Photo courtesy of New York Giants
Given the spectacle that it has become, it’s hard to believe that the first-ever Super Bowl did not sell out.
On Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams will duke it out in Super Bowl LVI. The Rams are a slight favorite as most just hope for a competitive game.
Throughout Super Bowl history, nail-biters are hardly the norm. In this piece however, we will remember those games.
Here’s a look at every Super Bowl where the winning score came in the final minute of regulation or in overtime:
Super Bowl V: Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13
Before there was Adam Vinatieri, there was Jimmy O’Brien. The first game-winning field goal in Super Bowl history came in Super Bowl V as O’Brien knocked through the winning 32-yard attempt. His make with five seconds remaining lifted the Baltimore Colts to a 16-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys in a contest dubbed the “Blunder Bowl” for its record number of turnovers.
Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16
In Super Bowl XXIII, San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver Jerry Rice set Super Bowl records with 11 catches for 215 yards receiving. The winning touchdown however, was hauled in by John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining. Taylor’s 10-yard touchdown catch from Joe Montana capped a 92-yard drive as the 49ers won their third Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17
The first Super Bowl ever played in February, some might say this is where the legend of Tom Brady was born. It was also where the legend of Adam Vinatieri was born. After the St. Louis Rams scored 14 straight points in the fourth quarter to draw even, Brady was able to march the New England Patriots 53 yards on five completions in a little over a minute. With no time left on the clock, Vinatieri made a 48-yard field goal to give the Patriots their first Super Bowl victory.
Super Bowl XXVIII: New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29
In Super Bowl XXXVI, Ricky Proehl caught the game-tying touchdown for the St. Louis Rams only to watch Adam Vinatieri win the game on a last-second field goal. Two years later, it happened again. Then a member of the Carolina Panthers, Proehl’s 12-yard touchdown catch with 1:08 to play tied the score at 29. Tom Brady was able to complete six passes on the ensuing drive to move New England inside the Carolina 25-yard-line. With four seconds left, Vinatieri kicked the game-winner from 41 yards away.
Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14
A win in Super Bowl XLII was all the New England Patriots needed to become just the second team in NFL history to complete a perfect season. After Tom Brady’s touchdown pass to Randy Moss with less than three minutes remaining gave the Patriots a 14-10 lead, it looked as though that would happen. Eli Manning however, would not be denied. With the help of a memorable 32-yard “helmet catch” from David Tyree. the Giants marched 83 yards for the winning touchdown. Manning’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left served as the game-winner.
Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23
In the only Super Bowl appearance for the Arizona Cardinals, the NFC champions were one stop away from victory. A 64-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald with over two minutes to play gave the Cardinals a 23-20 lead, but the Pittsburgh Steelers answered by going 78 yards in eight plays. With 35 seconds to go, Ben Roethlisberger hit MVP Santonio Holmes for the winning 6-yard touchdown as Pittsburgh won its second Super Bowl in four years and record sixth overall.
Super Bowl XLVI: New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17
For the second time in five years, the New England Patriots met the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. For the second time in five years, Eli Manning engineered a winning touchdown drive to break the Patriots’ hearts. In Super Bowl XLVI, Manning orchestrated a 9-play, 88-yard drive that took nearly three minutes off the clock. A 38-yard completion down the sideline highlighted the drive, but Ahmad Bradshaw reluctantly falling into the end zone for the winning score with 57 seconds remaining ended it.
Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28 (Overtime)
In the only Super Bowl ever to go into overtime, the New England Patriots completed the biggest comeback in the game’s history. After trailing 28-3, New England scored the final 25 points of regulation. Preceding a 2-point conversion, running back James White scored the tying touchdown in regulation. On the only possession of overtime, he scored the winning touchdown from two yards out.
Honorable Mention: Games With Winning Score in Final Two Minutes
Super Bowl XXXI: Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24 (Terrell Davis 1-yard touchdown run)
Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16 (Isaac Bruce 73-yard touchdown reception from Kurt Warner)