This year marks the 11th time Miami has hosted a Super Bowl, officially making us the city that has hosted the most iterations of the Big Game. And over the years, we’ve been home to some of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history. We’ve had exciting games and boring games. We saw Joe Namath make good on his famous guarantee, and we saw Vince Lombardi ride off into the sunset. The first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl did it here. The coronation of Joe Montana — also here. And we’ve had (at least) one Super Bowl that featured a player who’d gotten himself arrested for attempting to procure oral sex from a prostitute.
Yet we've never had a game that involved the Miami Dolphins.
Nevertheless, please join us as we count down all ten Super Bowls played in Miami so far, from worst to first.
10. Super Bowl XXXIII: Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons
Date: January 31, 1999
Final Score: Broncos over Falcons 34-14
The odds are good that the most boring Super Bowl of all time would have been played in Miami. And, indeed, Super Bowl XXXIII is the Argo of Super Bowls — i.e., a tedious, banal, meandering waste of everyone's time. Even the story lines leading into the game were boring: John Elway playing against his old coach? HOW THRILLING. The Falcons inventing a dance called “The Dirty Bird?” WHAT DRAMA. The result was a snoozefest of the highest order, as the Falcons were completely outmatched and overwhelmed by a Broncos team that had lost only two games all season. Standout moment: In what might be the most Miami of moments in Super Bowl history, Falcons safety Eugene Robinson was arrested on Biscayne Boulevard the night before the game for soliciting a prostitute for a blowjob.
9. Super Bowl V: Baltimore Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys
Date: January 17, 1971
Final Score: Colts over Cowboys 16-13
Dubbed the “Stuper Bowl” by the press at the time (those 1970s press boys were a bunch of real cutups!), Super Bowl V featured a plethora of turnovers, penalties, and dirty hits and lacked anything that could be considered an actual football play. To this day, the Colts hold the record for most turnovers committed in a Super Bowl by the winner (seven). It’s also the first Super Bowl to award the game MVP to a player on the losing team and the first to be played on artificial turf. Super Bowl V was less for people who like watching football and more for people who like watching dudes obliterate one another on a field that’s more akin to an airport tarmac than grass. Standout moment: Jim O’Brien’s game-winning field goal with five seconds remaining, we guess.
8. Super Bowl XXIX: San Francisco 49ers vs. San Diego Chargers
Date: January 29, 1995
Final Score: 49ers over Chargers 49-26
On paper, Super Bowl XXIX seems like another bore (49 points? Good gravy!), but the game did provide some thrilling moments. Most notable: 49ers quarterback Steve Young throwing a Super Bowl-record six touchdowns en route to finally stepping out of the long shadow of San Francisco legend Joe Montana and delivering the 49ers their then-record fifth Super Bowl title. Standout moment: Steve Young jubilantly screaming, “Someone take the monkey off my back, please!” as the game ended.
7. Super Bowl X: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Date: January 18, 1976
Final Score: Steelers over Cowboys 21-17
The last NFL championship contested on the legendary Poly-Turf of a sold-out Orange Bowl, Super Bowl X featured the Steelers at the height of their powers. Terry Bradshaw was in his prime, Lynn Swann was the most dynamic receiver in the NFL, and the famed “Steel Curtain” defense was kicking all kinds of ass week in, week out. Pittsburgh dominated throughout, with its defense picking off Roger Staubach three times and Swann leaving Dallas defensive back Mark Washington a smoldering pile of human ash on his way to a 161-yard, one-touchdown Super Bowl MVP day. Standout moment: Mark Washington getting Randy Moss’ed by Lynn Swann all game long 22 years before getting Randy Moss'ed had become a thing.
6. Super Bowl II: Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders
Date: January 14, 1968
Final Score: Packers over Raiders 33-14
Super Bowl II is notable for being the first Super Bowl played in Miami (the Orange Bowl in its heyday!) and the last hurrah for legendary Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, who retired soon after the game. Dominated by a ferocious defense led by toothless man-monster/Bond villain Ray Nitschke, Green Bay cruised to its third consecutive NFL championship and second straight Super Bowl win. Standout moment: A triumphant Lombardi being carried off the field on the shoulders of his players.
