As Super Bowl XLIV continues to hurtle towards us as fast as a well-timed Peyton Manning pass to Pierre Garçon (or Peter Waiter as Rich Eisen calls him), I’m left to reflect on Super Bowls of years past. I’m reminded of games that had an impact on me, be it positive, negative, or whatever. The games I feel like mentioning are Super Bowl XXII, Super Bowl XXVI, Super Bowl XXXIII, Super Bowl XXXIV, Super Bowl XXXVII, Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XLII. There are plenty more I could talk about, but those resonate with me the most. So, without further ado, let us begin.
Super Bowl XXII – Washington Redskins vs. Denver Broncos
Super Bowl XXII is the one that started it all for me. I mean that literally, by the way. Super Bowl XXII is the first football game I watched, and the only reason I watched it is because I heard that there was going to be a black quarterback starting in the game for the first time in history. I was 11 at the time, and it was a pretty big deal for me. The game itself is remembered for Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams throwing four touchdown passes in the second quarter and the Redskins scoring a record 35 points in that same quarter – a record that stands to this day.
Super Bowl XXVI – Washington Redskins vs. Buffalo Bills
Super Bowl XXVI is the game I remember most vividly. This was the game I watched with my sister at home. We gathered around the TV and ate Doritos and Reese’s Pieces and watched the Redskins beat down the Bills. The game itself is remembered for several things. First of all, it’s remembered for Thurman Thomas forgetting where his helmet was, thereby missing the first two plays of the game. It’s also remembered for Mark Rypien being the first Canadian player ever to win Super Bowl MVP. Finally, it’s remembered as being the last time Washington made it to the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XXXIII – Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons
I remember this because I was on Active Duty at the time. I watched it with one of my close friends at Little Creek. I was enjoying that game because I was – and still am – a closet Falcons fan. We sat and watched the game and marveled at the changing of the fickle fans as the Falcons fans switched over to Broncos fans relatively quickly. I remember this one because I was hoping for Jamal Anderson to score so he could do the “Dirty Bird,” but he got hurt and was out of the game. I also remember it for the way that Fox did the player introductions; they had them rising out of their respective end zones, and I thought that was pretty cool. Finally, I remember it for Eugene Robinson getting in trouble for trying to pay an undercover cop for a blow job and rendering himself completely ineffective in the game.
Super Bowl XXXIV – St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans
Once again, I was on Active Duty for this one; only this time I was stuck on the ship. I didn’t mind, though; I sat on our mess decks and watched the game with my shipmates. That’s the primary thing I remember about it, but I also remember the last few moments of that game. That was the most frenetic, most exciting last few moments of a Super Bowl, and it was remembered for this image and this call by Al Michaels:
Al: "It is caught by Dyson. Can he get in? NO, HE CANNOT! Mike Jones made the tackle… and the Rams have won the Super Bowl!"
Super Bowl XXXVII – Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I was watching this game at my friend’s house and one of my friends is a Raiders fan. So, needless to say, this game was pretty painful for him to watch. Of course, we all got a kick out of the postgame interview. They interviewed then-Raiders coach Bill Callahan to get his thoughts, and it was almost as if the entire room went dark with the exception of one lone spotlight that shone on Coach Callahan. I felt sorry for him, but on the other hand, that was so uproariously funny, I couldn’t help but laugh. I also remember I went to go visit a friend in San Diego, and we went to go hang out in the Gaslamp Quarter and this was my first time seeing the sights of a pre-Super Bowl festivity in person.
Super Bowl XXXVIII – Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots
This was another Super Bowl party, and I went to a fellow Reservist’s house for this one. I brought my then-fiancée and a couple of my friends from the last party, and we all went to cheer on the Panthers. Why? This was around the time where I personally was getting tired of the smugness and arrogance of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and I admired the Panthers for going from underdogs to NFC Champions. One of the most vivid memories I have of this game was where I was seconds away from winning $100, but John Kasay kicked a 50 yard field goal to end the first half. I also remember this for Justin Timberlake making every man in America happy by exposing Janet Jackson’s breast – an event that has now been called “Nipple-gate.”
Super Bowl XLII – New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this one. This game was the game where everyone decided to take a page out of Dennis Green’s playbook and crown the Patriots as Super Bowl champions. However, the New York Giants had other plans. I remember this game for the Patriots going 18-1 in the wrong way and for this:
That would be Giants Tight End David Tyree making an impossible catch against Patriots Safety Rodney Harrison.
Will this Super Bowl hold any fond memories? Will this game be an incredible blowout? Will this game finally take the Super Bowl into overtime? Only time will tell, but it’s going to be a blast to watch and find out.