Super Bowl XLIX is coming up this Sunday and with that, there is much to talk about with the greatest performances in the game’s history. There are many great games that have been played and some wonderful individual efforts along the way. However, there are ten individual efforts during the biggest game on the sports calendar that ranks as the highest.
Everyone has their own opinion but here are the ten greatest performances in Super Bowl history.
10. Rod Martin (Super Bowl XV, 3 interceptions)- Martin had arguably the best individual defensive effort ever during the Oakland Raiders’ 27-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles with his three interceptions. It was part of a day where the Eagles turned the ball over four times. The 12th round draft pick in 1977 out of USC only had 14 interceptions during his NFL career in the regular season but put together three of the biggest ones ever in the biggest game of them all.
9. Kurt Warner (Super Bowl XXXIV, 414 passing yards)- The greatest game in Super Bowl history came with an epic passing day from Warner to establish a Super Bowl passing yards record. The St. Louis Rams running game was non-existent on that afternoon during the team’s 23-16 win over the Tennessee Titans but it was Warner during his MVP season that carried the Rams to their first Super Bowl champion when the Titans were stopped one yard short on the final play of the game.
8. Lynn Swann (Super Bowl X, 4 catches, 161 receiving yards, TD)- There are plenty of people who remember this Pittsburgh Steelers’ 21-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys as the first great Super Bowl game. Swann was the MVP and had one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history to go with it. The sun definitely would shine on Swann during this day early in 1976 as he caught a 64-yard touchdown pass late to seal the Pittsburgh win.
7. Max McGee (Super Bowl I, 7 catches, 138 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns)- There are many stories told by McGee and what he was up to before the first AFL-NFL World Championship. McGee came in for an injured Boyd Dowler and turned the game into his own personal highlight reel including a one-handed grab that Odell Beckham would have been proud of to score one of his touchdowns to help the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
6. Terrell Davis (Super Bowl XXXII, 157 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns)- There wasn’t much that Davis couldn’t do during a solid season for the Denver Broncos. However on this day, Davis developed blurred vision when a migraine headache began to set in. He returned later in the game after taking some medication and helped Denver win 31-24 over the Packers including a touchdown with less than a minute to go to give the Broncos the winning margin.
5. Joe Montana (Super Bowl XXIV, 297 passing yards, 5 touchdowns)- This game wasn’t much of a contest with the San Francisco 49ers beating the Broncos 55-10 but it was Montana’s MVP day that stole the show. It was the third time that Montana had won the MVP award during his fourth Super Bowl win. The game was over before the first half was even completed. It cemented Montana’s legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
4. Bears Defense (Super Bowl XX, 7 rushing yards allowed, 6 turnovers forced, safety)- If fans want to look at the greatest defenses of all-time, the 1985 Chicago Bears are right up there. In beating the New England Patriots 46-10, the “46” defense showed why they will always be the best that ever was. They knocked Tony Eason out of the game early from being ineffective and the Patriots only got in the end zone when the game was long over.
3. Steve Young (Super Bowl XXIX, 6 touchdowns)- There have been many blowouts from the 49ers in Super Bowl past but Young’s night in Miami in early 1995 will go down in history. Young finished with 325 passing yards and added 49 on the ground to be the leading passer and rusher in the game during a 49-26 win over the San Diego Chargers. It was the fifth title for the 49ers and finally got the monkey out of Young’s back after being in the shadow of Joe Montana for many years.
2. Timmy Smith (Super Bowl XXII, 204 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns)- Many consider this to be the greatest performance ever and Smith’s over 200 yards on the ground is still a Super Bowl record. Washington put up 35 points in the second quarter and cruised to a 42-10 win over the Broncos. Smith was basically a one-year wonder as his career took a downturn soon after but for one January night in San Diego, Smith was truly the man.
1. Jerry Rice (Super Bowl XXIII, 11 catches, 215 receiving yards, touchdown)- The greatest wide receiver of all-time had many great games but this one tops them all. The 49ers would rally for a 20-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and while Rice didn’t have the winning touchdown catch, he still did so much in the game to keep San Francisco in the game that he tops this list. Rice finished his career with 1,549 receptions but the 11 in Super Bowl XXIII may be his greatest ever.