There's been a bunch of conversation about whether this was the best Super Bowl ever. As ejruiz777 pointed out, people have a tendency to overrate events that have just occurred. So I thought I would throw together a quick Super Bowl history recap to help us with the discussion.
I wasn't born in the 60's and that was a long time ago so I will skip them.
SB1 (Jan 1967) - Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10
SB2 (Jan 1968) - Green Bay 33, Oakland 14
SB3 (Jan 1969) - NY Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7
SB4 (Jan 1970) - Kansas City 23, Minnesota7
SB5 (Jan 1971) - Baltimore Cols 16-13
SB6 (Jan 1972) - Dallas 24, Miami 3
I arrived on this earth in the middle of the 70's (almost exactly) and started becoming aware of sports in the early 80's. The seventies were recent history so I grew up hearing about the Steelers teams of the 70's. Starting with the end of the Dolphins perfect season in Super Bowl VII, the AFC won 8 of 9 Super Bowls. (Denver's loss to Dallas in SB12).
SB7 (Jan 1973) - Miami 14, Washington 7
SB8 (Jan 1974) - Miami 24, Minnesota 7
SB9 (Jan 1975) - Pitt 16, Minnesota 6
SB10 (Jan 1976) - Pitt 27, Dallas 17
SB11 (Jan 1977) - Oakland 32, Minnesota 14
SB12 (Jan 1978) - Dallas 27, Denver 10
SB13 (Jan 1979) - Pitt 35, Dallas 31
SB14 (Jan 1980) - Pitt 41, LA Rams 19
SB15 (Jan 1981) - Raiders 27, Philadelphia 10
After that phase there was a bit of back and forth for a few years
SB16 (Jan 1982) - San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21
SB17 (Jan 1983) - Washington 27, Miami 17
SB18 (Jan 1984) - Raiders 38, Washington 9
But then the NFC went on a dominant run of 13 straight wins from SB19 through SB31. There were a couple close games, but the vast majority were not close and a large number were not even competitive. There was a lot of talk towards the end of this period about the NFC Championship being more meaningful than the Super Bowl and the AFC was clearly considered the inferior, weaker conference.
SB19 (Jan 1985) - San Francisco 38, Miami 16
SB20 (Jan 1986) - Chicago 46, New England 10
SB21 (Jan 1987) - NY Giants 39, Denver 20
SB22 (Jan 1988) - Washington 42, Denver 10
SB23 (Jan 1989) - San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16
SB24 (Jan 1990) - San Francisco 55, Denver 10
SB25 (Jan 1991) - NY Giants 20, Buffalo 19
SB26 (Jan 1992) - Washington 37, Buffalo 24
SB27 (Jan 1993) - Dallas 52, Buffalo 17
SB28 (Jan 1994) - Dallas 30, Buffalo 13
SB29 (Jan 1995) - San Francisco 49, San Diego 26
SB30 (Jan 1996) - Dallas 21, Pittsburgh 17
SB31 (Jan 1997) - Green bay 35, New England 21
The losing streak ended when Denver exorcized the demons of their previous Super Bowl losses by beating Green Bay and then Atlanta. Starting with the Broncos victory in 1998, the AFC has won 8 of the last 11 games. Even better, six of these games came down to the final possession
SB32 (Jan 1998) - Denver 31
24, Green Bay 24 17 (thanks mdierk)
SB33 (Jan 1999) - Denver 34, Atlanta 19
SB34 (Jan 2000) - St Louis 23, Tennessee 16
SB35 (Jan 2001) - Baltimore 34, NY Giants 7
SB36 (Jan 2002) - New England 20, St Louis 17
SB37 (Jan 2003) - Tampa Bay 48, Raiders 21
SB38 (Jan 2004) - New England 32, Carolina 29
SB39 (Jan 2005) - New England 24, Philadelphia 21
SB40 (Jan 2006) - Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10
SB41 (Jan 2007) - Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17
SB42 (Jan 2008) - NY Giants 17, New England 14
As someone who became sports aware in the 80's I am not really used to seeing competitive Super Bowls, let alone games that come down to a two minute drill. On the other hand, if you started watching the game in the last 12 years or so you would probably have the opposite reaction. I hope all you relative newcomers to football appreciate the quality of the recent Super Bowls. Without making an actual list, I would say that five of the top 10 Super Bowls ever have taken place in the past 11 years.
I am going to wimp out on picking a "best" Super Bowl. Instead I will close with a link to every Super Bowl's result along with the betting line and my top 5 Super Bowl upsets:
- NY Jets 16, Colts, 7 - Proved the AFC could play with the big boys.
- NY Giants 17, NE 14 - Giants take down the undefeated Patriots
- Denver 31
24, Green Bay 24 17- Denver finally ends the AFC losing streak. Could be higher but I think the streak and Elway trying to avoid another Super Bowl loss were overhyped and the two teams were relatively close in talent.
- New England 20, St Louis 17 - The Pats dynasty begins when they take down The Greatest Show of Turf (possibly with a little help from some friends with cameras)
- Raiders 27, Philadelphia 10 - The first Wild Card to win the Super Bowl