The Super Bowl is the biggest stage in American sports. The entire country shuts down to watch a cultural event that happens to feature an NFL game. The NFL sportsbook has many odds and props to bet on during the Super Bowl, and a single play can turn someone’s bet slip into a winner or a loser. Every Super Bowl has memorable moments, from the opening kickoff to the Lombardi Trophy presentation, but ten moments have set themselves apart from the rest. In this series, we will look at ten plays that occurred during the Super Bowl that will never be forgotten.
10. Super Bowl LII: Philly Special
The Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs throughout the 2017 playoffs. Their MVP QB Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury late in the regular season, and backup Nick Foles had to lead the charge to Super Bowl LII. The Eagles were facing the defending champion New England Patriots, and Philadelphia brought out all the stops.
The Super Bowl odds had the Patriots favored by five points, but the Eagles had a 15-12 lead heading into halftime, and the ball was on the Patriots’ eight-yard line. With 38 seconds to go, Philadelphia called a timeout on fourth-and-goal, and Foles suggested to head coach Doug Peterson that the offense run their trick play called the “Philly Special.”
Foles walked up to the line like he was making an audible, leaving his position under center. The ball was then hiked to running back Corey Clement, who handed it off to receiver Trey Burton on a reverse. Burton then threw it to a wide-open Foles in the endzone.
Widely considered one of the greatest trick plays in Super Bowl history. The Eagles dethroned the Patriots 41-33, and Foles was named Super Bowl MVP.
9. Super Bowl XVII: John Riggins TD on Fourth and One
Nicknamed “Diesel” for his physical running style, John Riggins was the workhorse of the Washington Redskins offense through the 1982 playoffs, and especially in Super Bowl XVII. Riggins was named Super Bowl MVP for his then-Super Bowl record of 166 rushing yards on 38 carries, but the most memorable moment from this Super Bowl was Riggins’ touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
On a fourth-and-one, with 10:10 remaining and from the Miami Dolphins’ 43-yard line, Riggins got the ball and ran up the middle to the left sideline. Dolphins cornerback Don McNeal hit Riggins at the line of scrimmage, but the Washington running back just shrugged him off and kept chugging down the sideline. Riggins took it to the house for a 43-yard touchdown and gave Washington their first lead of the game 20-17. That was the game’s turning point as Washington ended up winning the Super Bowl 27-17.
Fourth and one in the Super Bowl: BEAST MODE ACTIVATED.
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) February 1, 2019
8. Super Bowl XVIII: Marcus Allen Goes 74 Yards
Riggins’ Super Bowl rushing record only lasted one year as Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen followed up in 1983, running for 191 yards on 20 carries. It was a blowout defeat of Riggins and the Redskins 38-9 and easily covering the NFL odds spread. Allen was named Super Bowl MVP for his performance, while Riggins only managed 64 yards on 26 carries. Allen also had a memorable run of his own, one more dynamic and exciting than Riggins’ spectacular run from the year prior.
With time winding down in the third quarter, Jim Plunkett handed the ball off to Allen, who was running left but was met by a wall of Washington defenders. Allen cut back and turned around to run up the middle. Almost tackled in the backfield, Allen’s speed allowed him to create separation, and he ran 74-yards for the longest rushing touchdown in Super Bowl history. The game was pretty much over at that point, but the play was a microcosm of how difficult Allen was to tackle, as he ran all over the Washington defense that day.
NFL Films immortalized the play with one of the last great lines from legendary narrator John Facenda who said, “As Washington’s hopes faded into the dying daylight, on came Marcus Allen, running with the night.”
7. Super Bowl XXXII: John Elway’s Helicopter
John Elway was one of the most outstanding quarterback prospects in NFL history when he came out of Stanford. His athletic ability to throw and run was unmatched, but he was not the same athlete at age 37 when he had his career-defining moment. Elway and the Broncos had been to and lost three Super Bowls by that time. With the quarterback’s career coming to an end, the one hole in his resume was a Super Bowl championship.
Facing the Green Bay Packers, the Broncos were massive underdogs coming into Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego
. The game was tied 17-17 in the third quarter, and Denver had a third-and-six from the Green Bay 12-yard line. Elway scrambled, and the 37-year-old saw an opening and dove for the first down. As he dove, he got hit in midair by LeRoy Butler and Mike Prior, spinning Elway in a horizontal 360, and when he landed, the Broncos had the first down.
This play might not be as athletic as the other plays on this list, but the drama behind Elway giving
it his all to get his first ring showcases how much winning a Super Bowl meant to him. This run extended the drive and allowed Terrel Davis to score his second of three rushing touchdowns. Elway and the Broncos finally got their Super Bowl, winning 31-24.
6. Super Bowl XXV: Scott Norwood Wide Right
No team in NFL history has appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls besides the Buffalo Bills of the early ‘90s. Super Bowl XXV was the first Super Bowl for the Bills as they took on the New York Giants. The “K-Gun offense” of the Bills with quarterback Jim Kelly, running back Thurman Thomas, and receiver Andre Reed transformed how NFL teams play the game. It was a fast-paced style that looked more like the NFL of today than the rugged, ground-and-pound style of the early years.
Buffalo and New York were in a battle. The Giants’ defense was able to limit the Bills to 19 points and had a one-point lead with two minutes remaining. The Bills started from their own ten-yard line and worked their way down the field with a mixture of short plays to get it down to the Giants’ 29-yard line with eight seconds remaining. From the right hash, Bills kicker Scott Norwood attempted a Super Bowl-winning kick from 47 yards. In a moment of foresight during the drive, ABC put up a graphic that said Norwood was one for five on 40+ yard attempts on grass fields.
Norwood’s kick iconically sailed wide right of the uprights, and the Giants ran out the remaining seconds to win their second Super Bowl 20-19. It was, and still is, the only Super Bowl to be decided by one point. Despite going to three more Super Bowls, the Bills would never come this close again, losing all three by double digits.
Super Bowl moments come in all shapes and sizes. Some are exhilarating feats of athleticism, while others can be heartbreaking moments for fans and their teams on the other side. The drama of the Super Bowl is unlike anything else in sports, and the NFL prop bets are always fun to try out. These plays are not just moments that NFL fans remember. These are moments that are a part of American history, part of Super Bowl lore, and each will forever be a part of the National Football League.