47) Super Bowl XXXV (2000)
The Ravens were able to enter the discussion for being one of the greatest defenses in NFL history with their win over the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, led by a head coach who earned the job off of crafting one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses with Brian Billick, who previously coordinated the Randy Moss Vikings offense.
This wasn’t a game that could be considered a back-and-forth, but it was certainly more entertaining than a lot of blowouts.
21) Super Bowl XLVII (2012)
Both teams turned in magical runs in the regular season and postseason with gifts for comebacks against the league’s top quarterbacks, like Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. Some of the NFL’s best plays, like Ray Rice’s catch-and-run on 4th-and-29, or the most impressive games, such as Colin Kaepernicks’ traipsing over the Packers, came from these relative underdogs.
This game was big for the legacies of several Baltimore players, including Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. But it also contributed to the legacies of Matt Birk, Anquan Boldin, Joe Flacco, Bernard Pollard, and Haloti Ngata.
The outage itself came after Jacoby Jones scored on the longest play in Super Bowl (or playoff) history, a 108-yard kickoff return to open the half. The blackout certainly sapped the energy in the stadium in both a literal and emotional sense, but in retrospect makes the Super Bowl stand out more. Despite the game not featuring one lead change, the game was tense, controversial, and full of possibility.
10 plays that tell how the Ravens defeated the 49ers — and a 22-minute blackout — in Super Bowl XLVII - Childs Walker
Joe Flacco finds Anquan Boldin in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown, 10:42 first quarter.
After the Ravens sent the 49ers off the field three-and-out to start the game, Flacco completed his first pass for 8 yards to fullback Vonta Leach. Another strike, 20 yards to Torrey Smith, put the Ravens in the red zone, lickety-split. Then, Boldin shoved his way onto the stage.
The Ravens had traded for him three years earlier with visions of just such a moment.
Though Boldin would make more spectacular catches later in the game — check out his leaping 30-yard grab to bail out a scrambling Flacco in the second quarter — his first produced the first score of the evening. Ravens fans still lament the trade that sent him to the 49ers a month after the Super Bowl. The franchise has never seen another wide receiver like him.
Flacco finds Dennis Pitta for 1-yard touchdown, 7:15 second quarter
Flacco did not waste the precious opportunity created by James’ fumble, marching the Ravens 75 yards on 10 plays to put them up 14-3. This turned into the tight end showcase. He hit Pitta for 9 yards on the fourth play of the drive, Ed Dickson for 23 yards to put the Ravens deep in San Francisco territory and Dickson for another 14 (with a face-mask penalty thrown in for good measure) to take them to the cusp of the end zone. After Ray Rice could not punch his way in from 4 yards, Flacco finished it, fittingly, with a quick strike to Pitta between two defenders.
This was the apex of Pitta’s career. He had become one of Flacco’s most trusted targets in his third year, finishing second on the team with seven touchdown catches.
Chiefs vs. Eagles: Super Bowl LVII Preview - Aaron Schatz
A lot of the talk around Phoenix has been about how the Eagles have a better roster than the Chiefs overall. As Eric Eager mentioned on Twitter earlier this week, it’s been a bit overstated. The joke we’ve been using is that the Chiefs have the best three players in the game — Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones — and then the Eagles have players 4 to 30. It’s a fun line and a bit of an exaggeration. The Eagles have the best offensive line in the league but the Chiefs line may be second behind them. The Chiefs wide receivers are not as good as A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, but they’re good. The Chiefs cornerbacks are not as good as Darius Slay and James Bradberry, but they’re good, especially the rookie Trent McDuffie.
Three roster construction tips to take away from the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs - Brad Spielberger
BUILD YOUR DEFENSE TO STOP THE PASS FIRST
The Eagles ranked 27th and the Chiefs ranked 17th in expected points allowed per rush in 2022, the second consecutive Super Bowl where neither team was in the top third of the NFL at stopping the run on a per-play basis. Stopping the run is undoubtedly important, particularly if you’re playing from behind and need to get your offense back on the field quickly. However, why prioritize an aspect of roster construction under the premise of trailing in a game? The Eagles’ defense led the NFL during the regular season with 506 snaps played with a lead of greater than a touchdown, and the Chiefs were second with 431 snaps. This is why Philadelphia led the NFL with 70 regular season sacks and Kansas City ranked second with 55.
Furthermore, you know you’re going to play good passing offenses come playoff time — the Chiefs are first and the Eagles are sixth in expected points added per dropback this season, a year after the Los Angeles Rams (2nd) faced off against the Cincinnati Bengals (10th).
To be clear, the run game matters. This isn’t some sweeping generalization or a call to completely ignore half of all football. However, your first orders of business in 2023 and beyond if you want to be a legitimate contender need to be focused on passing the ball efficiently on offense and stopping the pass on defense.
Chiefs’ and Eagles’ success isn’t complicated. Rivals say it’s just really hard to duplicate - Jeff Howe
“It’s not complicated,” a personnel executive told The Athletic, “but it is f—ing hard.”
They’ve each got their quarterback. Patrick Mahomes has another nine seasons remaining on his 10-year, $450 million extension — a record-setting pact in terms of length and total money but one that won’t obstruct the Chiefs from competing due to escalating salary cap budgets, particularly while Mahomes plays at an MVP level.
Don’t let the nine-figure deal blind you. The Chiefs were still able to pay left tackle Orlando Brown, left guard Joe Thuney, defensive lineman Chris Jones, edge rusher Frank Clark, tight end Travis Kelce and safety Justin Reid, among others.
Meanwhile, the Eagles still have Jalen Hurts on his rookie contract, which granted general manager Howie Roseman the runway to crush an offseason with additions including wide receiver A.J. Brown, edge rusher Haason Reddick, cornerback James Bradberry and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
“They’re two of the rare teams that they’re very inventive with how to structure things, how to pay guys, and they always find a way to pay talent,” an assistant coach observed. “Very, very rarely do they let guys walk away when they’re good players, and they’ll always go out and address needs and get them. A lot of teams get in that habit of, ‘Well, we just can’t afford that right now.’
“(The Chiefs and Eagles) do a really good job of saying they need top-tier players at these key positions, and they go get them and make it work. … Their front offices are very inventive.”