Tampa Bay Bowls have given us a range of games in the past. From blowouts to classics. Sure, Super Bowl LV will only be the fifth time Tampa has acted as the host city. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a rich tapestry of history in the previous contests.
Last year we looked at the ‘Miami Moments‘ that had preceded the arrival of Super Bowl LIV in that host city. And with Tampa hosting this year this will mark only the fourth time that the Super Bowl is held in the same state in back-to-back years.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the previous Tampa Bay Bowls…
Super Bowl XVIII
Los Angeles Raiders 38 Washington Redskins 9
Tampa Stadium. January 22nd 1984. Attendance 72,920.
A 38-9 blowout in wich the Raiders dominated. This would set something of a pattern for the Super Bowl in ensuing years. Channel 4 first showed the NFL in 1982. And although the sport grew to a first spike of fashionable popularity what it did not tend to provide for some time was an entertaining championship game. Eleven of the next thirteen Super Bowl games we saw were pretty one sided.
Marcus Allen, RB of the then Los Angeles Raiders became the third Heisman winner to be named Super Bowl MVP. He did it by toting the ball 20 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Supplemented by 2 catches for a further 18 yards.
Allen set the Super Bowl record for most rushing yards. And set up an oft shown highlight reel play as he sprinted for the longest run in Super Bowl history with a dazzling 74-yarder in the third quarter.
Despite the run of one sided games, the next on our list played in Tampa Bay seven years later was a barnstormer.
Super Bowl XXV
New York Giants 20 Buffalo Bills 19
Tampa Stadium. January 27th 1991. Attendance 73,813.
To this point NFC teams had won six consecutive Super Bowl games. But this one felt the like the AFC had a real chance. The Buffalo Bills at 13-3 were the AFC number 1 seed and squared off against a 13-3 New York Giants team.
The Bills no huddle offence had seen them lead the league in scoring. The Giants complementary blend of ball control offence and great defensive play saw them allow the least points.
Buffalo led 12-10 at the half in a closely contested matchup. But ultimately it would come to be remembered for a missed kick. With the score at 20-19 to the Giants the Bills had the ball at their own 10 yard line with 2:16 on the clock.
Jim Kelly led them to the Giants 29-yard line, just within field goal range with eight seconds to play. Scott Norwood’s subsequent attempt sailed wide right by less than a yard and the Giants ran out the clock.
Otis Anderson who had 21 carries for 102 yards and 1 TD for the Giants was named MVP. In all likelihood had Norwood made the kick Thurman Thomas who had 15 carries for 135 yards and a TD for Buffalo would have taken the prize.
Super Bowl XXXV
Baltimore Ravens 34 New York Giants 7
Raymond James Stadium. January 28th 2001. Attendance 71,921.
A decade after winning the Lombardi in Tampa Bay the Giants were back in the big one. This one however would be somehting their fans might want to skip over.
This was the second of our Tampa Bay Bowl game blowouts as the 12-4 Ravens thrashed the 12-4 Giants 34-7.
Led by LB Ray Lewis, who would be named MVP, the Ravens completely shut down the New York attack.
Baltimore allowed only 152 yards of offence by the Giants, and recorded 4 sacks and forced 5 turnovers. The Giants had the ball 16 times in the game on offence and came away with no points on every occasion. Every drive ended with a punt or an interception and finally time mercifully expiring in the game.
The score was 17-0 not long after halftime. If the Giants were looking for a spark, Kick Returner Ron Dixon gave them one with a 97 yard TD return. Any momentum they could have had was instantly snuffed out as Jermaine Lewis responded with an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for Baltimore. You could almost feel the energy leave the Giants at that point.
Baltimore became the first US city to win major professional American football championships with four different franchises. That included a win in Super Bowl V for the Baltimore Colts, a Grey Cup win for the Baltimore Stallions, and a USFL title for the Baltimore Stars.
Super Bowl XLIII
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Arizona Cardinals 23
Raymond James Stadium. February 1st 2009. Attendance 70,774.
After Baltimore won Super Bowl XXXV we had a run of Super Bowl games leading up to this one that had seen 4 of the 7 settled by 3 points or less. There was optimism this could be another good one. And we weren’t disappointed.
The 12-4 Steelers became the first Super Bowl six time winners with their 27-23 win over a 9-7 Arizona Cardinals team.
This was one of the Tampa Bay Bowls games that was full of great moments too. Pittsburgh LB James Harrison returned an interception 100 yards at the end of the first half to send the Steelers in 17-7 ahead.
Trailing 20-7 the Cards socred 16 unanswered fourth quarter points to take a 23-20 lead. The lead came on a 64 yard TD pass from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald.
However, the Steelers took home the title when Santonio Holmes took over on their game winning drive. He had 4 catches for 73 yards on the drive. Including a 6-yard game-winning toe-dragging touchdown catch in the corner of the End Zone with 35 seconds left.
Holmes finished with nine catches for 131 yards and that touchdown to be named MVP.
What the neutrals want from the latest of the Tampa Bay Bowls
As we have seen there has been quite a variety of games in these four contests. Fans all want our teams to get there. And of course to win it all. Preferably in a comfortable fashion so we can enjoy it throughout.
But because there are 32 teams in the NFL, the chances are your team won’t be there. So what do the neutrals want from this Tampa Bay based Super Bowl? A close exciting game.
Fingers crossed it is something like Super Bowl XXV or XLIII we all see replicated out there. For fans of teams involved it would be tense. But worth it if we get a memorable game.
Banner image from Giants.com