50 Greatest Super Bowl Moments – Rolling Stone
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50 Greatest Super Bowl Moments

From pre-game to halftime to during the game, the most memorable events from football’s biggest event

Prince Super Bowl XLI

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As Super Bowl XLVIII fast approaches, a nation once again collectively wonders what scintillating plays will go down in NFL lore, which Seahawk or Bronco might spout off some retweetable post-game rant, what commercial will become watercooler fodder and if Bruno Mars will bring it at halftime. We don't know the answers, but we do know that there are unforgettable moments waiting to happen on February 2nd.

Super Bowl 2014: Rolling Stone's Complete Coverage

Before then, we've looked back at the 47, er, XLVII, prior editions of the Super Sunday gridiron spectacle,  and compiled 50 moments that, for better or worse or irrevocably, have defined why we tune in. As you'll see, what happened between the sidelines is only a part of what goes down in Super Bowl history.  

By Kenny Herzog

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M.I.A. Flips Off America, Super Bowl XVLI

 February 5th, 2012

People forget that M.I.A. censored herself from rapping a designated "shit" while performing "Give Me All Your Luvin'" with Madonna during their halftime show. So maybe it was out of mild protest that she raised a defiant middle finger at the precise moment she would've otherwise let the curse word fly. Turns out, according to M.I.A., the gesture was an homage to Hindu music goddess Matangi's meditative pose. The NFL was not convinced, and sued her for $1.5 mil in damages for breach of contract. 

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Eli the Brady Killer, Super Bowl XLVI

February 5th, 2012

Four years hence from David Tyree's improbable grab, the Giants were up against it again, down 17-15 to the Patriots with four minutes to play, lodged deep in their own territory. On first down, Eli Manning didn't flinch at the four-man rush and lobbed one to receiver Mario Manningham on the sideline. Manningham saw the ball through both defenders and into his hands, all while tippy-toeing in bounds at the 50-yard line. The G-Men would cap things off with Ahmad Bradshaw's winning TD run, but it was that Eli-to-Mario mindbender that set the Pats spinning.

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The Harbowl, Super Bowl XLVII

February 3rd, 2013

Power outages aside, the real narrative of SB XLVII was about coaches John (Ravens) and Jim (49ers) Harbaugh facing off against each other, and marking the first times the two Super Bowl teams had ever been coached by brothers. When older brother John emerged the champ and met Jim at midfield, all eyes were watching as John shook his younger sib's hand, told him he loved him, and the two commended each other on a job well done. Even in the NFL, family matters.

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The Lights Go Out in New Orleans, Super Bowl XLVII,

February 3rd, 2013

Early in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII, with the Baltimore Ravens dominating San Francisco 28-6, the lights literally went out in the New Orleans Superdome and suspended play for nearly 35 minutes. When luminescence was restored, the 49ers roared back with renewed energy and made it a game, ultimately getting edged out 34-31. What caused the infamous blackout? Aptly, the culprit was a malfunctioning electrical-relay device designed to prevent power failures, an irony surely appreciated by the exasperated Ravens.

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