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Brad Johnson, Super Bowl XXXVII


After the game, we were there doing so many interviews I walked out and the buses were leaving. I saw the back of the red lights on the bus take off. I looked around. There was just my wife, Nikki, who was 7½ months pregnant, and my marketing guy Brian Lammi. We said, "What are we going to do?" So we just hitchhiked a ride back to the hotel. On the way, we stopped at a convenience store, had a few drinks in the backseat of the car then kept going back to the hotel. It was crazy. They [the driver] were happy to do it. We headed to the 7-Eleven and were good to go. There's one other thing. I kind of amuse myself sometimes. I wore three jerseys for every game. I had a warm-up jersey, a halftime jersey and a second-half jersey. I always changed because I sweat a lot. I changed shoulder pads, cleats, socks, everything. I did that every game. After the game, I gave one jersey to [coach Jon] Gruden and I kept two jerseys for me. That night after we had the team party, I slept in my jersey, the first-half jersey. I did. I wanted to wake up smelling like a champion. Oh boy. That's sick. So that's the jersey I ended up wearing to Disney. I left the grass stains in it and everything. I still have them, never washed them, nothing. Just let them be authentic. Got one in a frame, got one kind of hidden away. I don't tell too many people that. But it's been 10 years, so I guess I can tell it.
-- As told to Ashley Fox of
Johnson threw two TD passes as the Bucs built a 34-3 lead.
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Mark Rypien, Super Bowl XXVI


Our hotel was 60 miles from the Metrodome, out in the middle of nowhere. I can't remember where it was. The night before the game, I couldn't sleep. All I was thinking was, "This is the biggest game of my life." I set my alarm. What if it doesn't go off? What if there's a power outage? What if they play without me? Crazy thoughts. Every hour from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., I thought, "What the hell? I should get up and wander around." There was a brunch for players and their family that started at 6 a.m. Around 5 a.m., I figured I'd go down, grab a coffee. So I wander down, and what do I see? About seven or eight players, plus some coaches, all having the same experience. So we huddled up, laughed about it, talked about the game a bit, had some coffee. Hey, this is the big game! I stayed awake all morning. Hours later, a few of us that were restless -- I specifically remember Eric Williams and Chip Lohmiller -- decided to take a cab to the stadium instead of taking the bus. We got to the Metrodome seven hours before kickoff, and I lay down in the training room, and I took a three-hour power nap. I got the best sleep. I was relaxed. I knew I wasn't going to miss the game now.
-- As told to Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine
Rypien threw for 292 yards and two TDs and was named MVP.
Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images
Troy Aikman, Super Bowl XXXIV


People forget that the week of the game, we had a huge ice storm in Atlanta. Airports were shut down. Streets were closed. Most players' families didn't get into town when they were supposed to. I told everybody to arrive early and we could hang out, but that later in the week, I would need to do my own thing and go win a Super Bowl. So the storm was disruptive. But I never would have expected that one of my own teammates would be more disruptive. My backup, Paul Justin, was also my roommate that week. The night the storm hit, he said he was going out to spend a little time with his girlfriend and would be back late. But he never came back. Two nights before the Super Bowl, and my roommate -- and backup -- misses curfew. I freaked out. I kept calling him, calling my coaches, calling my teammates, even calling the team offices in St. Louis. I was up all night, like a worried father, thinking, "He hasn't called. No one's heard from him. What's going on?" The next morning, it's early, and I've barely slept before the biggest game of my life. I go down to breakfast and Paul comes strolling in, ready for breakfast. He had a big smile on his face and he said he hung out with his girlfriend. "I didn't think it was a big deal," he said. I exploded. "Really? You couldn't even call?" I told him he had to make curfew the rest of the time, and I was adamant about it. "From now on, you just stay here. Don't mess with me anymore." We watched every single movie on the hotel system, and he just stayed at my side. The hidden benefit to the whole incident was that I slept great the night before the game and felt so rested on Super Bowl Sunday. So maybe I should thank Paul for that.
-- As told to Morty Ain of ESPN The Magazine
Warner, now an NFL Network analyst, threw for 414 yards.
John Elway, Super Bowls XXXII & XXXIII


