With over a half century of championships in the books, America's most watched sporting event never disappoints. If the epic comebacks and last-minute scores don't grab you, the outlandish halftime shows and epic ads usually do. Relive the past 52 years of Super Bowl history with this definitive list of greatest moments. Don't forget the nachos.
The first score in the first-ever Super Bowl came from a player who wasn't even supposed play. Packers wide receiver caught a 37-year pass to open the game with a bang after a lackluster season and breaking curfew the night before to party with two flight attendants he'd met in the hotel bar.
The Hall of Fame coach nabbed the first two Super Bowl victories in the books in an epic fashion before heading to the Washington Redskins. He would later die prematurely of cancer in 1970, prompting the NFL to name the Super Bowl trophy in his honor.
Despite being massive underdogs, quarterback publicly guaranteed a Jets victory before the 1969 showdown. The AFL team went on to secure one of the greatest upsets in sports history, with Namath famously walking off the field with one finger pointing to the sky.
Still the only NFL team to achieve an undefeated season, the Miami Dolphins suffered one close call during the 1972 title game. Instead of falling on the ball after a blocked field goal, kicker Garo Yepremian attempted to throw a forward pass only to lose control. Redskins cornerback Mike Bass would then return it for a touchdown, his team's only score of the game.
's classic commercial from 1979 starring "Mean" Joe Greene showed the Steelers tackle wasn't so tough after all when he gave his jersey to a surprised young fan.
People now use this slogan to question more than just burgers, but Wendy's created a new cultural catchphrase in 1984 with its .
Linemen don't usually score touchdowns, let alone rookies, but newbie William "The Refrigerator" Perry lived up to his first round draft pick when he ran over the Patriots defensive line to put points on the board. The surprise score cost Las Vegas worth of prop bets. Perry's Super Bowl Ring also set another lasting record as the .
Coaches have the New York Giants to thank for the sticky custom of ice-cold, sugary showers. The 1987 Super Bowl team created a new sports tradition when they soaked head coach Bill Parcells with the contents of a cooler after beating the Broncos 39 to 20.
The 49ers quarterback lived up to his unflappable reputation when he orchestrated a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Joe Montana was so relaxed that he famously pointed to the stands and , "Hey, isn't that John Candy?" just before connecting on a string of passes. (To answer his question, yes it was.)
Not only did the iconic signer set the bar for "Star-Spangled Banner" performances everywhere with her gospel-inspired interpretation, but she would also donate the proceeds of the recorded single to Gulf War soldiers and their families.
That same year, the Buffalo Bills lost to the Giants in the closet Super Bowl ever after a botched field goal attempt with eight seconds left. Sportscaster Al Michaels dubbed Scott Norwood's 47-yard try "wide right," and the phrase came to sum up the entire game.
It's hard to live up to Joe Montana and his four Super Bowls, but finally came into his own in 1995 when he led the 49ers to yet another championship. After the quarterback locked up the game with a record-setting six touchdowns, he memorably shouted at the sideline, "Take that monkey off my back, please!"
John Elway helped punch his card to the Hall of the Fame in 1998 by winning his first title against the Packers 31 to 24. After taking the Broncos to the Super Bowl three times and losing each one, he finally hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the first time, only to repeat as champion the following year.
Back when the Rams were in St. Louis, they pulled off their first Super Bowl win in an epic fashion. After a largely defensive first half, the Tennessee Titans managed to drive up to the red zone with six seconds remaining and an opportunity to tie the game, but linebacker Mike Jones tackled wide receiver Kevin Dyson just a few feet from the goal line.
With the dot-com bubble yet to collapse, first Super Bowl of the new millennium also saw 14 different tech start-ups run ads costing upwards of $2 million each. Between ("We just wasted 2 million bucks ... What are you doing with your money?") and the now defunct Pets.com's sock puppet, the glut of web-related ads earned the big game the nickname the
The Irish rock band regularly tops lists of the thanks to their poignant 9/11 tribute just months after the devastating attacks. Bono performed three songs with the names of the victims projected behind the stage, revealing at the end of his performance an American flag printed on the inside of his jacket.
