Top 5 memorable Super Bowl performances 

February, 2, 2010
2/02/10
10:15
AM ET


As the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints look to carve a place in the history books this Sunday on the NFL's biggest stage, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter looks back and ranks his most memorable Super Bowl moments. Got a question or rankings topic for Adam? Submit it right here.



1. Eli Manning to David Tyree, Super Bowl XLII

Before Manning could even heave his third-down pass with just under one minute left to play, the Giants quarterback eluded New England Patriots defensive linemen in a way he rarely does. Then he fired the ball downfield toward wide receiver Tyree, who had struggled to make simple, routine catches in practice that week. Tyree not only caught the ball, but did it with one hand. Against his helmet. As he was falling. With Rodney Harrison draped all over him. With New York trailing 14-10 and the game on the line. And an undefeated New England season at stake. It turned into the greatest catch in NFL history, a play no one will forget, in one of the greatest upsets in NFL history. Even watching replays now, a viewer still expects Manning to be thrown to the ground or Tyree to drop the pass. But it doesn't happen. The Giants always win 17-14.

2. Tom Brady's drive, Super Bowl XXXVI

Just as the Patriots were heavy favorites against the Giants, the St. Louis Rams were heavy favorites against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. Yet New England played the Rams tough and had the score tied at 17 when the Patriots got the ball back at their own 15-yard line with 1:21 left. Sportscaster John Madden said the Patriots should run out the clock and head to overtime. Instead, Brady drove the Patriots 54 yards to the Rams' 31-yard line, and with seven seconds left, Adam Vinatieri completed the most spectacular postseason any kicker has ever had by booting the game-winning field goal as time expired.

3. Joe Montana's drive, Super Bowl XXIII

Montana was so calm, no moment seemed too big for him. With the Cincinnati Bengals ahead 16-13 in the closing minutes and the game in a TV timeout, Montana looked into the stands and asked his teammates, "Isn't that John Candy?" Sure enough, the actor was on hand. But so was one of the most clutch quarterbacks in NFL history, who capped a game-winning, 92-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor. A different type of Hollywood ending.

4. Joe Namath's guarantee, Super Bowl III

When no one believed, Namath did. Before the Giants upset the Patriots and the Patriots upset the Rams, Namath engineered the upset of upsets, as his Jets beat the heavily favored Colts in a landmark game that helped pave the way for the AFL and NFL to merge. Namath's performance was as good as his word -- 17-of-28 for 206 yards -- earning him Most Valuable Player honors.

5. Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes, Super Bowl XLIII

With 2:30 left, Pittsburgh faced its first deficit of the night, trailing 23-20. Roethlisberger marched onto the field and drove the Steelers 78 yards. His final throw of the game, a 6-yard pass that barely eluded three Cardinals defenders, could not have been any better if he had the chance to place it into Holmes' hands. And Holmes' catch was as superb as the throw. After eight quarters of play in two Super Bowls, Roethlisberger had his first Super Bowl touchdown pass, his second Super Bowl ring and Pittsburgh had its sixth Super Bowl title.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: