The week of Super Bowl LIII provides fans with time to look back at some of best Super Bowls in recent history. From David Tyree to Dexter Jackson, the NFL’s biggest game can turn nobodies into household names. Check out our list of top five Super Bowls of the 2000s. You may catch a common theme in these games: the New England Patriots.
Super Bowl XXXVI: Patriots 20, Rams 17
Love them or hate them, the Patriots play some classic Super Bowls. If it wasn’t for the back-and-forth Cardinals-Steelers Super Bowl, last season’s matchup between the Patriots and Eagles would’ve made the cut. Our list was almost comprised of five Pats Super Bowls in the top-five. They may be despised by most opposing fans nowadays, but let’s revisit a time when they were actually lovable underdogs. New England entered the big game as one of the biggest underdogs ever against the mighty St. Louis Rams (-14). The story of this game was the Pats defense confusing the Greatest Show on Turf. They intercepted Kurt Warner twice, and held Marshall Faulk to 76 yards on the ground with no TDs. That was the story… until the game became about young QB Tom Brady. Brady led a game-winning drive in the dying minutes, methodically moving the ball down the field. Adam Vinatieri nailed his 48-yard field goal as time expired. The Pats were Super Bowl champions for the first time in franchise history.
Super Bowl XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14
Six whole years separated this game from Brady’s first Super Bowl appearance, and by now, New England was a big favorite (-12). The only thing that stood between the Patriots and a perfect season was a pesky Giants team. Despite the large game line, this was the team many thought had the best chance to knock off the Pats. After all, the two teams had already met in the regular season, with New England squeaking out a 38-35 win. This game would be much different; a defensive struggle for the ages. Brady was pressured all evening, and HOF WR Randy Moss was held to just five receptions. It was QB Eli Manning who ended up making the difference. His escape of a crowded pocket to find Tyree (and his helmet), plus a late TD pass to Plaxico Burress will live forever in NFL glory.
Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
Fans got treated to back-to-back classics as this game followed the memorable Giants’ upset. It was the least the NFL could do after two Super Bowl duds, featuring Steelers-Seahawks and Bears-Colts. This game had everything a fan could ask for. Hall of Fame QBs; check! A 100-yard TD and an unforgettable ending; double checkmark! Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner went toe-to-toe, combining for 633 yards and four scores. But both defenses held firm until the clock began winding down. Larry Fitzgerald seemingly sealed a win with a 64-yard score, as only 2:37 remained in the game. Big Ben then picked apart the Cardinals and found Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone with 35 seconds to go. Warner’s 31-of-43, 377-yard and 3-TD day remains one of the greatest performances ever by a losing QB.
Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
After Brady won his first title, the Patriots were favored in every Super Bowl they went to… until now! Odds makers label this a ‘pick ‘em’ game as Brady and the Pats took on the Legion of Boom from Seattle. It had been nearly a decade since Brady had won the big game, and he started to look overmatched as Seattle took a 24-14 lead late in the third quarter. The QB responded with one of his gutsiest performances to date, willing the Pats to a 28-24 lead with just 2:02 left in the game. But, then, Patriots fans began to sweat. A miraculous catch by Jermaine Kearse set the Seahawks up deep inside New England territory. Malcolm Butler saved the day by jumping a crossing pattern at the goal line.
Super Bowl LI: Patriots 34, Falcons 28
28-3; the score Atlanta Falcons fans will never forget. For the first 2.5 quarters, the Pats were no match for the Falcons and league MVP Matt Ryan. Tevin Coleman scored with 8:31 to go in the third, putting the Falcons up by 25. It would be the last points Atlanta put on the board. New England put on a clinic, showing a Super Bowl win requires a full 60 minutes. Julian Edelman’s bobble and catch ranks next to Tyree’s snag as one of the most memorable in Super Bowl history. Brady threw for 466 yards as New England scored 31 unanswered points on the way to the biggest comeback in the game’s history. James White found the end zone less than four minutes into overtime, securing Brady’s record fifth Lombardi Trophy.