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Thursday, January 22, 2004
Updated: January 23, 8:43 PM ET
Most memorable Super Bowl moments

By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com

We asked ESPN.com's two senior NFL writers, Len Pasquarelli and John Clayton, to compile a list of their 10 most memorable Super Bowl moments. Here is Len's list.

10. Eugene Robinson's arrest
The Atlanta Falcons free safety was arrested for allegedly soliciting oral sex on the eve of Atlanta's Super Bowl XXXIII loss to the Denver Broncos. I was working for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time. After a long week of hammering out stories, the staff had finally wrapped things up, and adjourned to a pricey Fort Lauderdale restaurant for a group exhale. Then we got the report of Robinson's arrest, and a lot of expensive dinners got left on the table as we scrambled back to work.

William
"The Fridge" celebrates after his memorable touchdown run in Super Bowl XX.
9. The Refrigerator's touchdown run
Chicago Bears defensive tackle William "The Refrigerator" Perry scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge in the third quarter of Chicago's rout of New England in Super Bowl XX. No, not because some fat guy scored a touchdown, but because the game's best player did not score in that game. Bears coach Mike Ditka was too busy rubbing the Patriots' noses in it that he didn't give Walter Payton the chance to score that "gimme" touchdown. Payton was too classy an act to ever make an issue of it, but that slight bothered him for a long time. Ditka, who remained close to Payton until his death, ought to never forget it.

8. Stanley Wilson's overdose
Cincinnati Bengals tailback Stanley Wilson overdosed on drugs on the eve of Super Bowl XXIII. Most people will recall the last-minute touchdown pass by Joe Montana to wide receiver John Taylor to win the game for San Francisco. But any journalist assigned that week to cover the Bengals won't forget the 24-hour debacle with Wilson, and the manner in which Cincinnati coach Sam Wyche somehow collected his troops and nearly led them to an upset win.

7. Jackie Smith's drop
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith flat-out dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the Cowboys' loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl XIII. Maybe the Steelers would still have won the game but, had Smith held onto the ball when there wasn't a defender within 10 yards of him, the contest certainly would have been more compelling. Smith was a superb player, and now is in the Hall of Fame, but that drop had to haunt him for a long, long time. Roger Staubach tried to take some of the heat, correctly pointing out that the pass was about a half-foot toward Smith's shoulder, but it still should have been caught.

6. Super Bowl XVI
You never forget the first championship game you see in person so, in that regard, Super Bowl XVI is pretty memorable. It was played in the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., and the ice storm that descended on game day slowed traffic to a standstill. An hour before kickoff, many of us in chartered media buses were still stuck in traffic, so we abandoned the vehicles and slip-slided the final mile to the dome. Once inside, we were cordoned off in a too-small waiting area, like cattle, because the president was entering the stadium. Most memorable series? San Francisco linebacker Danny Bunz stuffing Bengals plays on third and fourth downs of a goal-line stand in a 26-21 victory by the young 49ers. Also notable: The Niners started three rookies, one of them named Ronnie Lott, in their secondary that day.

5. Joe Namath's guarantee
If you were a kid growing up in Western Pennsylvania, you idolized Namath. Of course, you really didn't believe he could author the upset, until he did it. Next to the 1958 NFL championship game, in which Baltimore defeated the New York Giants in overtime, Super Bowl III was arguably the most important football game ever contested.

Scott Norwood
Who could forget Scott Norwood's miss -- and Bill Belichick's game plan -- in Super Bowl XXV?
4. The final play of Super Bowl XXXIV
St. Louis linebacker Mike Jones stopped Tennessee wide receiver Kevin Dyson one yard shy of the potential game-tying touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIV. The Titans displayed so much gumption in rallying from a 16-0 third-quarter hole that even the most objective reporter really wanted to see an overtime.

3. The Doug Williams comeback
The Doug Williams-led 35-point explosion by the Redskins in the second quarter of Super Bowl XXII might have been the closest anyone will ever come to witnessing 15 minutes of perfection in championship game history. People sometimes forget that Denver led 10-0 and really had dominated that game until Williams, tailback Tim Smith and the "Smurf" receivers absolutely strafed the Broncos defense.

2. Super Bowl XXV
In what many feel is the greatest title game of the post-merger generation, the Bills' Scott Norwood pushed his 47-yard field goal attempt wide right in Super Bowl XXV against the Giants. But for me, the game is more memorable for the terrific defensive scheme drawn up by then-New York Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick to shut down the explosive offense of the favored Buffalo Bills in that contest. Because the game was played just a week after the conference title matchups, Belichick basically conjured up the game plan on the team's flight to Tampa, following a victory at San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game.

1. The Steel Curtain vs. Fran Tarkenton
I'll never forget the "Steel Curtain" front four of the Pittsburgh Steelers swatting pass after pass back into the face of Minnesota quarterback Fran Tarkenton in Super Bowl IX. The game was back before I started in the business and, as a 'burgh native, we reveled in great defense. And the Steelers certainly played it that day.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com