clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ranking the finest plays of Super Bowl history

BTSC determines the best of the Top 10 plays in Super Bowl lore.

Super Bowl XLIII Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Super Bowl is full of memorable plays like Willie Parker's record run, the Saints surprise onside, Scott Norwood's miss and Jermaine Kearse's on-his-back, bobble grab. Many have debated the greatest plays of all-time, here is a compilation of the Super Bowl's very best in chronological order. At the end, vote for your choice of the best-of-the-best.

1) Super Bowl X-Lynn Swann's Juggling Act

January 18, 1976-Swann's balletic bobble and grab late in the second quarter of a close Super Bowl has been immortalized by NFL Films for over 40 years now. The Steelers didn't score on the drive, but Swann's majestic grab helped flip the field and lead the Steelers to victories in consecutive years. Swann ended with four catches for 161 yards and became the first receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP.

2) Riggo's Run On 4th and One

January 30,1983-With his Redskins losing 17-13 in the fourth quarter, Riggins more than converted a 4th-and-1 from the Dolphins 43 for a game-changing score.

3) Super Bowl XVIII-Marcus Allen's "Which Way Should I Go?"

January 22, 1984-This was far from a game changer because the game was well in hand, but Marcus Allen reversed field and turned a broken sweep into a cutback and one of the prettiest TD runs of all time. I was rooting against the Raiders, but this play mesmerized me.

4) Super Bowl XXIII-Joe Cool and the Taylor-Made Catch

January 22, 1989-Calming his team by pointing out John Candy in the stands, Joe Montana found John Taylor with 35-seconds left after leading his team 92-yards to victory. This dramatic catch crushed Cincinnati, along with the souls of Who-Dey Nation.

5) Super Bowl XXXII-The Elway-Copter

John Elway and the Broncos were 0-3 in the Super Bowl and were serious underdogs to Green Bay in this contest. On 3rd-and-6 from the Packer 12, Elway scrambled away from Green Bay attackers and with no regard for his body and welfare, No. 7 dove head-first, got cracked and spun like helicopter blades in the air. Terrell Davis then scored to put Denver ahead in a game they won 31-24. It became the iconic Elway moment of his Hall of Fame career.

6) Super Bowl XXXIV-Rams Vacuum Up Dyson Inside-the-One

January 30, 2000-Down seven with six seconds left, Steve McNair had already driven his Titans 78 yards. With ten-to-go, McNair found Kevin Dyson on a slant to possibly send the game into overtime. But LB Mike Jones dropped Dyson inches from the goal line, preserving the title for the Rams.

7) Super Bowl XLII-David Tyree's "Giant Helmet-Catch"

February 3, 2008-A perfect example of David vs Goliath occurred after the 2007 season when the 18-0 Patriots were poised to make history against the 13-6 underdogs. Down 14-10 late in the fourth quarter, a scrambling Eli Manning launched a prayer of a 3rd-and-20 pass 32-yards down the field in the direction of David Tyree. The rarely-used and tightly-covered Tyree made a leaping grab pinning the ball against his helmet. Instead of fourth-and-forever, the catch allowed the Giants to move the chains and eventually score with 18-seconds left. The Giants stunned the Pats 17-14 in one of the big game's biggest upsets.

8) Super Bowl XLIII-Harrison's 100-yard Halftime Stroll

February 1, 2009-Seconds before halftime, Kurt Warner was riding momentum and closing in on a 14-10 lead when he dropped back to pass. However, James Harrison dropped into coverage and picked off Warner. His adventurous 100-yard rumble resulted in a 14-point swing and a 17-7 lead for the Steelers.

9) Super Bowl XLIII-Big Ben Phones Holmes

February 1, 2009-Two plays on this list from the same game emphasizes how great this game was. With 35 ticks left on the clock and the Steelers down 23-20 to the Cardinals, Roethlisberger fired a ball through three defenders as Santonio Holmes touched two feet down for a thrilling victory and the team's 6th Lombardi.

10) Super Bowl XLIX-The Butler Did It

February 1, 2005-After the Patriots rallied from ten-points-down to take a 28-24 lead, Jermaine Kearse made a masterful and awe-inspiring catch of 33-yards that is worthy of inclusion on this list. The catch was initially batted by Malcolm Butler and hit Kearse's hands four times while on his back before he reeled it in.

With :26 remaining, the Seahawks defied conventional wisdom and passed on the one-yard-line instead of handing off to Marshawn Lynch. When Wilson slung the short pass toward the end zone, the rookie Butler sprang by and made the game-saving pick.