As Super Bowl XLIX approaches, we’re taking a look back at the past decade in incredible Super Bowl history.
SUPER BOWL XXXIX – 2005
Teams: New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Outcome: Patriots won 24-21
NFL Stadium: ALLTEL Stadium, now known as EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL
Pregame Notes: Riding high following their win in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Panthers the previous year, the Patriots entered the matchup as the clear favorite. Meanwhile, restless Eagles fans were hungry for a ring, which would’ve earned the city its first NFL title since 1960 and its first championship since 1983.
Game Recap: The game was neck-and-neck throughout, with a tied 14-14 score at the end of the third quarter. But the Pats cranked out some creative play calling for their star quarterback and pulled ahead with a touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter. Even after the Eagles answered with an impressive 30-yard TD of their own, their final comeback fell short and the game ended with a last-minute interception by the Patriots defense. The Pats clinched their third Super Bowl win in four years and became the first team since the 1997-98 Denver Broncos to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
Halftime Performance: Commanding an X-shaped stage constructed of video projectors, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney capped his set with a soaring version of “Hey Jude” that got the whole stadium singing along to the tune’s infectious final coda.
SUPER BOWL XL – 2006
Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Outcome: Steelers won 21-10
NFL Stadium: Ford Field in Detroit, MI
Pregame Notes: Even though Pittsburgh went into the playoffs as a No. 6-seeded wild card team, they were still favored to win this matchup against the Seahawks, who were making their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.
Game Recap: Super Bowl XL got truly exciting midway through the third quarter when Seattle narrowed the scoring gap to 14-10. Ultimately, Seattle penalties and a tough Steelers defense helped Pittsburgh clinch their fifth Super Bowl win, earning “One for the Thumb”.
Halftime Performance: A team of 600 volunteers set up British rock gods The Rolling Stones’ massive tongue-shaped stage in a mere five minutes. Led by Mick Jagger and his signature hip-shaking moves, the band tore through a hit-packed set that included stadium-shaking renditions of “Start Me Up” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.
SUPER BOWL XLI – 2007
Teams: Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears
Outcome: Colts won 29-17
NFL Stadium: Dolphin Stadium, now known as Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. Despite the tropical location, it rained from start to finish, making it a wet and wild game for the ages.
Pregame Notes: Both teams were ending long Super Bowl droughts — it was the first appearance for the Colts since 1970 and the first for the Bears since 1985. The Colts had undergone a nine-year rebuilding phase to become one of the best offensive teams in the league after drafting their star quarterback.
Game Recap: The Bears opened the game with a jaw-dropping 92-yard kickoff return to make Super Bowl history. But they couldn’t keep the momentum up, suffering five turnovers, two interceptions, and only 10 more points throughout. Indianapolis reeled the game in with a 56-yard pick-six in the final quarter.
Halftime Performance: In what’s widely considered one of the best Super Bowl halftime performances to date, Prince tore through an epic set list that included his classics “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Baby I’m A Star”, as well as a cover of Foo Fighters’ “Best of You”. The groove-soaked, rain-drenched set was capped by a weather-appropriate rendition of “Purple Rain”.
SUPER BOWL XLII – 2008
Teams: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
Outcome: Giants won 17-14
NFL Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. East coast fans turned out in droves and there was a palpable sense of rivalry in the air, as the matchup recalled Yankees/Red Sox tension.
Pregame Notes: The Patriots entered their fourth Super Bowl since 2001 with a perfect season under their belts and had their sights set on a flawless, never-before-seen 19-0 record. The Giants, on the other hand, finished the season at 10-6 and entered the playoffs as a wild card team. The two sides had faced off in the final game of the regular season just five weeks before, with New England scraping by with a 38-35 win.
Game Recap: Only 10 total points were scored in the first three quarters, making it a defensive showdown for the ages. In the final quarter, the Giants were trailing 14-10 when they scored a game-winning touchdown with only 35 seconds remaining. It’s considered one of the biggest upsets in NFL history as the Giants squashed the Patriots’ dreams of a perfect season.
Halftime Performance: Hoards of fans flooded the field and staked their spots around the heart-shaped stage as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performed well-loved hits including “Free Fallin'” and “I Won’t Back Down”.
SUPER BOWL XLIII – 2009
Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Outcome: Steelers won 27-23
NFL Stadium: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL
Pregame Notes: The Cards were making their first-ever Super Bowl appearance, looking to win their first title since 1947— the longest drought in the league. But the Steelers had excelled with their stingy defense all season long and were expected to go home as champs.
Game Recap: Pittsburgh scored on their first two drives, tipping the momentum in their favor early on. At the top of the fourth quarter Arizona trailed 20-7 but quickly turned the game into a shootout with 16 unanswered points. However, the Steelers clinched the victory with a last-minute touchdown, making them the first NFL team to win six Super Bowl championships.
