Super Bowl week is here
The Super Bowls over the last decade were some of the most fun to watch. Super Bowl 52 is Feb 4 between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Although I have been a football fan my whole life, it wasn’t until the Carolina Panthers took their first trip to the Super Bowl that I invested the time to watch the coveted title match.
Before we find out which team will be crowned the 2018 Super Bowl champions, let’s take a look at my top-five Super Bowls.
The top-five Super Bowls of the last decade
5. Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots Feb 1, 2004
The Panthers had only been in the league nine years when the franchise went to their first Super Bowl. In just his first year with Carolina, Jake Delhomme took the young franchise to their first attempt at a Super Bowl. The Panthers finished first in the NFC South and third in the conference. They had a defensive monster named Mike Rucker and a pistol of a receiver named Steve Smith. It was John Kasay who ended up being Carolina’s demise (at least that’s how fans remember it).
This was Tom Brady’s second Super Bowl and fans weren’t quite sure who he was, but knew he was capable of winning games and that he was good. This one makes the cut because it was the first Super Bowl for the Panthers and other than Kasay botching an extra point and the kickoff at the end of the game, was a title game that would spur Brady and Belichick’s legacy as the best QB-coach tandem for nearly the next two decades.
4. Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos Feb 7, 2016
Denver was an unsuspecting team due the 2015 season. Yes, they had Peyton Manning as their quarterback but he had only started nine games that year and was not the quarterback that people were afraid of. What worked for that Super Bowl squad was the tenacity of their defense. “Defense wins championships,” is a saying that many teams live by and come up with some of the most ferocious defenses. The ’85 Bears, the ’00 Ravens, and the ’15 Broncos all had defenses that were unrelenting and won their team championships.
Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, was voted most valuable player for the 2015 season. He put the team on his back, much like he did at Auburn, and had a defense that matched his intensity much of the season. The only other game the Cats lost that season was to their division rival, the Atlanta Falcons, during week 16. It was true, both teams had great D’s but perhaps Carolina’s forgot to show up. And on top of that, DeMarcus Ware, and Von Miller, the game’s MVP, ate Newton alive. This game makes the list because of the defense. It was impressive on both sides–even though the Panthers taking it would have made it much sweeter.
3. New York Giants vs. New England Patriots Feb 5, 2012
Ah yes. The second of the two titles that the Giants won against the Patriots. There is nothing more gratifying than an underdog story. Throwing a nod to the “underdog” Philadelphia Eagles, we revisit the underdog victory of the Giants against, you guessed it, the New England Patriots (I’m beginning to notice a pattern). After entering the 2012 playoffs 9-7 and a wild card in the NFC, New York went on to do the virtually impossible.
The Patriots hadn’t been to the Super Bowl in a few seasons. In fact, the last one, they lost to the same team. All the pieces were there and they won 10-straight before losing this one. Rob Gronkowski had a killer year in receptions but was quiet throughout the championship. The team was packed full of power but the team couldn’t get the job done.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals Feb 1, 2009
Two words: Santonio Holmes. He had one of the greatest catches in a Super Bowl. A catch so good in fact, that he was named MVP of the game. But Holmes wasn’t the only hero on the team. The Steelers were firing on all cylinders during the 2008-09 season. And their game against the NFC champions was no exception. Let’s not forget about the 100-yard pick six by James Harrison.
The only scenario that could have made the win better for the Steelers, was if Larry Fitzgerald was on the team. Getting to the Super Bowl that year was probably the closest he will come to the Lombardi trophy.
1. New York Giants at New England Patriots Feb 3, 2008
The number one title game was the first meeting between the Giants and the Patriots. This title match was number one for a few reasons. First, the Patriots had an undefeated record of 18-0. They would become just the second team in NFL history to complete a perfect season behind the 1972 Miami Dolphins. But the Giants had other plans.
Like Nick Foles is destined for the Super Bowl, so were the New York Giants during the 2007 season. The Giants entered the playoffs 10-6 and a wild card (which tells me that all Tom Coughlin needed was to get in, and he would win). There was no way the wild card Giants were going to beat the “Perfect Patriots.” But they did. Not only did Eli Manning escape a sack that would have ended the game and handed New England the game, but he got off THE PASS to David Tyree that is still talked about today. The Patriots were dethroned and Manning got his first title.
Super Bowl 52 is Feb 4
Eagles Fans and Patriots haters will gather around Sunday to watch the two teams clash. The major consensus is that the Patriots will walk away with the sixth title under the Brady Belichick era, but beware of the underdogs. They may have something to say about that. Maybe this game will make the next list of great title games.