It’s confirmed, the New England Patriots are playing the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. It will be held at U.S Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on the 4th of February. It is also a Super Bowl rematch, the 7th time this has happened. I think the most crucial aspect of this, is the time between the rematch. But it will be 13 seasons since Tom Brady faced Donovan McNab and Bill Belichick was against Andy Reid. To that end let’s look at the previous matchups and how they have played out.
Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Dallas Cowboys.
This is a rematch of Super Bowl X, where the Steelers beat the Cowboys 21-17 at the Orange Bowl. This Super Bowl considered by many to be the greatest Super Bowls ever played. One reason why was the sheer calibre of the two teams. The Dallas Cowboys are returning Super Bowl Champions having defeated the Denver Broncos 27-10 the year before. The Steelers, the team of the decade had not been back to the Super Bowl since defeating the Cowboys three seasons earlier. Combined with both teams starting lineups, there were 13 future Hall of Fame players in this Super Bowl. It was a hugely exciting game, with it coming down to the last few minutes. Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw was named the game’s MVP with 317 yards and 4 touchdowns. But what will be remembered most from this game is Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith’s drop in the back of the end zone. He was wide open with the game at 21-14, but couldn’t hang onto the ball. The Steelers went on to win the game 35-31, giving them their third Super Bowl title of the 1970’s. The Cowboys wouldn’t reach another Super Bowl until 1993. Smith had played for 15 years with the Cardinals before going to the Cowboys and ended up in the Hall of Fame, but ask any football fan what they first think about when you ask them about him and it’s that drop. It was forever immortalised with this call.
“Bless his heart he’s got to be the sickest man in America.” – Verne Lundquist
Super Bowl XVII: Washington Redskins vs Miami Dolphins
The first time these two teams met in a Super Bowl was back in 1972, when Miami went to the L.A Memorial Coliseum and won 14-7 to preserve their perfect season, making them the first and so far only team to go undefeated in a season. However, this rematch was 10 years on, there were few players still on each side from that previous Super Bowl. But Don Shula was still the Head Coach for the Dolphins, unfortunately for him, that experience didn’t pay off in a victory. As the Redskins anchored by their offensive line famously called “The Hogs” and running back John Riggins nicknamed “The Diesel” went on to win the game 27-17. Riggins put in a performance for the ages and was named the game’s MVP. He rushed for a then-Super Bowl record 166 yards and a touchdown on 38 carries. His heroic performance can be summed up in one stat. With a 15 yard reception to go with his 166 yards rushing, Riggins had more total yards than the entire Miami Dolphins team. It was Washington’s first Super Bowl title having been denied by Miami in 1972. Since that game, the Redskins have won two more Super Bowls. Whilst Miami has only made one more.
Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 49ers vs Cincinnati Bengals
This was a rematch of a Super Bowl 8 seasons earlier, where Joe Montanna won his first of four Super Bowl titles defeating the Bengals 26-21 most famously known for the 49ers’ impressive goal-line stand against the Bengals ensuring them victory. Now 8 seasons this was a far more exciting match. It is obviously remembered for Joe Montana’s game-winning drive with 3:10 from their own 8-yard line down 16-13. Montana was famously so confident that when he went into the huddle he pointed out that former actor John Candy was in the crowd. From there he led his team, on the winning touchdown drive hitting John Taylor for the winning score with just 34 seconds left. In what some call his finest performance ever, Jerry Rice caught a then Super Bowl record 11 passes for a Super Bowl record 215 yards and a touchdown. This herculean performance rightly gave Rice Super Bowl MVP honours. From then on the 49ers would go back to back torching the Broncos the year after 55-10, win another in 1994 under Steve Young and reach Super Bowl XLVII under Jim Harbaugh. But for the Bengals, they haven’t reached another Super Bowl since…
Super Bowl XXVIII: Dallas Cowboys vs Buffalo Bills
This is perhaps the most intriguing Super Bowl rematch ever as it came in back to back seasons. The Cowboys and Bills both in the stretches of being the most dominant teams in the NFL had played in the Super Bowl a year earlier with the Cowboys winning by an astonishing 52-17 score. This was the Bills’ fourth Super Bowl in a row, they had lost all of the last three, so I think when people realised they’d be getting a rematch of the blowout before. They set their sights on doing something else on Super Bowl Sunday thinking it would be a foregone conclusion that the Cowboys would beat the Bills. I’m not just saying this, almost 27,000 fewer people turned up to this Super Bowl. They were right, the Cowboys won convincingly over the Bills 30-13, with Emmitt Smith being named Super Bowl MVP. He rushed for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns on route to victory. Since this Super Bowl, the Cowboys have appeared in 1 Super Bowl and won it. The Bills haven’t been back to the Super Bowl. In fact, their loss in the wildcard round to the Jaguars this year marked their first time in the playoffs in 18 years; this ended the longest active playoff drought in North American Sports…
Super Bowl XLVI: New York Giants vs New England Patriots
This was a much hyped up rematch between these two as just 4 years before the Giants had famously with Eli Manning’s MVP performance, David Tyree’s helmet catch and Plaxico Buress scoring the game-winning touchdown defeated the New England Patriots, ending their quest for perfection at 18-1. So now in a rematch, with the same teams, coaches and quarterbacks both tried to obtain Super Bowl glory. In this game at Lucas Oil Stadium, the most memorable moment came with just 3:46 left in the game at their own 11-yard line, Eli Manning made one of the best throws in Super Bowl history to Mario Manningham who caught the ball in bounds to keep their drive alive. The Giants would go on to score a bizarre touchdown when Amed Bradshaw fell into the end zone not knowing whether or not to sit at the 1-yard line and waste time. But he scored the game-winning touchdown as the Patriots attempts at a comeback fell short on a Hail Mary throw into the end zone as time expired. Manning was again voted Super Bowl MVP as the Giants won their 2nd title in 4 years another improbable victory having been losing since halftime.
So in conclusion, it seems that the advantage goes to the team that had previously won the Super Bowl before leading this 4-1. This is not a good omen for Philadelphia fans who have never seen their team win a Super Bowl, and the last time they reached the big game was in 2004. It was then they lost to none other than the Patriots 24-21, so it’s looking good for Brady & Co, for Super Bowl LII.