NFL Nation: Don McNeal
January, 28, 2010
By Tim Graham | ESPN.com
AP PhotoAdam Vinatieri and Scott Norwood played key roles in the best and worst AFC East Super Bowl plays.ESPN's John Clayton put together his list of the 10 most memorable plays in Super Bowl history.
AFC East clubs have been involved in many unforgettable moments, and in attempting to put together a list, the heartbreakers seemed more distinguished than the triumphs. Rather than combine them, I've decided to break down the five best plays and the five worst.
Think I missed one or disagree with the way I ranked them? Add your suggestions in the comments section below.
1. Vinatieri's field goal clinches Patriots' first title: With broadcaster John Madden advising the New England Patriots to kneel out the clock and go to overtime, Tom Brady orchestrates a drive against the St. Louis Rams that lays the foundation for a Hall of Fame career. Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal as time expired to win Super Bowl XXXVI.
2. Beebe strips Lett: Super Bowl XXVII was getting out of hand when the Dallas Cowboys sacked Buffalo Bills quarterback Frank Reich, forcing him to fumble. Leon Lett scooped the ball and rumbled for what should have been a 60-yard touchdown, but he celebrated too soon. Don Beebe racing from behind knocked the ball out of Lett's hand at the goal line to revert possession to the Bills.
Getty ImagesDon Beebe saved a Dallas touchdown and proved that showboating doesn't pay.
3. Law's interception: In the second quarter and with the favored Rams ahead 3-0, Law made a statement when he intercepted a Kurt Warner pass and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown. The Patriots went on to score 17 straight points. The Rams never led again, and the Patriots launched a mini-dynasty.
4. Walker's kickoff return TD: In a game full of big plays, Fulton Walker returned the first kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl history. Walker went 98 yards to give the Miami Dolphins a 17-10 halftime lead, but the Washington Redskins scored 17 points in the second half to win.
5. Maynard's incomplete bomb: Speedy receiver Don Maynard was a significant contributor to the New York Jets' championship team, but he was shut out in Super Bowl III. "I didn't catch a single pass," Maynard recently told the Bergen Record, "but I really had a great game." With no score, Maynard raced behind the Baltimore Colts secondary for what should have been a long touchdown. Joe Namath barely overthrew him, but the play spooked the Colts enough to double- and triple-team Maynard the rest of the game, leaving George Sauer free to catch eight passes for 133 yards.
1. Wide right: So many fates swung on Scott Norwood's right hip socket when he attempted a 47-yard field goal that would've beaten the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV. Norwood's kick sailed wide ride, spoiling what would turn out to be the Bills' best shot to win any of their four straight Super Bowls. The kick also propelled Bill Parcells to legend.
2. Tyree's catch: Giants afterthought David Tyree made the most miraculous catch in Super Bowl history to help ruin the Patriots' pursuit of perfection in 2007. In the final minute and down by four points, Eli Manning made an unbelievable scramble and heaved the ball to Tyree, who outbattled Patriots safety Rodney Harrison and made the reception by pinning it against his helmet.
Alan H. Schwartz/Getty ImagesJohn Riggins broke a tackle from Don McNeal en route to a 43-yard touchdown run.
3. Riggins' run: Redskins locomotive John Riggins made an iconic run in Super Bowl XVII that still symbolizes power football at its finest. On a fourth-and-1 play in the fourth quarter, Riggins ran off left tackle and steamrolled Dolphins cornerback Don McNeal on his way to a 43-yard touchdown to give the Redskins their first lead.
4. Howard's 99-yard return: Desmond Howard sealed a victory for the Green Bay Packers when he returned a kickoff 99 yards in the fourth quarter against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. Howard was awarded the MVP for rolling up 244 return yards.
5. Yepremian's blunder: The Dolphins were trying to achieve perfection in 1972 and seemed to have everything under control against the Redskins in Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins were ahead 14-0 with about two minutes left, when Garo Yepremian lined up for a 51-yard field goal. The kick was blocked and ricocheted to Yepremian, who comically tried to pass. The ball rolled off his hand and was bobbled. Mike Bass snatched it out of the air and ran 49 yards for a touchdown.