Top Five Super Bowls of the 21st Century

By: Hunter Sullivan ’20

As the Philadelphia Eagles relish in their victory with a city wide parade today, we look back on the best five Super Bowl games that have gone down so far in this century.

5. 2009, Super Bowl 43 (Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23)

To kick off the list we look at this Super Bowl that went down in 2009. The Arizona Cardinals had plowed through the NFC to reach the big game. By the looks of things, as the fourth quarter winded down the Cardinals were on top. Larry Fitzgerald has just given his team the lead with a 64-yard touchdown catch after overcoming a fourth quarter deficit of 20-7. It looked like the Cardinals had it wrapped up, all they had to do was make a defensive stop. However, Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers quarterback, marched his team down the field. As time was running out he threw it into the end zone towards the hands of Santonio Holmes, who miraculously held on while getting his toes in. This toe drag catch is regarded as one of the best catches ever made in a Super Bowl and it came at just the right time as well.

4. 2018, Super Bowl 52 (Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England Patriots 33)

The most recent Super Bowl belonged to the Philadelphia Eagles until nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, where Tom Brady struck and took the lead. Philadelphia struck back soon after with a controversial touchdown of their own thrown to star tight end Zach Ertz. As Brady took the ball back, viewers all over the country were expecting Brady to work his magic and swing the game back to the Patriots. And then Brady fumbled. Rookie Eagles kicker Jake Elliot widened the score with a field goal off this play and Brady had one more chance to strike. In the game with the highest combined yards of any Super Bowl game ever played, Brady’s throw made it into the end zone but none of his guys were able to reel it in. Finally someone had beaten Brady other than the Giants and the Eagles had won their very first Super Bowl.

3. 2015, Super Bowl 49 (New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24)

In another game featuring the New England Patriots, they were put to the test against Russel Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. At the half, the teams were tied at fourteen each and it looked like the game was gearing up to be one to remember. In a back and forth second half contest, New England eventually pulled ahead with two consecutive touchdown drives after being down by 10. Russel Wilson knew he had to drive his team downfield and he did just that. On 2nd and goal with little time on the clock, many people expected the Seahawks to hand the ball off to their star running back, Marshall Lynch. Wilson threw the ball and it was picked off on the goal line by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler, clinching a fourth ring for Tom Brady.

2. 2008, Super Bowl 42 (New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14)

The Tom Brady led Patriots were on a rampage this year. Randy Moss had come over from the Minnesota Vikings and New England was considered one of the best offensive forces the game had ever seen. They only lost one game through out the regular season and the playoffs and it just happened to be the Super Bowl. In a rather defensive game, the New York Giants defensive line was able to contain Brady with constant pressure. Just when everyone thought the Patriots were going to cap off the undefeated season, David Tyree made one of the most memorable Super Bowl plays of all time. “The Helmet Catch” involved a deep last ditch throw issued by Eli Manning which Tyree miraculously pinned against his helmet. That led to a first down for the Giants, setting up the game winning score.

1. 2017, Super Bowl 51 (New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28)

Yes I know Tom Brady has shown up in the last four games on this list and that is because he is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. However, Tom Brady is also on here because he is clutch. Down 28-3 at the half, half of the United States already had gone to bed and called it an early night. With a chain of amazing throws by Brady and a very memorable catch by Julian Edelman, the Patriots were able to send the game into the first ever Super Bowl overtime. The Patriots defense stepped up and was able to quiet Matt Ryan, the MVP and Julio Jones, one of the best receivers in the league during the second half. Eventually, New England ran the ball into the end zone at the beginning of overtime to win the game. The Patriots remained humble in the post game interviews, sticking to the basics. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower said that all coach Bill Belichick said was, “Do your job, finish. We knew what they had. We drew up what they were doing. We had to come out and execute, and we did just that.”

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