Where does the Eagles historic win rank among the greatest Super Bowls ever?
Before we start I'm ranking these games on a number of factors:
Enjoyment to Watch
Quality of Play
Also, while doing this I realized most of the top of my list is very heavy on recent Super Bowls, don't get too angry about any recency bias you think I have, I have only been watching the Super Bowl live since 2007, so watching the Super Bowls from before then may not have the same emotional effect that watching them live did. But I believe we have also just been living in the golden age for exciting Super Bowls in the past decade.
With that said, this is my list:
1. XLIII Steelers 27 - Cardinals 23
Kurt Warner emerging from the woodwork to bring a 90 year old team that had never been to a Super Bowl to the Super Bowl versus the team with the most Super Bowls of any team. Couple that with huge plays on defense, an incredible fourth quarter comeback and a fantastic game-winning two minute drill with an incredible to top it off and this game gets to the top of the list. I do believe it can be beaten with the right circumstances though.
2. XLV Packers 31 - Steelers 25
One of the greatest players in history playing at the peak of his powers against a perennial powerhouse and also one of the largest comebacks in Super Bowl history, this game was emotional and exciting from beginning to end and Aaron Rodgers' performance deserves to be considered one of the greatest ever.
3. LI Patriots 34 - Falcons 28
The Patriots comeback against the Falcons narrowly edges out their loss to the Eagles one year after. The largest comeback in Super Bowl history and Tom Brady solidifying himself as the greatest player to ever live is enough to put it in the top three. The only reason it isn't higher is because watching the Patriots win gets a bit stale and the historic significance is just not there.
4. LII Eagles 41 - Patriots 33
This game narrowly misses the top three, I explain it all below but it basically boils down to both defenses playing terribly. The historical significance and big plays alone were enough to put it in the top 4 though.
5. Giants 17 - Patriots 14
A game that is sort of hard to rank on this list. The Giants were underdogs just to make it out of the divisional round, let alone to make the Super Bowl. Meanwhile the Patriots were 16-0 in the regular season with arguably the greatest Quarterback, Wide Receiver, offense, and Coach in NFL history. The Giants played magnificent defense and pulled off one of the greatest (and strangest) plays in NFL history to win in the final minutes.
6. XIII Steelers 35 - Cowboys 31
The original Super Bowl shootout. This game was exciting AND was played by two teams fighting for the title of greatest team of the 1970s. It was close throughout and had plenty of big plays... Now if only the quality of play held up nowadays...
7. XXXII Broncos 31 - Packers 24
An extremely emotional game with a Legendary Quarterback playing his heart out to win his first Super Bowl over the defending champions. Even though John Elway didn't play a great game, his dive to the five yard line where he gets sandwiched by two defenders will forever be regarded as one of the grittiest and greatest moments in Super Bowl history. It just can't quite beat the games I have above it.
8. XLIX Patriots 28 - Seahawks 24
Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick trying to prove that they still have it after not winning the Super Bowl for 10 straight years versus the Seahawks who are trying to solidify themselves as a dynasty. This game was fun as hell to watch with one of the most exciting fourth quarters in all of Super Bowl history.
9. Jets 16 - Colts 7
A selection based solely on historic significance, but it may be the most significant of any Super Bowl before or after. This game is remembered as "The Guarantee". Jets' Quarterback Joe Namath before the game publicly guaranteed that the Jets would beat the Colts who at the time were one of the greatest teams to ever play the game, plus, the Jets were playing in the AFL who had been embarrassed in both of the Super Bowls before. The game itself wasn't very exciting, as the game was basically over before the fourth Quarter and nothing much in terms of big plays happened. But the historic significance alone gets in the in top 10.
10. XXXVI Patriots 21 - Rams 17
Like the Eagles Patriots Super Bowl this year, historical significance puts this game in the top 10. Also the coaching brilliance of Bill Bellichick shutting down one of the greatest offenses in history is a thing of beauty.
Honorable Mention: Giants 20 - Bills 19
An interesting game. The Giants were the first team to really be able to shut down the Bills high-flying offense that had scored 95 points in their two playoff games and beat them with a good old fashion ground attack that completely steamrolled the Bills. Great upset and one of the most famous plays in NFL history with Scott Norwood's missed field goals to win it. It's historic significance lies in the fact that this was the closest the Bills came to winning the Super Bowl despite making it four years in a row.
Now back to the Super Bowl that sparked this discussion:
First of all; the Eagles beating the Patriots was historic for many reasons.
The first reason was that this was the Eagles' first Super Bowl win in their franchise history, the second being that this game had the most total yards combined by both teams of ANY game in NFL History.
But this game was also significant because it was a team that not many people expected to be a powerhouse going into the season, then after starting the season 11-2 they lost their starting Quarterback and MVP frontrunner Carson Wentz and had to finish their season with journeyman Quarterback Nick Foles.
It also may have been a changing of the guard game similar to the 49ers beating the mighty Cowboys in 1981 or the Patriots beating the Rams in 2001. But not even those teams were as dominant for as long as the mighty Patriots who I believe are the greatest dynasty in history. So it was one of the greatest David and Goliath matchups in Super Bowl history.
With that being said, the significance and stats aren't all that I'm judging, I'm also taking into account the actual game played and how I believe the teams performed. I do believe this game was extremely exciting, and definitely the type of game I would show somebody who I'm trying to get hooked on the game of Football. It had an absurd amount of offense and big plays, it had trick plays on the goal line, it had big time turnovers in huge spots, it had big names making big plays.
The one thing it didn't have was defense, I have to say I've never seen two defenses play so bad in my life. Yes the game had two turnovers and one of the biggest plays of the game was a sack fumble by Brandon Graham. But outside of end of half drives and a bizarre missed field goal by Gostkowski, the offenses scored on an ungodly 14 of 16 drives and even that is including a horrible tipped interception that wasn't a great play by the defense as much as it was a horrible tipped pass by the receiver in the red zone.
What I'm trying to say is these defenses were terrible in this game. Nick Foles played out of his mind and Tom Brady is Tom Brady... But the defenses allowed 538 and 613 yards. Every play there was some player running wide open and the Quarterback hitting them for 10, 20, 30 yards. I can enjoy games like this that are back and forth and all but it gets a bit boring when teams are just burning defenses on every play of the game. When only half of each team shows up to play, it can actually get tiring watching each team march effortlessly down the field drive after drive. For that reason, I can't put it above those other games.