5. Super Bowl III: New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts
Date: January 12, 1969
Final Score: Jets over Colts, 16-7
Super Bowl II was an absolute nonevent (16-7? That’s an Army-Navy game!). But it will forever endure in NFL lore thanks to a brash (and possibly a little tipsy) Joe Namath guaranteeing a win against the juggernaut Colts, who came into the game an 18-point favorite. While throwing down Scotch at the Miami Touchdown Club, Namath famously told reporters that his Jets would kick the mighty Colts right in the pants. Then the Jets went and did just that, delivering the first David-defeats-Goliath moment in Super Bowl history. Standout moment: Namath running into the locker room while wagging his “No. 1” finger in the air.
4. Super Bowl XLI: Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears
Date: February 4, 2007
Final Score: Colts over Bears 29-17
It was the wettest Super Bowl ever, the first Super Bowl in which an opening kickoff was returned for a touchdown, and Peyton Manning’s first Super Bowl win. It was also the first Super Bowl in which two African-American head coaches faced each other (Tony Dungy earned the distinction of being the first black head coach to win a Super Bowl). And the game provided the greatest halftime performance in Super Bowl history, as Prince's genius melted all of America’s faces. (Seriously. YouTube it.) Standout moment: Tony Dungy being carried off the field on his players’ shoulders as the first African-American NFL head coach to win a Super Bowl.
3. Super Bowl XLIV: New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts
Final Score: Saints over Colts 31-17
Date: February 7, 2010
Super Bowl XLIV marks the moment the New Orleans Saints completed the process of helping their hometown to heal from the events of August 5, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina leveled the city. Mirroring the city’s character and resolve, the Saints overcame a 10-6 halftime deficit when head coach Sean Payton made one of the ballsiest calls in Super Bowl history by ordering his team to begin the second half with an onside kick. The Saints recovered the ball and seized the game’s momentum. Quarterback Drew Brees took it from there, throwing a pair of touchdowns and leading New Orleans to an even-more-emotional-than-usual Super Bowl win. Standout moment: Thomas Morstead’s perfectly executed 15-yard onside kick, which bounced off Colts wide receiver Hank Baskett’s face and into Saints linebacker Jonathan Casillas’s waiting arms.
2. Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Date: January 21, 1979
Final Score: Steelers over Cowboys 35-31
In what would be the last Super Bowl played in the Orange Bowl, the Steelers and Cowboys resumed their historic rivalry with one of the most thrilling NFL championship games ever played. A lot was riding on Super Bowl XIII. Both teams were vying to become the first to win three Super Bowls. Both were vying for the title of Team of the 1970s. And both were vying for who’d go on to have the most insufferable fans in football for the next several decades. The slugfest would end with the Steelers hanging on by four points, thanks in large part to an unfathomable blunder by 38-year-old Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith, who dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone late in the third quarter. Standout moment: “DROPPED IN THE END ZONE JACKIE SMITH ALL BY HIMSELF OH BLESS HIS HEART HE’S GOT TO BE THE SICKEST MAN IN AMERICA.”
1. Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Date: January 22, 1989
Final Score: 49ers over Bengals 20-16
It was the first Super Bowl played in Miami outside of the Orange Bowl — one could argue this game inaugurated the modern-era Super Bowl. Big-name celebrities attended, Billy Joel sang the National Anthem, and Coca-Cola sponsored a halftime show that included a Diet Coke commercial shot in 3D. The game itself was a great big bag of awesome. Down 16-13 with 3:10 remaining, Joe Montana led the 49ers on an 11-play, 92-yard drive that culminated with his hitting John Taylor in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 39 seconds left. Standout moment: In one huddle, to calm his teammates’ nerves during the final drive, Montana pointed at someone sitting in the stands and said, “Hey, isn’t that John Candy?” It was!
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