D.A. Ranks The Best Miami Super Bowls Ever

Miami is no Super Bowl stranger, and many of the games played there have been epic

Damon Amendolara
January 23, 2020 - 11:15 am

The Chiefs/Niners matchup next week will mark the 11th Super Bowl held in Miami. South Florida is tied with New Orleans for hosting more championship games than any other city. There is a certain lore that comes with playing in Miami, from Joe Namath's poolside guarantee to Joe Montana's finest moment. Given the history of great Super Bowls in the Sunshine State, let's rank them 1-10. 

10) Super Bowl V: The Blunder Bowl
This game was decided in the final seconds by Jim O'Brien's 32-yard FG to give the Colts a 16-13 win over the Cowboys. But the game itself is remembered for sloppy play and an obscene 11 turnovers. The Colts won the game despite throwing three interceptions and losing four fumbles. It is the only Super Bowl where the MVP award was given to a losing player, Chuck Howley of the Cowboys. It may be the ugliest Super Bowl ever. If it's not, it's by far the worst in Miami. 

9) Super Bowl XXXIII: Elway's Finale
John Elway's resume had a gaping hole heading into the 1997 season. But the Broncos finally won the Lombardi in a stirring upset of the Packers that year. The following season, Denver marched through an even more dominant campaign, capping off the Elway Era with another title in a romp over the Dirty Birds. The '98 Falcons were no match for one of the greatest offenses of the decade, falling behind 31-6 and ultimately losing 34-19. Elway was given the MVP in his final game with 336 yards passing. The game had very little drama and none of the sentiment of the '97 win. But it will be remembered for Elway's wondrous final act. 

8) Super Bowl XLI: Peyton's Title
Peyton Manning had become a cautionary tale by '06. The Colts QB had been the face of the league since his debut eight years earlier, but brutal playoff exits bruised his reputation as a big-game player. The Colts had been devastated by an upset loss to the Steelers the year before, but in '06 it finally happened. On a rainy night in Miami, the Colts beat the Bears 29-17. Peyton didn't have his best game, just 247 yards and a TD, but it was enough for the MVP. Four Adam Vinatieri FGs, a pick-6 and Rex Grossman's awful night was the difference.  

7) Super Bowl XXIX: Young's Monkey
Until '94, Steve Young was best known for what he hadn't done. Taking over for Joe Montana in '91, Young battled the towering shadow of the accomplishments (including four Lombardi trophies) by one of the greatest of all-time. He had lost back-to-back NFC Championship Games to the Cowboys in '92 and '93. Finally in ’94, Young had his moment. He shed the monkey off his back by shredding the Cinderella Chargers for 325 yards and six TDs in a 49-26 demolition of San Diego. Young was nearly perfect, setting multiple Super Bowl records. The game is best remembered for him asking for someone "to take the monkey off my back." 

6) Super Bowl II: Lombardi's Final Ride 
The Packers had won Super Bowl I as huge favorites over the Chiefs, and everyone expected them to do the same over the Raiders. Lombardi's Packers, though, had come to the end of their dynasty. A 9-4-1 season started showing the age of the roster, and this would be Lombardi's final game. Green Bay dominated the Raiders in honor of their coach, building a 33-7 lead and winning 33-14. The Packers had an incredible nine Hall of Famers playing that day, while the Raiders had five. Combine that with Lombardi on the sidelines, Al Davis as Oakland's owner and John Madden coaching linebackers, and an amazing 17 men in Canton competed that day. 

5) Super Bowl XLIV: The Onside Kick
The Colts looked like one of the best teams ever coming into this game. Indianapolis began the season 14-0 before resting its starters in the final two weeks. The Colts barely broke a sweat rolling through the playoffs, but the Saints had magic on their side. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans watched its football team raise a city from the flood. Trailing 10-6 at halftime, Sean Payton made one of the gutsiest decisions in Super Bowl history. An onside kick could've given the Colts a short field and put the Saints down two scores. But New Orleans recovered and it set up a go-ahead TD, seizing momentum. Leading 24-17, the Saints sealed it with a Tracy Porter pick-6 and Drew Brees had his only Lombardi trophy. It may have been the most crushing defeat in Manning's career. 

