With the Sissy Bowl well nigh upon us and Slick Willy Belichick, Sneaky Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman Hemsley, and that deaf, dumb, and blind kid Tommy Brady about to sashay though the tunnel into the limelight and onto the world stage, let’s hearken back to yesteryear to the game NFL Media analyst Elliot Harrison regards as the greatest Super Bowl ever played.
According to Harrison’s piece “Ranking the Super Bowls,” the greatest Super Bowl game of all time was Super Bowl XIII. It featured the greatest collection of NFL talent ever to gather for a game. In addition to Coaches Chuck Noll and Tom Landry, 14 players would end up being voted into the Hall of Fame: nine Pittsburgh Steelers and five Dallas Cowboys.
Super Bowl XIII was the first Super Bowl to feature a rematch of a previous Super Bowl. Two years earlier in Super Bowl X the Steelers had beaten the Cowboys, 21–17, and in Super Bowl XIII both teams were vying to be the first NFL team to win three Super Bowls. Dallas was also the defending Super Bowl XII champion.
Super Bowl XIII was also the first Super Bowl with a true heavyweight title-fight feel, given the Steelers’ and Cowboys’ unquestioned status as the NFL’s two best teams. The quarterback match up of Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach is still the only one in Super Bowl history to feature two quarterbacks with two Super Bowl victories.
Both teams entered the game with the best defenses in the league (the Cowboys only allowed 107.6 rushing yards per game while the Steelers only allowed 107.8), and each side took advantage of the other team’s mistakes throughout the game.
According to Harrison, Super Bowl XIII deserved its number one ranking for memorable moments, which included a strip-sack for a touchdown, a dropped pass from an all-pro veteran tight end who was wide open in the end zone, a controversial pass interference call, and an unintentional squib kick and a subsequent fumbled return, which proved to be the game’s turning point.
NBC broadcast the game with Dick Enberg supplying the pre-game notes, Curt Gowdy doing the play-by-play, and Merlin Olsen and John Brodie adding the color commentary.
To see the complete game without commercials click the video below or follow the link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0e8nDiV6dA.
Harrison’s piece can be viewed at http://www.nfl.com/photoessays/0ap2000000314258.