Sunday, February 7

Super Bowl Countdown #1: Super Bowl XXXII

During the two weeks preceding the Super Bowl, I will be counting down the best Super Bowls I have witnessed in my lifetime, starting in 1988. I created a ranking system and will go game by game reliving each edition until the top Super Bowl is listed.

Just hours before the big game, the 44th Super Bowl, we come to number 1 in my countdown of Super Bowls I have seen in my lifetime. It has been a great trip down memory lane to review all these Super Bowls. I have spent even more time reading and reminiscing and watching video than I have typing out the memories on here. If you follow sports with the zealous nature that I do, every sports memory is associated with a point in your life. It is great to take perspective on it. The best Super Bowl I have seen with all factors concerned was Super Bowl 32 in San Diego. John Elway, Brett Favre and two great teams battled to the end to decide tie championship.

Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24

Semi-Lame Nickname: "This one's for John"

Historical Significance- 5: This was the last Super Bowl for Brett Favre, who now holds almost all of the NFL passing records. The Packers had won the Super Bowl the year before and were aiming to place themselves among NFL all-time teams. John Elway was playing in his 4th Super Bowl, and had not only lost the previous 3, his team was blown out. Whoever won this game would forever impact the way the NFL viewed them and the legacies of multiple players and coaches involved.

Game Enjoyment By the Fans- 5: The scoring and play was consistent throughout the game. The intensity never waned. The game came to a crescendo in the final quarter and relied on players making plays to win the game.

High Profile Element-5: Elway had the pieces him around him to finally get over the hump. A big part of that was coach Mike Shanahan implementing a rushing attack featuring Terrell Davis. With Davis not only gaining yards, but putting up big numbers, Elway had less pressure on him to get the ball to his star receivers Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey and tight end Shannon Sharpe. Denver's zone blocking scheme was also a reason for the ground success, although the cleanliness of some of their blocks can be a topic of debate. Gary Zimmerman and Tom Nalen led the line that was famous for its silence with the media. The Broncos also made key additions on defense, mainly Neil Smith at DT. Bill Romanowski and John Mobely were key at linebacker. Steve Atwater, had been with the Broncos for a long time, including their last Super Bowl lost, was a viscous hitter in the backfield.

The Packers were led by Mike Holmgren, who had brought the West Coast offense to Green Bay, and Brett Favre. Favre won the MVP for the third time, a record only eclipsed by Manning this year. Dorsey Levens and William Henderson also produced over 1,500 yards on the ground and also had 94 receptions. Antonio Freeman and Robert Brooks were Favre's main targets and party man Mark Chmura was also heavily involved at tight end. Reggie White and Santana Dotson again anchored the line. The defensive backfield was great for the Packers: Eugene Robinson(no word on pre-game activities), LeRoy Butler, and a rookie named Darren Sharper.

Venue/Atmosphere- 4.5: Once again San Diego provided the backdrop for the game. There is a reason the game keeps going back there. Jewel sang the national anthem. I will not say anything disparaging about Jewel, it's just not going to happen. The halftime show featured Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and The Four Tops.

Personal Enjoyment- 5: I, like many, was pulling for Elway to get over the hump. It was hard not to root for a person to succeed after he had fallen short on the biggest stage multiple times.

Cleet's Rating Index: 24.5

Where I Was: I was too young to be at any big Super Bowl parties, I was only 17. But I sat and watched the game intently and sometimes that is better. Super Bowl parties are great, but there are so many distractions and people who want to throw opinions out there it can get chaotic. To me this game is more about the game than the circus that surrounds it, but obviously a lot of people look at it differently. That said, I am going to a party for the game tonight.

What Happened in the World: Three days after the game Ford bought out Volvo for $6.45 billion. Had no idea this happened, Ford finally had a good quarter recently, no if they can get the Lions to win it would be amazing.

Record of Note: Denver scored 4, one-yard touchdowns in the game.

Game MVP: Terrell Davis ran for 157 and scored 3 TDs. He was able to overcome migraine headaches to have one of the best performances ever by a running back in a Super Bowl.

LVP: Oddsmakers. They placed the Packers at 11.5 point favorites.

Most Memorable Play: The John Elway scramble for 8 yards on a 3rd and 5 in the 4th quarter was the defining play of the decade.

NFL Fallout: The Packers had Favre at the helm for ten more seasons but never were able to make the Super Bowl again during his time there. The Rodgers era has begun and it has been one of promise so far. The Broncos won again the next year and completed the healing for all the Broncos teams and fans that had suffered through 4 defeats.

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