The instant reaction following any Super Bowl is always slanted. Whether it is a controversial call, the team who hoisted the Lombardi trophy, or where the game stands in NFL history, there is always commentary surrounding the NFL landscape which is slanted.
It’s what brings in the eyeballs.
Super Bowl 57 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles was no exception. Following the Chiefs’ 38-35 victory on the game’s biggest stage, everyone is taking their angles on how the game played out.
There is plenty of talk about the holding call which impeded former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on third down which gave the Chiefs new life, and ultimately the win. There is a lot of talk about how the league somehow wanted Patrick Mahomes to win so they can crown a new “golden boy” after Tom Brady’s retirement. And there is even plenty of discussion surrounding the halftime performance, even though it had no impact on the outcome of the game.
For Seth Wickersham of ESPN, he took it a step further. He didn’t just suggest the game was great, or even talk about specific plays which impacted the outcome. No, he said it was the greatest Super Bowl of all-time.
Before Steelers fans, and plenty other fan bases around the NFL, take Wickersham to task for his hot take, at least look at his reasoning. Here’s part of it:
It was a masterpiece by Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, something special that goes beyond the fact that they combined for 600 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns. Each time their teams needed them to answer, they did. It started as soon as the game did. Hurts took the Eagles down the field on the opening drive for a touchdown. Mahomes answered with a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce. Hurts answered that answer with a deep corner route to A.J. Brown. Even when Hurts fumbled, leading to a Chiefs touchdown, he made up for it, leading the Eagles to 10 unanswered points to end the first half.
And then, it was on. The Chiefs’ second-half offensive possessions went like this: touchdown in 10 plays, touchdown in nine plays, touchdown in three plays, field goal in 12 plays. And it almost wasn’t enough. We haven’t seen a quarterback as good on third and fourth down in a Super Bowl as Hurts since ... Tom Brady against the Falcons, maybe? The Eagles were 11-of-18 on third down, so many of those conversions either Hurts squeezing through his snowplow of an offensive line or hitting passes that were a fingernail away from getting knocked down or intercepted. Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni was fearless, his offense converting two of two fourth-down attempts.
Some will say Hurts was robbed of a chance for a winning drive by a suspect holding call on the Eagles. But, as commissioner Roger Goodell said on the stand before handing over the Chiefs’ second Super Bowl trophy this decade, the game was “reflective of the entire 2022 season.” Of course it was. The NFL season ended the only way it could: with fans complaining about a flag.
If you find someone who is able, and willing, to take their fan goggles off for a second, they’ll admit this was an instant classic game. But to suggest it was the greatest Super Bowl ever played seems to be an all-time knee jerk reaction the day after a dramatic ending.
Before going into other games which deserve consideration for this title, if the defensive holding call didn’t take place, and the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal with over a minute remaining in the game, that would have set the stage for an all-time great Super Bowl. Giving the ball back to Hurts and the Eagles’ offense with a chance to tie, sending the game to overtime, or win with a touchdown would have made the game, and ending, even greater. But the way it ended tarnished the result, in my opinion.
So, what games could be considered at, or near of the all-time Super Bowl list? If we are keeping it to the more modern NFL era, here are just a few:
Super Bowl XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14
Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
James Harrison’s interception returned for a touchdown. Santonio Holmes’ game-winning touchdown catch. Need I say more?
Super Bowl LII: Eagles 41, Patriots 33
If you like high-scoring games, this was your cup of tea. The Philly Special sent Brady and the Patriots home with another ‘L’.
Super Bowl XXXIV: Rams 23, Titans 16
Kevin Dyson’s out-stretched hand on a pass from Steve McNair which game up just short will forever go down as one of the all-time greatest moments.
Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
Just hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch. Just hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch. Just hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch.
Super Bowl LI: Patriots 34, Falcons 28
The score 28-3 will forever be linked to this game...
If you dive deeper into the history of the “big game” you know there are other games which can be mentioned in the aforementioned list. But, in your opinion, where does the most recent Super Bowl rank? The greatest ever?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the offseason. Also, check out the latest Steelers Update podcast where we break down how the NFL got exactly what it wanted with this Super Bowl, in just 5 short minutes: