1 Montana Magic Super Bowl XXIII
This is an article from the Feb. 4, 2013 issue
Backed up to his own eight-yard line with 3:20 left and trailing by three, Joe Montana played the conductor, and John Taylor (above) provided the climactic note with his game-winning 10-yard touchdown catch. But it was Jerry Rice who astutely got out-of-bounds after a key 17-yard reception and who hauled down a 27-yarder on second-and-20 to set up Taylor in the red zone.
2 Nerves of Steel Super Bowl XLIII
Ben Roethlisberger led the charge from the Steelers' 12, down three with 2:37 left, and Santonio Holmes was the receiving star, catching four passes from Big Ben for 73 yards, including the six-yard tiptoe touchdown in triple coverage in the back of the end zone. That left Kurt Warner's Cardinals with just 35 seconds to respond. Spoiler alert: They failed.
3 Patriotic Lore Super Bowl XXXVI
First-year starter Tom Brady put on a veteranlike time-management clinic against the Rams, twice spiking the ball to stop the clock, which had started at 1:30 at the Pats' 17-yard line. And his pass catchers twice got out-of-bounds after long gains—11 by J.R. Redmond and 23 by Troy Brown—to set up Adam Vinatieri's winning 48-yard field goal. Brady would put on a similar show two years later at Super Bowl XXXVIII against Carolina, but this was the more impressive effort.
4 More Than Manning Super Bowl XLII
Patriot-slayer Eli Manning led the Giants to victory from their 17, trailing by four with 2:39 remaining. Everyone remembers Manning's miraculous 32-yard pass to David Tyree, but just as crucial were Brandon Jacobs's conversion on fourth-and-one and Plaxico Burress's corner-of-the-end-zone TD grab with 39 seconds left.
5 Giant Swing Super Bowl XXV
Down 12--3 with 3:43 before halftime, the Giants pulled off a quick strike to get back in the game. An 18-yard run by O.J. Anderson, a 22-yard pass from Jeff Hostetler to Mark Ingram and a 17-yard run by Dave Meggett took New York from its own 19 to Buffalo's 24. A 14-yard TD to Stephen Baker brought New York within two at halftime and set up a memorable second half in which Buffalo's own two-minute drill came up ... wide right.
And the Worst
1 Star-Crossed Super Bowl V
Dallas seemed in perfect position with the ball on the Colts' 48, 1:52 left and the game tied at 13. Then Duane Thomas lost a yard on first down, the Boys were pushed back to their own 27 on a holding call, and linebacker Mike Curtis intercepted a Craig Morton pass to set up Pat O'Brien's game-winning field goal for the Colts.
2 You Wanna Hurl Super Bowl XXXIX
It was always going to be a big task for Donovan McNabb, pinned on his own four-yard line, down seven with 46 seconds left. But McNabb looked sickly rather than heroic, and his third-down interception sealed New England's victory.
3 Imperfect Ending Super Bowl VII
Redskins QB Billy Kilmer had had a rough day, but he did have a late chance against Miami, with 1:14 left and 70 yards to go for a tying TD. Two incompletions, a swing pass to Larry Brown for a loss of four and a sack on the last play put Kilmer out of his misery and left the Dolphins a perfect 17--0.