The Super Bowl is officially a half-century old, and throughout the years there have been some memorable moments on this grandest of stages. These are the endings that stand above the rest. So, as we get ready for the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers in the 50th edition of the Super Bowl, we list the best finishes in the big game's history. -- Sid Saraf
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Super Bowl XXXVIII: Tom Brady does it again
The Patriots' star quarterback got his second championship ring with another dramatic finish (more on the first one in a minute). With the score tied late, Brady directed the offense down the field and set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning 41-yard field goal with just four seconds left. The 32-29 win over the Panthers capped a masterful performance from Brady, who threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns. Fun fact: This was the game with Janet Jackson's famed "wardrobe malfunction" at halftime.
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Super Bowl XLVII: 49ers come up short
It was all set up. The 49ers -- seeking their sixth Super Bowl win in franchise history -- were down by five points with a few minutes left in the game. They had a first-and-goal from the Ravens' 7-yard line. They had four tries to reach the end zone and four times they fell short. The game was virtually ended when a Colin Kaepernick pass fell just out of the reach of wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Ravens coach John Harbaugh beat his brother -- and 49ers head coach -- Jim Harbaugh 34-31 and Baltimore legend Ray Lewis was sent into retirement with a ring.
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Super Bowl X: Steelers turn out the lights on Cowboys
Pittsburgh won its second of back-to-back Super Bowls, but not without holding off a furious late rally from Dallas. Trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter, Cowboys QB Roger Staubach reduced the lead to just four with a touchdown pass to Percy Howard. They soon got the ball back and were driving for the winning score, but Staubach was picked off in the end zone by Glenn Edwards as time expired. The Steelers celebrated their 21-17 triumph as they became the first official No. 1 seed -- the playoff seeding system was added before the season -- to reach and win a Super Bowl.
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Super Bowl V: Jim O'Brien legs out the win
This was the first Super Bowl after the AFL-NFL merger and the first played on an artificial surface. In a game better known for its awful play -- both teams combined for 11 turnovers -- it was the Colts who came out on top, despite losing starting QB Johnny Unitas in the second quarter to injury. Baltimore clinched the 16-13 win when a fourth-quarter interception by Mike Curtis set up Jim O'Brien's go-ahead 32-yard field goal with five seconds left in the game.
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Super Bowl XLIV: Porter picks off Manning
This was the first Super Bowl in 16 years to feature two No. 1 seeds, and they both played like it until late in the fourth quarter. With Peyton Manning driving his Colts for a potential go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted a pass and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown. The Saints increased their lead to 14 points with under four minutes left in the game and held on for a 31-17 victory and their first Super Bowl title.
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Super Bowl XXXII: This one's for John
It wasn't that the finish was thrilling per se, although the Broncos did hold on and thwart a late Packers drive to clinch a 31-24 victory. It was seeing the unbridled joy on the face of Hall of Famer John Elway as he finally won the big game in his fourth try. Elway would win another championship the following season, but the impact of this first victory can't be denied.
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Super Bowl XXXVI: A dynasty is born
You never forget your first. The Patriots won their first Super Bowl in franchise history and took down "The Greatest Show on Turf" Rams in the process. Despite being outgained in total yards, the Patriots held tight thanks to a little-known quarterback named Tom Brady. In fact, he led his team down to the Rams' 30-yard line, which set up Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal as time expired to clinch a 20-17 victory. It was the first Super Bowl to be won with a score on the game's final play.
Super Bowl XLIII: Santonio gets both feet down
The Cardinals looked primed for the big upset as they took a three-point lead with less than three minutes remaining on a Larry Fitzgerald touchdown. The Steelers kept their cool and went to work as QB Ben Roethlisberger led a game-winning drive that ended with Santonio Holmes' amazing touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone with 35 seconds remaining. Pittsburgh held on for the 27-23 win and its sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history.
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Super Bowl XXV: Norwood goes wide right
Buffalo's misery began with this game. The Bills' high-flying offense was ground to a halt by a Giants team that controlled the time of possession and punished them with a strong running game. The Bills, down by one point late in the fourth quarter, did have a chance to get the win as QB Jim Kelly led a drive down to the Giants' 29-yard line. However, Scott Norwood's potential game-winning field goal from 47 yards out came within inches of the right goalpost. No good! The Giants ran out the clock to win 20-19 ... and the Bills? Well, they would go on to lose the next three consecutive Super Bowls. Ouch.
Super Bowl XXIII: John Taylor brings it in
The 49ers were down by three points and had the ball on their own 8-yard line with just 3:10 left in the game. That would be a problem for most teams. Not for these 49ers. Quarterback Joe Montana lived up to his "Joe Cool' nickname and calmly piloted a 92-yard scoring drive that ended with his 10-yard strike to John Taylor in the end zone with 34 seconds remaining. The 49ers won 20-16 for their third Super Bowl victory of the Bill Walsh Era.
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Super Bowl XXXIV: One. Yard. Short.
The Titans were driving for a tying score with time running out in the fourth quarter. They had the ball at the 10-yard line when QB Steve McNair found Kevin Dyson open and connected on a pass. As Dyson was reaching for the end zone, he was brought down by linebacker Mike Jones just a yard shy of the goal line as time expired. The Rams won 23-16 and completed Kurt Warner's Cinderella story that took him from unknown stock boy to Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
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Super Bowl XLIX: Second-and-Dumb
Why throw the ball at the 1-yard line? Why? Why? Seattle fans will be asking that question until the end of time as the Seahawks' chance at winning back-to-back Super Bowls went up in smoke when Malcolm Butler picked off this Russell Wilson pass with seconds remaining to secure the 28-24 win and the fourth New England championship of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick Era. What. A. Game.
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Super Bowl XLII: Giants shock the world
The Patriots were one win from the first perfect season in the NFL since 1972 until they ran into Big Blue -- a team they had beaten soundly in the regular season. The Giants defense throttled the Patriots' record-setting offense and when the chips were down in the fourth quarter, QB Eli Manning did the improbable. He led his team on a 12-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress in the corner of the end zone from 13 yards out with 35 seconds left. Somehow, some way the Giants got it done, beating the Patriots 17-14 and crushing the latter's dream of completing a perfect 19-0 season. Unbelievable.