Monday, February 2, 2009

Are We In a Golden Age Of Super Bowls? Steelers Win Wild Super Bowl XLIII, 27-23

I am 33 years old. I'm only telling you that so you can understand my reference points for this story.

When I was a kid through my teenage years and into my 20s, the Super Bowl was usually one of the biggest letdowns in sports. From 1984 (when Bruce Springsteen's Born In the USA came out) to 1999, most Super Bowls ended up as blowouts. Only the Niners-Bengals, Giants-Bills and Broncos-Packers matchups had me glued to my seat for most, if not all of the game.

So how lucky has this decade been? We had that amazing stop on the 1-yard line in the Rams-Titans game, the improbable upset in the Patriots-Rams tilt, a wild finish to the Patriots-Panthers and a close Patriots-Eagles game. Take a second look at the Colts-Bears Super Bowl and it was closer than you think. The last two Super Bowls (Giants-Patriots, Steelers-Cardinals) have featured two amazing finishes that saw the lead change a few times in the closing moments. The game has been living up to the hype.

Aside from the Ravens-Giants (blowout), Buccaneers-Raiders (blowout) and Steelers-Seahawks (boring and mistake filled), we have been treated to some of the greatest Super Bowls over the past ten years. I mean, remember when it used to be the big joke that the Super Bowl was sports biggest dog? We were seeing scores like 55-10, 52-17, 42-10, 38-16, 46-10 and 49-26. Sure, the final scores for the Redskins-Bills and Broncos-Falcons aren't that bad, but those games weren't in doubt either.

We've had six Super Bowls decided by 7-points or less this decade. In the prior 33 Super Bowls, only eight of them were decided by 7-points or less.

So this has to be the golden age of Super Bowls, right? I'd be willing to bet that the Rams-Titans, Patriots-Rams, Patriots-Panthers, Giants-Patriots and Steelers-Cardinals are at or near the very top of the list of great Super Bowls. Over the last 10 years, six of the games have been decided by a TD or less; five have been decided by four points or less; five saw the winning team score the go-ahead points with under three minutes remaining; and three with less than 40 seconds left.

Forget the stats. The last decade has given us "The Tackle", Adam Vinateri's two game winning FGs in the closing seconds, David Tyree's catch and now San-Toes-Nio Holmes grab.

No comments: