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List of Articles in this 1 Evangel:
Playing On God's Team (Cris Carter) Kurt Warner- Beyond The Hype
In The Huddle article (let's follow Christ) Jon Kitna- Believing Is Seeing (testimony)
Super Bowl Team Matches (Super Bowls 1-34) Take A Football Trivia Quiz

Editor's Journey

In the huddle

JAMAICA, N.Y. — Following a hard-fought football game, some television viewers are bewildered to see opposing players drop to one knee at midfield, join hands and bow their heads in prayer. Fans can’t comprehend how gladiators can collide on the gridiron for three hours and then, when the final gun sounds, kneel together like teammates.

But fans must look beyond the shade of players’ uniforms and recognize their common devotion to Jesus Christ. Regardless of what NFL jersey they wear, Jesus is their head coach. He’s with them on and off the field. And because of their relationship with Him, they also share the promise of eternal life in heaven. In other words, they’re on the same team.

When players gather to pray in the post-game huddle, they’re declaring to fans and teammates that there’s more to life than football. Football is a game that yields trophies and financial rewards; salvation through Jesus Christ is about receiving the gift of everlasting life.

The athletes featured in this magazine are among many in the NFL who have made a decision to follow Jesus. All-pros like Cris Carter, Kurt Warner and Bruce Matthews discovered that fame and money couldn’t bring them peace and satisfaction. They began searching for a greater purpose in life. And they found what they were looking for when they repented of their sins and entered into a relationship with Jesus.

You can make the same decision that many NFL stars have made. You can follow the ABCs of salvation and commit your life to Christ. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life" (John 6:47, NIV). Believing and serving Jesus is the most important decision you will make. And you’ll soon discover that having Jesus in your life is more valuable than a Super Bowl ring or the Vince Lombardi trophy.

— Hal Donaldson

Jon Kitna: Believing Is Seeing

By Mark Moring

It takes more than great athletic ability to play quarterback in the NFL.

It also takes a good grip on the intangibles — qualities such as coolness under pressure, a keen understanding of the nuances of the game and what coaches like to call "vision," a capacity to see and feel and intuitively know everything that’s happening on the field.

Jon Kitna, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, has that kind of vision. He can spot a barely open receiver down the field. He can feel a defensive end bearing down on his blind side. He can often, as a result of conscientiously studying films of opponents, predict what a defense might do in a given situation.

He sees it all as a professional. He saw it all in college, too, as an All-American at Central Washington University. Well, almost all. For a long time, Kitna missed the obvious, the very thing that stood right before his eyes, trying to get his attention in every way imaginable.


Kitna was too busy pursuing everything else — football, girls and parties — to notice. So God gave him a few blatant wake-up calls.

First, Kitna and a few friends got caught shoplifting at a local grocery store. They had enough money to buy the stuff, but they stole just for the thrill of it. Nevertheless, an arrest and a $500 fine weren’t enough to get Kitna’s attention.

Then, he ran off the road while driving drunk, nearly plowing into a telephone pole at 40 miles per hour. But even that brush with death didn’t get his attention.

"I was definitely making some bad decisions," Kitna says.

Finally, during his junior year in college, Kitna got the wake-up call he needed. After a heated argument with his longtime girlfriend, Jennifer, Kitna dropped a bomb: "I don’t know what’s going to happen between you and me," he told Jennifer, "but I need to find Christ."

The statement didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. One of Kitna’s former teammates at Central Washington, Eric Boles, had gone on to the National Football League and become a Christian. During an off-season visit with some old friends at Central — including Kitna — Boles shared his newfound faith.

And Kitna took note.

"After Eric got saved, he was a totally different person," Kitna says. "He had stopped doing all the things he used to do before he was a Christian. He was a changed man."

Still, Kitna wasn’t ready to take the leap of faith himself, at least not until he feared Jennifer might walk out and never come back.

