The Super Bowl makes America stop and watch. The NFL’s championship tilt brings friends together to enjoy the spectacle and lots of guacamole.
Super Bowl 56 is coming up, currently billed for SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. There’s a reason why millions of Connecticut sports fans tune in each year. It has everything Americans like: football, violence, sports betting, and food.
Here are the Top 10 iconic moments in Super Bowl history.
#10 Garo Yepremian’s pass
Super Bowl VII should be remembered as the only time a team went through the entire NFL season undefeated. The Miami Dolphins finished 17-0 (NFL regular seasons were only 14 games back then) when they beat the Washington (then) Redskins, 14-7.
However, it’s remembered much more for Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian’s ill-fated pass near the end of the game that led to the Redskins lone score. Yepremian, a talented kicker from Cyrpus, picked up the ball after a bad snap only to see it flutter harmlessly out of his hands. Redskins defensive back Mike Bass snagged it and returned it for a touchdown. The blooper will live on forever.
#9 Jackie Smith drops the ball
Cowboy fans get a lot of grief, most of it deserved, but if you really want to bug a Cowboys fan, bring up this play. It was Super Bowl XIII and the Cowboys were leading the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-14.
Then, Jackie Smith, the Cowboys tight end, dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone. The Steelers would eventually take advantage of the mistake and rally for a 35-31 win. It was their fourth Super Bowl title of the 70s.
#8 First big commercial
The whole concept of a Super Bowl commercial has become iconic and while there are many memorable ones to choose from, especially the Apple commercial, the first transcendent Super Bowl commercial was from Coca-Cola.
It featured Pittsburgh Steelers brutish defensive lineman “Mean” Joe Greene, sucking down a Coke and tossing his jersey to a sheepish young kid. The audience loved the visual connection and Super Bowl commercials have never been the same.
#7 Scott Norwood miss
It’s terrible to pick on a kicker again, but here’s the thing, until Super Bowl XXV between the Giants and Bills, the games weren’t close. The average margin of victory in the first 24 Super Bowls: 16.7 points.
Bring on Super Bowl XXV which had a clear favorite, the Bills, and spunky underdog, the Giants. The game came down to a field goal try by Bills kicker Scott Norwood that missed wide right giving the Giants a thrilling 20-19 win.
Bills fans remember that Norwood would actually redeem himself (to a degree) the following year. Kicking the decisive field goal in the AFC Championship game.
#6 Down at the one
After Super Bowl XXV, it was like a hex was broken as the games got closer and more dramatic. This was epitomized by Super Bowl XXXIV, which was the first time (up to then) a team had a chance to score a touchdown on the last play to tie the game.
Titans quarterback Steve McNair threw a pass to Kevin Dyson. Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Dyson at the one-yard line, preserving the Rams 23-16 victory. Dyson’s attempt to reach the ball for the goal line is one of Super Bowl’s iconic scenes.
#5 The helmet catch
Sorry Patriot Fans, but this has to be on here. David Tyree somehow snagged a desperation heave from Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
In the waning moments of Super Bowl XLII, he pinned it to his helmet as Patriots mauler/safety Rodney Harrison hung on. The play gained 32 yards and the Giants scored four plays later to win 17-14. And the Patriots dream of a 19-0 season.
#4 They threw a pass?
Ok, now you can look Patriots fans. This is still one of the most confounding moments in Super Bowl history. The Seahawks drive down to the Patriots one-yard line at the very end of Super Bowl XLIX. They have a legitimate beast in the backfield in Marshawn Lynch and nimble quarterback Russell Wilson.
Do they run Lynch? No.
Do they let Wilson sneak? No.
Instead, the Seahawks shockingly opted for a short pass over the middle. Malcolm Butler intercepted, giving the Patriots their fourth overall Super Bowl title.
#3 Wardrobe malfunction
Super Bowl shows used to be benign, G-rated affairs (Up with People anyone?). The NFL started booking the acts along with MTV. Including the show starring Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performing at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
At the end of Timberlake’s song, he grabbed part of Jackson’s top, yanking it down and revealing, well, you know.
Viewers were shocked, amazed and confused. Was it planned? CBS was fined and the NFL was not happy. The term ‘wardrobe malfunction’ entered the American vernacular and Super Bowl halftime shows became must-see TV and prop bet opportunities.
#2 Patriot forever
The Patriots have been the dominant NFL franchise for the last 20 years, with six Super Bowl titles, tying with the Steelers for most all-time.
The dynasty started at Super Bowl XXXVI when Tom Brady led a drive in the final moments (and against commentator John Madden’s advice) with Adam Vinatieri drilling a 48-yard field goal on the game’s final play.
It gave the Patriots a 20-17 win. Since that night, the NFL has never been the same.
#1 Super Joe
Super Bowl III wasn’t even a Super Bowl back then, it was still called the AFL-NFL Championship Game. It pitted the winners of the American Football League against the winners of the National Football League against one another World Series style.
The first two Super Bowls were NFL blowouts. Everyone was sure that in the third game pitting the New York Jets and dreamboat quarterback Joe Namath would get mauled by the 13-1 Baltimore Colts.
Namath brashly predicted victory in the days leading up to the game, and then followed up on his boast. Using a game plan that allowed him to change plays at the line of scrimmage (revolutionary at the time) the Jets milked the clock and stunned the Colts, 16-7, in Miami.
The Jets win ushered in a new era of football and Namath trotting off the field with his index finger pointed high is the Super Bowl’s most iconic moment.