42. Super Bowl XXXV, 2001: Baltimore 34—New York Giants 7
Behind a historically great defense and a very mediocre offense, the Ravens murdered a Giants team who could muster only 152 total yards and a special teams touchdown. The game featured perhaps the worst ever Super Bowl quarterback match up with Trent Dilfer battling Kerry Collins in a hellish mirror image of classic duels like Bradshaw vs. Staubach and Rodgers vs. Roethlisberger. The Ravens of this era thrived by making games aesthetically atrocious, and by that standard this was a masterpiece.
Competitiveness: 3 out of 10. When the Giants scored on a kickoff return to briefly cut their deficit to 17-7 it felt like a fluke. The Ravens scored on the ensuing kickoff return. Terrible.
Star Power: 6 out of 10. Credit where due – this Ravens defense was unreal. Ray Lewis and Rod Woodson were the first ballot Hall of Famers, but Duane Starks, Sam Adams, Michael McCrary, Tony Siragusa, Jamie Sharper and Peter Boulware were all outstanding pros. Throw in Shannon Sharpe, Michael Strahan, Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis and Tiki Barber and the talent in the game was impressive.
Controversy/Intrigue: 6 out of 10. The game’s MVP Ray Lewis was only a year removed from pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in the fatal stabbing of two men in Atlanta. Whatever his role in those events, this was not an ideal scenario for the league.
Aftermath: 4 out of 10. Neither the Giants coach Jim Fassell or the Ravens coach Brian Billick ever won big again, although Giants offensive coordinator Sean Payton and Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis have become fixtures as head coaches.
Aggregate Score: 19 out of 40.
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