Since 1966, the Super Bowl has been one of the most exciting sporting events in America. Although there aren’t victory cigs being smoked on the field after the game anymore, the championship game has grown to enormous heights in terms of commercialization and entertainment value. But who cares about all that stuff? We love the Super Bowl for two reasons - awesome buffet parties and insane plays. Both of which have been occurring for several decades.
While you may have some of your own, the following is a list of some of our favorite and in our opinion the most stunning moments in the history of the championship game along with some of the vintage super bowl snapbacks that emerged from them.
1. Super Bowl XXIII - 1989
Joe Montana has had a lot of legendary Super Bowl moments. But one of our all-time favorites would have to be in 1989 when the 49ers were playing the Cincinnati Bengals. With 39 seconds left in regulation, Montana and San Fransisco are down 16-13 at the Bengals’ 10-yard line. After a short drop back in the pocket, Montana fires down the pipe to a darting John Taylor to win the game 20-16. It ends up being head coach Bill Walsh’s third Super Bowl victory and final game in the NFL. That’s how you go out in style.
2. Super Bowl XVII - 1983
When the Redskins faced off against the Dolphins in 1983, Joe Theissman was still rocking a single-bar facemask. That’s how you know this game was from back in the day (if you couldn’t already tell by the vintage Super Bowl snapback above). In the 4th quarter, the Dolphins go up 17-13 and the Redskins need to make a play. With about 10 minutes left in regulation, Washington is looking down the barrel of a fourth-and-1 at the Dolphins 43 yard line. John Riggins, who has been an absolute steamroller the entire game gets handed the ball and, acting like the steamroller he is, powers through Dolphins CB Don McNeal and takes it all the way to the end zone. The Redskins go on to win 27-17 and secure the first Super Bowl victory for the franchise.
3. Super Bowl XXXII - 1998
The state of mind you develop after going to the Super Bowl three different times and never winning once has to weigh heavy. But when John Elway brought the Denver Broncos to Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, the QB had one thing on his mind - victory. Throughout the entire game, the 37-year-old put his body on the line, most notably at the end of the third quarter with a play that earned him that vintage super bowl snapback you see pictured.
The game was tied and Denver was facing a third-and-6 from the Packer’s 12-yard line. Elway snaps the ball and with pressure coming, cuts through the middle, making a mad dash for the first down where he is sandwiched by two Green Bay defenders who send him in a helicopter-like spin. Denver gets the first down, and two plays later go on to take a 24-17 lead. The Broncos end up taking it home and Elway finally gets his ring.
4. Super Bowl XIII - 1979
Among the glorious victories of Super Bowl history, you also have incredible defeats. Kind of like how you can’t have great-looking vintage Super Bowl snapbacks without a couple of bad ones. And perhaps one of the worst gaffes that took place in Super Bowl history was in 1979 when the Steelers took on the Cowboys. Down 21-14 late in the third quarter, Dallas shoots for the end zone with a pass from Staubach to a completely naked Jackie Smith who slides for a pass that bounces off his chest. The Cowboys are forced to kick a field goal and end up losing the game 35-31. The dropped pass turns out to be Jackie Smith’s last ever pass in his career as he retired after the game. Something that probably doesn't sit well with the Hall of Famer.
5. Super Bowl XXVII - 1993
One of our all-time favorite vintage Super Bowl snapbacks also happens to have made it on our list of all-time Super Bowl moments. One that occurred while the Bills were getting absolutely thrashed by the Cowboys in 1993. The score was 52-17 in favor of Dallas with five minutes left in the game, clearly out of reach for the Bills. However, that didn’t stop Don Beebe from sprinting the length of the field to stop Cowboys’ Leon Lett from returning a recovered fumble. Lett, with no idea of Beebe’s pursuit, begins showboating as he nears the goal line just as Beebe comes to knock the ball out of his hands for a touchback. The Cowboys may have gone on to win, but the play still goes on to be an incredible display of hustle and dedication.
6. Super XXV - 1991
Not all of the monumental plays that happen in vintage Super Bowl history are touchdowns. In fact, most game-deciding plays happen outside the end zones, like Mark Ingram’s electric first-down catch and run in Super Bowl XXV. Down 12-10, facing a third-and-13, the Giants throw the ball to Ingram who catches the ball at the 26, spins Kirby Jackson, jukes Darryl Talley, dusts Mark Kelso, and finally absorbs a hit by James Williams who he drives to get one yard past the marker. An epic run that ends up leading to a crucial touchdown for the Giants and ultimately, a Super Bowl victory. We’re thinking those blue and white tiger stripes on this vintage Super Bowl snapback were made in honor of Ingram’s ferocious athleticism.
7. Super Bowl XXX - 1996
We’d be remiss if we didn’t have at least one epic interception that took place in vintage Super Bowl history. And no other pick is as clutch as the one that Larry Brown had in Super Bowl XXX. Despite the Cowboys being the favorite, Pittsburgh wasn’t giving anything up easy. After recovering an onside kick, Pittsburgh gets the ball with 4:15 left in regulation and down by three points. On the second drive of the play, Steelers’ QB Neil O’Donnell gets blitzed and throws the ball short, right into Larry Brown’s chest. Brown takes the pick all the way to the Steelers 6 yard line and two plays later, the Cowboys score the clinching touchdown to win Super Bowl XXX.
In this picture, you can see Larry Brown getting handed his championship hat with Deion Sanders to the left. By the look on #43’s face behind Brown, you already know this was a special vintage Super Bowl snapback.
8. Super Bowl XXXI
Kick-returns have to be some of the most electric touchdowns. Especially when it happens in a Championship game. The year was 1997 and Green Bay was in their first Super Bowl in 29 years. With 3:27 left in the third quarter, the Packers are up 27-21 against New England and were set to receive the kick. Desmond Howard, University of Michigan alumnus, catches the ball at the 1-yard line and follows a four-man wedge to open green. Howard ends up returning it all the way and Green Bay secures the victory. What we’re left with is the third NFL championship for the Packers and a mean-looking vintage Super Bowl snapback with some cajun flavor.
With plenty of more championship games to come, we’re excited to see the moments that will arise out of them. And more importantly, the Super Bowl snapbacks made to celebrate them.