The big game, Super Bowl LV, is right around the corner and, with all of the Super Bowl props on the board, we’re taking a look at the biggest passing plays in Super Bowl history. With the Kansas City Chiefs set to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first-ever Super Bowl played in one team’s home stadium, online betting fans will see plenty of big passing plays.
This Super Bowl is special because it pits the quarterback currently playing the best football in the NFL, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, against the quarterback who is legitimately considered by many to be the greatest signal-caller of all time, the Bucs’ Tom Brady. Neither man has thrown the longest touchdown pass in Super Bowl history. They have both made their fair share of big plays, but they haven’t cracked the top 10 in the longest touchdown passes.
Longest TD Passes | Honorable Mentions
This list of the top five longest touchdown passes in Super Bowl history leaves off some long and impressive plays. Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts hit tight end John Mackey for 75 yards in Super Bowl V back in 1971 against the Dallas Cowboys. Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers hit John Stallworth on a 75-yard pass – which was mostly Stallworth running in the open field past out-of-position Dallas defenders – in Super Bowl XIII in January of 1979 in Miami. Bradshaw hit Stallworth on a 73-yard bomb in Super Bowl XIV one year later against the Los Angeles Rams, sealing the Steelers’ fourth Super Bowl title.
Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams broke a 16-16 tie late in Super Bowl XXXIV with a 73-yard pass along the right sideline to receiver Isaac Bruce. That play gave the Rams a victory over the Tennessee Titans, whose last-second drive was stopped on the 1-yard line as time ran out in a game that dropped a few jaws among NFL betting handicappers.
Bradshaw – who owns a lot of great Super Bowl touchdown passes but none of which are among the five longest in history – threw a 64-yard touchdown strike to Lynn Swann to give the Steelers their decisive margin in a 21-17 victory over the Cowboys in Super Bowl X in Miami, played in January of 1976.
None of those amazing pass plays made the cut among the top five longest Super Bowl TD passes of all time. Here are those five plays below:
Longest TD Passes in SB History
Jake Delhomme to Muhsin Muhammad
85 Yards – Super Bowl XXXVIII, Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots played a very dull first three quarters in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, a February Super Bowl for a game which has remained in the month of February ever since. The game was 14-10 in favor of the Patriots heading into the fourth quarter, but then all hell broke loose. The Panthers scored 19 points to very nearly win their first Super Bowl title. Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme hit Muhsin Muhammad for an 85-yard touchdown strike which remains, to this day, the longest Super Bowl scoring pass. The Panthers took a 22-21 lead on that play. However, New England scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, capped by Adam Vinatieri’s winning kick with four seconds left. The Patriots beat the Panthers, 32-29, but Carolina gave the champions a fight.
Brett Favre to Antonio Freeman
81 Yards – Super Bowl XXXI, Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968. It took them nearly three full decades to return to the NFL’s biggest game in January of 1997. They were ready. Quarterback Brett Favre and his wide receivers had a field day against the New England Patriots’ secondary, hitting big plays which gave the Packers a long-sought addition to their Lombardi Trophy case. Favre hit Antonio Freeman for 81 yards, part of the Packers’ 35-point scoring output. Green Bay was helped on special teams by a kickoff return for a touchdown from 1991 Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard. Howard received the Super Bowl MVP award.
John Elway to Rod Smith
80 Yards – Super Bowl XXXIII, Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos lost their first four Super Bowls as a franchise, and quarterback John Elway lost three Super Bowls in a four-year span (Super Bowls XXI through XXIV, from the 1986 through 1989 NFL seasons). In Super Bowl XXXII against the Green Bay Packers, Elway and the Broncos finally broke through. In Super Bowl XXXIII against the Atlanta Falcons, Elway and the Broncos were gunning for a repeat championship. They won it, with the help of an 80-yard dart thrown by Elway to one of his fastest receivers, Rod Smith.
The play embarrassed Atlanta safety Eugene Robinson, who had been caught soliciting a prostitute in the days before the game, and who performed horribly against the Broncos’ receivers. Denver won, 34-19, and John Elway then retired as a two-time Super Bowl champion, also a repeat champion along with Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and other elite quarterbacks from the Super Bowl era.
Jim Plunkett to Kenny King
80 Yards – Super Bowl XV, Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders of 1980 became the first NFL wild card team to win the Super Bowl. The Raiders beat the Houston Oilers in that season’s wild card game. They then beat the Cleveland Browns on the road in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game, and won in San Diego against the Chargers in the AFC Championship Game. They went to Super Bowl XV in New Orleans to face the Philadelphia Eagles, and it was all Raiders. This 80-yard play from game MVP Jim Plunkett to running back Kenny King helped Oakland to build a lead. Given that advantage, the Raiders’ defense then feasted on Philadelphia quarterback Ron Jaworski. Oakland linebacker Rod Martin intercepted Jaworski three times. Oakland won, 27-10, the Raiders’ second Super Bowl title.
Doug Williams to Ricky Sanders
80 Yards – Super Bowl XXII, Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins were down 10-0 early in Super Bowl II in January of 1988. Then they scored 35 points in the second quarter, still the greatest number of points scored in one quarter by any team in the history of the Super Bowl. Doug Williams became the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl as the starter. This was his biggest play, to receiver Ricky Sanders. The Redskins won their second Super Bowl championship in this game. This was also the first Super Bowl game played in San Diego. The city would host Super Bowls XXXII 10 years later and Super Bowl XXXVII 15 years later.
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