As the Super Bowl approaches its 50th anniversary, The Comeback is taking a crack at ranking each of the first 49 editions of America’s most popular single-day sporting event.
What makes a great Super Bowl? That, of course, depends on who you ask. In a weird way, sports are personal. But most of us can agree that great games usually need to be closely contested while ideally containing original storylines and memorable plays. Some Super Bowls have possessed all of that criteria, while others have had pretty much none of it.
With those loose guidelines, let’s break it down.
49. Super Bowl VIII – Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7 – Jan. 13, 1974
Bob Griese had to complete only six passes in a game that was over at halftime.
48. Super Bowl XX – Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10 – Jan. 26, 1986
Too easy. One of the most dominant teams in NFL history was up 23-3 at the half.
47. Super Bowl I – Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10 – Jan. 15, 1967
It’s novel now, but few cared then. This was a 25-point blowout in a half-empty stadium.
46. Super Bowl II – Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14 – Jan. 14, 1968
A little closer than Super Bowl I, but still never in doubt. This was like the 2004 World Series. After the Red Sox came back to beat the Yankees in that year’s ALCS, the World Series was an anticlimactic afterthought. After the “Ice Bowl,” Super Bowl II probably felt the same way.
45. Super Bowl XXXVII – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21 – Jan. 26, 2003
Some dude named Dexter Jackson was MVP in a game the Raiders didn’t show up for. (In one case, literally.)
44. Super Bowl XXVI – Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24 – Jan. 26, 1992
A far superior Redskins team took care of business from start to finish.
43. Super Bowl XXVII – Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17 – Jan. 31, 1993
The third most-lopsided game in Super Bowl history was over when Dallas led 28-10 at halftime. Leon Lett couldn’t save this one.
42. Super Bowl VI – Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3 – Jan. 16, 1972
The 1971 Dolphins are the only team in Super Bowl history that didn’t score a touchdown. Dallas’ first-ever Super Bowl victory was never in doubt.
41. Super Bowl XLVIII – Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8 – Feb. 2, 2014
The climax was really the safety to start the game, which is never a good sign. But it was fun to watch such a dominant defensive performance against a future Hall of Fame quarterback.
40. Super Bowl XII – Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10 – Jan. 15, 1978
The game was within reach until the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t a good one. This was the definition of sloppy as the two teams were penalized a combined 20 times while committing 10 turnovers.
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