For some reason, the older I got, the more difficulty I had with a wet ball. I was one that put a lot of pressure and held the ball tightly, so it acted like a grape and squirted out of my hands when it was wet. Therefore, one of my biggest nightmares would have been playing a Super Bowl in the rain. When we went to Miami, I spent 25 percent of my time watching The Weather Channel to see the weather report. The whole week, starting on Thursday, there was a 50-50 chance of it raining on Super Bowl Sunday. Normally when I watched TV, I didn't watch The Weather Channel, but that was 25 percent of my viewing because of my fear. I kind of kept that to myself because there was enough going on, and I didn't want to put that pressure on anybody else. I kept hoping the weather report would change, but it stayed 50-50. I also was concerned because that was the first Super Bowl I'd gone into where we were heavy favorites. ... We thought we were a much better football team, but I didn't want to play in the rain. Before the game, I kept looking above. There were no clouds and it stayed pretty clear for warm-ups. Once we kicked the game off, I thought we might make it through. Fortunately, it didn't rain. We had a great game and won the game big. I remember about 30 to 45 minutes after the game, the sky opened up. It rained cats and dogs. Even though I had not announced my retirement, that was another decisive thing to make me retire. I thought, "God had held this off long enough, and he's telling me I should retire."
-- As told to Ashley Fox of
Elway retired after winning MVP honors in this game.
Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Ken Stabler


Freddy Biletnikoff was one of those guys everybody loved to death. He played with such heart and toughness, but on the field, he never said a word. In the 10 years I played with him, I think I heard him say three words. In this game, I remember one series, we had the ball down in the red zone and Freddy sticks his head in the huddle, looks at me and says, "I can get a post." Now, Freddy hadn't said a word in the huddle all year, and if he says he can get a post, then he can get a post. We had a great belief in each other. So I picked out the formation I wanted to use -- the 99 post -- put him on the strong side, and bang. Freddy beats the cornerback, I throw the ball and he catches it down inside the 5, to the 1. On the next play, Pete Banaszak scores. Freddy never asked for anything, so when he did, I knew to give him what he wanted. After the game, in the locker room, one image that stuck with me for a long time was of Freddy. He was the MVP of that game, and when I walked in, I looked over at his locker and Freddy was sitting there with his son, Freddy Jr., sitting between his legs. To see Freddy holding his son, with big crocodile tears coming down both of their faces, I realized how much that win meant to the families and fans, the coaches and ownership. That was the first one for the Raiders and we were expected to win. The Steel Curtain had won four at our expense, so when you finally win one and see how much it means, that scene will always stick with me.
-- As told to Alyssa Roenigk of ESPN The Magazine
Stabler went 12-for-19 for 180 yards and a touchdown.
Joe Montana


SUPER BOWL XXIII • JAN. 22, 1989 • 49ERS 20, BENGALS 16
I always paid attention to what I ate before games. Your stomach has to be not empty but not full. I'd have a little piece of steak before games, maybe some coffee, a Snickers bar at halftime, then I'd have one of the guys on the team put a cheeseburger in my locker for after the game. Against Cincinnati, I got to the stadium so early that I was hungry, so I ate my Snickers bar before the game started. And in the fourth quarter, on the drive to beat them late in the game, I almost passed out. You couldn't even talk in the huddle. It was so loud. I was hyperventilating, yelling at the top of my lungs, and I was running out of juice. Halfway through the drive, I thought I was going to black out. I was seeing black and white fuzziness. I put my hands under center, and it felt like I was there for seconds. But I wasn't. Jerry [Rice] was running to a corner to the left, and I threw the ball 10 yards out of bounds because I thought I was going to pass out. I was using every bit of oxygen I had. Then, by the next play, it went away. I didn't say anything. I didn't even think about it again. And it came down to a touchdown pass to win the game. I did that 1,000 times in the backyard, throwing to my friends. To have that come into play and be a reality, that dream come true, that drive, I was extremely excited. There's nothing like that feeling, coming from behind, to throw a touchdown pass and have it be in the Super Bowl. And when I got back to the locker room, a cheeseburger was in my locker. Usually I have to fight some of the linemen for it, but this time I didn't.
-- As told to Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine
Montana's 357 passing yards set a Super Bowl record.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Trent Dilfer, Super Bowl XXXV


