The Super Bowl is America’s most popular sporting event. People who never even bother to watch football will park in front of their television sets for the glitz, the commercials and the infamous halftime show. Friends and families will gather around the biggest screens they can find, eating finger foods, drinking cold beer and sporting their favorite sports gear to find out who will hoist the gleaming Vince Lombardi trophy.
Either the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks will claim the prize in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. Sherman claims to be the best, but he’ll have to back it up when his team takes the field against the invincible arm of Denver’s quarterback, Peyton Manning. The Super Bowl can be glorious, but it can also be crazy. In fact, Super Bowl XLVIII has already gotten a wild start thanks to Richard Sherman’s kooky post-NFC championship rant. Before you buy your Super Bowl game gear, step down memory lane for a look back at five of the Super Bowl’s zaniest moments.
Super Bowl XX — Jim McMahon
When you think of the Chicago Bears, you think of amazing Super Bowl XX moments: the Super Bowl shuffle, William “Refrigerator” Perry’s one-yard touchdown and Chicago’s 46-10 pounding of the New England Patriots. However, the biggest and strangest attraction in New Orleans that week was Chicago’s pedal-to-the-metal quarterback, Jim McMahon.
McMahon recorded a line in a Bob Hope special, posed with Miss Hawaiian Tropic, urinated in a doorway on Chartres Street and threw fruit at fans from a hotel balcony along with Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. In practice, on the Wednesday before the game, McMahon dropped his pants and mooned a news helicopter that was flying overhead. They’d been asking him all week about his injured backside; Crazy Jim just decided to show them where it hurt.
Super Bowl XXXVII — Barret Robbins
Most football players wait their entire careers for the chance at a Super Bowl ring. It’s just one of those days when a football player doesn’t call in sick for work. However, Barret Robbins, who played center for the Oakland Raiders, didn’t bother calling in — he just didn’t show. Robbins was not known for being mentally stable, and his friends and family feared that he was dead. He wasn’t. He’d taken off for Tijuana, leaving his wallet and his cell phone in his San Diego hotel room. Robbins was replaced by Adam Treu, and Tampa Bay won 48-21.
Super Bowl XLII — David Tyree
It was third and five, and Giants quarterback Eli Manning was surrounded by three Patriots defenders, one of which was holding onto his jersey to pull him down for the sack. Manning ducked away from them and threw the ball down the field. David Tyree leapt to catch the ball, but Patriots defender Rodney Harrison leapt with him, knocking one of Tyree’s hands off of the ball. Tyree pressed the ball against his helmet as Harrison pulled him to the ground and managed to keep possession of the ball. The “Helmet Catch” play gave the Giants a first down with 58 seconds on the clock, and they went on to score a touchdown and win the game 17-14.
Super Bowl XXVII — Leon Lett
The Cowboys were already winning big in Tempe when Dallas defensive lineman Leon Lett grabbed a fourth quarter fumble and took off for the end zone. Lett slowed down to showboat about the upcoming touchdown and didn’t see Buffalo wide receiver Don Beebe hustling down the field after him. Beebe knocked the ball out of Lett’s hands, turning a potential touchdown into a touchback. Dallas still won the game 52-17, but Letts never lived down that moment.
Super Bowl XXXVIII—Janet Jackson
The phrase “wardrobe malfunction” entered the zeitgeist after Janet Jackson’s performance at the halftime show in Houston. While she and Justin Timberlake sang “Rock Your Body,” Timberlake reached for Jackson’s outfit and exposed her right breast. Thanks to protests from the Parents Television Council and other outraged nipple-seers, the FCC tightened restrictions on television performances. “Nipplegate” became the most replayed TiVo moment in history, and the Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29.