The Most Memorable Moments in Super Bowl History

Super Bowl Sunday might not be an official American holiday, but for many households across the United States, it sure is. The Super Bowl Sunday tradition, which has been going strong for more than 50 years now, has been ripe with drama, making for some unforgettable moments. These are just a few Super Bowl moments that will live on in the hearts and minds of football fans.

The Joe Namath Guarantee

The New York Jets weren’t supposed to win Super Bowl III. In fact, oddsmakers had placed the Jets 18 points behind their opponents, the Baltimore Colts, who were at the time 15-1 and widely considered one of the greatest football lineups. So, it was quite surprising when, three days before the game, Jets quarterback Joe Namath said, “We’re going to win the game. I guarantee it.” And win they did, with a final score of 16-7 and Namath famously raising his index finger as he left the stadium a newly-minted MVP.

The John Elway Helicopter

By the time of Super Bowl XXXII, Denver Broncos QB John Elway had led his team to three disappointing Super Bowl losses. Perhaps that’s what spurned his impressive play against the Packers in the tied-up third quarter. His eight-yard run ended in a brutal dive into two Packers, throwing his body around like a helicopter – no small feat for a 37-year-old. The Broncos went on to win the game 31-24. Elway got his just-desserts the next year, when he was declared MVP at the following Super Bowl, his last game, which the Broncos won against the Atlanta Falcons 34-19.

That Time Thurman Thomas Lost His Helmet

Super Bowl XXVI was embarrassing for the Buffalo Bills, who lost 37-24 to the Washington Redskins. But it was particularly embarrassing for the Bills’ MVP running back, Thurman Thomas. Thomas, who’d had his best season yet, had a pre-game ritual of placing his helmet on the 34-yard line (representing his jersey number, 34). After the coin toss, Thurman couldn’t find his helmet, causing him to miss the first two offensive plays. The incident must have thrown him off the rest of the game, too, as he went on to gain only 13 yards and one touchdown. So, where did the helmet disappear to? Apparently, it was been moved so that Harry Connick, Jr. could sing the national anthem. NFL players, take note: always keep an eye on your helmet!

The Helmet Catch

Thurman’s helmet snafu wasn’t the only time protective headgear played a key role in Super Bowl proceedings. Perhaps the most memorable helmet-related incident took place during Super Bowl XLII, when Eli Manning threw a 32-yard-gaining pass to David Tyree, who leapt and caught the ball against his helmet. The pass was key in securing the New York Giants’ victory over the New England Patriots, who would’ve been the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to have a perfect season. As for Tyree, who was at the time mostly unheard of, it was undoubtedly the greatest play of his life.

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