"God used that incident to say, ‘You’re about to lose the best thing that’s ever happened to you,’ " Kitna says now. "That’s when I looked at Jen and said, ‘Man, I need to make a change.’ "

Now that God had his attention, Kitna figured he would start cleaning up his act — and then turn to Jesus. He shared his "plan" with Boles.

"I told him I was going to quit cussing and drinking and stealing and womanizing, and then I was going to get saved," Kitna says. "And Eric was like, ‘No, no, no. You don’t need to do all that. You can get saved right now. God wants you right where you’re at. Then He’ll make the changes.’ "

Boles suggested a simple prayer of salvation. Kitna said he would think about it.

A couple of weeks later, Boles asked Kitna if he had prayed to receive Christ as his Savior. Kitna said no. "Man," said Boles, "you really need to say that prayer."

"That night," Kitna says, "I was sitting on my bed, all alone in my apartment. And I just felt guilty. It was all over me. I thought, Here I am, the starting quarterback, with a great girlfriend, and all these things I should be happy about.

"But I wasn’t happy. I had no peace. I felt a burden. That’s when I got down on my knees and started praying. I believed who Christ was and that He died for my sins, and I wanted to accept Him as my Lord and Savior."

Then things really started happening. Kitna got a copy of My Utmost for His Highest, the devotional book by Oswald Chambers, and he started thirsting for God’s Word. Boles started a Bible study on campus, and Kitna began attending. So did Jennifer. Two months later, she became a Christian. Soon after that, they were convicted about their relationship. So they committed themselves to abstinence until their wedding day. In August 1994, 10 months after Jon had become a Christian and 8 months after Jennifer had made the same decision, they married.

Today, the Kitnas live in the Seattle suburbs with their two children, 3-year-old son Jordan and 2-year-old daughter Jada.

And today, Kitna sees things more clearly than ever. He only wishes he had seen the obvious sooner, but he’s grateful that God kept pounding on his door.

"While I was yet a sinner, while I was not acknowledging Him at all, God still protected me," Kitna says. "I just had to reach the end of my rope before I turned to Him."

Early in the 2000 football season Kitna lost his position as the Seahawks starting quarterback after struggling through the first month of the season.

The demotion to second-string was difficult, but Kitna keeps it in perspective. "I have security in Christ," he says. "All I have to do is worry about pleasing Christ and playing to an audience of one. I’m not playing for the approval of man. I’m playing for the approval of Christ."

Mark Moring is managing editor of Campus Life, a Christian magazine for high school students. He lives in Elburn, Ill.

Super Bowl Super Moments

By Ron Kopczick, Promotions Coordinator

Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10 — January 15, 1967 — Los Angeles, Calif.

History is about to be made, as professional sports in the United States is forever changed with the inaugural Super Bowl. But with only two-thirds of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum occupied for the First World Championship Game of the AFL vs. NFL, history is probably the last thing on the minds of the Chiefs and Packers. Although "only" 61,946 purchase $10 tickets to witness the game that will later be officially designated Super Bowl I, CBS and NBC televise the contest. CBS is the network of the National Football League, while NBC airs the American Football League. The networks paid $9.5 million to broadcast the initial four Super Bowls. Thanks to the television receipts, the winning Green Bay players take home $15,000 apiece, while the Chiefs each receive $7,500. The shares are records for an American team sport. Heavy favorites entering the game, the Packers hold only a 14-10 halftime lead before scoring three second-half touchdowns. One of the top quarterbacks of his era, Bart Starr is named the inaugural Super Bowl MVP, as he passes for two touchdowns and 250 yards.


Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14 — January 14, 1968 — Miami, Fla.

