Greatest Super Bowls: 5 Of The Best Super Bowl Games & 5 Amazing Halftime Shows

by Stephen R. Tabone
23 Feb 2023

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An image of the NFL logo against the background of American football balls
NFL logo

With over a hundred million viewers annually, Super Bowl is certainly one of the most exciting events in the sports industry. Besides games as such, its halftime shows are often as long-awaited as the Oscars. 

So what is the greatest Super Bowl of all time? Everyone decides that for themselves. We, too, have prepared a selection of our top 5 Super Bowls, plus the best halftime shows. Let’s see how close we are to your idea of the top-ranking Super Bowls!

5 Best Super Bowl Games Ever

An image of NFL players before the game
NFL players

Now, what was the greatest Super Bowl of all time? While everyone has their own opinion, some games are objectively more remarkable than others. Be it an unexpected twist, a spectacular final, or the premier appearance of today’s leaders, some factors set the best games apart from the rest. 

Below is our selection of the five best Super Bowls ranked by ORDB’s NFL experts. Take a look to see if that correlates with your top five or top ten Super Bowls rating!

5️⃣ Superbowl 42

  • Score: Giants 17, Patriots 14
  • Why so special? The Patriots could have completed a perfect season

No big drama was expected when it all started. The Patriots entered the game with the record 18-0 and sound reasons to expect to complete a perfect season. By doing so, they would have earned the status of the first undefeated team in the past 36 years. Everything was going so smoothly that we would bet on the Patriots that season.

Yet, as is often the case with the “too good to be true” scenarios, things went off the rails towards the end. In the fourth quarter, after Eli Manning’s touchdown pass to David Tyree, the Giants take the lead 10-7. In a while, Brady finds Randy Moss in the end zone, and now it’s 14-10 with the Patriots leading. The perfect season is just within two-minute reach, but here is what happens next: Manning takes the snap, breaks off the grasp of the three Patriot players, and heaves the ball to Tyree 40 yards down the field. Then comes the famous “Helmet Catch” and the Giants’ victory. Beautiful final stanza and one of the best Super Bowl games ever.

4️⃣ Superbowl 38

  • Score: Patriots 32, Panthers 29
  • Why so special? The Panthers’ first Super Bowl appearance

That was one of the classic Super Bowls where the leader meets an underdog, and it turns out that the latter is more than meets the eye and may well give the battle to the champions. Yes, experts and fans alike agree the Patriots were clearly stronger. And yes, the final score is another evidence of Brady’s professionalism. But what is truly amazing about this game is that an explicitly weaker team would manage to hang up through the entire challenge. More than that, the final score would remain unclear up until the last minute.

With just a few seconds left, Brady managed to drive his team down the field and set up Adam Vinatieri for a game-winning goal. The thrilling last minutes, plus the decent performance of the Panthers, make it one of the best games in history. The Patriots win the game and their second championship.

3️⃣ Superbowl 36

  • Score: Patriots 20, Rams 17
  • Why so special? The times when the Patriots were the underdog

The best thing about this epic game is that many of those watching it were sure the Patriots had no chance in that contest. Even if the game was not the best of the best, it is certainly one of the most memorable for today’s Patriots fans. Superbowl 36 marked the birth of the Patriots’ star and set the stage for Tom Brady’s legacy. Looking back, it had all that we love about American football: a seemingly predictable struggle crowned by a remarkable final quarter.

Just as in all classic Super Bowls, the whole drama would take place in the fourth quarter. By this time, the underdog has a 17-3 advantage, not without the help of Tom Brady’s touchdown to David Patten. The Rams roar back with two scoring drives which do not save the game, though. A few secs before the time expires, Brady’s final drive leads the Patriots to the game-winning field goal. The Patriots win their first championship, and the star is born.

2️⃣ Superbowl 34

  • Score: Rams 23, Titan 16
  • Why so special? The most exciting Super Bowl game without the Patriots involved

If we assume that the top-ranking Super Bowls are those with an element of thrill, Superbowl 34 is surely one of the leaders. No underdogs, just two top teams and pure, intense competition. The fight was fierce, and the winner was unclear until the very last second. It is only by the third quarter that the Rams manage to score their first touchdown. Until then, we are witnessing a tense struggle between two equals.

