It goes without saying that Super Bowl XLIV is without question the #1 Super Bowl for Saints fans, and it will continue to be celebrated especially here, at its tenth anniversary. That being said, now that Super Bowl LIV has concluded, ten Super Bowls have been played since the Saints won theirs and we will rank those ten games that unfortunately didn't feature the Saints, starting with the one that absolutely should have...
#10 - New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams*
Let’s not even get into the sheer fraudulence of this game. Let’s pretend the Rams actually earned their spot in this game, if you judge this game on its own merits, it is not only the worst game on this list, it is arguably the worst Super Bowl ever played. If only the legitimate NFC Champion were in position to make this a truly anticipated matchup. The football world suffered from this outrage. Three points. Good lord, that’s embarrassingly atrocious. Go change the bedsheets, Rams.
#9 - Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos
Compared to the #10 game on this list, at least this atrocious Super Bowl featured some points. That’s about the only encouraging thing to say about this 1990’s-style Super Blowout. The “Legion of Boom” dominated Peyton Manning at the height of his offensive powers in Denver. Russell Wilson may be a much better quarterback now, but he had a much better team around him then. Hey, while reading this, Seattle just scored on Denver again.
#8 - New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
It’s honestly difficult to remember anything about this Super Bowl outside of the fantastic sideline catch by Mario Manningham late in the fourth quarter. This game suffered from comparison to their historic meeting in Super Bowl XLII. This one wasn't spectacular, it was just another Super Bowl that will be easily overlooked. Eli Manning beat Tom Brady for the second time in as many Super Bowl meetings, so at least that was memorable.
#7 - Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
This game was just missing something, it was just... lacking. This game came to us from AT&T Stadium aka JerryWorld, looking to break the Super Bowl attendance record by adding suspect-looking seating in every open corner of the “palace of Dallas”. In many ways this game was just like the building it was played in, joyless, soulless, and cold. Although it wasn't a bad football game by any means, it simply wasn't anywhere near as good a Super Bowl as it could've been. Aaron Rodgers put himself in the conversation as one of the decade’s elite quarterbacks, while Ben Roethlisberger squandered a golden opportunity to be a three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, an opportunity he is unlikely to see again. This wasn't the Super Bowl, it was more like the Meh Bowl.
#6 - Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
Defense need not apply in this wild and weird Super Bowl. Doug Pederson and Nick Foles made themselves legends in Philadelphia in this game. A play that will be replayed for decades to come in Super Bowl highlight reels came from this game. That play is “Philly Special” of course. A snap to the running back, who pitched to the tight end, who passed to the wide open quarterback in the endzone, made Foles the first quarterback to ever catch a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl. Many claimed Pederson the gutsiest coach the Super Bowl had ever seen, and although his calls took some stones, it’s certainly no “Ambush”. With this insane win, Foles joined Eli Manning as the only QB’s to take down Tom Brady in the big game.
#5 - Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
Unfortunately, this underrated Super Bowl has been long overshadowed by the power outage that occurred early in the second half, sending this surprisingly one-sided Super Bowl to an awkward standstill. San Francisco entered this game with one of the NFC’s best and most dominant defenses of the last few years, while Baltimore came in as the surprise hot team looking to win the title for their aging defensive stars. Despite the Niners’ supposed defensive dominance, San Francisco was bombarded early and often in this game, surprisingly trailing 21-6 to Baltimore at halftime. The dam had broken for the Niners to start the 3rd quarter, as Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones took the opening kickoff of the second half back for a Super Bowl record 108-yard touchdown return. Things changed dramatically in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome not long after, as with 13:22 on the game clock in the 3rd quarter, the game was stopped for an excruciatingly long 34 minutes due to a partial power outage. From the point the power returned, the Niners went on a tear, bringing themselves to within 5 points of Baltimore. The game came down to a 4th and Goal play for the Niners from the Baltimore 5-yard line with 1:50 remaining in the game. The play ended as an incomplete pass and the Ravens took an intentional safety after milking the clock down to 4 seconds, sealing the game and the Niners’ fate. John Harbaugh’s Ravens beat younger brother, Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers in one of the stranger, yet entertaining Super Bowls of the last decade.