It's hard to imagine a time when the Patriots played as underdogs, but the franchise only secured its first championship in 2002 against the St. Louis Rams, a.k.a. Kurt Warner and "The Greatest Show on Turf." With zero timeouts remaining, Tom Brady led New England down the field to set up a 48-yard field goal attempt. Kicker Adam Vinatieri sent the ball through the uprights as time expired, only to repeat the feat two years later.
Originally scheduled for the 2002 Super Bowl before stepping aside for U2, Janet Jackson had an equally memorable show in 2004 for totally different reasons. After performing a duet with Justin Timberlake, the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" occurred. "Nipplegate" prompted all future live television performances to feature a five-second broadcast delay, but neither artist is banned from the Super Bowl. In fact, Justin Timberlake is back headlining his own halftime show this year.
Less-enthused football fans cheered when Animal Planet introduced the best Super Bowl counter-programming ever created. The inaugural Puppy Bowl in 2005 featured a plethora of adoptable canines, playing, fighting, and just generally being adorable. The cute show has since ballooned into a legitimate TV event attracting millions of viewers, with its own kitten halftime show to boot.
2007 marked another halftime show for the records. Prince stepped out in the middle of a downpour to rock Dolphin Stadium with covers of "We Will Rock You," "Proud Mary," and "All Along the Watchtower" along with several of his signature hits. The 12-minute set fired up the fans and enthused music critics alike.
Named the greatest Super Bowl play of all time by and the , David Tyree's leaping grab defied all odds — and gravity — when he caught an Eli Manning-thrown ball with the help of his helmet. The 32-yard gain helped the Giants score a game-winning touchdown and upset the Patriots 17 to 14.
A year later, the Pittsburgh Steelers won a record sixth Super Bowl thanks to a MVP-worthy performance by wide receiver Santonio Holmes. He most memorably nabbed a game-winning 6-yard touchdown pass on the tips of his toes, just barely staying in bounds with less than a minute left on the clock.
Sorry athletes, but it was Betty White who stole the 2010 broadcast with her cheeky . Then 88, the Golden Girls actress took a tackle like a champ before spouting a memorable comeback ("That's not what your girlfriend said!") and transforming back into a football-playing dude with the help of the hunger-sating snack.
Volkswagen struck advertising gold in 2011 with its own classic commercial that debuted on a week before the big game. The car company hadn't aired a Super Bowl ad in over a decade but the charismatic Darth Vader-costumed kid won hearts everywhere — and probably sold a lot of Passats.
For the first time in Super Bowl history, two brothers coached against each other for championship rings in the 2012 showdown. Jim and John Harbaugh led the 49ers and Ravens respectively to the title game, but it was older brother John that ultimately walked away with a victory.
That year's game also goes by another nickname. The memorable "Blackout Bowl" featured a thanks to a partial power outage in the Superdome. The darkness had viewers joking Beyonce's halftime performance had literally shut it down, and Oreo's marketing execs coming up with a now iconic .
The game appeared all over for New England with 26 seconds left on the clock and Seattle in control of the ball on the 1-yard line, but the defending champs ran a controversial pass play intercepted by rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler. The Patriots then secured the win by smartly drawing an encroachment penalty on the Seahawks, avoiding a game-ending safety and locking up yet another Super Bowl.
More people tuned in to see Lady Gaga's halftime show than the actual game, and they weren't disappointed. The pop superstar opened the routine by singing "God Bless of America" on the roof of NRG Stadium, and then jumped into the arena in a crazy dare-devil stunt. While speculators wondered if she'd include an overt political protest, the ultimate routine drew praise — and .
Following the entertainment, many viewers were attempted to head to bed early thanks to Atlanta's whopping four-score lead, but you can never count out Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Tom Brady led the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, earning a massive 25 unanswered points before sending the game into overtime, another historic first. Sports writers immediately dubbed it the .