4) Super Bowl X: The Levitating Leap
The Steelers had won the first of what would be four Super Bowls the year before, but the bigger test this time around was the dangerous Cowboys. In what would be considered at the time to be the best Super Bowl ever, Pittsburgh outlasted Dallas 21-17. The game is remembered for Lynn Swann's scintillating catches, none more jaw-dropping than the "Levitating Leap." Swann had a 64-yard TD, and caught more than 160 yards worth of passes for the MVP award. But his gravity-defying catch, hovering horizontally against the turf and catching a deflection as he landed over the defender is one of the greatest grabs in NFL history. A frantic comeback by Roger Staubach fell just short with multiple passes into the end zone being tipped away. The Steelers were back-to-back champs and the Super Bowl had one for the ages. 

3) Super Bowl XIII: The Steelers Trifecta
It's hard to choose the better of the two '70s classics between the Steelers and Cowboys. The '78 edition gets the edge because it could have been a matchup of two of the greatest teams ever. Many consider this season of the Pittsburgh dynasty to be the best of the decade, and Dallas was defending champs. An astounding 17 players on the field this day would end up in the Hall of Fame. Once again it was the Steelers passing attack which provided the difference in the game. Terry Bradshaw brought home his first MVP with 318 yards passing and four TDs. His scoring throws to John Stallworth were absolutely gorgeous, which included a 75-yard touchdown. The Steelers built a 35-17 lead but Staubach once again led a furious comeback attempt. After scoring 14 points in the final minutes, the Cowboys onside kick was recovered by the Steelers, and Pittsburgh had its third title in five years. Pittsburgh and Dallas had once again just played, at the time, the greatest Super Bowl ever. 

2) Super Bowl XXIII: Montana's Moment
Much of this game was not as wonderful as the two Steelers-Cowboys affairs. The Niners had their most vulnerable Super Bowl team of the '80s pushed to the limit by the Cinderella Bengals. Nether offense could muster a touchdown through three quarters. Cincinnati held a surprising 13-6 lead to start the fourth on two FGs and a kickoff return for a TD. But Joe Montana and Jerry Rice put on a master's class in the final frame. Rice would finish the day with a Super Bowl-record 215 yards receiving, and trailing 16-13 with just over 3:00 left Montana had his finest Super Bowl moment. He marched the Niners 92 yards for the game winning score to John Taylor with just :39 on the clock. It cemented his legacy as the ultimate late-game artist, forever etching "Joe Cool" into Super Bowl lore. This is now known as "The John Candy Game."  

1) Super Bowl III: The Guarantee
The game itself wasn't nearly the beautiful tapestry of the Steelers-Cowboys clashes, nor had the drama of Montana's comeback. But for historic purposes, no Super Bowl ever held as much significance and shock as the Jets over the Colts. In one of the greatest upsets in sports history, New York and Joe Namath upended the mighty Colts as 18-point underdogs. The image of Namath poolside holding court with reporters, declaring the upstart Jets would win, endures to this day. "We're gonna win, I guarantee it," are words that will forever be attached to Super Bowl lore, and Namath backed up his proclamation with an MVP performance. The numbers don't jump out — just 206 yards passing in a 16-7 win — but the impact lasts forever. It gave legitimacy to the AFL, which would soon merge with the NFL, and propped up the Super Bowl as an American cultural touchstone. 

Damon Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show,” from 6:00AM-10:00AM, ET, across the country on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. “The D.A. Show” is known for its unique perspective on sports, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, colorful listener interaction, and candid interviews with athletes and coaches. Amendolara also appears regularly on NFL Network as part of the “NFL Top 10” documentary film series, CBS television and SNY TV. He is a Syracuse University grad and native of Warwick, N.Y.