Halftime Performance: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s epic 14-minute set kicked off with The Boss pleading to viewers, “I want you to step back from the guacamole dip! I want you to put those chicken fingers down and turn your television all the way up!” From there, Springsteen and company launched into a fast-paced performance that featured abbreviated versions of “Born to Run”, “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”, “Working on a Dream”, and “Glory Days”.
SUPER BOWL XLIV – 2010
Teams: New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts
Outcome: Saints won 31-17
NFL Stadium: Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL
Pregame Notes: This was the first-ever Super Bowl appearance for the Saints, who led the NFL in scoring with their top-rated quarterback. Both teams entered as the No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences, but experts favored the Colts to take home the win despite their weak running game.
Game Recap: The score was tight at halftime, with Indianapolis leading 10-6. But a pair of unanswered touchdowns in the final quarter put the Saints over the edge, and they finished the game with a 74-yard pick-six. It was a momentous win for the city of New Orleans, which was rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina struck the city just four years earlier.
Halftime Performance: Continuing the trend of classic rock greats lording over the halftime stage, The Who rocked fans with energetic versions of hits including “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley”.
SUPER BOWL XLV – 2011
Teams: Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Outcome: Packers won 31-25
NFL Stadium: Cowboys Stadium, now known as AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. More than 91,060 fans filled the stands, making it the third-highest attended Super Bowl in history.
Pregame Notes: The matchup pitted two NFL heavyweights against each other — Green Bay went in boasting the most NFL titles with 12, while the Steelers held the most Super Bowl championships with six. The Pack went in as the first No. 6-seeded team in the NFC to compete for a Super Bowl win, but were still widely favored because of their incredible momentum — they beat the top three seeds in the NFL on the way to the big game.
Game Recap: Green Bay dominated most of the first half, overcoming devastating injuries to build a 21-10 lead going into halftime. Pittsburgh rallied in the second half — narrowing the gap to 25-28 in the fourth quarter — but turned the ball over on a pivotal final incomplete pass, allowing the Pack to run out the clock and nab the trophy.
Halftime Performance: The Black Eyed Peas sported light-up robot suits for their memorable performance, which included party-starting anthems “I Gotta Feeling” and “Pump It”, as well as cameos by Usher and Slash — the latter joining Fergie for “Sweet Child O’ Mine”.
SUPER BOWL XLVI – 2012
Teams: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
Outcome: Giants won 21-17
NFL Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN
Pregame Notes: The rivalry was fierce going into this game, as the Pats were eager to take their revenge after the Giants had crushed their nearly perfect season four years earlier. The Giants were the clear underdogs — they entered the game with a 9-7 regular season record, the lowest recorded by a Super Bowl champion.
Game Recap: The Giants built a 9-0 lead in the first quarter followed by 10 unanswered points by the Patriots. With a 10-9 score going into the half, it appeared to be anyone’s game. But a rare overthrown pass by New England’s quarterback set the Giants up for an 88-yard drive that ended in a game-winning touchdown.
Halftime Performance: Madonna’s spectacular halftime show proved her title as the queen of pop was well-deserved, especially after a soaring, choir-assisted rendition of “Like a Prayer”.
SUPER BOWL XLVII – 2013
Teams: Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
Outcome: Ravens won 34-31
NFL Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It was the city’s 10th time hosting the game and the first since the Superdome sustained damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Pregame Notes: This was the first Super Bowl that pitted two brothers coaching teams against each other, earning it the nickname The Bro Bowl. Neither the Ravens nor the 49ers had ever lost in a Super Bowl, and both teams were eager to keep their perfect championship records intact.
Game Recap: In one of the wildest Super Bowls to date, the Ravens established a solid 28-6 lead early in the third quarter. The 49ers picked up a sudden surge of momentum with 17 unanswered points, but the Ravens made a frenzied comeback, kicking two field goals and keeping the 49ers from scoring on three consecutive plays to win.
Halftime Performance: R&B queen Beyoncé stormed the stage to belt out “Crazy In Love” and “Love On Top” before reuniting with Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Fans were beyond thrilled when the trio powered through “Bootylicious” and “Independent Women” before Bey closed out with a goose bump-inducing rendition of her hit “Halo”.
SUPER BOWL XLVIII – 2014
Teams: Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos
Outcome: Seahawks won 43-8
NFL Stadium: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. It was the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather city, but the temperature at kickoff was a mild 49 degrees.
Pregame Notes: For the first time since 2010, both teams entered as No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences. The game also featured the league’s top-ranked offense (Denver) and top-ranked defense (Seattle) for the first time since 2003.
Game Recap: The Seahawks earned their first-ever Super Bowl victory with astounding ease, dominating the scoreboard and shutting down Denver’s five-time MVP quarterback. They built a comfortable 22-0 lead by halftime, which increased to 36-0 before Denver finally scored on the final play of the third quarter. But it was too little too late, and the Seahawks effortlessly pulled off the third-biggest blowout win in Super Bowl history.
Halftime Performance: Donned in shiny gold blazers, Bruno Mars and his band blazed through four of his hits before Red Hot Chili Peppers stormed the stage to rock the stadium with their anthem “Take It Away”.