In one of the biggest momentum swings of any Super Bowl, the Arizona Cardinals went from on the verge of scoring a go-ahead touchdown to trailing 17-7 on final play of the first half. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison faked a blitz, then dropped into coverage, picking off Kurt Warner and returning the interception 100 yards for a touchdown, the longest play in Super Bowl history. The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year's score was the Steelers' final touchdown until Santonio Holmes' game-winning grab with 35 seconds remaining.
2 of 13Walter Iooss Jr./SI
DE Justin Tuck, New York Giants
The Giants engineered the Upset of the Century thanks to a dominating performance on the line of scrimmage -- and no single player created more trouble for Tom Brady than Tuck, whose two first-half sacks set the tone for the black-and-blue contest. The third-year defensive end added six tackles and the forced fumble which prevented New England from attempting a field goal at the end of the first half.
3 of 13John Iacono/SI
CB Dwight Smith, Tampa Bay
Smith's secondary mate Dexter Jackson ended up collecting Super Bowl MVP honors for his first-half heroics in Tampa Bay's rout of Oakland in the so-called Pirate Bowl. But Smith became the first and only player in game history to return two interceptions for touchdowns as the Buccaneers stomped the Raiders, 48-21.
4 of 13John Biever/SI
LB Ray Lewis, Baltimore
Despite his modest statistical contribution in Baltimore's wire-to-wire thrashing of the Giants -- three tackles, two assists, four passes defensed -- Lewis became the seventh defensive player to win the Super Bowl MVP award thanks to his unmistakable presence on the field. The mere sight of the ferocious Defensive Player of the Year created a tension in New York's offense which the sputtering Giants could never overcome.
5 of 13Al Tielemans/SI
DE Reggie White, Green Bay
The Minister of Defense made the most of his first trip the Super Bowl, setting a game record with three sacks of New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe in a 35-21 victory. White made 13 straight Pro Bowls and retired as the game's all-time sack leader -- but his standout performance against the Patriots remains the pinnacle of his decorated career.
6 of 13 Al Bello/Getty Images
CB Larry Brown, Dallas
For one night, Brown outgrew his role as one of the more overlooked players on the great Dallas defenses of the 1990s. The timely playmaker intercepted a pair of Neil O'Donnell passes in the second half of Super Bowl XXX, logging 77 yards on the returns. The Cowboys would convert both giveaways into touchdowns to lock down their third championship title in four seasons. Brown secured the Super Bowl MVP trophy as a result, the pinnacle of his modest eight-year career.
7 of 13 George Rose/Getty Images
FS James Washington, Dallas
Washington spent the regular season coming off the bench as a nickel back. But the opportunistic free safety played a starting role in Super Bowl XXVIII thanks to Buffalo's dependence on three-receiver sets. The UCLA product responded to the increased workload with 11 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a recovery of Thurman Thomas's fumble for the game-turning touchdown midway through the third quarter.
8 of 13John Iacono/SI
DE Richard Dent, Chicago
How dominating was the Chicago defense? Only one of New England's first 16 plays gained positive yardage and the Patriots didn't muster a first down until the second quarter. Dent led the way for Buddy Ryan's terrifying unit, recording one-and-a-half sacks, forcing two fumbles and deflecting a pass as the Bears rolled to a 46-10 triumph.
9 of 13John Iacono/SI
CB Lester Hayes and CB Mike Haynes, L.A. Raiders
Joe Theismann's prolific offense set a number of records during the regular season, including the mark for total points (since topped by the 1998 Vikings, the 2007 Patriots and the 2011 Saints and Packers). But shutdown corners Hayes (left) and Haynes harassed, smothered and bottled up the Washington receivers throughout the night. Theismann completed just five passes to his wideouts throughout the game as the Raiders coasted to a 38-9 victory.
10 of 13Andy Hayt/SI
LB Rod Martin, Oakland
Martin picked off Ron Jaworski's first pass to set the table for Oakland's game-opening touchdown. The two-time Pro Bowler would intercept the Polish Rifle two more times, setting the Super Bowl record for interceptions while leading the Raiders to a mildly surprising 27-10 victory over the Eagles.
11 of 13Walter Iooss Jr./SI
DE Harvey Martin and DT Randy White, Dallas
Martin and White led the way for a defensive line which forced eight turnovers in a 27-10 thumping of the Broncos. Denver's two quarterbacks -- Craig Morton and Norris Weese -- completed just eight of their 25 pass attempts as the Doomsday Defense put an end to Denver's championship hopes.
12 of 13Neil Leifer/SI
DT Joe Greene, Pittsburgh
The league's Defensive Player of the Year served as the emotional leader for a Steel Curtain defense which limited Minnesota's vaunted offense to a scoreless outing in Super Bowl IX. Greene, a 10-time Pro Bowl selection, brought down one of Pittsburgh's three interceptions on the day.
13 of 13Walter Iooss Jr./SI
S Jake Scott, Miami
Scott helped the Dolphins put an exclamation point on the lone Perfect Season in NFL history with a two-interception performance in Super Bowl VII. His fourth-quarter pick in the end zone -- and subsequent 55-yard return -- iced the victory for the Dolphins. As a result, the five-time Pro Bowler became the second defensive player to garner Super Bowl MVP honors.
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