The Pack is back for one last hurrah, as Green Bay has little trouble winning its second Super Bowl with a 33-14 humbling of the Oakland Raiders. Tickets that couldn’t be given away a year ago in Los Angeles, are gobbled-up by 75,546 fans who pay $12 each to nearly fill Miami’s Orange Bowl. The turnout creates the first $3 million gate in the sport’s history. On the field, quarterback Bart Starr again helps the Packers turn a close first-half game into a convincing victory. After the first of two 23-yard touchdown passes from Daryle Lamonica to Bill J. Miller cuts the Packers lead to 13-7 with 6:15 left before halftime, Green Bay scores the next 20 points. Although Packers place-kicker Don Chandler scores 15 points on four field goals and three extra point conversions, Starr repeats as Super Bowl MVP. Not only is the game the finale for Vince Lombardi as Green Bay’s coach, but the Packers last Super Bowl appearance until 1997.


New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7 — January 12, 1969 — Miami, Fla.

As soon as New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, guarantees his team will win Super Bowl III over the heavily favored Colts, the jeers start. After all, Baltimore had finished the regular season 13-1 and demolished the Cleveland Browns 34-0 in the NFL title game. Besides, how could an upstart AFL team defeat a squad from the superior NFL in what was now officially recognized as the Super Bowl? Well, Namath throws for 206 yards, Matt Snell runs for 121 more, and the Jets defense intercepts four Baltimore passes. By the time the Colts get on the scoreboard, only 3:19 remains in the game. And the possibility of Baltimore scoring 10 more points before time expires is as likely as a blizzard blanketing the Orange Bowl by nightfall. For his visionary performance, that amazes the crowd of 75,389 and millions of sports fans across the nation, Namath is named Super Bowl MVP.


Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7 — January 11, 1970 — New Orleans, La.

Thanks to the Jets’ stunning upset the year before, the Kansas City Chiefs have the opportunity to take a final stand for the AFL and permanently even up the Super Bowl series at two games apiece. Prior to the start of the 1970 season, the 16-team NFL will absorb the AFL’s 10 franchises. The NFL will then split into a pair of 13-team conferences. Shaking off its loss in Super Bowl I, the Kansas City defense manhandles the Vikings by holding them to 67 yards rushing and forcing five turnovers. Behind the leadership of quarterback and game MVP Len Dawson, the Chiefs roll to a 16-0 halftime advantage. Kansas City accumulates nearly 300 yards in total offense against Minnesota’s famed Purple People Eaters. For the first time ever, the game draws more than 80,000 fans, who’ve paid $15 apiece to witness the closing, yet triumphant, chapter of the 10-year-old AFL


Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13 — January 17, 1971 — Miami, Fla.

Super Bowl V proves to be a game of significant firsts. It’s the first championship tilt between representatives of the American (Baltimore) and National (Dallas) football conferences within the reorganized NFL. In addition, it is the first Super Bowl to be played on artificial turf, the first to be decided on its final play, and the first to produce a Most Valuable Player who is neither a quarterback or a member of the winning team. It is also the first Super Bowl match-up between two original NFL franchises. Before the 1970 season, Baltimore was one of three teams moved by the NFL to the AFC. The Colts waste little time avenging their Super Bowl III loss to the Jets and the old AFL, by losing only twice during the season and rolling through the AFC playoffs. Although the aged Colts are expected to fall to the younger Cowboys in the Super Bowl, Jim O’Brien’s game-ending 32-yard field goal gives Baltimore the title. In a game marred by 11 turnovers, Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley is named MVP thanks in part to his two interceptions.


Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3 — January 16, 1972 — New Orleans, La.

Dallas’ futility is about to finally end. Since joining the NFL’s elite in the mid-60s, the Cowboys have never finished the playoffs on a successful note. At game time, the temperature in New Orleans’ Tulane Stadium is a sunny, but cold 39 degrees. Obviously not ideal conditions for the warm-water, uh, -weather Dolphins. The Cowboys rack up 252 rushing yards, while Dallas’ Doomsday Defense holds Miami to 185 total yards. Dallas, meanwhile, adds 119 passing yards thanks to a 12 of 19 performance by quarterback Roger Staubach, who makes his first Super Bowl start and is the game’s MVP. Before a record 81,023 fans, it is complete domination by the Cowboys who finally show the mettle to win the big game. Although Dallas will make three additional Super Bowl appearances during the 1970s, the defeated Dolphins will not lose again until the second week of the 1973 season. The game is viewed in approximately 27,450,000 homes, an industry record for a one-day telecast.


Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7 — January 14, 1973 — Los Angeles, Calif.

Manhandled by the experienced Cowboys the year before, the Miami Dolphins are more than battle-ready for Super Bowl VII. Never before has an undefeated team had the opportunity to cap its season with a Super Bowl victory, and the Dolphins won’t let their chance slip away. Washington, which gave up the fewest points in the NFC, holds Miami to just a pair of touchdowns. But it takes Mike Bass turning a fumble by Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian into a touchdown with less than 3 minutes left to go to put the Redskins on the scoreboard. In a game obviously controlled by the defenses, Miami safety Jake Scott is named the MVP for his two interceptions, one of which comes in the Dolphins’ endzone. Although tickets are 50 percent higher than the price of those for the inaugural Super Bowl six years earlier in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, a record 90,182 fill the venue this time.


Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7 — January 13, 1974 — Houston, Texas

Although the Dolphins lose twice during the 1973 season after going 17-0 a year earlier, many feel this Miami team is even better than its perfect predecessor. Among that group is Dolphins coach Don Shula. Before the first quarter is over, the Dolphins put together consecutive 10-play scoring drives to go up 14-0. Following a second period Garo Yepremian field goal that puts Miami ahead by 17, the Vikings attempt a comeback. However, a drive that begins on the Minnesota 20-yardline comes to an end when the Vikings fumble inside the Dolphins’ five. Essentially the game is over. Behind the running of Super Bowl MVP Larry Csonka, who amasses 145 yards on 33 carries, the Dolphins are too much for Minnesota. In fact, Miami quarterback Bob Griese attempts only 7 passes the entire game, the only Super Bowl played in the state of Texas.


Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6 — January 12, 1975 — New Orleans, La.

The mantle of futility once worn by the Dallas Cowboys is becoming the albatross around the necks of the Minnesota Vikings. Their showdown with the Steelers is the Vikings’ third Super Bowl appearance, but Minnesota is beginning to develop a reputation for poor performances in the big game. Super Bowl IX is no different. In a contest far more lopsided than the final score, Pittsburgh completely shuts down the Vikings, who are held to 119 total yards. If not for a blocked punt recovered in the Steelers’ end zone, the Vikings would be the first shutout victims in Super Bowl history. While Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense makes life miserable for Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who is downed for a safety and throws three interceptions, Steelers running back and game MVP Franco Harris rumbles for 158 yards and a touchdown. Minnesota is the first team with Super Bowl experience beaten by a franchise making its initial appearance. A sell-out crowd of 80,997 braves a wind chill of 22 degrees in Tulane Stadium.


Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17 — January 18, 1976 — Miami, Florida

In the brief history of the Super Bowl, there have already been two back-to-back winners. The Steelers are attempting to become the third. Although the past five Super Bowls have been one-sided, Pittsburgh knows it will have a challenge carving out its own piece of history. Dallas is the first wild card qualifier to reach the Super Bowl having won two road playoff games to take the NFC championship. Twice Dallas leads. But a tying touchdown erases the first Cowboys lead; a Roy Gerela field goal with 8:41 left in the game overcomes the second. Pittsburgh adds another Gerela field goal and a 64-yard touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to Lynn Swann. Dallas responds with a Roger Staubach scoring toss just before the two-minute warning. A Glen Edwards’ interception of a Staubach pass in the Steelers’ end zone finally seals the Pittsburgh victory. Swann, whose 161 receiving yards is a Super Bowl record, is named the game’s MVP.


Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14 — January 9, 1977 — Pasadena, Calif.

Inevitably, either the Raiders or the Vikings are going to win their first Super Bowl. It’s just a matter of whom. The Raiders finished the regular season 13-1, knocked off two-time champion Pittsburgh in the AFC title game, and are slight favorites to win the Super Bowl. The Vikings? Well, after losing their first three Super Bowls by a cumulative score of 63-20, some respect would be nice. After all, Minnesota has the best record in the NFL since 1970. But if the Raiders are impressed by the Vikings’ portfolio, the Pride and Poise Boys don’t show it. Oakland builds a 19-0 advantage before Minnesota finally scores with 47 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Vikings are down 32-7 before they score again as time is running out. Directed by quarterback Ken Stabler, the Raiders roll up a record 429 yards in total offense. Receiver Fred Biletnikoff, who catches 4 passes for 79 yards, is the game’s MVP. The first Super Bowl in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl draws a record 103,438.With their fourth Super Bowl loss, the Vikings establish a record for futility.


Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10 — January 15, 1978 — New Orleans, La.

Two years after losing a hard-fought tilt with the Steelers, the Cowboys and their Doomsday Defense are back. Having to deal with Dallas are the upstart Broncos. Denver shocks the NFL by finishing the regular season 12-2 and beating the last two champions, Pittsburgh and Oakland, in the AFC playoffs. Leading the Broncos are rookie coach Red Miller and castoff Cowboy quarterback Craig Morton. Dallas, however, is too much for Denver, as the Broncos commit eight turnovers. While the Cowboys have offensive weapons like Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Robert Newhouse, and Butch Johnson, Dallas defensive line mates Harvey Martin and Randy White share MVP honors. The 75,583 who witness the Cowboys roll to a 20-3 third quarter advantage pay $30 for the privilege of watching the first indoors Super Bowl. A record television audience of more than 102 million tune in.


Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31 — January 21, 1979 — Miami, Fla.

For the first time, the Super Bowl hosts a rematch of previous opponents, with the winners taking home a record third Vince Lombardi Trophy. After Terry Bradshaw’s first of four touchdown passes gives Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead, the Cowboys respond with two scores of their own within a 3-minute span. However, two more Bradshaw touchdown passes, including his second to John Stallworth, give the Steelers a 21-14 halftime advantage. After a Dallas field goal cuts the lead to four points, Pittsburgh scores 14 points during a 19-second span, thanks in part to a fumbled kickoff by the Cowboys, midway through the fourth quarter. In the game’s final 3 minutes, Dallas rallies on Roger Staubach’s second and third touchdown passes. However, a second Cowboys on-side kick attempt fails and the Steelers hang on. Super Bowl MVP Bradshaw completes 17 of 30 passes for 318 yards.


Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19 — January 20, 1980 — Pasadena, Calif.

Pittsburgh is attempting to establish itself as an NFL dynasty by winning its fourth Super Bowl in six years. But the Steelers have a formidable foe in the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, the Rams lead three times during the game. Finally, with just over 12 minutes left, the Pittsburgh takes the lead for good 24-19 on Terry Bradshaw’s ninth career Super Bowl touchdown pass. A Franco Harris score seals the victory with less than two minutes remaining. Although he throws three interceptions, Bradshaw is named the game’s MVP a second time, matching the achievement of Green Bay’s Bart Starr. Not only does a record crowd of 103,985 fill the Rose Bowl, the game is watched in 35,330,000 U.S. homes. The Rams’ first Super Bowl appearance follows the April drowning death of Los Angeles owner Carroll Rosenbloom.


Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10 — January 25, 1981 — New Orleans, La.

