The game wasn't a thing of beauty, but is still the most important game in Super Bowl history because it showed the AFL could truly compete with the NFL. New York, huge underdogs against the 13-1 Colts, forced four turnovers and came through on quarterback Joe Namath's guarantee that the Jets would win the game.
The outcome may have been different if Jackie Smith had caught a touchdown pass when he was wide open late in the third quarter. But he didn't, and Terry Bradshaw torched the Cowboys for four touchdown passes. Dallas scored two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game, but fell short.
The game started slowly, but turned into a shootout between Tom Brady and Jake Delhomme. The Panthers tied it at 29-29 with 1:08 left to play when Delhomme threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl. After Carolina booted the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, Brady took advantage of the great field position, and Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winner.
The Rams had a 16-point halftime lead disappear when the Titans tied the game with 2:12 left in the game. Kurt Warner, the leader of the Greatest Show on Turf, tossed a game-winning 73-yard touchdown bomb to Isaac Bruce for the win. Linebacker Mike Jones saved the victory by tackling former Ute Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line as time expired.
Four words sum up this game: "This one's for John." Broncos legend John Elway finally won his first Super Bowl after failing miserably in his first three chances. Terrell Davis did much of the work for Denver, rushing for 157 yards and three scores. Elway contributed as well, making a gutsy run on a third-down play — in which he was spun like a helicopter — to keep a drive alive where the Broncos would take a 24-17 lead.
Joe Montana was Joe Cool in this game, leading the 49ers on an 11-play, 92-yard drive in the final minutes. Montana threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left to give San Francisco its third Super Bowl title. The 92-yard drive was arguably the signature moment of Montana's career.
Things looked bleak for the Cardinals after Steelers linebacker James Harrison returned an interception for a 100-yard touchdown just before halftime. But Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald rallied, and took a 23-20 lead late in the game. Ben Roethlisberger ended the Cardinals' upset bid in the final minute when he threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to game MVP Santonio Holmes.
The Patriots were playing for history, as no other team had gone 16-0 in the regular season. But the Giants spoiled their season as Eli Manning guided his team on a 12-play, 83-yard touchdown drive that's mostly remembered for David Tyree's helmet catch. Four plays later, Manning threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress to give the Giants their third Super Bowl title.
Few people gave the Patriots a chance to defeat the Greatest Show on Turf, but they did thanks to clutch performances from quarterback Tom Brady and kicker Adam Vinatieri, and a defense that threw the Rams off rhythm for much of the game. After St. Louis rallied to tie the game at 17-17, Brady directed the Patriots on a game-winning drive and Vinatieri capped it with a 48-yard field goal as time expired.
Bill Parcells' Giants were the underdogs and played ball control against the high-powered Bills. It worked. New York had the ball twice as much as Buffalo, and a 21-yard field goal by Matt Bahr gave the Giants their winning margin midway through the fourth quarter. Poor Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal attempt as time expired. The kick sailed wide right.