I'm going back to Tampa to play in the Super Bowl, a year after they ran me out of town. There's obviously the potential for a lot of distractions. I knew my body was broken down. I knew we hadn't played that well offensively the last few weeks of the regular season and the playoffs. But I knew if my mind was right, and made good decisions, played situational football, then that defense -- might be the greatest defense that ever played football -- would bring it home. So what I did during the week was I unplugged the TV, I never read a newspaper. I just kind of created this isolation mentality where I was going to do a lot of visualization. I went over the plays, situations, hundreds and hundreds of times knowing that the best thing I could do for the Baltimore Ravens was play an A-plus game from the neck up. I was so conscious of controlling my emotions, being in an environment that was potentially overwhelming, that I didn't have enough emotion going into the game. The first couple series, I wasn't my normal self, I was too melancholy. And I remember we're coming out of a TV timeout and it's the third series of the game and I'm kind of stepping away from the huddle, and here comes Sam Gash. Great fullback, great player, great teammate, and he's got this look in his eyes like he's angry at me. And Sam and I are really close, one of my closest friends on the team. And he lifts me up under my shoulder pads and starts shaking me and says, "We need your juice. We need your energy. Come on, what's going on?" And it was at that moment I realized that I had been so conscious of controlling my emotions that I wasn't allowing my emotions to help me or my team. And thank God for Sam, that he got me out of it. And that's actually the drive that I was lucky enough to hit [Brandon] Stokley on the touchdown. And, really, with that defense, that was all we needed. I probably had the saddest post-Super Bowl experience of any quarterback in this group. I missed out on the celebration with my teammates. We spent so much time on the podium and then our PR guy grabbed me and started doing the rounds with me and I thought that was the appropriate way of doing it, I was just following directions, and little did I know my entire team had gone into the locker room to celebrate, the ultimate celebration. Any kid out there, dreaming of the greatest postgame celebration -- it's got to be after the Super Bowl when you're in the locker room with your teammates, your brothers, and I missed the whole thing. When I get back to the locker room, they're already sweeping the locker room floor. Every locker is empty and it's just my locker with all my junk in it. And I just sat there and it was one of the loneliest moments of my life.
-- As told to Greg Garber of
Dilfer completed 12 of 25 passes for 153 yards and one TD.
Doug Williams


Let's be real about this whole thing: Not only did we score five touchdowns in the second quarter, it only took 18 plays to do that. You sit down and watch the Denver Broncos today and Peyton Manning leads his team on a 12-, 13-play drive. And that's one touchdown. We scored five in 18 plays. That's what you call execution at its highest. It's fairly easy to explain. I had hyperextended my knee late in the first quarter. I went back in the first series of the second quarter. We had a regular pass play, a 5-yard hitch pattern and [Broncos defensive back] Mark Haynes was in press coverage. In the hitch, we always converted to a fade up the side. He pressed Ricky Sanders and missed him. Ricky raced 80 yards. From then on the defense got some life and started shutting Denver and John Elway down. We got the ball back and Timmy Smith was running wild. Next thing, I hit Gary Clark in the corner, then on play action hit Ricky Sanders again on a 50-something-yard touchdown. Then, at the end of the quarter, I hit Clint Didier down the corner. Eighteen plays, 35 points. That's almost two points a play. Oh man, it was one of those things. Our offensive line was just blowing them away, and I could have run through that. We had holes that big. I couldn't move. My knee had swollen up. I just stood back there, and they gave me all the time in the world. At halftime, Joe Bugel, our offensive line coach -- he used to call me Stud -- he walked up to me and said, 'Hey Stud, you don't have to go back out there if you don't want to.' I said, 'Coach, I started this game, I'm going to finish this game.' I went in and took a shot to my knee and finished the game.
-- As told to Ashley Fox of
Williams' 340 passing yards were a SB record at the time.
Jim McMahon


SUPER BOWL XX • JAN. 26, 1986
The only thing I remember about the Super Bowl week was that we were having a great time up until Thursday morning. I was woken up twice by irate fans saying they were gonna kill me, then I went down to the team breakfast where our GM was upset at me. Then Mike Ditka walked up and asked me if I had really said those things. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. He went on to explain that a TV reporter said that I had called the women of New Orleans sluts and that the men were stupid. I asked him when I supposedly made those comments, and he said on a radio show that morning at 6 a.m. I said, 'You really believe I would get up at 6 to do an interview when I'd been out most of the night?' I told him I had no idea who the reporter was and that I'd never made those remarks. Even if I'd thought they were true, I wouldn't say that to the media. The rest of the week was a nightmare. Women were picketing the hotel, there were bomb threats, none of my teammates would stand by me at practice for fear of being shot. I just wanted to play the game and get the hell outta there. So the Super Bowl, to me, wasn't fun. I'm glad we won, but I didn't feel safe 'til we got on that plane the next day. My week was ruined by an idiot reporter. That's just one of the reasons I don't get along too well with the press.
-- As told to Elizabeth Merrill of
McMahon was first QB to run for two TDs in a Super Bowl.
Joe Theismann


