for Super Bowl MVP.
    • As of March 2020, this Super Bowl wound up being the last Brady-Belichick Super Bowl as Brady left the Patriots and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that month. Relatedly, given that the Bucs are an NFC team, this campaign featured his eleventh and likely last AFC championship game, a battle for the ages against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who would win the Super Bowl the very next year.
  • LIV — February 2, 2020 / Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida / Kansas City Chiefs def. San Francisco 49ers, 31-20
    MVP: Patrick Mahomes, QB
    Network/Announcers: Fox (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Demi Lovato / Yolanda Adams
    Coin Toss: Odón Sanchez Cardenas, Samuel Lombardo, Charles E. McGee, and Sidney Walto, four centenarian World War II veterans, with McGee tossing the coin itself
    Halftime: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira,note  with guest appearances by J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Emme Muñiz (Lopez's daughter)
    • The bar color in the logo is teal. Also, the letters are made sleeker than the logos of the past three Super Bowls and they (along with the Lombardi Trophy) have gold accents to indicate that it's the fiftieth NFL championship game after the AFL-NFL merger. This Super Bowl was also the capper for the NFL's 100th season.
    • This was the eleventh Super Bowl to be played in the Miami metropolitan area, the most of any host location at the time.
    • This was the second Super Bowl of seasons from the 2010s to not feature Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, or Peyton Manning as the AFC team's starting quarterback. It's only the third such Super Bowl since 2001.
    • This was the first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXXVII to not have the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, or Pittsburgh Steelers as the AFC team.
    • This was the first Super Bowl appearance and victory by the Kansas City Chiefs in 50 years; their last appearance and victory was Super Bowl IV in 1970, the final Super Bowl before the AFL-NFL merger.
    • The 49ers are the third team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl after winning only four games in their previous season. The previous two teams to do this were the 1988 Bengals and the 1999 Rams.
    • There are a number of similarities between the 49ers teams from Super Bowls XXIX and LIV: a 13-3 record, #1 seed in the NFC, NFC West winners, an anniversary season for the NFL (75th season and 100th season, respectively), a Shanahan as a coach, playing in Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, facing an AFC West team (San Diego Chargers/Kansas City Chiefs) that made 2 comeback wins in order to make it to this point. However, unlike Super Bowl XXIX, the 49ers lost.
    • Three years after serving as the Falcons' offensive coordinator during the "28-3" fiasco, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan once again blows a double-digit lead during the final quarter of the Super Bowl. Although here, it was only 10 points instead of 25, and that was the score at the start of the fourth quarter as opposed to the third.
    • Chiefs head coach Andy Reid finally shed the Every Year They Fizzle Out label by winning his first Super Bowl during his second such attempt.
    • Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes broke the infamous Madden Curse, since he was the cover star of Madden NFL 20, the game developed for the 2019-2020 season. Although Mahomes was injured, it ultimately was inconsequential to them in the final picturenote , as he won the Super Bowl as its MVP.
    • The Kansas City Chiefs, in a bizarre twist of fate, may have inadvertently saved hundreds of lives by winning. The game occurred just as the COVID-19 Pandemic was starting to hit San Francisco. Had the 49ers won the game, the resulting celebrations in San Francisco would've very likely caused the city become a massive hotspot for COVID-19. The disease hadn't yet spread to Kansas City at the time of Super Bowl LIV, meaning the celebrations there didn't pose the same health risk.
    • Andy Reid became the seventh head coach to guide two different teams to the Super Bowl, previously guiding the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl XXXIX loss.
  • LV — February 7, 2021 / Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida / Tampa Bay Buccaneers def. Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9
    MVP: Tom Brady, QB
    Network/Announcers: CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo)
    National Anthem/"America the Beautiful": Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church / H.E.R.
    Coin Toss: Suzie Dorner, ICU nurse, representing frontline medical workers in the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Halftime: The Weeknd
    • The bar color in the logo is orange, and the trophy and letters, the latter of which are made thicker this time (but still lack the blocky serifs) and now have textures, have blue accents. If you look closely, the letters also have the faint reflection of an ocean wave.
    • Originally scheduled to take place at the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, Tampa and L.A. switched games due to construction delays that pushed opening from 2019 to 2020.
    • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL restricted Raymond James Stadium's occupancy to 20% for the game. As a result, this was the least-attended Super Bowl in history. (The majority of the season's games had been played in completely empty stadiums, with the host Buccaneers only beginning to allow fans in Week 6.) Empty seats were filled with cardboard cutouts of various NFL fans who paid the League to have pictures of themselves in those seats,note  while the lower decks were covered with LED video boards to separate the fans from the teams on the field. Not that it stopped a wannabe streakernote  from rushing the field in the fourth quarter and giving radio broadcaster Kevin Harlan a ball of a time calling his run. ("Put up your pants, my man! Pull up those pants!")
    • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the third team to play in a Super Bowl within their home market and the first to play in their home stadium, properly breaking the "Super Bowl host curse"; the '79 Rams and the '84 49ers played in other venues within their metropolitan areas during their respective "home game" Super Bowls. Despite playing in their home stadium, the Bucs were not allowed to use their stadium's usual traditions, namely firing the cannon from the pirate ship after big plays or touchdowns, during the Super Bowl to maintain the integrity of a neutral site game; pre-recorded cannon fire sounds were used only for the Bucs' introductions and when they won. Also, the Bucs' "home team" designation is by virtue of being the NFC's turn in the "home team" designation rotation and not by being the host team.
