The majority of NFL football fans finish the year with disappointment.
After all, only two teams get to compete in the Super Bowl every season, marking the end of a long, five-plus month journey in the most popular sport in the United States of America.
Unlike most other sports in the country, football keeps a following throughout the end of the season. The Super Bowl itself remains one of the most watched programs of the year every time it comes around, no matter who is playing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And those who tune in always get treated to a show as NFL superiority is fought for.
Over the years, Sports Editor Steven Wright and Asst. Sports Editor Dan Whitaker have amassed their share of Super Bowl knowledge and have shared their favorite memories from the biggest game the sport has to offer.
Steven Wright, Sports Editor:
1. My favorite memory has to be Super Bowl XXX, and it comes from a pretty biased view. As a fan of the Dallas Cowboys growing up, the 1990s were definitely defined by the Cowboys dynasty and the machine that was Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
I view the Cowboys defining Super Bowl victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Tempe, Ariz., in a much higher regard than either of the two wins over the Buffalo Bills. Defensive back Larry Brown was magnificent in earning MVP honors after making several interceptions, and made me realize the significance of defense for the first time in my young life.
2. The year prior in Super Bowl XXIX, the San Francisco 49ers won its fifth Super Bowl title in defeating the San Diego Chargers. At the time, my interest in the sport was only growing because of the Cowboys recent run of success, and I thought they could not be defeated. Of course, as history shows, the 49ers did just that in the NFC Championship game, and crushed the Chargers to win the title. I watched the game rooting against the 49ers but remember cheering for them by the end after watching Steve Young throw the ball everywhere with six touchdown passes.
3. The “Mile-High Salute” became my favorite celebration leading up to Super Bowl XXXII. Without it, I probably would have rooted for the Green Bay Packers in that game. But Terrell Davis would at least look somewhat toward the camera to give his salute after scoring, and I’d show my respect back through the television screen. Davis got to show it off three times in the Denver Broncos win, and I remember that much more than John Elway getting his first ring.
Dan Whitaker, Asst. Sports Editor:
Unlike my good friend Steven, I do not have any memories of my favorite team in the Super Bowl, because they have not been there since 1969. Heck, they haven’t even won a playoff game since 1994, when I couldn’t even say the word “football,” let alone follow it closely. Even though I’ve never had a rooting interest in a Super Bowl, there are still some moments that stand out in my mind from the big game.
1. My first major memory from a Super Bowl game came in the turn of the century in Super Bowl XXXIV. The game featured the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” team against the Tennessee Titans, who only had recently changed from being the Oilers. Now, while I don’t remember too many specifics from the game itself, I will always remember “The Tackle,” when St. Louis’ Mike Jones tackled Tennessee’s Kevin Dyson one yard short of the end zone as time expired to give the Rams the dramatic 23-16 victory.
2. My next memory was not so much about the game, as it was about the circumstances surrounding the game. It was Super Bowl XL, the first time Detroit hosted a Super Bowl since 1982 (which was at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.) and living only about an hour away from where the game was being played was rather exciting. Throughout the weeks leading up to the game, the hype just seemed that much greater because the game was so close. The game itself didn’t stand out as much in my eyes, as my favorite part was probably the killer half-time show by one of my favorite bands, The Rolling Stones, but having this worldwide event be hosted so close to my house was something I’ll never forget.
3. My last memory is one I’m sure many people today would say stands out in their minds from the Super Bowl in the last decade or so, and that was Super Bowl XLII.
For those who don’t know, this was a game for the ages, which pitted an undefeated New England Patriots squad against the huge underdog New York Giants. The game featured a play that is one sports fans remember where they were when they witnessed what transpired.
On a third down, Giants quarterback Eli Manning amazingly escaped being sacked by three Patriots to chuck the ball down field to seldom used wide receiver David Tyree, who caught the ball against his helmet, where it stuck like Velcro. The catch led the Giants to a touchdown with less than a minute remaining to spark the enormous upset, and that play will go down in Super Bowl history as one of the greatest catches of all time.