Throughout the course of history, the NFL has preferred to play its most important game in pristine settings, so that inclement weather and adverse conditions do not affect the outcome of the contest.
As such, the league primarily has selected host locations which feature warm weather during the months of January or February, or cities who have domed stadiums. It’s not surprising that Arizona has been a popular location for Super Bowls, and this will be the fourth time that the state hosts the big game.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles hope to make Sunday’s contest a classic, but we’ll take a look back at the other Super Bowl tilts played in Arizona.
Super Bowl XXX
In January 1996, outdoor venue Sun Devil Stadium was the site of Super Bowl XXX, featuring the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cowboys were in the midst of their dynastic run, looking to claim their third Super Bowl of the decade, which would entrench them as one of the greatest teams of all time.
They were able to do just that, as Dallas was able to outlast Pittsburgh 27-17. They did it with a well rounded team effort, including a memorable performance by cornerback Larry Brown. He picked off two Neil O’Donnell passes in the second half, which earned him Super Bowl MVP honors. Running back Emmitt Smith also had a big day, scoring two touchdowns.
Super Bowl XLII
Super Bowl XLII was the first title game to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, which is where Sunday’s contest will also take place. That game was one of the most memorable in Super Bowl history, pitting the undefeated New England Patriots against the underdog New York Giants. If the Patriots won that game, they would’ve been able to punctuate the greatest start to finish season in league history.
The Giants had other ideas. Led by their ferocious pass rush, New York made life difficult for New England quarterback Tom Brady. The game hung in the balance in the fourth quarter, and Giants quarterback Eli Manning heaved a pass down the field, which was miraculously caught by David Tyree. New York was able to take the lead late, and held on for a stunning 17-14 triumph.
Super Bowl XLIX
2015 was the last time the state hosted a Super Bowl, which ended up being another thriller. The Patriots were once again involved, this time against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle’s high powered “Legion Of Boom” secondary hoped to slow Brady and his well-oiled offensive machine down.
It was a fun game from beginning to end, as both teams took turns making impactful plays. It seemed like Seattle was going to be able to wrap up a second nightmarish ending for New England in Arizona, but a shocking play changed their fortunes. Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a Russell Wilson pass at the goal line, which sealed the improbable Patriots victory.