I was surprised to see the Patriots' thrashing at the hands of the Bears not be closer to the bottom of this list but Schrager's rankings use an historical factor. So in his opinion, given the greatness of the Bears defense, he ranks that game near the bottom of the middle pack of games, 28th overall, whereas to most of us it is one of the least competitive games of all time, though it is special to me as a Patriot fan being that it's their first trip to the Super Bowl, that I saw them win a playoff game in LA on the way and because it's the only one where we'll ever see the true Patriot uniform. If you go through the slideshow, on the right of each picture of each game you can see his reasoning and point system.
He ranks Super Bow XLII as the #1 game, which I would disagree with and not because the Patriots lost. It was a great game and historic from the standpoint of the Patriots being undefeated going into that game but there are a few more games I found more exciting and competitive. I see the value of his including a compelling or historical factor, which is why SBs III and VII are so high; but I won't be trying to do that. I agree with much of his bottom third, which is littered with all those blowouts from the 1980s and early '90s.
My list will not be exactly a top 5. I'll just take a handful of what I think are the best games and rank just the top one.
- Super Bowl XXXVIII, Patriots over Panthers, he has 13th. This is one of the most exciting games ever and nearly goes into overtime. Maybe because it was a defensive stalemate early on is why he has it ranked this low but the back-and-forth fireworks of the second half make this one very memorable.
- Super Bowl XIII, Steelers over Cowboys was a great, great game of the titans of the time. I'm old enough to remember watching this game, which was littered with all-time-great players, ditto Super Bowl X with the same teams and many of the same players. I think XIII was the better game.
- Super Bowl XXIII, 49ers over Bengals. While their first Super Bowl matchup (the Kenny Anderson Bengals) was a very good game, this "rematch" with the Boomer Esiason Bengals was taut and thrilling all the way to the end. Were you too rooting for the Bengals in this one?
- Super Bowl XXXIV, Rams over Titans. The underdog Titans played their butts off and contained the Greatest Show on Turf for most of this game. This is the first one that I really thought was headed to overtime, just a couple of yards and/or a few seconds from it. Great game.
- My #1, Super Bowl XXXVI, Patriots over Rams. Yes, I may be a bit biased but Schrager has it at #2. Regardless of the fact that the Pats lost XLII, I still think this is the better game. You've got a team called the Patriots, underdogs, playing the Super Bowl of the 9/11 season, coming out of the tunnel announced just as a team, no individual players, who proceed to stifle the heavily-favored Rams, coming up with big plays. This game is close the whole way and the level of disbelief that this huge underdog just might pull this off was thrilling, coming right down to a last second field goal. And remember, that field goal is only possible because the Pats shockingly decided to try to drive the ball deep from their end instead of running out the clock and going to overtime. Adam Vinatieri strikes again!
- Honorable mentions: The aforementioned XLII -- yes, a great game and a big upset and I'm still very much upset about it, regardless of what happens this year. To me it's a great game if the Pats go undefeated. Super III, I was six or seven years old and I don't remember it. Super Bowl XXV, wide right. Not as well played as people remember. I still feel bad for the Bills, since they lost 3 more in a row after this one. XLIII, Steelers over Cardinals -- this one would stand out even more if it had happened amongst a bunch of '80s blowouts instead of happening around a string of the greatest Super Bowls of all time. Super Bowl VII, the undefeated season for the Dolphins culminates here. I guess I should include an honorable mention to Super Bowl XXXII, the John Elway determination bowl. Aren't I right in remembering this is the first really close Super Bowl since the '70s?