It’s been a long journey for the Raiders, who are attempting to become the first wild card team to grab a Super Bowl title after winning three AFC playoff games. Standing in Oakland’s way are the Eagles who have never appeared in the Super Bowl and last played for the NFL championship in 1960. But Philadelphia’s dream of victory is quickly extinguished as the more experienced Raiders storm to a 14-0 first quarter lead on two Jim Plunkett touchdown passes. The second is a record 80-yard pass to Kenny King. Plunkett, who completes 13 of 21 passes for 261 and is named the game’s MVP, teams up for a second time with Cliff Branch in the third quarter for the Raiders third touchdown and an insurmountable 21-3 lead. Helping stifle the Eagles offense is Oakland linebacker Rod Martin who intercepts three Ron Jaworski passes. Although ticket prices have jumped to $40, 76,135 fill the Louisiana Superdome.


San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21 — January 24, 1982 — Pontiac, Mich.

For the first time since 1969, both participants are making their initial appearances in the Super Bowl. And neither team was picked to be here. Both were 6-10 in 1980. No indication of where they would be a year later. Cincinnati rolled to a 12-4 mark, while San Francisco finished 13-3. The difference in records turns out to be the 49ers’ 21-3 victory in Cincinnati the 14th week of the season. Of course, who thought it would be a Super Bowl preview? In fact, the Bengals had to survive the AFC championship game played with a wind chill factor of -59 to reach Pontiac. It’s a good thing the first Super Bowl played in the northern U.S. is inside the Silverdome. Behind the arm of quarterback Joe Montana and the leg of Ray Wersching, the Niners jump to a 20-0 halftime lead. After the Bengals cut the lead to six, Wersching adds two fourth quarter field goals to put the game out of reach. Although Cincinnati quarterback Ken Anderson completes a record 25 of 34 pass attempts, Montana is MVP of a game played in front of 81,270 and watched by a record television audience of 110.2 million.


Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17 — January 30, 1983 — Pasadena, Calif.

For two months, from September 21 until November 20, not a single NFL game is played due to the first prolonged players’ strike in league history. Thus the regular season is cut to nine games and the playoffs expanded to a 16-team tournament. Survivors of the chaos are the Redskins who produce the best mark in the NFC at 8-1, and the Dolphins who win their three AFC tournament games by an average of nearly 17 points. Miami bolts to a 17-10 lead after two quarters, but Washington is just warming up. The Redskins take their first lead 20-17 as John Riggins rumbles 43 yards into the Miami endzone with 10 minutes remaining. Led by MVP Riggins, who amasses 166 yards on 38 carries, the Redskins roll up a record 276 rushing yards. On defense, meanwhile, Washington holds the Dolphins to 34 total yards in the second half. With 103,667 packed into the Rose Bowl and a record 40 million-plus homes tuned in, any lingering effects from the strike aren’t noticeable.


Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9 — January 22, 1984 — Tampa, Fla.

Having disposed of the Dolphins a year ago and rolling over the competition during a 14-2 regular season, the Redskins are picked by many to win their second consecutive Super Bowl. Considering Washington had racked up 541 points, lost only two games by one point each, and beaten the Raiders during the regular season, why not? Two words: Marcus Allen. After the Raiders defense and special teams help Los Angeles to a 21-3 halftime advantage, Allen makes sure the Redskins’ high-power offense isn’t able to mount a comeback. Allen, who rushes for a record 191 yards on just 20 attempts and is named the Super Bowl MVP, puts the game out of reach with two third quarter touchdowns. His second score is a 74-yard scamper. The Raiders hold John Riggins, who bulldozed Miami in Super Bowl XVII, to 64 yards. The first-ever title game in Tampa Stadium draws 72,920.


San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16 — January 20, 1985 — Palo Alto, Calif.

