We might just be about to add to the collection of Miami Moments. Because this year, Miami will be the host city for Super Bowl LIV. That’s the 11th time the sunny city will host the contest.
The previous 10 Super Bowls have given us a range of contests from blowouts, to classic moments and great games. The games themselves are evenly split. With 5 having been played in the Orange Bowl, and 5 in the newer, variously named Dolphins Stadium.
So let’s take a look back and see what memories this years’ Super Bowl will be building on.
Super Bowl II
Green Bay Packers 33 Oakland Raiders 14
Miami’s first Super Bowl was the site of Vince Lombardi’s final game as the Packers’ head coach.
At the time it was known as the second AFL-NFL World Championship game and only retroactively named the Super Bowl.
The 9-4-1 Packers seemingly proved the presumption the NFL was better. Not least because they swept aside the 13-1 AFL Raiders fairly easily 33-14.
QB Bart Starr took home the MVP award for the second consecutive year after leading Green Bay’s offense on six scoring drives.
Super Bowl III
New York Jets 16 Baltimore Colts 7
All of the NFL supporters presumption of superiority was undone the very next year as the Super Bowl returned to Miami.
The first game to officially bear the trademark ‘Super Bowl’ was one of the biggest upsets in the game’s history.
The 13-1 Colts led by Don Shula were 18 point favourites over the AFL’s 11-3 Jets. The game is most famous of course for Joe Namath predicting “We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it”. A moment that went down in sporting folklore when he led the Jets to the upset win.
Namath finished 17 of 28 for 206 yards and a QB was named MVP for the third year in a row. You have to figure running back Matt Snell’s 30 carries for 121 yards and a TD wold have put him in the frame for the MVP award these days.
Shula would go on to have much happier times in the Orange Bowl as coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Super Bowl V
Baltimore Colts 16 Dallas Cowboys 13
Five years into the history of the Super Bowl and 3 of them had already been played in the Orange Bowl. This might have been the least aesthetically pleasing of them.
The ‘Gaffe Bowl’ included 11 turnovers. It was though the first Super Bowl decided by a game winning kick. That’s because Colts’ rookie kicker Jimmy O’Brien, who missed an extra point earlier in the game, booted a 32-yard field goal with five seconds left.
Redemption for O’Brien here who had earlier missed an extra point. Redemption also for the Colts who had been shocked two years earlier.
This remains the only Super Bowl in which a player on the losing team was named MVP. Chuck Howley, who recorded two interceptions in a losing effort, was afforded that honour. He did however get a winners’ ring the very next year.
Super Bowl X
Pittsburgh Steelers 21 Dallas Cowboys 17
This was the first Super Bowl to really grab the attention for a lot of people. Two great teams battled it out to the last play.
It was 10-7 to Dallas at the half and clear the two teams were well matched. That remained the score going into the final quarter.
That’s when the Steelers opened up. A safety and 2 Field Goals put them ahead 15-10. QB Terry Bradshaw then hit Lynn Swann for a 64 yard TD but was knocked out of the game on the play. The Steelers were up 21-10 with 3:02 in the game.
Roger Staubach led the Cowboys back. First with a 34 yard TD toss to Percy Howard and then on a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game. That was deflected and Pittsburgh won.
Lynn Swann took home the MVP award finishing with 4 catches for 161 yards and a TD.
For many the first ‘Super’ Super Bowl had finally been played.
Super Bowl XIII
Pittsburgh Steelers 35 Dallas Cowboys 31
NFL Films dubbed this one “The battle of the champions”. It was certainly a contest between the dominant teams of the era.
15 future Hall of Fame names were on the field as the defending champion Cowboys took on the two-time champion Steelers.
Before this game the Cowboys’ brash Linebacker Thomas ‘Hollywood’ Henderson had said of Terry Bradshaw, “He couldn’t spell ‘cat’ if you spotted him the c-a.”
Bradshaw came up with the best response possible. He went 17 of 30 for 318 yards and 4 TD’s to 1 pick to lead his team to the win and take home the MVP award.
It was a shootout. Just like Super Bowl X, the Steelers got ahead. This time 35-17. Again the Cowboys came back, and again they fell short.
The Steelers became the first franchise to win three Lombardi Trophies. In the process, the Steelers earned the title as the “Team of the ’70s.” They only gilded the lily by winning it all again the following year.
Super Bowl XXIII
San Francisco 49ers 23 Cincinnati Bengals 16
Despite the fact that the Super Bowl had been played in Miami for 5 out of the first 13 games there followed a decade long hiatus. Now the game was back in the sunny city.
The 12-4 Bengals squared off against the 10-6 49ers. Cincinnati may have had the more impressive regular season but the two time champs from San Francisco were 7 point favourites.
This was the best Super Bowl game played in Miami – so far! The great ‘Niners attack led by Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and the rest was held to just 13 points for the first 59:26 of the game.