The night before, we put in a new formation. It was called the "explode package." What it basically was, is we had everybody line up in different positions. For example, John Riggins would line up out to the right and Art Monk would be in the backfield and the other split end would be in the backfield. So we had everybody line up in different positions because the Miami Dolphins would match up man-to-man down around the goal line. So when I went to the line of scrimmage, I would go, "Set!" and everybody would go to where they belong, and then we would run plays. And Joe [Gibbs] was so enamored with this, when we sat in the meeting, he basically said, "I hope we get a chance to use it. But if we don't and it gets late in the game, I'm going to run it anyway because I'm just curious to see what the announcers would say." So the first touchdown pass to Alvin Garrett was a result of the explode package. I don't know [what the announcers said]. But it worked.
-- As told to Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN The Magazine
Theismann threw two TD passes and added 20 rushing yards.
Malcolm Emmons/USA TODAY Sports
Joe Namath


SUPER BOWL III • JAN. 12, 1969 • JETS 16, COLTS 7
One thing that I haven't really talked about is how, a few nights before the game, I went out to dinner with a few Colts players who were old friends. They were so confident -- they really thought they were going to win. At dinner, Lou Michaels flat out told me that they were going to kick our asses, and specifically kick my ass. I felt a little mischievous, so I said, "Come on, Lou, what you know? You're just a damn kicker." Boy, did that infuriate him. He was an All-American defensive lineman at Kentucky, and he played a lot in the Colts' regular defensive package. But he also was their kicker. I knew calling him that would piss him off, and it did. Dinner went well and we all went home friendly and in good spirits. But man, it started off shaky.
-- As told to Morty Ain of ESPN The Magazine
Named MVP, Namath was 17 for-28 for 206 yards.
Dick Raphael/USA TODAY Sports
Roger Staubach


The first one I knew I was going to start we were still the team that could not win the big game and I was nervous in a healthy way. But Coach Landry, he just wanted to make sure, so he hid me in his room every night down there in New Orleans. Coach Landry's wife, Alicia, one night just said, "Let the poor guy alone," so he did let me go. I went out one night on my own and saw "Dirty Harry" with Joe Williams, which was a Clint Eastwood movie. I was probably not as nervous as Coach Landry was. I could see that great intensity he had for this game. I think our whole team felt it and we played almost error-free football on game day. I thought I was nervous and I started worrying because he was so nervous and had me in the room every night going over the same things. I'm like, "Coach, I graduated from college. I got this thing figured out. I know what you're saying." But his intensity was greater than I ever saw it in my career before that first Super Bowl game. When we went back to the Super Bowls after that, we didn't have the same meetings at night, but we always had that extra week and giving him a little more time. Sometimes our players would say, "You give Tom a little more time and there's too many changes." But we were always prepared.
-- As told to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas
Staubach threw two TD passes and was named MVP.
Focus On Sport/Getty Images
Bart Starr


SUPER BOWL I • JAN. 15, 1967 • PACKERS 35, CHIEFS 10
One of our favorite teammates was a fella named Max McGee, a wide receiver. Max was what you would call a character. All of us loved him because of that. He was unbelievable, his lifestyle and what he did, you know, so on and so forth. When Coach Lombardi came to Green Bay, Max was just one of those guys who didn't like curfews. And he had several violations of it, in which he was fined severely. We used fines to pay for the team party at the end of the year. In training camp in Lombardi's first season in Green Bay, Coach put up on the board the level for the fines he was going to give out and the comments among the teammates were all directed at Max. They said, "Well it's easy to see who was going to pay for the team party this year." I love that story. Typical of Max, on the morning of the Super Bowl, I'm heading down to the lobby of the hotel for breakfast and to grab my morning newspaper and I just happened to glance to my left to the front door and it's 7 a.m. and Max McGee is walking in through the door, coming into the hotel after being out all night. I first thought, "Oh my God, here we are in the biggest, greatest game of our lives and this guy had been out all night." But typical of him, when our starting receiver Boyd Dowler went down with an injury, Max came in and played like gangbusters [seven catches for 138 yards and two TDs]. He probably played as well in that game as he had ever played in his entire life, but that was Max, he was incredible. A few weeks later, Max and I appeared at a father-son breakfast in Green Bay and the whole place just broke up when I told them what had happened that morning. We all loved Max because he was a character but a team player. And in a clutch situation, like that first Super Bowl, he was as strong as anyone on our team.
-- As told to David Fleming of ESPN The Magazine
Starr threw three TD passes and was named MVP.
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl XLV