San Francisco is attempting to cap one of the most impressive seasons in NFL history. The 15-1 49ers scored a team-record 475 points while giving up an NFL low of 227. Ten 49ers are heading to the Pro Bowl. Plus, the Super Bowl is scheduled for the Niners’ backyard, Stanford Stadium. But San Francisco must deal with a 14-2 Miami team led by league MVP Dan Marino, the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards in a season. But after the Dolphins take a 10-7 first quarter lead, the rest of the game belongs to Joe Montana and the 49ers. The San Francisco quarterback wins his second Super Bowl MVP award after completing 24 of 35 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns. Two Roger Craig touchdowns sandwich a Montana 6-yard scoring run during a 21-point second quarter that gives the Niners a 28-16 halftime advantage. San Francisco, which puts the game away on Craig’s third TD, amasses a record 537 yards. Besides the 84,059 on hand, nearly 116 million make up the largest audience for a live televised program in the United States.


Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10 — January 26, 1986 — New Orleans, La.

Not to be outdone by the 49ers, the Bears have a season nearly identical to that of the 1984 NFL champs. Chicago, however, goes San Francisco one better when several Bears produce a music video, The Super Bowl Shuffle, while winning their first 12 games of the ’85 season. Only a loss in Miami spoils the Bears’ perfect season. During the playoffs, the Bears shut out New York and Los Angeles in their shuffle to the Super Bowl. Awaiting are the Patriots who had never won an NFL playoff game before winning three consecutive postseason road games to reach New Orleans. It has been a magical season for wild-card New England, but this is the Bears’ year. Although New England grabs the quickest lead in Super Bowl history on a Tony Franklin field goal 1:19 into the game, the Bears run off the game’s next 44 points. The Patriots are held to —19 yards in the first half and trail 23-3 at intermission. For his part in shutting down the Patriots, Chicago defensive end Richard Dent is the game’s MVP. While a less than capacity crowd of 73,818 witnesses the game, the television audience is a record 127 million.


New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20 — January 25, 1987 — Pasadena, Calif.

Thirty-one years have passed since the Giants won their last NFL title. The Broncos, charter members of the old AFL, have never won a league championship. Thus, someone is about to end years of futility. Thanks to the first-half performance of quarterback John Elway, 13 of 20 passing for 187 yards, Denver holds a narrow 10-9 lead after two quarters. But the Broncos could be up by more if they had only scored following a first-and-goal at the Giant one early in the second period. In the third quarter, Denver is only able to run 10 plays for a total of two yards and New York takes full control of the contest. In a 21-minute span bridging the third and fourth periods, the Giants outscore Denver 30-3. Giants quarterback Phil Simms grabs the spotlight from Elway with a record 22 of 25 passing performance for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Simms’ performance in front of 101,063 earns him the MVP award and the 17-2 Giants their first Lombardi trophy.


Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10 — January 31, 1988 — San Diego, Calif. Twelve months ago, the Denver Broncos would have been happy if Super Bowl XXI had ended at halftime. Oh what a difference a year can make. On Denver’s initial play from scrimmage, John Elway connects with Ricky Nattiel for a 56-yard touchdown. After a field goal on its next possession, the Broncos lead 10-0 and the first quarter isn’t half over. When the quarter ends, maybe Denver should work a deal and have Super Bowl XXII declared over. But this is pro football, where you play at least 60 minutes before claiming victory. After all, lightning won’t strike the Broncos twice. Right? And it doesn’t rain in Southern California. But 53 seconds into the second quarter, Doug Williams completes an 80-yard bomb to Ricky Sanders. When the deluge ends 13 minutes later, Williams has thrown three more touchdown passes and the Skins lead 35-10. This year, the Super Bowl is indeed over at the half. Although teammate Timmy Smith rushes for 204 yards and two touchdowns, Williams is named the game’s MVP for his 18 of 29, 340-yard performance. The 602-yards by the Redskins’ offense astounds the 73,302 who’ve packed Jack Murphy Stadium.


San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16 — January 22, 1989 — Miami, Fla.

