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Friday, February 5, 2016

Most Memorable Super Bowl Moments: 20-11

It's less than a week until Super Bowl 50 gets underway in Santa Clara.  Here at Banshee Sports, we are continuing to celebrate the Super Bowl's golden anniversary with our countdown of the 50 Most Memorable Super Bowl Moments.  In this column, we finally begin to unveil the top twenty.

20.  Lett Struck by a Beebe.  The Buffalo Bills achieved one of the greatest streaks of almost greatness in the history of sports when they appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990's.  I label this "almost" greatness because the Bills lost every one of those games.  In the second half of Super Bowl XXVII, the Bills were well on their way to a crushing loss to the Dallas Cowboys.  It was in the late stages of this rout that Bills wide receiver Don Beebe made one of the greatest hustle plays in the history of the Super Bowl.  Although this play did nothing to impact the final outcome of the 55-17 blowout, Beebe and Lett combined to give America's youth a lasting lesson about hustle and hot-dogging.

19.  Have a Coke and a Smile.  We have already chronicled many commercials on this countdown.  But, before we had Where's the Beef and the E*Trade Baby entering mainstream pop culture, we had Mean Joe Green, a little kid and a Coke.  This ad debuted in 1979 during Super Bowl XIII, a game that the Steelers won by a score of 35-31 over the Dallas Cowboys.

18.  Gatorade Bath.  The post-game Gatorade bath has become so routine now that it is almost annoying.  After all, does a coach really want to be doused in sticky juice after winning the Beef O'Brady's Bowl?  But, when it happened the first time, it was a unique and memorable celebration.  The New York Giants are a storied franchise, but up until Super Bowl XXI, their greatest franchise moments all took place before the NFL-AFL merger.  Super Bowl XXI in 1987 was the Giants' first Super Bowl championship.  The G-Men celebrated in style by dumping the Gatorade cooler over head coach Bill Parcells.  There is some debate over who invented the the Gatorade bath and when it was first performed, but there is no debate that the Super Bowl champion Giants made this sticky mess a tradition.

17.  Perfection.  There is not much that needs to be said about the 1972 Miami Dolphins.  Their record speaks for itself.  When the Dolphins defeated the Redskins in Super Bowl VII, they became the first team to finish an NFL season with an undefeated season.  The Dolphins finished that year with a record of 17-0.  Since that time, the NFL has expanded both the regular season and the playoffs.  The 2007 New England Patriots reached a lofty record of 18-0, but they ultimately lost in the Super Bowl, thereby preserving the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only perfect team in NFL history.

A young Tom Brady celebrates
his first Super Bowl victory
16.  Patriots Shock the World.  For folks under the age of thirty, it is hard to remember a time when the New England Patriots were not a perennial juggernaut.  But when the New England Patriots faced the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, the Pats came into the game as 14-point underdogs.  Turns out, it was the Rams who needed a spirited comeback in the second half to tie the game at 17-17 with just 90 seconds remaining in the game.  Then the legend of Tom Brady was born.  With no timeouts, Brady drove his team down to the Rams' 30-yard line.  Adam Vinatieri drilled a 48-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Patriots to their first ever Super Bowl championship.

15.  Redskins Explosion.  Coming off a Super Bowl loss the previous year, the Denver Broncos came into Super Bowl XXII as favorites to defeat the Washington Redskins.  After one quarter the Broncos led 10-0.  Then the Washington Redskins put up one of the most explosive quarters in the history of the NFL, let alone the history of the Super Bowl.  The Redskins scored 35 points in the second quarter.  Doug Williams threw four touchdown passes in the quarter on his way to winning the MVP.  Williams was the first African American to start at quarterback in a Super Bowl.

14.  Nothin' But Net.  Super Bowl XXVIII was the most lopsided game in the history of the Super Bowl.  But, this game did give America one of the best commercials of all time.  When Larry Bird and Michael Jordan paired up for this McDonald's ad, it was exciting just to see these two all-time greats on the screen at the same time.  After all, in 1993, it was not commonplace for the NBA's top stars to publicly socialize together.  In this commercial, America got to see a little playfulness mixed in with the legendary competitive fire of Bird and Jordan.

13.  The Refrigerator in the End Zone.  The 1985 Chicago Bears were a truly special team that finished off an all-time great season with a 46-10 demolition of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.  Everything about this Bears team was brash.  Prior to the game, they released the Super Bowl Shuffle music video.  The Bears continued this in-your-face attitude when William "Refrigerator" Perry scored a touchdown in the third quarter.  This is one of the most polarizing plays on this countdown.  Some found this play to be amusing and entertaining.  Others deemed the play to be an insult to all that is noble in football.  With the game already out of reach and the ball on the 1-yard line, the Bears chose to hand the ball to a rookie defensive tackle rather than allow the classy and aging Walter Peyton to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl.  "Sweetness" retired in 1987 and never got another chance to play in the Super Bowl.

12.  The Sickest Man in America.  Jackie Smith is a Hall of Fame tight end who spent the majority of his excellent career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals before joining the Dallas Cowboys during the 1978 season.  Unfortunately, when the lights were shining the brightest in the third quarter of Super Bowl XIII, Smith was evidently blinded and dropped a wide open touchdown pass.  The Cowboys had to settle for a field goal on the drive and ultimately lost by four points to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The play became immortalized in part due to Verne Lundquist's iconic radio call in which he declared, "Bless his heart.  He must be the sickest man in America."

11.  Tie a Yellow Ribbon.  On November 4, 1979, Iranian students took control of the American embassy in Tehran and seized 66 American hostages.  The hostages were held captive for over a year.  On January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States.  Moments later, the hostages were released.  On January 25, 1981 we played a Super Bowl.  Throughout the 444-day ordeal, Americans showed their support for the hostages by tying yellow ribbons on trees, mailboxes and houses.  In celebration of the hostages' release, the Louisiana Superdome was adorned with a huge yellow ribbon when it hosted Super Bowl XV.

Superdome celebrates the return of the hostages

Moments 20-11
Moments 10-1

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