My favorite memory from the Super Bowl as far as before or after the game came directly afterwards. We were up on stage -- myself, Mike [McCarthy], Ted [Thompson], Mark Murphy -- and after that we all went in different directions and scattered. There was a point -- after ESPN and NFL Network, my postgame press conference, and being in the locker room with the guys for a couple minutes -- that I came back on the field, and I saw my family, who had all gotten down onto the field at that point. It was my mom, my dad, my two brothers and my grandparents, and they'd all gotten down onto the field. That was a really special moment, because my grandparents, who are both late 70s, early 80s, had driven all the way from California in the rough weather and had made it out there. Grandma and Grandpa don't fly, but they'd made it all the way out there and they had been a big part of my life since I was a young person. To have them on the field, and my two brothers and my parents, and to take some really special photos there, it was a great memory because it was such a whirlwind in those first 45 minutes after the Super Bowl. To have that moment and to be able to enjoy it with my family and my grandparents, the most important people in my life, that was a special moment for me. We only got two on-field passes for postgame, and I wondered about who was going to come down. The plan was for my two brothers to come down, because my parents were just going to stay with my grandparents. So I was looking for them during my time running around the field initially, but thankfully I was able to run right into them about 45 minutes after the game and all six of them were on the field, so that was a special, unexpected moment for us.
-- As told to Greg Garber of
Rodgers threw three TD passes and was named MVP.
Jeff Hostetler


SUPER BOWL XXV • JAN. 27, 1991
As a quarterback, you're always wondering about the footballs, what kind of shape they're in. New footballs tend to be really slick. There's a film on them, and when your hands get sweaty, they can become very slick. Super Bowl XXV was being played in Tampa, where it's really humid. So in the days before the game, we had to work over all the game balls, 36 of them. We would overinflate them, scrape them on the turf, scuff them up. Then, 30 minutes before the game, they came in with all new footballs. As a quarterback, you're panicking. After all I've gone through, to make it to the game of my life, and the ball could just slip out of my hands? They're screwing with me! But then I thought, "Hey, what are you gonna do?" We tried to work over three balls, and we gave them to the ball boy to rotate over and over throughout the game. And that's what he did -- we only used those three balls. That was a huge, huge part of the game. [Editor's note: In the second quarter, Hostetler stumbled into his own end zone while dropping back, and Bills defensive end Bruce Smith grabbed Hostetler's wrist as he was falling. Though Smith sacked Hostetler for a safety, the QB didn't fumble.] On that play, that ball obviously wasn't a new one! [Laughs.]
-- As told to Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine
Hostetler replaced an injured Phil Simms in 1990.
Earl Morrall


SUPER BOWL V • JAN. 17, 1971
John Unitas started the game and was hurt early on. I came in to relieve him. The game was a tough defensive battle with Dallas taking the lead twice before we managed to tie the game. We were on the 3-yard-line and on second down. I called a running play for our fullback Tom Nowatzke. He only gained 1 yard as he ran a different route than the play I called in the huddle. When he came back to the huddle, he begged me to call the same play again, saying he had really screwed up and wanted to have another chance. I called the same play, and we scored to tie the game. To this day, he claims that was the one and only time Unitas or I ever listened to him. He said that regardless of what the backs or ends wanted called, we never listened. In those days, we called our own plays all the time. And in Super Bowl V, I never wavered, except that once."
-- As told to Elizabeth Merrill of
Subbing for an injured Johnny Unitas, he threw for 147 yards.
Bob Griese


