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Bleacher Talk: What’s the best Super Bowl you have seen in your lifetime?

Over the course of the past few weeks, sports fans around the world have had to grasp on to memories and historic moments in sports history to fill the void of a currently sports-less world. Social media has been filled with polls, comparisons, countdowns, and “Top 10” lists throughout the world of sports.

Reflecting on some of these moments has led The Express sports staff to reminisce on some of our favorite memories that we will share over the course of the coming weeks in our Bleacher Talk.

To kick it off we decided to highlight our favorite memory of the most recent major event we had, being the Superbowl. The Super Bowl is the mecca of sports championships in America and Supe Bbowl Sunday seems to shut down the country as we all tune in for that next historic and memorable classic.

Shareik Flowers:

The NFL is something I’ll always treasure in my heart.

Growing up my favorite memories we’re being glued to the television watching the NFL with my father and older brothers. I vividly remember my first Super Bowl, a 34-7 beatdown the Baltimore Ravens handed the New York Giants back in 2001. I’ve seen every Super Bowl game since then but one– when a bad case of strep throat sidelined me for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Oakland Raiders matchup back in 2003.

Needless to say I’ve seen a lot of football over my 19-year frame of watching the NFL– and Super Bowl Sunday is as American as apple pie. We all have our favorite games and moments– but one I will cherish eternally is Super Bowl XLII.

“18-0.”

That’s all we heard as the undefeated New England Patriots prepared to complete an undefeated season against the massive underdog New York Giants. No one gave the Giants a chance. Heck- most Giants fans were just hoping the game wouldn’t be a blowout. But what transpired that night was nothing short of magical as the Giants stunned the undefeated Patriots, 17-14.

Looking back at the matchup I don’t know what was more remarkable– the fact the Giants won or that the G-Men held the Patriots offense, which entered the game as the No. 1 scoring offense of all time– to an unthinkable 14 points.

This game was the epitome of why we watch sports, crave competition and love a good underdog story. I don’t know what possessed the Giants to play the way they did–maybe it was to silence the doubters or spoil the Patriots’ anticipated justification as the greatest sports team off all time– immortalized next to the 1927 New York Yankees or even the 1992 US Men’s Olympic Basketball “Dream Team”— but the Giants delivered the one of the best defensive and clutch performance in Super Bowl history.

Eli Manning’s game winning-drive contained the two most critical plays in his Hall of Fame bound career. The first was a third- and-5 escape, throw and helmet-catch to unheralded receiver David Tyree. Watching this play live, and as a Giants fan, I experienced every imaginable emotion.

The first feeling was anger as a trio of defenders swarmed Manning and an inevitable sack would’ve of pushed the Giants back to a 4th-and -10, at least.

The second was both shock and bewilderment. Not only did Manning escape the defenders’ grasps, he threw the ball 32-yards down midfield.

“Who is he throwing to?”, I remember screaming in my head while viewing the game live. It seemed like the ball floated in the air forever.

The last emotion was hyper-jubilance. Unknown Tyree made a leaping grab and pinned the ball against his helmet with Patriots safety Rodney Harrison attempting to wrestle the ball away from him. It was one of the greatest plays of all time–and I still crack a smile whenever it crosses my mind.

Manning finished the drive with a game-winning touchdown to a wide-open Plaxico Burress in the corner of the end zone, 17-14. The defense finished strong on the ensuing possession to secure the historic win over Tom Brady and the Patriots.

The game was 12 years ago but I still remember it like it occurred yesterday. As of today it’s my favorite Super Bowl ever– and it undoubtedly will be for the rest of my life.

Aaron James:

Growing up as a Dallas Cowboys fan in central Pennsylvania is a tough life as I’ve been surrounded by Eagles and Steelers fans since I fell in love with the sport and the star. It’s even tougher when you don’t get to truly remember the great legendary teams of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Larry Allen, Deion Sanders, and so on and so forth. My early football memories of my favorite team are filled with Quincy Carter and Drew Henson at the helm.

The first game that I truly became infatuated with the sport of football was a classic in Superbowl XXXIV between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans. The Rams were making their first playoff appearance in a decade and the first since leaving Los Angeles.

This Rams football team left a lasting legacy on the league while garnering the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Undrafted quarterback Kurt Warner led the Rams to the big game while earning the league MVP along the way. The Rams had future Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace and Isaac Bruce in a stacked, high-powered offensive front. The Titans made a magical playoff run to their first Superbowl appearance as a wild-card team thanks to the domination of the late Steve McNair and Eddie George.

In what everyone anticipated to be an offensive shootout due to the pure talent across the board offensively, Superbowl XXXIV began as a old school, hardcore, gritty-defensive battle, which isn’t appreciated quite like it used to be from an entertainment standpoint.

Personally, I loved the sounds of the pads hitting, the excitement and intensity of linebackers flashing speed to take down running backs used to blazing by anyone within an arm’s length. Heading into halftime the score sat at 9-0 St. Louis.

The true thrill, and heartbreak of this game came in the final seconds with the Rams holding a 23-16 lead over the Titans. The Titans had the ball on the Rams 10-yard line, in striking distance to tie the Superbowl. This final sequence lives forever in NFL history now known as “The Tackle.”

I still remember my blood pressure rising in this moment as did millions of people around the world. With six seconds left and Steve McNair in the shotgun, the ball was snapped. Steve McNair dropped back and unleashed a quick pass to a slanting Kevin Dyson who caught the ball at the 4.5 yard line. Linebacker Mike Jones was drawn off of coverage by a presnap motion of Frank Wycheck.

To this day I still am confused on how Mike Jones was able to close the two-yard distance between himself and Dyson as Dyson tried to lunge for the end zone but Jones delivered what is probably the most textbook leg wrap-up tackle in history, with everything imaginable on the line. Dyson is forever ingrained in history by the still photo of him on his back, arm extended with the football that reaches to the .5 yard line and shy of the end zone as the Rams celebrated the Superbowl title.

This football game had it all, defense, offense, cinderella stories, glory, and heartbreak and will forever be the most incredible game and ending I have witnessed.

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