28. Super Bowl XXI, 1987: New York Giants 39 —Denver 20
In the first Super Bowl for both legendary Broncos’ QB John Elway and all time great Giants’ head coach Bill Parcells, the latter prevailed with an effort fueled by defense and guile.
Competitiveness: 6 out of 10. For one half this was a closely contested game with the Broncos taking a slim 10-9 lead into the locker room at halftime. After the break, they were two different teams.
Star Power: 8 out of 10. Elway, Big Tuna, Lawrence Taylor, and a young defensive coordinator for the Giants by the name of Belichick.
Controversy/Intrigue: 3 out of 10. Instant replay made its Super Bowl debut, with replay officials ruling a Clarence Kay catch incomplete. This was also the first heavily staged Gatorade dump perpetrated on a winning head coach ever aired nationally.
Aftermath: 9 out of 10. This game catalyzed much of the events of the next decade plus, with Parcells’ Giants winning another title in 1991 followed by his successful stints as Patriots’ and Jets’ head coach. Meanwhile, John Elway and the Broncos would return repeatedly to the big game before finally capturing titles in the final two years of the quarterback’s career.
Aggregate Score: 26 out of 40.
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