Super Bowl 57 will mark the fourth time Arizona and the Phoenix metropolitan area has hosted the modern NFL championship game. If Philadelphia and Kansas City live up to high expectations, another classic Super Bowl should play out in State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Sunday, Feb. 12.
The Eagles and Chiefs both won in the venue during the 2022 regular season, matching the overall success of the Cardinals, who went 1-8 at home. It’s the same stadium that hosted Super Bowls 42 and 49. Before then, Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe — the home of Arizona State football — was the site for Super Bowl 30.
The three previous Arizona Super Bowls provided some great stories, from the Cowboys confirming their status as a 1990s dynasty to mixed results for the long-time AFC power house Patriots in the 2000s.
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Super Bowl history in Arizona
Super Bowl 30: Cowboys 27, Steelers 17
Jan 28, 1996
Arizona was first slated to host Super Bowl 27 three years earlier, but the state being late to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday put that on delay. With State Farm Stadium more than a decade away from opening, the Super Bowl was played in a dedicated college stadium for the last time.
Dallas and Pittsburgh was a marquee matchup, with the former team playing its eighth Super Bowl and the latter team playing in its seventh.
After the Cowboys failed it make it three consecutive Super Bowl trips and victories under Jimmy Johnson the year before, they were looking to take back the Lombardi Trophy with new coach Barry Switzer. The Steelers were led by rookie coach Bill Cowher, who had to wait 10 years later for Super Bowl 40 in Detroit to score his one ring with the team.
The Cowboys had the Hall of Fame offensive triplets of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. They reinforced their defense with Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, who won Super Bowl 29 with the rival 49ers.
Not surprisingly, the Cowboys dominated most of the game on both sides, with Sanders crossing over with one clutch catch. They led 20-7 going into the fourth quarter. Sanders’ fellow corner Larry Brown was named the game’s MVP for his two big interception returns vs. Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell.
The game will be remembered most as an extension of Dallas’ domination, with no one believing that the Cowboys’ coronation would still be their most recent ring almost 30 Super Bowls later.
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Super Bowl 42: Giants 17, Patriots 14
Feb. 3, 2008
This first game at State Farm Stadium (then known as University of Phoenix Stadium) and second Arizona Super Bowl delivered the greatest upset in the game’s history. The Patriots, trying to finish a perfect season after going 18-0 through the playoffs, were 12-point favorites over the Giants, the wild-card NFC No. 5 seed.
The Giants kept the 2007 Patriots, then the highest-scoring offense in NFL history, from matching the 1972 Dolphins with an unblemished record with a defensive performance for the ages.
Much like what they did in Super Bowl 25 as underdogs vs. the Bills, the Giants had a ball-control game plan to try to keep Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense off the field. When they were on defense, they were effective in pressuring Brady with a strong front four pass rush powered by Hall of Famer Michael Strahan in his final NFL game.
The Patriots still led 7-3 after three quarters but foreshadowed a fourth quarter that saw three touchdowns and as many lead changes. When Brady hit Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss for a TD pass with 2:42 left, it seemed like New England would complete its undefeated destiny.
Instead, Eli Manning and the Giants had the Patriots’ number late, which happened again in Super Bowl 46. Manning’s most magical moment came when he avoided a would-be sack and hit wide receiver David Tyree for a 32-yard gain on a third-and-5 from the Giants’ 44. Tyree caught the ball with the aid of pressing it against his helmet after out-jumping safety Rodney Harrison.
Four plays later, Manning found wide receiver Plaxico Burress in the end zone to give the Giants the lead, 17-14, with only 35 seconds left. Brady’s desperation drive to answer fell well short, marking his first of three losses in the Super Bowl.
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Super Bowl 49: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
Feb. 1, 2015
Brady and the Patriots got their chance to shake off the stunning results from seven years ago in the same stadium. The Seahawks were attempting to repeat after dominating Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Super Bowl 48. The game was considered a pick ’em, setting the stage for another dramatic finish.
New England was looking for its first Super Bowl victory in 10 years, when it was the last team to repeat in Super Bowl 39. It was well matched with Seattle, who tied the game at 14 at the end of a thrilling first half with Brady dueling Russell Wilson and two more fine defenses involved.
The Seahawks dominated the third quarter, taking a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter. Brady made that evaporate with consecutive scoring drives both capped by short TD passes, one to Danny Amendola and the other to Julian Edelman.
Wilson looked like he would answer with the game-winning TD on a 79-yard drive with two minutes left in the game. The Seahawks got to the 1-yard line on second-and-goal with 26 seconds left. But they made the ill-fated decision to have Wilson pass instead of calling for one more power run by Marshawn Lynch. Wilson attempted short TD pass to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette on a middle slant was read well and intercepted by Patriots rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler.
While Butler will go down as one of the most unsung heroes in Super Bowl history, Brady’s second-half comeback performance would push the Patriots into their second dynasty under Bill Belichick.
Super Bowl 57: Eagles vs. Chiefs
Feb 12. 2023
The Eagles won Super Bowl 52 in Minnesota. The Chiefs won Super Bowl 54 in Miami. One team will win its second Super Bowl in five years in Glendale, likely in exciting fashion.