NFL.com's Eliot Harrison and Gil Brandt ranked all 48 Super Bowls earlier this week. The criteria? Never explained. The process? A mystery. Let's indulge this purposeless fantasy.
I think you won't find many Rams fans who would argue with their ranking of all three Rams' appearances in the top 10. The order might be a bit debatable though.
The lowest ranked of the Rams' Super Bowls comes in at #10 and its the Super Bowl XXXVI loss after the 2001 season:
10. Super Bowl XXXVI - New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17
"Spygate" has marred what was an exciting contest. New England halted the unstoppable Rams -- a.k.a. "The Greatest Show on Turf" -- in perhaps the greatest team victory in Super Bowl history. St. Louis could not get its offense going for most of the game, but put together two impressive drives in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17. That's when Bill Belichick decided to trust first-year starter Tom Brady with 1:21 left on the clock. The future Hall of Famer moved the team 53 yards in eight plays to set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal.
Considering (a) the Patriots legacy this game established for both Belichick and Brady, (b) the end of the GSOT and (c) the general quality of the game, I was surprised to not see this ranked in the single digits. On the other hand, as you get through the top 10, it's racked with just wonderful, memorable Super Bowls...including the Rams' sole Super Bowl win!
8. Super Bowl XXXIV - St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16
I ran into Eddie George, an old colleague of mine from our time at Fox, at Super Bowl XLVI. A lot of people were asking him for his thoughts on that game, but it was hard to forget his goal-line surge in Super Bowl XXXIV, one of the key plays in the Titans' comeback from a 16-point deficit.
Steve McNair was a beast late in the game, rolling out and just not letting the Rams bring him down. Kordell Stewart used to say McNair was "country strong." No joke. It's sad to think one of the starting quarterbacks in such a great -- and recent -- Super Bowl is gone.
Now I'll be fair. This is just Brandt's exploration of his thoughts on each Super Bowl, and his personal and professional experiences come from a single angle. But to think back on these two and not at least drop a sentence on the Rams' perspective...nah, can't let myself get worked up about it. Purposeless fantasy, remember? (Author's note: Purposeless Fantasy was also the name of an unreleased track from George Michael's solo debut, Faith. Just sayin.)
And perhaps it's recency bias or perhaps it's just that I wasn't alive for the Rams' other Super Bowl, but it's just hard for me to accept that their performance back in 1980 ranked higher on this list.
6. Super Bowl XIV - Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19
Gil Brandt's take: "The Super Bowl after we played (the Steelers) in XIII was one of the better games. They played it in Pasadena, Calif., and the Rams were able to get a halfback option pass from Lawrence McCutcheon for a touchdown on Pittsburgh. We thought we were in good position that year to play them. We had a good team. ... But of course, we were beaten on the Billy Waddy catch in the playoffs versus the Rams. Aaron Kyle, whom I drafted to play corner for us in '76, had him covered, but just didn't have any ball skills. He'd be right there tracking ... tracking ... but then as Waddy was coming down with the football, Kyle was jumping up."
(Gil shook his head after that last utterance, putting his hand over his eyes. Something tells me that one still hurts.)
If there's a forgotten great Super Bowl, this is it.
A forgotten great Super Bowl? Those two adjectives seem mutually exclusive, but you have to give a pass to an old man reminiscing on a life lived and still smarting from the pain known only because of a guy named Billy Waddy. Whatever the circumstances, an old man hurting 35 years later because of "Billy Waddy" gets his way.
Where would you rank the Rams' three Super Bowls? Any other issues with the list?
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