5 Super Bowls That Shocked and Awed NFL Fans

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In less than a week, Super Bowl XLVIII will kick off at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, in New Jersey. It’s touted as one of the most anticipated games in quite some time because the Denver Broncos, the National Football League’s top offense, will square off against the league’s top defense in the Seattle Seahawks. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning comes into the game trying to conclude a record-breaking season with the ultimate achievement — a Super Bowl title.

Come Sunday, what will happen is anybody’s guess. It might come down to Manning throwing a fade at Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman for the victory (something Sherman believes is ill-advised), a last-second Hail Mary, or just a dominant performance by any one player. With unlimited possibilities for the 2014 edition, here are five Super Bowls that impressed, shocked, and awed fans everywhere.

[Note: Photos may not match games described.]

Source: Mike Morbeck / Flickr

5. Super Bowl XXIII, 1989

First up is a classic between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals. Playing at the home of the Miami Dolphins — what was then Joe Robbie Stadium — the 49ers ended up winning, 20-16. The game featured two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in San Francisco’s Joe Montana and Cincinnati’s Boomer Esiason. While Esiason was coming off of an MVP season (passing for 3,572 yards and 28 touchdown passes that year), Montana threw for a then-Super Bowl record 357 yards and two touchdowns, well outperforming Esiason.

It would be Montana’s teammate and favorite receiver, Jerry Rice, though, who took home the game’s most valuable player award for his 215 receiving yards and one touchdown. Sure, Rice grabbed the game’s MVP, but trailing by three points with three minutes remaining, Montana was the one who calmly led the 49ers 92 yards down the field. He hit John Taylor for a 16-yard touchdown with 34 seconds left, giving San Francisco the Super Bowl title and Montana the third ring of his career.

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