The final quarter is an amazing spectacle in and of itself. The Titans battle back and tie up the game. Two minutes left. The Rams begin a drive, score, and take the lead back 23-16. They are now determined to eat up the time. The Titans attempt to drive into the end zone. They need to score a touchdown and make the extra point to tie up the game. With only six seconds left, Kevin Dyson is hit with a pass at the five-yard line. For a moment, the Titans will send the game to overtime for the first time in Superbowl’s history. Alas! Jones interferes, and Dyson lands one yard short. The game’s over; the Rams win, leaving us with one of the most spectacular games ever!

1️⃣ Superbowl 51

  • Score: Patriots 34, Falcons 28
  • Why so special? The first game in the Bowl’s history that went overtime

At least two factors set this game apart and earned it the status of the best Super Bowl game ever. For one thing, it is the first game in history that went overtime. Plus, for quite a while, it appeared this would become the first blowout for the Patriots. Yet, the final quarter and a half is a real feast for the Patriots’ fans. 

During that period, they score as many as 25 unanswered points, systematically moving towards tying up the game. The overtime is better seen than read with Brady’s comeback as he throws over 400 yards. A splendid victory and another amazing game in the NFL collection!

Super Bowl 51
Super Bowl 51: Patriots vs. Falcons

5 Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows In History

An image of FedExField and the spectators welcoming the players

Besides the games, Super Bowl draws millions of viewers to screens with its halftime shows. What started as a basic college band performance would soon turn into a remarkable event comparable to Grammy. From Emynem and Prince to Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones, the sporting event has been graced by the presence of the most outstanding artists. 

Just as in the case with the games, everyone has their vision of the top 5 or top 10 Super Bowls shows. And here are our top 5 Super Bowl halftime shows ranked: check if we’ve included your favs or not!

5️⃣ Katty Perry 2015

Katy Perry’s Super Bowl
Super Bowl 2015: Katy Perry’s halftime show

In our opinion, what makes Katty Perry’s performance one of the best halftime shows? Well, for one thing, it’s the super festive vibe of her “Fireworks” hit, plus the touching cameos from Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott. Besides, we still remember Left Shark with its viral dance. There was something there!

4️⃣ The Weeknd 2021

The Weeknd’s Super Bowl
The Weeknd’s FULL Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show

The neon cityscape looked spectacular, and the dancers’ bandaged faces intrigued us all. And it was one of the most expensive halftime shows, too. But we, of course, include it in our best Super Bowls halftime show rating because of the incredible “Blinding Lights.”

3️⃣ Beyonce 2013

Beyoncé’s Super Bowl
Beyoncé – Super Bowl 2013 Halftime Show

Most people view Beyonce’s Superbowl performance as one of the most thrilling and best halftime shows of all time, and this is not surprising. The effect was mainly achieved by bringing together the top favored sports event and the long-awaited reunion of Destiny’s Child. It was great to hear all three singing the good old “Bootylicious” or “Single Ladies.” If not the best halftime show ever, it’s certainly one of the most nostalgic ones!

2️⃣ Prince 2007

Prince’s Super Bowl
Prince – Super Bowl 2007 Halftime Show

No list of the best Super Bowl halftimes would be complete without him. You will probably not argue that a mashup of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” and Foo Fighters’ “Best of You” with the artist’s songs is an exclusive spectacle in and of itself. Needless to explain, the show looked posh and expensive, too!

1️⃣ Rihanna 2024

This year’s performance has turned out to be one of the best halftime shows because of the warm family vibe it translated. After all, isn’t the magic of the whole thing in its reuniting power? Besides, this was Rihanna’s first appearance in the past six years — we missed her!

Rihanna’s Super Bowl
Rihanna: Super Bowl Halftime Show 2024

Wrapping Up

So here is our selection of the best halftime shows and the Super Bowl games ever. Even if your top 10 Super Bowls look all the opposite, we hope you still enjoined this little nostalgic journey. In the long run, if asked, “what was the best Super Bowl ever?” the answer is probably the one that has left a lasting impression in our minds and souls.

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