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The Most Memorable Super Bowl Games in History


Hand-crafted, luxury experiences curated by our team—speak to our concierge to learn more

By Simon Fielding on 9th February 2023

As the world gears up for the 57th Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, we look back to some games for the ages.

Before we revel in three Super Bowls, each of which cemented their place in history for different reasons, should you be on the lookout for an unforgettable VIP experience of this year’s big event, reach out to our dedicated concierge team who can help you create memories you’ll treasure forever.

For a sneak peek of what lies in store with a VIP Super Bowl experience with The Sybarite, take a look here.

Now, for what you’ve all been waiting for…

Performance: Michael Jackson (1993)

Until Michael Jackson came to town in 1993, the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl was one of marching bands or collectives. However, by the nineties, there was a general consensus that these had become culturally irrelevant. Celebrities took up the mantle of creating the modern Super Bowl experience, and who better than the King of Pop to kick off this tradition?

Michael Jackson’s appearance elevated the phenomenon of the Super Bowl to what it is known as today. Spectators greeted his contorted entrance with rapturous applause before he stood soaking up the acclaim. Then, without warning, he tore into a rendition of ‘Jam’ before the staple Billy Jean triggered widespread wonder and delight.

In keeping with the tradition of the Up the World acts that preceded him and flanked by people of all backgrounds and cultures, songs such as ‘Black and White’ and the closing anthem ‘Heal the World’ promoted a clear message of tolerance and a willingness of Americans to unite.

Although Prince’s 2007 performance with a marching band has a claim to be the most memorable halftime performance, especially ‘Purple Rain’ and its accompanying downpour, only Michael Jackson could have made this tradition such an indispensable part of the Super Bowl. 

Watch it here.

Advertisement: Budweiser (1995)

As time has gone on, another salient ingredient of any Super Bowl has become the advertisements, and the commercial revenue that they bring in. Now, the zenith for any brand is to claim a spot at the Super Bowl. 

Since the inception of the competition, there have been countless creative ways of disseminating a brand’s message. These ranged from celebrities, to jingles to even animals. Among those that stick out are Dove’s 2006 advert that celebrated natural beauty and Cola Cola’s sojourn to an Italian hill top in 1971 with the catchy ‘I want to buy the world a coke’, that smashed advert budgets at the time.

However, one of the most memorable adverts was brazen in its simplicity. When three frogs begin their dissonant song in a dark pond surrounded by crickets, there may be confusion, but the true purpose soon dawns on the viewer. With one frog croaking ‘Bud’ and the other two ‘Weis’ and ‘Er’, the burps perfectly match the beer.

Finally, the syncing of the three sounds and the LED Budweiser sign show the power of images. There is no need for bravado here. A recognition that in the modern world, a big brand need not overwhelm: it speaks for itself.

Watch it here.

Match – Pittsburgh Steelers vs Arizona Cardinals (2009)

Super Bowl 43 was a fearsome tug of war that contained some of the best plays in NFL history.

With 18 seconds of the first half remaining, James Harrison, the stocky beacon of the Steelers’ defence, used all his in game nous to intercept a loose pass deep in his own territory. He then embarked on a 100 yard crusade up the field. Not the tallest, Harrison, whose infamous work outs seem enough to make the most seasoned gym rat lightheaded, had an ability to make others bounce off him. His low centre of gravity allowed him to score a touchdown from a pick 6 with the Longest Play in Super Bowl history.

There was one second of the half remaining and a check before the touchdown was confirmed. The Steelers were in the driving seat, 17-7. Bashful, Harrison declared it the greatest play of Super Bowl history. Who would argue with him?

The Cardinals, with quarterback Kurt Warner pulling the strings, suffered until the final stages, but looked to have snatched victory at the death with the help of a safety and the strong running of Larry Fitzgerald. 

As the match looked to be decided in the Cardinal’s favour, time stood still when ‘Big Ben’ Roetlisberger picked out Santonio Holmes for the Steelers; the decisive play of the match that clinched Holmes the MVP.

He caught Big Ben’s searching pass under intense pressure and it looked for all the world as if there would be no way he could keep both feet in play, on the ground, with control of the ball. Yet the replay showed that despite his top-heavy frame, he was able to pirouette with all the control of a ballet dancer to ensure victory for his team, who became the most decorated franchise in Super Bowl history after winning 27-23.

Watch it here.

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