Plaxico Burress’ touchdown catch with 39 seconds left will be the play that gets shown on every highlight film from here to eternity (much like John Taylor’s TD catch with 35 seconds left in Super Bowl XXIII), but the play that had me jump out of my chair saying “Holy Shit!” was Eli Manning’s scramble and throw, ending with David Tyree’s ridiculous catch. So where does that play rank among non-scoring plays in Super Bowl history (since I have a hard time putting it ahead of game-winning TDs by Taylor, Isaac Bruce or even Burress)?
5. Don Beebe forces fumble on Leon Lett (Super Bowl XXVII)
Sure, this play didn’t have any impact on the outcome (other than preventing the highest-scoring Super Bowl ever) but it was an incredible play. Plus, it’s probably the only individual positive play anyone can remember from the Bills 4 straight Super Bowls. It also helped cement Leon Lett’s status as an all-time goat (oh, that whole field goal in the snow debacle the next season probably had something to do with that too).
4. John Elway’s Helicopter Run (Super Bowl XXXII)
Elway had so many bad moments in Super Bowls, but this play showed that his fortunes were changing. On a third-and-6, Elway was forced to scramble (like the Elway of old) and got 8 yards. At the end of the run, he dove for extra yardage, got hit in mid-air and spun around. When he hit the ground, he bounced right up and you had a feeling right then that the Broncos were going to win.
3. Lynn Swann’s ballet catch (Super Bowl X)
This is probably the most replayed non-scoring play in Super Bowl history. If you’ve watched football for awhile, you’ve seen it dozens of times. It’s an incredible feat of athleticism, and a catch millions have tried to duplicate in their backyards. Swann actually won MVP in this game, even though there were some reports that he wouldn’t play due to a concussion he suffered in the AFC Championship Game.
2. Eli Manning to David Tyree (Super Bowl XLII)
I’ve seen a lot of sports, and a lot of crazy plays. I haven’t seen a play that made me jump out of my chair like this one since Boise State’s amazing comeback against Oklahoma (which, coincidentally, happened on the same field). Manning should have been sacked at least twice on the play. The ball should have gone over Tyree’s head and Rodney Harrison should have gotten the interception. Lots of shoulds. Instead, we were treated to one of the greatest plays ever, in one of the greatest upsets ever.
1. Mike Jones tackles Kevin Dyson on the 1-yard line (Super Bowl XXXIV)
The greatest ending to any football game ever. Just watch the video if you have any doubts. The Titans had all the momentum and I was convinced we were going to the first overtime in Super Bowl history. When Dyson caught the ball, it seemed like everything was happening in slow motion, and it looked like he was clear to the end zone, but Mike Jones was there. This was definitely a “Holy Shit!” moment (especially if you had the Rams -7 and that tackle preserved a push, whereas overtime would have guaranteed a loss).