Earlier this week, we reviewed some of the best footwear ads to air during the commercial break. Now we turn our attention to the real focus: the miraculous on-the-field moments that earned a place in our collective minds and hearts.
Here, we offer our favorites in a highly subjective (and probably controversial) ranking, and also reveal the footwear brands that led these athletes to victory — or in some cases defeat.
1. SUPER BOWL XLII
The Teams: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
The Big Play: After shaking off a fierce defensive attack, Giants quarterback Eli Manning fired one down field to wide receiver David Tyree, who miraculously caught the ball on top of his helmet.
On His Feet: Manning was in Reebok and Tyree was wearing Nike
2. SUPER BOWL XLIII
Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Big Play: Steeler James Harrison intercepted a pass from Kurt Warner and returned it for a then-record 100-yard touchdown — a remarkable feat for anyone, but especially for a linebacker.
On His Feet: Harrison was wearing Nike
3. SUPER BOWL XXXIV
Teams: St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans
The Big Play: During the final play of the game, Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson one yard short of the goal line to prevent a potential game-tying touchdown.
On His Feet: Jones was wearing Nike
4. SUPER BOWL XXV
Teams: Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants
The Big Play: In a last-ditch effort, Bills placekicker Scott Norwood attempted a 47-yard field goal that missed the uprights, earning the game its nickname — Wide Right — and securing a win for the Giants.
On His Feet: Norwood was wearing Adidas
5. SUPER BOWL XVIII
Teams: Washington Redskins vs. L.A. Raiders
The Big Play: After a hand-off from quarterback Jim Plunkett, Raiders running back Marcus Allen showed off epic foot work, zigging and zagging across the field before eventually threading his way through a sea of defenders to complete a then-record 74-yard touchdown run.
On His Feet: Allen was in Puma
6. SUPER BOWL XLIX
Teams: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Big Play: With 26 seconds on the clock, rookie Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler shut down the Seahawks’ Super Bowl hopes when he intercepted a touchdown pass intended for Russell Wilson.
On His Feet: Butler was wearing Nike
7. SUPER BOWL III
Teams: New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts
The Big Play: In today’s game, bragging is nothing new, but quarterback Joe Namath shocked football fans when he guaranteed to a heckler in Miami that the Jets would defeat the Colts. Luckily, his team made good on the promise.
On His Feet: Namath was wearing Riddell
8. SUPER BOWL X
Teams: Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Big Play: Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann was named the MVP for his many heroics in the game, but his biggest moment was a 53-yard reception from quarterback Terry Bradshaw that bounced out of the hands of a Cowboy defender.
On His Feet: Swann was wearing Spalding
9. SUPER BOWL XXIII
Teams: Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Big Play: Following a 92-yard drive down the field in less than three minutes, 49ers quarterback Joe Montana found receiver John Taylor in the end zone for a game-winning 10-yard touchdown pass.
On His Feet: Montana was in Mizuno and Taylor was in Puma