I’m shocked that I’m still hearing people discuss the Super Bowl as the best ever. I’m sorry, but there’s simply no way that you can say that – under nearly any measure.
A struggle of the best teams? Hardly. The Cardinals are one of the worst teams to ever make it to the big dance, if not the record-holder. In fact, the Cardinals wouldn’t have even made the playoffs if they hadn’t played in the worst division in football (not surprisingly, every other team in the NFC West has parted ways with last year’s coach). The Steelers were certainly a good team this year, but also weren’t as good as they’ve been in recent years either.
A showdown of Hall-of-Famers? Nope. While Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger may eventually end up there, they aren’t HOF material just yet (yes, some believe Warner belongs there, but he’s only been successful in special offensive systems and has had some pretty bad years, too – any one remember his Giants days). Nope, this game couldn’t hold a candle to the Montana vs Elway, Bradshaw vs Staubach, Montana vs Marino, Aikman vs Kelly, Elway vs Favre, the list goes on and on.
A showdown of head coaches? Again, no. Tomlin and Whisenhunt are great young coaches, but they’ve hardly established themselves among the league’s best. I suspect that they will, but that’s not yet the case.
The biggest upset? Well, certainly not – the better team, the Steelers, won the game…even if they had to do it in the last minute. Besides, last year’s Giants, the 2001 Patriots or those pesky Jets of Super Bowl III might take issue.
The best finish? Nope, not that either. There have been a bunch of very compelling finishes in Super Bowl history – whether that’s the 49ers winning drive over the Bengals, three last-minute winning field goals by the Patriots, the missed field goal that let the Giants sneak away with a win against the Bills, or the last second game-saving tackle by the Rams over the Titans. It was a great finish, sure, but it clearly isn’t unprecedented or unusual. And frankly, with today’s league parity, most of the recent Super Bowls have come down to the last drive.
Look at just about any measure – aside from viewership, which is mostly driven by factors unrelated to which teams are playing – and it’s pretty darn hard to make a case that this was the best Super Bowl ever. Let’s stop saying it was.