#4 - New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
There may be other games on this list that are mostly memorable for one play, yet this one easily takes the crown in how memorable and impactful that one play was. This was truly a back and forth affair. New England would score, Seattle would answer, multiple times. Seattle opened up a double-digit lead in the second half but New England rallied in the 4th quarter (a trend we will see further on this list) to take the lead late in the game. Trailing by 4, from the Pats’ 38-yard line, Russell Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse on a circus catch in the red zone that would have gone down as one of the most unbelievable catches in Super Bowl history had the drive ended the way Seattle needed it to. The entire game hinged on one fateful play. With 25 seconds to go, down by 4 points, at the New England 1-yard line, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks decided not to give the ball to the most dominant running back of the time, to power into the end zone to win their second-consecutive Super Bowl title. No, Carroll decided to outthink himself and call up a pass play that was intercepted at the goal line. Handing Tom Brady his fourth Super Bowl ring on a silver platter. To this very day, not handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch at the goal line stands as one of the worst calls, if not the worst, in the storied history of the Super Bowl.
#3 - Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers
Recency bias aside, this was a great Super Bowl. The supposed dominance of this San Francisco defense looked to have the Super Bowl title well in hand, but as another Kyle Shanahan coached team on this list found out, you don't win Super Bowls by looking dominant through 75% of the game. San Francisco’s 20-10 lead appeared insurmountable to the untrained eye, but we knew no deficit was too great for Patrick Mahomes in these playoffs, while no lead was too safe for Kyle Shanahan in the Super Bowl. With under 9 minutes to go in the game, down by 10 and not looking impressive for the entirety of the game to this point, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid’s Chiefs did what they did all playoffs long, they dominated and embarrassed their opponent when the game looked to be in hand, rattling off scores and erasing deficits as simply as wiping markings off a whiteboard. San Francisco’s insurmountable 10-point lead turned into an 11-point loss in the most exciting and delightful ways possible. This one won't be forgotten anytime soon.
#2 - Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers
Sure, it may seem odd to have a game that ended 24-10 be so high on this list, but the final score doesn't tell the tale of this game as a whole. Simply stated, this game was a defensive masterpiece. Just as the Broncos were victimized by another great defense in the #9 game on this list, they made a dramatic fundamental shift in the two seasons following that embarrassing loss. Denver went from showcasing one of the NFL’s most spectacular offenses to fielding arguably the greatest defense the NFL has seen this decade. It couldn't have happened at a better time, as Peyton Manning rapidly declined into a shell of his former self since his previous Super Bowl. This time, Denver suffocated the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in Carolina. The game was incredibly tense and close throughout, until Denver pulled away late in the 4th quarter. The game made its final turn with 4:16 left in the 4th quarter, as Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller stripped the ball from Carolina QB Cam Newton on 3rd and 9 in Carolina territory, leaving Newton to make the “business decision” not to go for the ball, setting up Denver’s last touchdown with 3 minutes to go. Peyton Manning, despite having nothing but fumes left in the tank, found a way to ride off into the sunset with his second Super Bowl title, thanks to a remarkable defense carrying him to a title. After decades of Manning carrying teams on his back, Manning was able to rest on the backs of a dominant defense in the end. Quite poetic. On the other side, Cam Newton never took the Panthers back to the Super Bowl and their coach was fired just four years later. Thanks for putting business before championships, Cam!
#1 - New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
When it came to deciding what would be named the best Super Bowl of the past ten years, one choice was obviously clear, it was this one. Frankly, it was always this one. Not only is this the best Super Bowl on this list, for our community, this may very well be the second-best Super Bowl of all-time. This game had it all: shock, disbelief, panic, sadness, surprise, tension, and ultimately, exhilaration. The stunning early lead by Atlanta, the unbelievable rally by New England, THE GREATEST CHOKE-JOB IN AMERICAN SPORTS HISTORY by the Atlanta Falcons! The architect of this Falcons offense that completely forgot how to build upon a big lead is the same one that led San Francisco to their demise in the #3 game on this list. The hubris on display on the field, on the Falcons’ sideline, and in their owner’s box after amassing an incredible 28-3 lead, was unbelievable. To our surprise and delight, it was also unsustainable. This game deserves two chefs kisses. Witnessing a collapse of this magnitude served as one of the most momentous occasions in fandom. It’s simply inconceivable that it even happened. Before this game, the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history happened when the New Orleans Saints overcame a 10-point deficit in Super Bowl XLIV, but to blow a 25-point lead? 25 POINTS?! That truly was unimaginable, and it is a mark that may never, ever be equalled or topped. It became the first (and only, to this point) Super Bowl to go into overtime. The moment James White crossed the ball over the plane in OT to complete Atlanta’s failure will never be forgotten. Super Bowl LI proudly and deservedly stands as the greatest Super Bowl of the past decade.
There we have it, Who Dat Nation. Our ranking of the top-ten of the past ten Super Bowls. Do you agree? Disagree? Tell us in detail in the comments below, and give us your ranking of the last ten Super Bowls!