The game is best remembered for the drive Montana engineered to win it though. San Francisco got the ball at their own 8-yard line with 3:10 on the clock and went 92 yards downfield in under three minutes.
Montana hit John Taylor for the winning score with 34 seconds on the clock.
Mirroring Super Bowl XIII and the Steelers success, the 49ers’ win over the Bengals gave them their third Super Bowl win of the decade while giving them the title as the “Team of the ’80s.”
Again, like the Steelers they gilded the lily by winning again the following season.
Super Bowl XXIX
San Francisco 49ers 49 San Diego Chargers 26
In January 1995 the 49ers were back in a Super Bowl in Miami. Once again they were winning. This was not a close contest however and was never really in doubt.
Steve Young stepped out of the long shadow of Joe Montana in San Francisco on this day. He went 24 of 36 for 325 yards with 6 touchdowns and no picks. He also led both teams with 49 yards rushing. Small wonder he was named MVP.
Jerry rice was back doing what he did best too. He caught 10 passes for 149 yards and 3 TD’s despite playing injured for part of the game.
The 49ers became the first team to win the Super Bowl on 5 occasions.
In fact for many fans arguably a bigger game than this had come earlier. The 49ers had beaten the two time defending champion Cowboys at Candlestick Park. A team they had lost two at this stage the previous 2 years. For many contemporary fans, this was the ‘real championship’ game.
Super Bowl XXXIII
Denver Broncos 34 Atlanta Falcons 19
There was a thrill in the air. It looked like a great match-up pitting the defending champion 14-2 Broncos against the 15-1 Minnesota Vikings was on the cards.
Instead the 14-2 Falcons upset the Vikings and suddenly the match-up felt less glamorous somehow. Which was hardly fair as they were a good team too.
The Falcons were coached by Dan Reeves, who had led Denver to 3 title games in the 1980’s but always come away empty handed.
The Falcons scored first on a Field Goal, but their challenge was swamped as the Broncos scored 17 unanswered points. it was 17-6 at the half and Denver never looked like letting it slip.
They extended it out to 31-6 before the Falcons put some respectability into the game in the fourth quarter.
John Elway finished his career on a high. Not only with back to back Super Bowl wins, but here going 18 of 29 for 336 yards 1 TD and 1 pick alongside a rushing TD saw him named MVP before announcing his retirement.
Super Bowl XLI
Indianapolis Colts 29 Chicago Bears 17
The Colts were making their third appearance in a Super Bowl in Miami. By now though they were based in Indianapolis & Baltimore had the Ravens.
This was the first Super Bowl to be played to a rainy backdrop. Which goes a long way to explaining why the Colts put the ball in the hands of their running game. Backs Joseph Addai & Dominic Rhodes carried the ball 40 times for 190 yards and a touchdown between them.
For the Bears’ the best moments came early. At the start speedster Devin Hester returned the kickoff for a touchdown. Later in the first quarter QB Rex Grossman hit Mushin Muhammad for a 4 yard TD and a 14-6 lead. They would only score 3 more points in the game.
Peyton Manning hit Reggie Wayne for a 53 yard TD and Kelvin Hayden sealed the deal with a 56 yard pick six. Manning would be named MVP.
Super Bowl XLIV
New Orleans Saints 31 Indianapolis Colts 17
The last Super Bowl played in Miami was a decade ago as the Saints outlasted the Colts and a key play was made on special teams.
For many in the Louisiana region this served as an exclamation point on the city’s return from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. It was all about fighting spirit and resilience.
Which made it all the more symbolic when during this game the Saints became the second team in Super Bowl history to overcome a 10-0 deficit.
Down 10-0 after a quarter the Saints pulled back to 10-6 following 2 Field Goals from Garrett Hartley. Hartley kicked 3 Field Goals in this one and none of them were gimmes all being from 44-47 yards out.
The Colts were ready to receive the ball for the second half but the Saints deceived them with a perfectly executed onside kick. Drew Brees hit 5 straight passes to go 58 yards and a TD toss saw the Saints take the lead.
The Colts responded with a 10 play 76 yard TD drive of their own. Hartley’s third Field Goal meant the Colts led 17-16 after three.
With 5:42 left in the game Brees threw another TD to TE Jeremy Shockey to take the lead.
With New Orleans nursing a 24-17 lead late on, cornerback Tracey Porter’s 74-yard pick-six with 3:12 to go clinched the Saints’ 31-17 victory as well as the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl title.
So there you have it. 10 Super Bowl games running from the 1960’s to the 2010’s. Lots of memorable moments, great players and teams.
Miami has seen some magic Super Bowl moments. Now we will have to wait to see what Super Bowl LIV has in store. Let’s hope it’s an exciting one we are talking about for years to come!
Feature image; Montana with some Miami magic in Super Bowl XXIII. Image from ninersnation