It's not easy being the Super Bowl. With so much fanfare and lead time, the expectations by kickoff tend to be sky high. By the time the teams take the field, the media has been hyping the game for at least two weeks, the diehard fans have been scouring prop bets on every last aspect of the game (and the broadcast, and the national anthem length), and NFL novices have been sifting through guacamole recipes looking for the perfect one for their party. On top of all of that, the players on both teams have already been awarded trophies and been feted like champions from the moment they reached the Super Bowl host city. So, yeah, the game itself can feel a bit anticlimactic if it's not a thrilling, back-and-forth affair that ends on a score in the waning moments. Otherwise, what was all the fuss about?
Considering the previous matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, Super Bowl XLVI seems likely to live up to the lofty expectations that we all should have for the game bold enough to put "Super" in its title. After all, these teams faced off in Super Bowl XLII, one of the greatest Super Bowl games of all time.
But what makes a Super Bowl great? For significance, it's hard to beat the Jets' AFL-validating win over the Colts in Super Bowl III. For schadenfreude, Scott Norwood's errant field goal kick as time expired in Super Bowl XXV remains the pinacle. Or do we really just want a reason to watch until the end? If a close contest is all that fans really crave then the first installment of Patriots-Giants has plenty of company in that department. There is Joe Montana's legendary game-winning drive in 1989, Santonio Holme's top-tapping catch to clinch Super Bowl XLIII and several other career-defining, heart-stopping moments -- several involving former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri -- have punctuated the history of the game.
Here are highlights from more than a dozen of the most scintillating and forgettable Super Bowl games of all time. Re-live the most exciting moments in NFL history and vote for the game that you believe is the absolute most thrilling Super Bowl of all time.