With the Super Bowl rapidly approaching, it’s time to continue looking at the big game with some of our favorite memories.
Now, like most of you. . .and it makes me sad to say this. . .I have absolutely no Super Bowl memories of the Minnesota Vikings. That’s because the last time our favorite football team was even in the big game, yours truly was not quite four months old. I’ve never seen the Vikings in the big game, and I envy those of you that have. . .even if none of those memories are terribly positive.
But there have been plenty of great moments over the years, despite the distinct lack of Viking involvement. Here are a few of my personal favorites.
Roethlisberger to Holmes - You can see the picture of the big play from Super Bowl XLIII in the picture that accompanies this story. Facing a 2nd-and-goal from the Arizona 7-yard line with less than a minute remaining and trailing 23-20. Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made as perfect a throw as you’ll ever see. Big Ben took the snap, stood tall in the pocket, and fired a pass to the back right corner of the end zone. The throw went just over the fingertips of Cardinals’ cornerback (and former Viking) Ralph Brown, and into Holmes’ hands just in front of safety Aaron Francisco. Holmes somehow got both feet down and gave the Steelers the lead.
The helmet catch - Everyone remembers this one, too. Eli Manning and the Giants found them trailing Tom Brady and the 18-0 Patriots by a score of 14-10, and were facing a 3rd-and-5 from their own 44-yard line with 1:15 left in the game. On the previous play, Patriots’ cornerback Asante Samuel dropped what would have been a game-sealing interception, and the Giants made them pay for it, courtesy of little-used David Tyree.
Four plays after that, Manning found Plaxico Burress in the end zone to give the Giants a 17-14 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish and ended the Patriots’ undefeated run.
The Elway helicopter - John Elway had the proverbial “monkey on his back” for years, having been acknowledged as one of the greatest quarterbacks to never win a Super Bowl. He played a huge role in getting his first one, and while this play didn’t come in the closing minutes, it did propel the Broncos to victory. Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the Green Bay 12-yard line towards the end of the third quarter, Elway took matters into his own hands.
Terrell Davis found the end zone two plays later, and the Broncos took the lead in a game they’d go on to win, giving Elway his first championship.
Montana’s Game-Winning Drive - Perhaps no quarterback has been better in the Super Bowl than Joe Montana, and he had what might have been his greatest drive against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. With the San Francisco 49ers trailing 16-13 with just over three minutes remaining, Montana and company found themselves starting from their own 8-yard line following a penalty on a kickoff return. The legend goes that, prior to the drive, Montana looked into the stands and spotted movie star John Candy. But, when it came to winning time, Montana was all business.
The 92-yard drive culminated in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Montana to John Taylor to give the Niners a 20-16 lead with just over thirty seconds remaining. One of the best drives you’ll ever see anywhere.
Those are some of my favorite Super Bowl memories. What are some of yours?