    • This was quarterback Tom Brady's tenth Super Bowl appearance, his first without the Patriots or head coach Bill Belichick, and his first on a wild card team. In this appearance, Brady clenched his seventh Super Bowl ring, fifth Super Bowl MVP honor, and extended his existing record of being the oldest QB and oldest player to play and win the Super Bowl at 43 years, 188 days.
      • This Super Bowl also featured the largest age gap between starting quarterbacks, with Tom Brady 18 years, 1 month, and 4 days older than Patrick Mahomes; when Brady made his first Super Bowl appearance in 2002, Mahomes was in kindergarten. In the leadup to the game, this matchup was expected to be like if Michael Jordan was competing against LeBron James, age difference intact.
      • During the playoffs, the Bucs' Divisional Round game against the Saints had the oldest QB matchup in NFL history, with Tom Brady and Drew Brees having a combined age of over 85 years (Brady 43 years, 167 days and Brees 42 years, 2 days).
    • This Super Bowl was a rematch of the Week 12 matchup between the Chiefs and Bucs at Raymond James Stadium (and the fourteenth regular season Super Bowl matchup). In the regular season, the Chiefs resisted a fourth quarter comeback by the Bucs, edging them 27-24 whereas the Super Bowl was a Curb-Stomp Battle in the Bucs' favor.
    • Kansas City just could not break through Tampa Bay's defense to reach the end zone; all three of their scoring runs ended in three-point field goals. They did get the first score of the game, but once Brady got his first touchdown of the game with tight end Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to join Brady again in the past season, it was all downhill from there. Not only did Tampa Bay dismantle the Kansas City offense, whose line had been decimated over the course of the season, but KC kept getting penalty after costly penalty, notching a record eight in the first half, many on the Bucs' third downs and one during a field goal attempt, that cost them 95 yards and extended the Bucs' drives into touchdowns. In total, KC received eleven penalties for 120 yards, most of which were called against their defense. This marked the first game of Patrick Mahomes' professional career where he lost by more than one score and by double digits.
    • Just like their previous Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Buccaneers faced the AFC West winner and top-seeded AFC team (Oakland Raiders/Kansas City Chiefs). And just like with how the Seahawks won XLVIII only to lose as defending champions to Brady's team (the Patriots) the following year, the Chiefs won LIV only to lose as defending champions to Brady's team (the Buccaneers) the following year.
    • After 46 years between games where one team failed to score a touchdown, it happened for the second time in three years. Unlike the Dolphins and Rams, the Chiefs scored more than once, with three field goals.
    • The Buccaneers were the first wild card team to reach the Super Bowl since the 2010 Packers at Super Bowl XLV, and the first without a first-round bye since the 2012 Ravens at Super Bowl XLVII. Tampa Bay, as the #5 seed, had to play their entire playoff schedule on the road to reach the Super Bowlnote .
    • First Super Bowl to have a female official with down judge Sarah Thomas. The Bucs were also the first Super Bowl-winning team to have female coaches on their staff.
    • Bruce Arians surpassed Bill Belichick to become the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl (68 years, 127 days).
    • The pregame flyover had three different Air Force bombers show up; a B-1 (Lancer), a B-2 (Spirit) and a B-52 (Stratofortress). Now add those numbers up.

Future Super Bowls - dates are tentative
  • LVI — February 13, 2022 / SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California
    • The logo drops the bar colors, changes the typeface for "SUPER BOWL", and brings back some creativity again with warm sunset colors and palm trees accentuating the Roman numerals and the Vince Lombardi Trophy crossing through them.
    • Originally scheduled to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Construction delays pushed the opening of SoFi Stadium from 2019 to 2020 and the cities switched games, with Tampa getting LV.
    • Tentatively, this will be the second Super Bowl to be hosted by two teams, the Rams and the Chargers.
    • This will be the first Super Bowl to be hosted in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in nearly three decades; the last Super Bowl to be hosted in the Los Angeles area was Super Bowl XXVII at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in 1993.
  • LVII — February 12, 2023 / State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
  • LVIII — February 11, 2024 / TBD
    • The Las Vegas Raiders are reportedly lobbying for the right to host Super Bowl LVIII after the NFL pulled the game from New Orleans, as noted in the section for LIX below.
  • LIX — February 9, 2025 / Louisiana Superdomenote , New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Super Bowl LVIII was initially awarded to New Orleans; however, with the NFL expanding the regular season to 17 games and the Super Bowl now conflicting with Mardi Gras, which falls on February 13 in 2024, the NFL decided to move Super Bowl LVIII to another site to be determined at a later date, awarding Super Bowl LIX to New Orleans as a consolation. Mardi Gras in 2025 falls on March 4, well after the end of the 2024 NFL season.
    • This will be the eleventh Super Bowl held in New Orleans (again tying with the Miami metropolitan area for most Super Bowls hosted), and the eighth at the Superdome.

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