SUPER BOWL VII • JAN. 14, 1973
The thing people don't realize is, in most games, even the Super Bowl, you line up for that first play not really knowing if you will win or not. We were confident heading into the game with the Redskins -- mean, we were 16-0 that season. But then the game starts, and there was a lot of doubt. We didn't know if the defense is better than you expected, or if the defense is going to throw out all of their tendencies and have a completely different game plan. It's scary when you get to the line for that first snap. It wasn't until the end of the first quarter that we really believed we could win, and the play that convinced us was called Brown Wide 66 DQ. Paul Warfield lined up on one side, and I saw a Redskins corner and safety drift toward him. That left our other receiver, Howard Twilley, in single coverage. That was the moment -- that was when we all knew the Redskins were going to play that game exactly as we thought they were. I remember looking at the guys and saying, 'OK, we got these guys.' Howard faked inside, I gave a little pump fake and the corner bit. I laid the ball in there and Howard got into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown. It was only 7-0, in the first quarter. But that's when we knew we would win.
-- As told to Ryan Hockensmith of ESPN The Magazine
Believe it or not: Griese was 8-for-11 for only 88 passing yards.
Peyton Manning


As soon as the game ends, it's such a melee on the field. The confetti's coming down, people are running around, the media is all over the place. It's a real rush -- it's not like the end of a normal game where you can move around and shake hands and visit with everybody. So like three seconds after it's over, you can't even move. It's not like this happens all the time; you're not exactly sure what you're supposed to do. The thing I remember is sort of being moved by some NFL people and the camera folks. I wasn't even walking, just sort of floating in the crowd. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, moving toward me was Tony Dungy. The one guy you want to meet up and connect with, your head coach that got you there. It was kind of like being on one of those moving walkways at the airport, coming at each other from opposite directions. Everybody around us must have wanted it to happen, because they were pushing us together. Well, we embraced and had a special moment. I mean, you couldn't duplicate the way it happened. I sort of sat there, taking it all in. It wouldn't have been the same if it happened in the locker room. It was better -- way better -- that it wasn't planned. Somebody got a good picture of us together. Tony and I both have a copy. He's told me that it was a special moment for him -- one we'll both never forget.
-- As told to Greg Garber of
Manning, named MVP, was 25-for-38 for 247 yards and a TD.
Sylvia Allen/Getty Images
Jim Plunkett


My mom was blind, and my father had already passed away. My mom was at home, and I'd call her each evening from New Orleans. She had never seen a football game, but she'd listened to many of them over the radio and TV over the years following my career in college and in the NFL. So I called her up every evening, and all those things she'd heard of the game and what I'd explained to her, you'd think she'd a have little quote-unquote piece of advice, or whatever you want to call it. She said, "Make sure they block for you." And then next night we'd be talking again, and she would say, "Don't let them sack you." … The last one, she said, "Tell those receivers to catch the ball for you."
-- As told to Elizabeth Merrill of
Plunkett tossed three TD passes and was named MVP.
Steve Young, Super Bowl XXIX


We were a pretty veteran team and we had guys that had come from other teams, like Chris Doleman and Deion Sanders and guys who played for a long time, Kenny Norton. So we kind of felt like we knew what we were doing, the guys that had played Super Bowls before. Because we were so knowledgeable about everything, we had some conflicts around curfews amongst the guys who really thought they knew what they were doing. So, it took I think a loud voice like Tim McDonald to kind of say, "Look, I don't care how long you've been here, I don't care what you've done, we're locking this thing down." And this is not a time to be fooling around. There were a few voices that when they spoke, we could self-police. I've always watched that over the years. Good teams, great teams, Super Bowl teams always self-police. It was a really heavy, humid night in Miami. The air was thick and all of the fireworks had gone off in pregame and they just never moved. And so, the first few series were played in this surreal -- not fog, I mean, you could still see -- but it wasn't full visibility. And I can remember early in the game I threw a touchdown pass to Jerry Rice, I don't know, 50 yards or so, and I remember him catching it down the middle and disappearing into the fog. I was like, 'This is awesome.' It was artistic and a great moment.
-- As told to Greg Garber of
Young set a Super Bowl record with six touchdown passes.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Ben Roethlisberger


I remember the whole playoff run in 2005 where I promised I'd get Jerome Bettis a game ball every time, and we did. After the first Super Bowl in Detroit I remember taking a knee and having that ball and turning around and giving it to Jerome. Like, "Here's the last ball I promised you." You're all right there, with the linemen, and you're all hugging. You don't know what to do. Not too long after that, someone tapped me on the shoulder, just, like, a teammate -- I thought it was a teammate. I turned around and it was my parents. I was, like, "How the heck did you guys get down here?" Later, I found out someone had grabbed them and said, "Hey, these are Ben's parents," and they came down on the field. It was bizarre to hug a teammate -- all I'm seeing is teammates -- and all a sudden, it was my parents. It was really neat to see my mom and dad right away.
-- As told to Merril Hoge of ESPN
Roethlisberger, 23, was the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl.
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports
Eli Manning, Super Bowls XLII & XLVI


