12. Super Bowl XXXII, 1998: Denver 31—Green Bay 24
A fading legend took on a burgeoning one as John Elway’s Broncos came in as heavy underdogs against brash Brett Favre and the defending champion Packers.
Competitiveness: 9 out of 10. Little was expected from the Broncos, who had failed spectacularly in four previous tries at the Super Bowl and who came in as eleven point underdogs. They fell behind early but forged ahead 17-14 at half behind Terrell Davis and a stellar running attack. The teams traded scores and were tied 24-24 when Elway took his team on a career-defining touchdown drive to win the game with less than two minutes left.
Star Power: 9 out of 10. Favre and Elway of course, but also Reggie White, Terrell Davis and Shannon Sharpe.
Intrigue/Controversy: 8 out of 10. This was all about Elway’s legacy. A legendary player who had been overwhelmed in previous Super Bowls, the upset allowed him to avoid the fate of his contemporary Dan Marino and finally climb the top of the mountain.
Aftermath: 8 out of 10. Amazingly, this was the first Super Bowl win for the AFC in twelve years. Elway and the Broncos would repeat the feat the following season, capturing a second title before Elway’s retirement. Favre would come close many times but never made it back to a Super Bowl.
Aggregate Score: 34 out of 40.
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