Super Bowl Bests

All the Bests of the Big Game, from Movie Trailers to Half-Time Shows

Two miniature football helmets depicting the San Francisco Forty-Niners and the Kansas City Chiefs
(LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock)

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The Big Game will be played today for the 54th time. Just in time for the impending clash between the Chiefs and the 49ers, here’s a look at some Super Bowl superlatives, from the best movie trailer debut to the best half-time show and more.

Best Movie Trailer: The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers Super Bowl trailer (Uploaded to YouTube by Marvel Entertainment)

It’s easy to forget now in the age of Marvel movie domination, but the first Avengers film was considered a risky premise built on a gamble. In the early 2000s, the non-X-Men and Spidey characters were considered the B List. But that all changed with the 2008 breakthrough of Iron Man, the first part of Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige’s master plan. The next four movies (Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger) built toward the formation of the team. A teaser at the end of Captain America (“Some Assembly Required”) and another teaser (set to “We’re in This Together” by Nine Inch Nails) set the stage, but the Big Game Trailer included the first version of the now-iconic “circle shot” of the team together for the first time. The Avengers had assembled, and an unprecedented string of successes would follow.

Best Commercial:  Apple, “1984” (1984)

How Apple’s “1984” Commercial Changed the Super Bowl Forever | NFL Films Presents (Uploaded to YouTube by NFL Films)

There will always be endless debate about the best ad. There have been long-lasting favorites from the likes of Volkswagen (“Vader Kid”), McDonald’s (Jordan vs. Bird, “nothing but net”), Pepsi (1992 Cindy Crawford), and countless memorable beer spots. But potentially the craziest one is the Apple ad that ran only once. Evoking the films of Fritz Lang and the writings of George Orwell, the spot suggests liberation from a gray-hued dystopian by … the Macintosh computer? Though the spot aired just one time, it consumed conversation with opinion pieces, TV news airtime, and talk show discussions. Publications like Business Insider consider this the moment that Super Bowl ads became the biggest commercial availability of the year.

Best Half-Time Show: Prince (2007)

Prince Performs “Purple Rain” During Downpour | Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show |NFL (Uploaded to YouTube by the NFL)

You know a half-time show transcends mere mid-game entertainment when the NFL makes a mini-documentary about it. In the midst of pouring rain, the crowd heard an opening take on Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Then the stage lit up: it was The Symbol. Prince appeared, said, “Dearly beloved … ” and the crowd went bonkers. What followed was a super-charged performance that included a mosaic of tunes like “Let’s Go Crazy,” “1999,” “Baby I’m a Star,” CCR/Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary,” Dylan/Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” Foo Fighters’ “Best of You,” and, of course, “Purple Rain.” It was showmanship of the highest level, made more incredible by the artist’s ability to transcend, and in a way, even take control of the weather to enhance the performance.

Best Play (tie): The Riggins Run and the Tyree “Helmet Catch”

Ask 50 people what the Best Super Bowl Play Ever was, and you’ll probably get more than 50 answers. However, if you ask people to list some of the best plays, a few elite moments will rise to the top every time. For that reason, the Post offers two selections, appropriately split between a run play and a pass play.

In Super Bowl XVII in 1982, the Redskins squared off against the Dolphins. Trailing on a 4th and 1, the Redskins handed the ball to John Riggins. Riggins broke through to pick up the 1st down … and just kept going. He ran for an additional 41 yards, right into the end zone. The play turned the tide of the game, and Riggins was named Super Bowl MVP.

In 2008’s Super Bowl XLII, the Giants were running out of time against the Patriots. In the final two minutes, scrambling Giants QB Eli Manning threw to wide receiver David Tyree, who was facing his own heavy pressure. Remarkably, Tyree secured the ball in mid-air by holding it against his helmet. The play gained the Giants 32 yards and a 1st down. The Giants went on to win, 17-14.

Best Game: Super Bowl LI (2017)

Super Bowl LI highlights. (Uploaded to YouTube by the NFL)

Let’s face it. Some Super Bowls have been thrilling, and others have been one-sided affairs that were decided in the early going. This was a spirited nail-biter that went into the first OT in Super Bowl history. You had the New England Patriots with Brady and Belichick and the Atlanta Falcons had MVP QB Matt Ryan. It certainly looked like it could be a blowout, as the Falcons led 28-3 in the third. But the Patriots came roaring back, dropping 25 on the Falcons to take it into OT. The Patriots won the coin toss and converted that stroke of luck into a TD, wrapping up their fifth championship.

Featured image: LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock

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