Every year during this week I ask the question, what were the great indelible moments in Super Bowl History? I’ve seen every Super Bowl since number XII back in 1978, and there is always one moment, one person, one event or one image that succinctly describes what that Super Bowl was all about. Here is a look at the Magic Moment I remember from each bowl, including, in some cases, my recollection of where I was at the time.
Part One takes you from Super Bowl I through XXII, look for Part Two on Saturday to take you the rest of the way through history.
Super Bowl 1 (1967) Green Bay 35 – Kansas City 10. Legendary night of partying for seldom used Packers WR Max McGee, who had an amazing 7 catches and 2 TDs motivated by pure fear, not wanting coach Vince Lombardi to know how hung over he was. After hiding under the covers and then sneaking back to the bars after curfew, McGee was still buying drinks for young LA ladies as the sun was coming up, since he didn’t expect to see a single pass, having only caught 7 all season in what was to be his last year. An injury to the starting WR thrust McGee into the spotlight. Future Super Bowl eve partiers would not exhibit McGee’s ability to bounce back and be a hero.
Super Bowl 2 (1968) Green Bay 33 – Oakland 14. Bart Starr picks apart the Raiders and legendary coach Vince Lombardi is carried of the field in his last game with the Packers.
Super Bowl 3 (1969) New York Jets 16 – Baltimore 7. The legendary guarantee and equally legendary lambchops of Mr. Kissing Suzy Kolber himself, Broadway Joe Namath. This is the first known “guarantee” in sports, magically coming true against huge odds, and thereby for a short time giving credence to the word. Today, a sports “guarantee” is nothing more than a really strong prediction, a lock of the week if you will. Hundreds of “guarantees” since then have been false, with no consideration to the guarantor, the fans.
Super Bowl 4 (1970) Kansas City 23 – Minnesota 7. “They’re running around like a Chinese fire drill”. The late great Hank Stram of the Chiefs, first coach to be miked up on the sideline, pacing the sideline in his arrowhead-logo blazer, slapping his palm with his rolled up program.
Super Bowl 5 (1971) Baltimore 16 – Dallas 13. Colt quarterback Johnny Unitas goes down with an injury after throwing the only touchdown pass of the game on a ricochet off a defender. Earl Morrall comes in and finishes the job.
Super Bowl 6 (1972) Dallas 24 – Miami 3. Cowboy QB Roger Staubach leads this yawner over the Dolphins.
Super Bowl 7 (1973) Miami 14 – Washington 7. Dolphin punter Garo Yepremian bobbles the snap and attempts a wobbly wounded duck of a pass, scooped up for a touchdown by the Skins the other way. Second only to the tumbling ski jumper on the Wide World of Sports, this picture of futility was ironically the only blemish on a Dolphins Super Bowl win which cemented their perfect season.
Super Bowl 8 (1974) Miami 24 – Minnesota 7. My brother Andrew is born on this day, as Dolphin running back Larry Csonka sets the tone by scoring the first touchdown of the game and running roughshod for a Super Bowl record (at the time) 145 yards. This not only inspires years of mostly futile support for the Dolphins in our family, but also represents the first sign of my brother’s strange control over the Vikings, on whom he bestowed a curse which will prevent them from ever winning the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 9 (1975) Pittsburgh 16 – Minnesota 6. The Vikings get torched in the running game again, this time by Franco Harris, who breaks Csonka’s record a year later with 158 yards rushing.
Super Bowl 10 (1976) Pittsburgh 21 – Dallas 17. The concentration of Steeler WR Lynn Swann leaping to touch a long ball also touched by the defender, planting his foot and leaping again to snare the tipped pass out of the air.
Super Bowl 11 (1977) Oakland 32 – Minnesota 14. Raiders coach John Madden, in his black shirt and blue polyester pants, his curly hair swooped into a big puff, being carried off the field by his players with a classic look of joy…which allows him to “Boom!” – break into broadcasting.
Super Bowl 12 (1978) Dallas 27 – Denver 10. The Cowboys defense, led by MVPs Randy White and Harvey Martin forced eight turnovers! The first super bowl I can really remember watching although I can’t recall any of the game. My only memory is the image of the big beard of Broncos QB Craig Morton. Gimme a break, I was 8. However this began an uninterrupted run of Super Bowl viewings.
Super Bowl 13 (1979) Pittsburgh 35 – Dallas 31. Lynn Swann again, this time leaping into the endzone for the deciding TD.
Super Bowl 14 (1980) Pittsburgh 31 – LA Rams 19. Another Bradshaw bomb for the Steelers, this time to John Stallworth. I remember rooting for the Rams and their plucky underdog QB Vince Ferragamo, who held a 19-14 lead coming into the fourth quarter.
Super Bowl 15 (1981) Oakland 31 – Philadelphia 17. Scruffy Raiders linebacker Rod Martin grabs his third interception of the day, deflating the Eagles for good.
Super Bowl 16 (1982) San Francisco 26 – Cincinnati 21. Heroic and gritty goal line stand by the Niners D denied the Bengals on four attempts inside the three yard line and tips the balance to SF.
Super Bowl 17 (1983) Washington 27 – Miami 17. Bruising Redskin menace John Riggins, who had bullied the Dolphins all game despite my inept attempts to will the defense to stop him, turns a fourth-and-one attempt into a 43 yard back-breaking fourth quarter TD.
Super Bowl 18 (1984) LA Raiders 38 – Washington 7. Most remember Marcus Allen’s amazing reversal of field for a 74 yard TD. The real play of the game was the interception by unknown Raiders DB Jack Squirek. Redskins QB Joe Theismann, who was backed up deep in his own end threw a little toss in the flat which Squirek turned into a flash of a pick-6, a TD that kept the Skins out of the game.
Super Bowl 19 (1985) San Francisco 38 – Miami 16. A blur of disappointment and Joe Montana on another day of high Dolphins hopes that got dashed.
Super Bowl 20 (1986) Chicago 46 – New England 10. Who can forget the Fridge scoring that touchdown? I obnoxiously offered my friend Eric Klopfer (a Pats fan) a 20 point spread on a $20 bet which allowed me to relish the Bears 46-10 victory in smug satisfaction.
Super Bowl 21 (1987) NY Giants 39 – Denver 20. Giants WR Phil McConkey scoops up a floating tip in the endzone for a TD in a game characterized by my Mom’s cousin Bob’s shouts of “little Joe from Kokomo” every time Giants RB Joe Morris touched the ball.
Super Bowl 22 (1988) Washington 42 – Denver 10. 35 points in a Redskins second quarter blitzkrieg, which I still use as the yardstick for the most points you can possibly expect to score in a quarter.
About the Author
Written by Mark Reichman