13. John Riggins Steamrolls Don McNeal, Super Bowl XVIII
THE SETUP: In the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, the Redskins were trailing 17-13. Running back John Riggins, who had been carrying the team, tore off this 43-yard touchdown run, during which he discarded Dolphins cornerback Don McNeal like a dog shaking off water. The score put Washington ahead for good.
THE PAYOFF: The Redskins won 27-17, and Riggins had 166 yards on a grueling 38 carries, earning him Super Bowl MVP.
12. Steve Young Gets The Monkey Off His Back, Super Bowl XXIX
THE SETUP: Steve Young had existed in the shadow of Joe Montana up until Super Bowl XXIX. In that game, he threw six touchdowns and won MVP, putting himself in the shadow of no one. At the end of the game, he acknowledged the pressure he was feeling by going up to his teammates on the sidelines and telling them to take the monkey off his back.
THE PAYOFF: The monkey was off his back. After winning two Super Bowls as Montana's backup, Young now had a title of his own, with an MVP award to boot, and he would make the Hall of Fame in 2005 partly on the strength of that all-time-great performance.
11. Jack Lambert Throws Cliff Harris To The Ground, Super Bowl X
THE SETUP: The Pittsburgh Steelers were losing to the Dallas Cowboys 10-7 in Super Bowl X when Steelers kicker Roy Gerela missed a field goal. Cowboys player Cliff Harris decided that deserved a belittling pat on the head, and the Steelers' Jack Lambert responded in kind, throwing Harris to the ground and pointing his thumb as if saying, "Get out."
THE PAYOFF: Whether they were galvanized by Lambert's use of force or not, the Steelers came back and won. The outburst became a part of Steelers lore, contributing to the idea that the franchise won its four 1970s Super Bowls through unimpeachable toughness.
10. Leon Lett Is Chased Down By Don Beebe, Super Bowl XXVII
THE SETUP: Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett won three Super Bowls, but in XXVII, he made a major faux pas. After recovering a Bills fumble, Lett heads toward the end zone —
— but starts showboating before he crosses the line. Determined Bills wide receiver Don Beebe is able to catch up with him, stripping the ball and getting a touchback for the Bills.
THE PAYOFF: Although the Bills were being blown out at the time, 52-17, Beebe's hustle has held up as a legendary never-say-die moment, and Lett's mistake became a permanent part of his legacy.
9. John Elway Helicopters To A First Down, Super Bowl XXXII
THE SETUP: John Elway had lost three Super Bowls before the Broncos found their way into XXXII against the Green Bay Packers, and on a third-and-six, Elway used his feet — and his body — to get the first down.
THE PAYOFF: The Broncos won 31-24. Elway cemented his place as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, a status he'd further reinforce with another championship the next year, and his five Super Bowl starts is tied with Tom Brady for most by one quarterback.
8. Lynn Swann Makes A Legendary Catch, Super Bowl X
THE SETUP: There were doubts that Lynn Swann would even play during Super Bowl X, since he'd been dealing with concussion symptoms the week prior. But he ended up catching four passes for 161 yards, and the best of them was this tremendous bobbling grab.
THE PAYOFF: Swann's effort won him game MVP and helped spark the Steelers' comeback victory against the Dallas Cowboys.
7. Joe Montana Seals The Comeback, Super Bowl XXIII
THE SETUP: In the huddle before the San Francisco 49ers' final drive against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII, Joe Montana did not give into the pressure. Instead, he famously pointed out actor John Candy to his teammates as a way of acting like it was all no big deal. He then proceeded to dismantle the Bengals' defense.