The Super Bowl is the biggest stage in American sports, the one shining moment that players and fans alike dream of all year long. It’s become somewhat of a national holiday stateside, with families all getting together around the TV just as they would at Thanksgiving or on Christmas Day. Every once in a while, a team comes out of nowhere to shock the world and take home the Lombardi, but last year we weren’t given the chance to witness it in the first place
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles faced off for glory at State Farm Stadium in Arizona as the top seeds in both the AFC and the NFC. Two top-seeded sides hadn’t met each other in the Super Bowl for five years but this time around, the former avoided shocks against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals while the latter successfully negotiated the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers to punch their ticket to The Big Game.
Ultimately, it was Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs that ran out victorious. They managed to overturn a ten-point halftime deficit to halt Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts bringing the Lombardi back to the City of Brotherly Love after one of the all-time greatest individual performances. According to Bovada odds for Super Bowl, the Chiefs and the Eagles are the two front runners to battle it out for glory once more. The reigning champions are priced at +500 while the beaten finalists are +525 second favorites.
But in our eyes, it’s these underdog stories that are what make sports so captivating. So, sit back, grab some popcorn, and let’s relive some of the most memorable moments in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
Only one team in history has ever managed to successfully complete the perfect season. That was the Miami Dolphins back in 1972. They won all 17 of their games that year en route to the Lombardi. The 2007 New England Patriots were very nearly the second.
The Boston outfit came into Super Bowl XLII with an 18-0 record and were heavy favorites to take home the trophy. But the Giants’ defense had other plans, sacking QB Tom Brady five times and holding the highest-scoring offense in history to just 14 points. Meanwhile, quarterback Eli Manning had the game of his life and spearheaded a late game-winning touchdown drive deep into the fourth quarter. The score gave the Giants a narrow 17-14 lead with just over a minute left on the clock, and Brady and his Patriots were unable to recover.
Super Bowl XXXVI: St. Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots
The Patriots though do indeed know both sides of the coin. While they may have been stunned with their favorites tag at the culmination of the 2007 season, they shone five years prior as underdogs. Super Bowl XXXVI was their first appearance in a Super Bowl since 1997, and they were going up against the “Greatest Show on Turf” in the form of the St. Louis Rams. They were heavy underdogs for the showdown at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. But behind the arm of their unknown quarterback Tom Brady and the clutch kicking of Adam Vinatieri, the Patriots pulled off a 20-17 upset.
The game-winning drive, which included a controversial call, cemented Brady’s status as a clutch quarterback and jump-started a dynasty as well as the would-be coronation of the sport’s resident GOAT. The game came down to a last-gasp field goal attempt which Vinatieri duly planted through the upright to secure the Lombardi as time ran out, marking the first time in over four decades that a game had been decided with the final play.
Super Bowl XLIV: Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints
Many experts predicted a blowout in favor of the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. After all, they had the league’s MVP in Peyton Manning and a top-ranked offense. But the New Orleans Saints weren’t intimidated.
They had a secret weapon in the form of brilliant play-calling from head coach Sean Payton. His side took an early lead and just when it looked like the favorites were getting themselves back into the game, he dialed up an onside kick early in the second half to swing the momentum in their favor once more. Quarterback Drew Brees kept the Saints’ offense rolling plus a clutch interception from Tracy Porter helped thwart Manning’s late rally to secure their first-ever Lombardi, winning the Big Game 31-17.
Super Bowl LII: New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Throughout the 2010s, the Patriots had become even more dominant than they were a decade prior. It’s a far cry from wher
e the Gilette Stadium outfit finds itself in 2023, propping up the AFC East with a paltry record of two wins and eight losses. Under the tutelage of Bill Belichick, they had reached at least the AFC championship game in eight consecutive games between 2011 and 2018, winning five of them and converting three of those victories into Lombardis.
2018 marked the last of those appearances and the Patriots’ third straight trip to the big game. They faced off against a Philadelphia Eagles side that was always the bridesmaid and never the bride, and they must have thought that history would repeat itself once more in 2918 when Nick Foles had to start at quarterback instead of injured superstar Carson Wentz.
Due to the injury crisis that had plagued the their latter weeks of the regular season, the Lincoln Financial Field side came into the contest as heavy underdogs, but Foles, played like it was him who was the megastar, throwing for a mighty 373 yards and three touchdowns in an offensive masterclass.
The Eagles’ defense also came up big, forcing a key fumble and stopping the favorites from mounting a comeback in the fourth quarter. That was enough to seal a 41-33 victory and a first Lombardi in franchise history.