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Raising Arizona: Previous Super Bowls in the Grand Canyon State

Teams have locked their spots for Super Bowl LVII, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles winning their respective conference championships.

The respective AFC and NFC Champs will meet on Feb. 12 in Arizona for a chance to win it all.

Running Back Emmitt Smith #22 of the Dallas Cowboys
Running Back Emmitt Smith #22 of the Dallas Cowboys, October 27, 2002 - Ronald Martinez / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via AFP

Super Bowl 57 will be the fourth time Arizona plays host to the game. The championship game took place in the Grand Canyon State in Super Bowls 30, 42, and 49. The following is a look back at those NFL championship games in Arizona.
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Super Bowl 30: Cowboys vs Steelers

The first Super Bowl Arizona played host to was at the conclusion of the 1995 season at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Az. The Dallas Cowboys were the NFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs, set to face the No. 2 seed in the AFC in the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Dallas, led by quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith, and wide receiver Michael Irvin, took a 13-7 advantage at halftime. The Steelers and Cowboys traded blows throughout the second half. However, with Dallas up 20-17 late in the fourth, Pittsburgh threw an interception that was returned to its 6-yard line by Larry Brown, icing the game for the Cowboys.

Smith rushed for his second touchdown to go up 27-17, securing the Cowboys their fifth Super Bowl title and third in four years. Defensive back Larry Brown was named Super Bowl MVP after recording two picks, making him the fifth defensive player at the time to win it.

Super Bowl 42: Giants vs Patriots

Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants
Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants, November 21, 2004 – Harry How / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via AFP

The Super Bowl returned to Arizona for the 2007 season, with State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, playing host this time. The undefeated No. 1 Patriots met the NFC’s fifth-seeded Giants, with New York entering as 12-point underdogs.

Though New England was led by quarterback Tom Brady and quarterback Eli Manning was under center for New York, much of the game was largely defensive. Most of the scoring didn’t come until the final quarter, though the Patriots had a 7-3 halftime lead.

Both teams failed to score in the third quarter, but New York and New England each found the end zone in the fourth, with the Patriots taking a 14-10 lead with under three minutes to go. Manning then led one final touchdown drive, complete with the “Helmet Catch” from wide receiver David Tyree to convert a third-and-5. Manning capped the drive with a throw to wide receiver Plaxico Burress for a 13-yard score with 35 seconds remaining to win 17-14.

The Giants won their third Super Bowl and Manning earned the game’s MVP as New York upset the Patriots’ perfect season.

Super Bowl 49: Patriots vs Seahawks

The last Super Bowl Arizona played host to was also at State Farm Stadium and came at the end of the 2014 season. The game featured two No. 1 seeds, with the Patriots still being led by Brady while Seattle was being guided by quarterback Russell Wilson and the “Legion of Boom” defense.

New England and Seattle played a scoreless first quarter. Each team kicked things into high gear in the second, tying it at 14 at halftime. Seattle continued the scoring after the break, outscoring New England 10-0 in the third quarter. However, the Seahawks didn’t get any more points after that.

The Patriots took over in the final quarter, reaching the end zone twice, the second score just before the 2-minute mark. Wilson drove the Seahawks to the 1-yard line, but New England came up with a goal-line stand capped by an interception from rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler.

The Patriots secured the 28-24 victory for New England’s fourth Super Bowl win and Brady received his third Super Bowl MVP.

Super Bowl 57 will feature two No. 1 seeds once again in Arizona, and fans will have to tune in on Feb. 12 to see what kind of history will be made next.

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