As soon as the Super Bowl ended, before the Pittsburgh Steelers could even really begin their celebration after escaping with the win over the Arizona Cardinals, already the talk began that this was the best Super Bowl of all time.
Al Michaels, never one known to shy from hyperbole, didn’t go as far as that, saying it was certainly a great game even if it couldn’t quite top the Giants stellar and shocking win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Then Roger Goodell stole the spotlight, I mean, grabbed the microphone, and began talking about how the Steelers win over the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII was better than the Giants upset victory over the Patriots.
Perhaps I’m biased – as a Giants fan – but I must emphatically disagree with Mr. Goodell and the other media hounds who have begun their incessant banter on the subject. The Steelers Super Bowl XLIII win over the Cardinals was fantastic. It was filled with ups and downs and exciting plays and it will be remembered for years to come. It’s just not the best Super Bowl of all time.
Here are 5 reasons why the Giants win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII remains the best Super Bowl ever played, eclipsing this year’s Steelers win over the Cardinals.
5. Too many penalties – This game was marred by penalty calls, some borderline calls that should have been excused in a Super Bowl and some stupid penalties by otherwise very talented football players. Far too many times in the game the Steelers had their drives continued from personal foul calls. There was great football played last night, but there was also sloppy football, and mediocre refereeing.
4. Not as historic – All week long we heard about how the Pittsburgh Steelers could win their record sixth Super Bowl. It was a desperate move by media members with nothing to talk about, such as the truly historic 19-0 attempt by the Patriots last season. Winning six Super Bowls certainly speaks to the franchise’s quality over the past four decades. But it has nothing to do with how good the team was this season. The Patriots going for an undefeated 19-0 season in the Super Bowl was far more compelling and relevant to the actual game than the Steelers sixth Super Bowl win.
3. Can’t beat Tyree – Super Bowl XLIII featured some great plays. There was James Harrison’s 100 yard runback that produced a 10 to 14 point swing. Then there was Larry Fitzgerald’s 65 yard breakaway touchdown catch. Honestly, I’m not sure if I remember a time that I saw a player running that hard; great effort by a great player. Finally there was the winning touchdown grab by Santonio Holmes. All great plays, but none involved pinning a football to your helmet with one hand after your quarterback escaped being sacked three times. David Tyree’s play still stands alone as the benchmark, and that’s in part why the Giants win last year was the best Super Bowl.
2. Best play didn’t win the game – Of those three plays, the best play amongst them was Fitzgerald’s touchdown pass to give the Cardinals the lead late in the fourth quarter. It was dramatic, it came out of nowhere, it was late in the game and it put the underdogs over the hump. But, those underdogs didn’t hold on to win the game! The best Super Bowl has to include the best play being for the winning team. See: Tyree, David and the New York Giants, Super Bowl XLII. If Tyree made that play and then the Patriots defense held, who would have cared?
1. The underdog didn’t win – At the end of the night, the feeling of inevitability that we all felt all night long finally set in for good. We felt it on that first drive by the Steelers, we definitely felt it when Harrison got his defensive TD and we were thinking about it all week long in the build up. The team with the best defense in the league, the team that was viewed unanimously – even by those picking the Cardinals to win – as the better team, won the game. Sure, the Steelers almost blew it, but when the clock ticked off its final seconds, they went home as the winners. The highly favored team can’t win the game if it’s to be considered as the best Super Bowl ever.
Last year, facing greater odds, against a better and more historic team, the Giants made the best play in Super Bowl history and had a great fourth quarter comeback that pushed the game into its lofty and rightful status as the best Super Bowl ever played. The Steelers win over the Cardinals in this year’s Super Bowl was great, but it wasn’t the best.