10 most pivotal Super Bowl plays

Since 2001, these plays have altered title outcomes more than any others

Originally Published: January 28, 2013
By William Cohen | ESPN Stats & Info
Plaxico Burress Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesPlaxico Burress' catch in Super Bowl XLII denied the New England Patriots a perfect season.

Most of us can recall the most memorable plays from the Super Bowl's of the recent past -- New York Giants receiver David Tyree pinning the ball against his helmet in 2008; Santonio Holmes snagging the game-winning touchdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009 -- but were those the most pivotal plays in terms of giving their teams a Super Bowl title?

As the excitement begins to build for next weekend's big game, we at ESPN Stats and Information have utilized our win probability tool to find the biggest plays for the past 11 Super Bowls. Our win probability model uses 10-plus years of play-by-play data and estimates a team's chances of winning the game, given any game situation, based on similar situations in the historical data. Usually, changes in win probability are subtle on a play-to-play basis, but there are certainly plays that swing the pendulum more than others. Here are the biggest plays from all Super Bowls since 2001.

Check out the top 10 plays with the largest win probability swings in the Super Bowl using this interactive Tableau visualization. Each play shows the eventual winner's change in win probability from before and after the play. Hover your mouse over any bar or point to see more information about each play.


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