After all the good things that happened to us in Arizona, the thing I think back on that I got to share with my teammates was the parade they had for us in New York. I had heard of the Canyon of Heroes but I didn't know much about it. We were all gathering at the team facility in New Jersey and Coach Coughlin told us about it. He named all the famous people that they had ticker tape parades for, the war heroes, the presidents, the great athletes that had been down that path. But I truly didn't understand the magnitude of it, and how many people were going to be there. I figured, "Hey, we've got a little parade to do, maybe it will be fun." We took buses into lower Manhattan and they put us on different floats. I was on the first one with Coach Coughlin, Michael Strahan and Mayor Bloomberg. We had the Lombardi trophy and the NFC Championship trophy, too, which we kind of rotated around. Trust me, you didn't want to be the guy holding up that NFC trophy. You start in the financial district, go up Broadway and end up at City Hall and nothing can prepare you for what it's like. There were several million people, some of them hanging off buildings 40 stories high. People -- Giants fans wearing blue, city people all dressed up -- are wall to wall, as far as you can see. The paper's coming down and it was a rush. Just the sheer excitement was something I've never experienced. It was chaos, and it was unexpected how moving it was. I called Peyton afterward and said, "When you won, I know y'all had a parade. Well, we had a real parade."
-- As told to Greg Garber of
Manning won his first of two Super Bowl MVPs.
Len Dawson


SUPER BOWL IV • JAN. 11, 1970
People don't know that I called almost all of our offensive plays during the Super Bowl. My coach, Hank Stram, would make suggestions, and we devised the game plan together. But the final call was usually up to me. So I was a little surprised when, with six minutes until halftime, one of our receivers, Gloster Richardson, came into the huddle with a play call from Stram. We had third-and-goal from the 5-yard line, and a touchdown would have given us a 16-0 lead. "65 toss power trap," Richardson said. I did a double-take: "Are you sure that's what he said?" I couldn't remember the last time we ran that play, even in practice. It wasn't in our game plan and definitely wasn't what I was thinking of calling. But Richardson said he was sure, so we ran it. It was an easy play for me: I just had to hand it off to running back Mike Garrett and watch him sprint off left guard, untouched, into the end zone. I never asked Stram where the play call came from; I just congratulated him. It was a heck of a call. I didn't see how the Vikings were going to come back from being down 16-0, not with how well our defense was playing. As I walked off the field, I remember thinking, "There it is. We just won the Super Bowl."
-- As told to Scott T. Miller of ESPN The Magazine
Dawson, named MVP, was 12-for-17 for 142 yards and a TD.
Greg Crisp/Getty Images
Troy Aikman, Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII & XXIX


The night before the game I'm sitting there watching a movie. I don't remember what movie it was. It was some old Western and I'm with [Dale] Hellestrae, [John] Gesek and [Jay] Novacek, and as we're watching this movie, I heard this noise outside the window and I didn't know what it was. I open up the shade and it's just pouring down rain. It's thundering out. Just pouring out rain. I don't know if you remember this, but I couldn't throw a wet football at all. It was so bad to the point where I'd make the centers change pants at halftime because it would get wet from the sweat so as the ball would come up it'd get on my hands and I'd have a hard time gripping the football. I'd make them change pants at halftime. So now it's pouring rain and I'm thinking, "You've got to be kidding me." The biggest game of my life and it's raining. I mean, you could've put Nate Newton at quarterback and had a better chance of winning with him than me. I'm not kidding you. Coaches were always fearful of that going in, that it might rain on game day. I'm like, "Oh my God," and these guys think it's the funniest thing ever. They're just laughing at me. But I slept great and probably had the best night of sleep I'd ever had before a game. And when I woke up the next morning, the first thing I did was run over and open the shades and it was a beautiful Southern California day. It was just fabulous, not a cloud in the sky. That certainly helped as I went to the stadium that day.
-- As told to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas
Aikman threw four TD passes in an MVP performance.
Tampa Bay's Brad Johnson did what after his Super Bowl victory? We went deep with 24 Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks about their experience. Here's what they shared: