The Greatest Super Bowl Plays of All Time

Published on August 1, 2019
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Hey you, yeah you, the football fan. It’s February. And you know what that means – it’s Super Bowl time! As you should know, every year the two best teams in the NFL battle it out for the Lombardi trophy, the ultimate show of football mastery. Of course each game is exciting and magical but there some moments that turn games into something more. Check out our list of the best plays that have ever gone down in the history of Super Bowls.

Adam Vinatieri – Super Bowl XXXV

The man with the golden foot starts off this list because come on, he is one of the best field goal kickers of all time and always will be. During the 2001 Super Bowl game, Vinatieri sent the ball flying 48 yards helping the Patriots to a victory over the Rams. But man, was it a close call, the game ended at 20-17.

Adam Vinatieri - Super Bowl XXXV

Adam Vinatieri – Super Bowl XXXV

Doug Williams’ 4 TDs (Super Bowl XXII)

Super Bowl XXII was a game that played at everyone’s heart strings. The Redskins quarterback Doug Williams took a nasty hit during the 1st quarter but even this didn’t stop him from re-entering the game later. The Redskins were trailing to the Denver Broncos and it didn’t take long before Williams entered the game and quickly them back up to winning form. In rapid fire, he went on to score four touchdown passes and became MVP for the legendary game. He was also the first African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl – now that’s something to be proud of!

Doug Williams’ 4 TDs (Super Bowl XXII)

Doug Williams’ 4 TDs (Super Bowl XXII)

Giants Pray A Hail Mary (Super Bowl XLII)

Super Bowl XLII was quite a game, and we’re jumping straight into the 4th quarter when Eli Manning threw a Hail Mary pass that won them the game. The Patriots were closing in on the Giants when bam! Eli Manning fires off a Hail Mary into his opponent’s territory and David Tyree miraculously leaps into the air and catches it. No one in a million years would have expected that, but thanks to a little help from his helmet, a victory was in the books.

Giants Pray A Hail Mary (Super Bowl XLII)

Giants Pray A Hail Mary (Super Bowl XLII)

Jackie Smith’s TD Pass (Super Bowl XIII)

The Cowboys should have won this Super Bowl, they just should have. However with some good points and the fact that Jackie Smith dropped the ball, the trophy was snatched right out from under them. Quarterback Roger Staubach threw an incredible, surefire ball straight to Smith which would have knotted the game, but it didn’t land. He was promptly called “the sickest man in America.” And the game came to be known as “Black Sunday.”

Jackie Smith’s TD Pass (Super Bowl XIII)

Jackie Smith’s TD Pass (Super Bowl XIII)

John Elway’s Spin (Super Bowl XXXII)

Now this play is one of THE signature moments for John Elway. The Broncos quarterback was desperately trying to win his first Super Bowl and was going for a run with the ball, mind you, when he got hit by the Packers defense and went flying. It was quite the sight. It got Denver a first-and-goal which gave Terrell Davis the opportunity he needed to set up a touchdown run for the win!

John Elway’s Spin (Super Bowl XXXII)

John Elway’s Spin (Super Bowl XXXII)

Lynn Swann’s 64 Yard Grab (Super Bowl X)

When you think Steelers, the name Lynn Swann always comes up and rightly so. Swan IS one of the reasons they have so many rings to their name. In Super Bowl X, its Cowboys vs Steelers, we watch as Swann moves the ball a total of 161 yards, including that incredible 64-yard grab during the 4th quarter of the game. He went on to become the Super Bowl’s MVP and is now an NFL legend. Nicely done.

Lynn Swann’s 64 Yard Grab (Super Bowl X)

Lynn Swann’s 64 Yard Grab (Super Bowl X)

Malcolm Butler Wins It All (Super Bowl XLIX)

Malcolm Butler’s INT was sheer perfection and goes down easily as one of the greatest plays ever. This Patriots rookie cornerback would win the game for them with just 20 seconds to go! In a rare play, Butler intercepted Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, preserving a sweet 28-24 win for the Patriots. All because of Butler, the Patriots will always be remembered as Super Bowl champions and as one of the best teams in the league. Hard to argue with that.

Malcolm Butler Wins It All (Super Bowl XLIX)

Malcolm Butler Wins It All (Super Bowl XLIX)

Marcus Allen’s Cutback (Super Bowl XVIII)

Super Bowl XVIII had a lot of buzz going around, especially as the Washington Redskins were the favorites to win. What will be remembered from that game is how Marcus Allen stole the show with an incredible 191-yard rushes. During the 3rd quarter, he made the greatest cutback run in NFL history and ran the ball an amazing 74 yards to a touchdown victory!

Marcus Allen’s Cutback (Super Bowl XVIII)

Marcus Allen’s Cutback (Super Bowl XVIII)

Mario Manningham Catches It! (Super Bowl XLVI)

Poor Patriots. They were trying so incredibly hard to win, but it just wasn’t written in the stars for them. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that Manning and Manningham were on the opposing team. Manning threw the ball an incredible 38 yards to make a completion to Mario Manningham and with a mere 3:39 left on the 4th quarter, this was game-winning drive.

Mario Manningham Catches It! (Super Bowl XLVI)

Mario Manningham Catches It! (Super Bowl XLVI)

Mark Ingram’s Conversion (Super Bowl XXV)

Way back when Super Bowl XXV came around, the Buffalo Bills were at the very top of the league, and just about no one was expecting the New York Giants to win, but boy, they sure did! You see, the Giants played out a record 9-minute, 29-second drive led by Mark Ingram – it was this critical conversion 3rd-and-13 which broke 5 different tackles and marked out a slow 14-yard gain in what led to a touchdown. Probably one of the most jaw-dropping conversions of all time.

Mark Ingram’s Conversion (Super Bowl XXV)

Mark Ingram’s Conversion (Super Bowl XXV)

Rams Block The Titans (Super Bowl XXXIV)

If there was ever a nail biting play, it was this one during Super Bowl XXXIV. The Rams were winning 23-16 against the all-mighty Titans, meaning that all they had to do to tie was nab a touchdown. With only seconds left on the clock in the 4th quarter, Kevin Dyson is running towards the end zone, just a few yards away from tying the game. But, out of nowhere, Mike Jones goes for it and manages to stop the receiver – just one yard short of the goal line! That’s gotta sting.

Rams Block The Titans (Super Bowl XXXIV)

Rams Block The Titans (Super Bowl XXXIV)

Refrigerator Perry Touchdown (Super Bowl XX)

Now Super Bowl XX was a tad boring but Refrigerator Perry’s touchdown is still in the history books as one of the most amazing touchdowns of all time. William “Refrigerator” Perry was a huge guy, a staggering 340 pound lineman, so when he was on the offense against the Patriots, he made quite the mark in the name of the Bears. His plunge into the endzone was earth shattering.

Refrigerator Perry Touchdown (Super Bowl XX)

Refrigerator Perry Touchdown (Super Bowl XX)

Riggins TD (Super Bowl XVII)

It was during this season that the Washington Redskins were dominating the league. With just one loss all season, they were looking good. However, when it came to the Super Bowl, the Redskins were somehow trailing to the Miami Dolphins 17-13 in the 4th quarter. No one understood how a team so dominant all season could be trailing. They only had so much time, so they decided to go for it. Running-back John Riggins took the ball and ran down the field, breaking a tackle attempt and scoring the game winning touchdown. It was breathtaking.

Riggins TD (Super Bowl XVII)

Riggins TD (Super Bowl XVII)

Roethlisberger Holmes TD (Super Bowl XLIII)

If you know football then you know that Ben Roethlisberger is an epic quarterback, but this particular play was one of his greatest probably because it led the Pittsburgh Steelers to win! Somehow Roethlisberger threw the ball straight to the corner of the end zone past allllll of the Cardinals and right into Santonio Holmes’ hands. With just 35 seconds left on the clock, it was a beautiful execution that won the Steelers their 6th Super Bowl victory! Wow, what a game that was.

Roethlisberger Holmes TD (Super Bowl XLIII)

Roethlisberger Holmes TD (Super Bowl XLIII)

Terry Bradshaw Gets It, Gets Out (Super Bowl X)

There’s no doubt about it, Terry Bradshaw is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, I mean he did win a couple Super Bowls for the Steelers back in his playing days. In Super Bowl X, Bradshaw made one of the most decisive and extraordinary 64-yard touchdown passes to Lynn Swann during the 4th quarter of the game. Right after he threw the pass, Bradshaw’s chin met Cowboys’ Larry Cole’s helmet and he was knocked out right out, but Pittsburgh still went on to win the game. Classy.

Terry Bradshaw Gets It, Gets Out (Super Bowl X)

Terry Bradshaw Gets It, Gets Out (Super Bowl X)

Cincinnati Bengals Pete Johnson, Super Bowl XVI

This was pretty much one of the most painful moments for the Bengals’ and it’s a Super Bowl forever remembered in the history pages. Granted it was a noble attempt on their part, even if they never made it to the end zone. Picture it, the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl, the 49ers managing to keep turning the Bengals away from the end zone, every. single. time. when they were only one yard away!?! Now that’s just horrible? Terrible? Heartbreaking? The 49ers went on to win the game with 26-21 for their very first Super Bowl win.

Cincinnati Bengals Pete Johnson, Super Bowl XVI

Cincinnati Bengals Pete Johnson, Super Bowl XVI

The Buffalo Bills (almost) Get It (Super Bowl XXV)

Sometimes, a few points is all that separates the winners from the losers. The Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood tried, but missed, a 47-yard field goal attempt. With just 4 seconds left, the Giants barely could barely hang onto the win with a mere 1-point lead. The Buffalo Bills went on to lose and would lose again at their next three Super Bowls. Ouch.

The Buffalo Bills (almost) Get It (Super Bowl XXV)

The Buffalo Bills (almost) Get It (Super Bowl XXV)

The Saints Win! (Super Bowl XLIV)

Just about no one in the world believed that the Giants would win Super Bowl XLIV, especially against the Indianapolis Colts, who had Peyton Manning at the time. Miraculously though, in the 4th quarter, the Saints took the lead with only 5 minutes left in the game. Everyone was holding their breath in those final minutes waiting, praying for Manning to come through, but the Saints cornerback Tracy Porter took the ball and ran a whopping 74 yards, thus winning the game.

The Saints Win! (Super Bowl XLIV)

The Saints Win! (Super Bowl XLIV)

The Steelers Score For The Cowboys (Super Bowl XXX)

Ugh, this pass made by Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell will forever be one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of Steelers history, in NFL history really. The game was close, very close, it could’ve gone to anybody, but it was a night of victory for the Dallas Cowboys. Steelers QB O’Donnell threw the ball annnnd Dallas cornerback Larry Brown caught it, returning it for the game winning touchdown. That’s a tough one to swallow.

The Steelers Score For The Cowboys (Super Bowl XXX)

The Steelers Score For The Cowboys (Super Bowl XXX)

Touchdown 49ers! (Super Bowl XXIII)

Super Bowl XXIII was the game that made Joe Montana and John Taylor. With only 3 minutes left on the clock, the 49ers were down 3 points to the Bengals, but then Montana led his team on a 92-yard-drive to victory. Everyone was ecstatic and why wouldn’t they be? There were Super Bowl champs.

Touchdown 49ers! (Super Bowl XXIII)

Touchdown 49ers! (Super Bowl XXIII)

Victorious (Super Bowl LI)

Phew, no way we couldn’t talk about how Tom Brady led the Patriots to a historic comeback win at Super Bowl LI. 2017 marks the New England Patriots as Super Bowl champions yet again. They beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during a frenzied climax in Houston. At just one point, New England trailed 28-3 with little over a quarter left to play. No one ever imagined they would come back from that, Tom Brady looked beat, defeated. Somehow though, Brady found the strength and pulled his team through to the greatest win in NFL history. We also still can’t believe how this game led us to the first ever overtime play in its 51-year history.

In the dying minutes of overtime, the Patriots had first possession, knowing a TD was all they needed for their fifth win. Brady floated a pass towards Martellus Bennett in the end zone, but pass interference was called on the Falcons and the Patriots were just two yards out. And that was all White needed to plunge near the pylon. The noise from the crowd was defining, the sheer astonishment that the greatest Super Bowl of all time had ended in a way no one thought was coming was staggering.

Victorious (Super Bowl LI)

Victorious (Super Bowl LI)