Best way to pre-game for the Super Bowl this year if you’re a Giants or Jets fan? Easy: Revel in the glorious past by perusing SNY’s list of the Top 10 New York moments in the Super Bowl before kickoff.
So lay out the chips and guac and read on. We’ll do it countdown-style. And maybe soon we can all dream a little New York dream. Then we can update this sucker.
10. Scott Norwood’s Boot
Yeah, it’s weird to begin with an opponent’s missed field goal. But the Bills kicker pushed a 47-yard attempt wide right on the final play of Super Bowl XXV on Jan. 27, 1991, giving the Giants a 20-19 win and their second Lombardi Trophy.
Rating this here also gives us a chance to offer a disclaimer – this moment makes the list for what it did for the Giants, not because Buffalo was involved. Yes, we know Buffalo is in the state of New York. These rankings are hyper-local, though, so they only include Jet and Giant moments.
9. The Magnificent Anderson
The Giants’ plan to keep the ball away from Buffalo’s prolific offense in Super Bowl XXV couldn’t have worked without a workhorse. Enter Ottis Anderson, who rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown to snare MVP honors. The Giants had the ball for 40:33 in a 60-minute game.
8. By George, A Safety
In Super Bowl XXI, the John Elway-led Broncos led 10-7 late in the first half when they started a drive in their own territory, hoping for an add-on. Harassed by the Giants’ defense, Elway and Denver actually gave up two points when George Martin sacked Elway in the end zone on a 13-yard loss.
The Giants trailed 10-9 at the half and then dominated the second half in a 39-20 victory, their first Super Bowl win.
7. Stand, Delivered
On their first drive of the second quarter in Super Bowl XXI, the Broncos drove down to the Giants’ 1-yard line, looking to inflate their three-point lead. But even though Elway had thrown for 77 yards on the drive to get close, Denver ran three straight times and failed to score.
Lawrence Taylor stopped Elway for minus-1, Harry Carson dumped Gerald Willhite for no gain and Carl Banks tackled Sammy Winder for a loss of four. Then Rich Karlis missed a 23-yard field goal try. The score still stood at 10-7, but the Giants had flexed their defensive prowess.
6. Phil’s Finest Day
In the Giants’ win over Denver, quarterback Phil Simms was masterful, completing 22-of-25 passes (88 percent!) for 268 yards. He threw TD passes to Zeke Mowatt, Mark Bavaro and Phil McConkey and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXI. Simms, who completed all 10 of his second-half pass attempts in the game as the Giants piled up 30 points after halftime, still holds the Super Bowl record for completion percentage.
5. Manning Plus Manningham Equals Amazing
With 3:46 left in Super Bowl XLVI, the Giants got the ball on their 12-yard line, trailing the Patriots, 17-15. Eli Manning started the drive with a precision throw that is still stunning, hitting Mario Manningham down the left sideline as two defenders converged. Manningham’s catch was the throw’s equal, too, a superlative example of concentration and coordination as he kept both feet in bounds for a 38-yard gain that triggered the winning drive.
4. The Plaxi-catch
Yes, there was a more famous reception from the Giants 17-14 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII (more on that in a bit, Dear Reader). But Manning to Plaxico Burress with 0:35 remaining in the game is what plunged a stake into history (more on that in a bit, too, Dear Reader). Manning hit a wide-open Burress in the left side of the end zone, a 13-yard touchdown pass that no Giants fan will ever forget.
3. No Perfection For You!
It feels like the Giants’ upset of the 18-0 Patriots on Feb. 3, 2008 should have its own spot, so here we are. First, the backdrop: New England was trying to do something only the 1972 Miami Dolphins had – play a perfect regular season and win the Super Bowl.
The Giants had lost a thriller, 38-35, to the Pats in the final regular season game, too, when Tom Coughlin, even with nothing to gain, seedings-wise, urged his Giants to play to win. So when the teams clashed again on the game’s biggest stage, there were plenty of storylines.
The Giants' defense, particularly the line, became one of the biggest. The Giants sacked Tom Brady five times. On one of Justin Tuck’s two sacks, he forced Brady to fumble and Osi Umenyiora recovered. The Giants harried Brady throughout and also held the Patriots to 45 yards rushing.
2. The Helmet Catch
This one defies physics, reason and maybe anything else you can think of, too. With 1:15 left in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants had a third-and-5 at their own 44, trailing the Patriots, 14-10, and Manning faded back to pass. He was besieged by defenders, grabbed more than once, but wriggled free and threw the ball down the middle. David Tyree leapt for the ball and smooshed it against his helmet to complete a 32-yard catch, all while Pro Bowler Rodney Harrison was trying to knock the ball away.
The play, probably the most remarkable in Super Bowl history, set up Burress’ winning TD four plays later and made Tyree a New York/New Jersey legend.
1. The Guarantee
Jets fans, if it seems like your team has been under-represented in this piece, well, the Jets have only been in the Super Bowl once. But, oh, what a doozy that was, complete with a charismatic star quarterback talking big, an upset that the Jets never felt was an upset and a jolt to pro football’s establishment.
Joe Namath cemented his status as a larger-than-life icon at an event a few days before Super Bowl III, publicly guaranteeing the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts, who were favored by 18 points. Then he backed up the boast, going 17-for-28 for 206 yards in a 16-7 victory at the Orange Bowl.
The Jets, a member of the upstart AFL, had taken down one of the NFL’s signature franchises.