The Giants and Patriots are preparing to face off in a Super Bowl rematch. But where does that first match-up rank among the best Super Bowls ever?
Super Bowl XLIV - Saints 31, Colts 17
For a two-TD margin, this was a nailbiter featuring the year's best passers (Drew Brees, Peyton Manning), best teams (top seeds in each conference reached Super Bowl for first time in 16 years) and three lead changes. The 14-2 Colts raced to a 10-0 lead, but the Saints closed to 10-6 by the half — then pulled off a legendary onside kick to start the second half, leading to a go-ahead TD. Still, the Colts led 17-16 late in the fourth before a missed field goal, then a Saints scoring drive. Manning drove toward a possible tying TD, but was picked with just over three minutes left by Tracy Porter (pictured), who ran 74 yards for the clincher and first Super Bowl win for New Orleans.
Super Bowl XXXVIII - Patriots 32, Panthers 29
The first three quarters of Tom Brady's second Super Bowl appearance with the Patriots was a relative snoozefest, but with America's partygoers nodding off, a crazy, classic Super Bowl ending broke out. New England led 14-10 through three quarters and before the game's 15 minutes of fame. Behind the sudden shootout were Brady (pictured) and Carolina QB Jake Delhomme, as both teams totaled a Super Bowl-record 37 points in the quarter with five TDs. The capper was Adam Vinatieri's second career Super Bowl-winning field goal on the game's final play.
Super Bowl III - Jets 16, Colts 7
The game was not perfect, but deserves inclusion because of the impact on the sport. The AFL's Jets, champs of the NFL's little brother league and double-digit underdogs, charged into the title game with brash QB Joe Namath (No. 12) guaranteeing victory vs. the Baltimore Colts. Football fans looked down on the renegade league before the game, but were stunned as Namath and RB Matt Snell had their way with a legendary Colts' defensive front. Baltimore's QBs collapsed, with Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas combining for four interceptions as Super Bowl history was made.
Super Bowl XIII - Steelers 35, Cowboys 31
Two legendary franchises linked forever through their three Super Bowl meetings hooked up after the 1978 season in a classic QB duel between Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw (four TD passes) and Dallas' Roger Staubach (three TDs). The pair of passers picked apart defenses all day, trading touchdowns in a wildly entertaining game of passing pinball. Eventually, the difference was one end zone drop by Hall of Fame Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith of what would have been a game-tying TD pass by Staubach. The game's only field goal followed, but the Cowboys never made up the difference.
Super Bowl XXIII - 49ers 20, Bengals 16
With this game legends were made and Hall of Fame busts officially ordered for a trio of 49ers, from head coach Bill Walsh (who retired after his third Super Bowl triumph) to WR Jerry Rice (Super Bowl MVP, 215 receiving yards) and, of course, QB Joe Montana (pictured). This game helped relaunch the Niners as the team to beat for the next 2-3 seasons, but the Niners actually trailed late in the fourth quarter, 16-13. Ever the epitome of "Joe Cool," Montana was unstoppable on the final 92-yard drive and hit John Taylor for the championship touchdown with just eight seconds left — the third of Montana's four Super Bowl titles.
Super Bowl XLIII - Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
Nobody expected much from Steelers-Cards, but an array of big plays, crucial calls and instant replay reviews combined for a great game. The Cards appeared ready to be blown out after trailing 10-0 early, but were positioned for at least a halftime tie before James Harrison's Super-Bowl record 100-yard interception return TD at the end of the first half. But the Cardinals fought back, and thanks to Larry Fitzgerald's (pictured) insane fourth quarter (six catches, 115 yards, two TDs) Arizona was about to secure the biggest SB comeback win ever ... until Big Ben and Santonio Holmes struck four times on the ultimate drive, including a dazzling TD in the final minute for the Steelers' win.
Super Bowl XXV - Giants 20, Bills 19
Not many gave the 1990 Giants a chance to stop the high-octane Bills, led by an efficient no-huddle offense and dynamic duo of QB Jim Kelly and RB Thurman Thomas. The Giants' defensive game plan should live in the Smithsonian, administered by Bill Parcells' young defensive coordinator Bill Belichick. The best defense proved to be a station-to-station offense of power runs, short passes and ball control to keep Kelly and Co. on the sidelines. The plan worked to perfection with the Giants holding the ball for over 40 minutes, but they still would not have won if not for a missed field goal by Buffalo's Scott Norwood on the game's final play ... all together now, "Wide right."
Super Bowl XXXIV - Rams 23, Titans 16
Today, the tale of QB Kurt Warner (pictured, hugging then-Rams coach Dick Vermeil) is well-known. But 10 years ago, his out-of-nowhere rise to fame from stockboy to Super Bowl made the media giddy. The high-powered Rams built a 16-0 lead, but the underdog Titans battled to tied the game in the final minutes. The Rams struck one play after the score was tied at 16, as Warner found Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard TD. Game over, right? Wrong, as gritty Titans QB Steve McNair passed and scrambled down the field on one last desperate drive, which finished with Rams LB Mike Jones stopping WR Kevin Dyson one yard from the end zone as the clock hit zero. The Cinderella story for Warner's Rams was complete.
Super Bowl XXXVI - Patriots 20, Rams 17
The "Greatest Show on Turf" had everything, with MVP talent at every skill position — QB Kurt Warner, RB Marshall Faulk, WRs Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and so on. The Patriots had a no-name, clean-cut kid QB named Thomas Brady trying not to screw up an improbable Super Bowl trip made possible by a Drew Bledsoe injury and the "Tuck Rule" playoff win vs. Oakland. But the Rams' offense was knocked out of sorts for the first three quarters. Trailing 17-3, St. Louis charged back to tie the game, then watched helplessly as Brady methodically led New England into field goal range for cold-blooded kicker Adam Vinatieri's trophy-winning 48-yard field goal at the buzzer.
Super Bowl XLII - Giants 17, Patriots 14
The Patriots entered with plenty of fans rooting for either side of history: some hoping New England would complete a historical 19-0 season, and just as many "haters" wanting Bill Belichick — the object of more "Spygate" rumors during Super Bowl weekend — and Tom Brady to go down in flames. Still, nobody truly felt an upset was possible. The world waited for the powerful Pats' offense to break out, but they trailed 10-7 before Brady found Randy Moss for the go-ahead TD late in the game. But history was rewritten in a wild final drive (see: Tyree, David), with Eli Manning finding Plaxico Burress for the winning TD in the final minute. — Adrian Hasenmayer