It’s almost here. The game so big, they need to use Roman numerals to name it.
The history of the Super Bowl is filled with pre-game antics, outlandish quotes, flaky players and impressive individual performances.
But it’s amazing what you can find out when you do a little research.
There are tons of nuggets out there.
So while you’re probably sick and tired (aside: why does “and tired” always follow “sick”?) of pre-game coverage of SB XLVIII by now, I hope you can find it in yourself to indulge in a few more tidbits.
Super Bowl I (Los Angeles, 1967). Coliseum security are called when the Kansas City Chiefs are caught trying to flee the stadium upon the arrival of the Green Bay Packers’ team bus. Authorities manage to corral the Chiefs back onto the field, where they are promptly buggy-whipped, 35-10.
Super Bowl III (Miami, 1969). Everyone knows of Joe Namath’s guarantee that his AFL New York Jets would defeat the mighty Baltimore Colts of the NFL, but how about the drunken guarantee made by Colts LB Mike Curtis, who told the media the day before the game that Namath would be embalmed at the fifty yard line by halftime?
Another fun fact: Jets coach Weeb Ewbank’s first name, spelled backward, is Beew.
Super Bowl IV (New Orleans, 1970). The Minnesota Vikings declare that SB III’s win by the Jets was a fluke and that the NFL is still the dominant league. The Vikes display that dominance by losing, 7 to 23. After the game, Vikings QB Joe Kapp’s ribs fall out. KC d-lineman Buck Buchanan adds BBQ sauce and engages in a post-game victory meal.
Super Bowl V (Miami, 1971). It was the most mistake-filled of all the games. There were six fumbles, six interceptions and 14 penalties—and that was all before kickoff. The fans weren’t much better. There were 12,787 beer spills, 9,452 mustard stains and three turnovers—women who went home with men other than their husbands.
Super Bowl VII (Los Angeles, 1973). The Miami Dolphins’ perfect 17-0 season is threatened when kicker Garo Yepremian’s ill-advised pass attempt after a blocked FG attempt late in the fourth quarter is returned for a touchdown by Washington’s Mike Bass, drawing the Redskins to within 14-7. Order is restored on the next series, when Miami fullback Larry Csonka runs out the clock with a five minute, 23-second rushing attempt for a one-yard gain, while Redskin defenders are unable to wrestle him to the ground.
Super Bowl X (Miami, 1976). Pittsburgh receiver Lynn Swann victimizes Dallas cornerback Mark Washington twice with acrobatic catches and once with an atomic wedgie. Steelers d-lineman Mean Joe Greene gets into the spirit of the upcoming USA Bicentennial by planting Cowboys QB Roger Staubach into the ground after a sack and painting his rear end red, white and blue.
Super Bowl XIII (Miami, 1979). Back in Miami for a rematch with the Steelers, Cowboys LB Tom “Hollywood” Henderson says before the game that Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw couldn’t spell “cat” if you spotted him the “c” and the “a.” Pittsburgh’s center Ray Mansfield responds that Dallas’s intellectual QB Roger Staubach couldn’t spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” even if you spotted him the “supercalifragilisticexp”.
Super Bowl XV (New Orleans, 1981). Raiders owner Al Davis is presented the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Oakland’s victory over Philadelphia by his nemesis, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. After the cameras are turned off, Davis pulls Rozelle’s suit jacket over his head and a hockey game breaks out. Raiders QB Jim Plunkett is ejected from the post-game celebration for being the third man in.
Super Bowl XVI (Pontiac, 1982). It’s the first SB played in a northern climate. Temps the week of the game dip below zero, with wind chills of up to -50 degrees. Paid attendance is 79,877, but actual attendance is estimated at being about 6,000 fewer, with those unable to attend found frozen into human popsicles on the streets of downtown Pontiac.
Super Bowl XVII (Pasadena, 1983). The big play of this game is Washington’s John Riggins breaking off left tackle for a 43-yard TD run to put the Redskins ahead of the Miami Dolphins to stay. Riggins is named MVP and immediately places a call after the game to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, starting a whirlwind courtship that would end dramatically months later.
Super Bowl XX (New Orleans, 1986). The Bears destroy the Patriots, with even DT William “Refrigerator” Perry scoring a touchdown as a fullback instead of Bears Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton, whose anger spills over into the locker room after the game. Feuding head coach Mike Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan placate Payton by hugging each other, showing Payton the true meaning of Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XXII (San Diego, 1988). The Redskins score a Super Bowl-record 35 points in the second quarter against the Broncos and hop on a plane at halftime. The second half is played by members of the 1972 Redskins, giving them the feeling of victory they missed out against Miami. The ’72 Skins outscore the ’87 Broncos, 7-0, after intermission.
Super Bowl XXIV (New Orleans, 1990). The Broncos show up in the SB for the fourth time—well, maybe that’s an overstatement, as they lose to the 49ers, 55-10. San Francisco QB Joe Montana slings touchdown passes all over the place to Jerry Rice, even connecting with no. 80 on a 25-yard strike in the men’s bathroom.
Super Bowl XXVIII (Atlanta, 1994). The Buffalo Bills suffer their fourth straight SB defeat and NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue bans them from future appearances, a ban that despite several legal attempts by the Bills to undo, remains in place to this day.
Super Bowl XXXI (New Orleans, 1997). Green Bay’s Desmond Howard, the game’s MVP, returns a third quarter kickoff 97 yards for a game-clinching touchdown, and returns a post-game salami sandwich 965 yards to a New Orleans deli for extra provolone.
Super Bowl XXXIV (Atlanta, 2000). Tennessee’s Kevin Dyson is stopped one yard shy of the end zone on the game’s final play as the Rams’ victory is secured. The Titans immediately file a court injunction to have the field reduced to 98 yards long but judges don’t work on Sundays, preserving St. Louis’s win. Rams coach Dick Vermeil sheds tears of joy as his players cheer, then roll their eyes behind his back.
Super Bowl XXXVII (San Diego, 2003). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally yank off their cloak of franchise futility by capturing a 48-21 victory over Oakland. Bucs coach Jon Gruden, who coached the Raiders just the year before, is asked to come back to Oakland by Al Davis, but Gruden scowls the Raiders owner into the fetal position.
Super Bowl XLI (Miami, 2007). The Indianapolis Colts, behind QB and MVP Peyton Manning, defeat the Chicago Bears. Television microphones capture Manning’s audibles, as he yells out every state capital and other popular city names at least once during the game, though his attempt at Albuquerque results in a delay of game penalty.
Super Bowl XLII (Glendale, 2008). The New York Giants ruin the New England Patriots’ bid for a perfect 19-0 season when Peyton’s little brother Eli Manning makes a remarkable play late in the game, eluding a sack and throwing for a long gain. Eli’s Giants win the game, but that doesn’t stop Peyton from wrestling Eli to the ground after the game, a move that only ends when Eli yells, “I can’t breathe.”
Super Bowl XLVII (New Orleans, 2013). The game is remembered for a lengthy delay in the third quarter when the lights go out. After the stoppage, the Baltimore Ravens take control, their dominance enhanced when the 49ers complain to the officials repeatedly that their wallets are now missing.
So there you have it—crack research at its best, with an emphasis on “crack.”
What nuggets will SB XLVIII produce?