Although the 13-2 49ers were the best team during 1987, a disappointing 36-24 first-round playoff loss to Minnesota ended San Francisco’s bid for a third Super Bowl title. Cincinnati, on the other hand, finished ’87 at 4-11. Thus, Super Bowl XXIII matches a team that should have been here a year ago, and one that staged a remarkable turnaround in winning the AFC Central with a 12-4 record. It’s also a rematch of the 1982 title game, when both teams made their Super Bowl debuts. Entering the game’s final quarter, the Cinderella Bengals lead the 49ers 13-6. But 57 seconds into the fourth, Joe Montana hits Jerry Rice on a 14-yard scoring pass and the game is tied for the third time. Nearly 11 minutes pass before Jim Breech kicks his third field goal to put the Bengals back in front and just over three minutes from an upset. However, the 49ers respond with a 92-yard drive that concludes with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Montana to John Taylor with 34 seconds left. Rice, who catches 11 passes for a record 215 yards, is the game’s MVP. The first Super Bowl staged in Joe Robbie Stadium draws a sell-out of 75,129.


San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10 — January 28, 1990 — New Orleans, La.

Two teams with opposite Super Bowl histories will play the first NFL Championship Game under new commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who replaced the recently retired Pete Rozelle. San Francisco is shooting for its fourth Super Bowl without a loss. Denver is trying to avoid losing a fourth title tilt by winning its first Super Bowl. The Broncos don’t stand a chance. In the NFC playoffs, the 14-2 49ers had ripped the Vikings and Rams by a cumulative score of 71-16. Led by quarterback Joe Montana, who completes 22 of 29 passes for 297 and five touchdowns, San Francisco scores a pair of touchdowns in every quarter. While its offense is lighting up the scoreboard, the San Francisco defense is sacking Denver quarterback John Elway six times and forcing three Broncos’ turnovers. The 49ers nearly triple Denver’s net yards on offense, 461 to 167. While Jerry Rice hauls in seven passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns, Montana gets the nod for his third Super Bowl MVP award. The attendance of 72,919 is the smallest since Super Bowl VIII in 1974.


New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19 — January 27, 1991 — Tampa, Fla.

Four years earlier, the Giants were trying to win their first championship in three decades. The wait has nearly been as long for the Bills, who last won a league title in 1965 with their second straight AFL crown. Although Buffalo has won their division three straight times, it takes a 51-3 thrashing of the Raiders in the AFC title game for the Bills to reach their first Super Bowl. By the middle of the second quarter, Buffalo leads 12-3. But soon the Giants’ game of ball control takes over. A Jeff Hostetler to Stephen Baker touchdown pulls New York within two in the waning seconds of the first half. The Giants then go on a 14-play scoring drive that consumes the first 9:29 of the third quarter as Ottis Anderson’s one-yard run puts New York in front, 17-12. Buffalo, which finishes the game with a record-low 19:27 time of possession, answers with Thurman Thomas’ 31-yard touchdown run eight seconds into the fourth quarter. Matt Bahr’s second field goal with 7:40 remaining gives the Giants their third lead of the game. Still, Buffalo has a chance to win the game on Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt with seven seconds left. His kick, however, sails right. Anderson is selected the game’s MVP for his part in the Giants’ victory.


Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24 — January 26, 1992 — Minneapolis, Minn.

After winning their fourth consecutive AFC East title, the Bills are back in a second attempt to win the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Buffalo must face a Washington team that lost only twice during the season by a total of five points. The Redskins then won their two NFC playoff games by a combined 65-17. By the time the Bills finally score on a Scott Norwood field goal three minutes into the second half, Washington already leads by 24. Although a Thurman Thomas touchdown cuts the Redskins lead to 24-10, Washington scores 13 more points in a five-minute span to put the game out of reach. Despite throwing two scoring passes in the game’s final minutes, Bills quarterback Jim Kelly is intercepted four times by the Skins. His counterpart, Mark Rypien, is named the game’s MVP as he completes 18 of 33 passes for 292 yards. Redskins Gary Clark and Art Monk each catch seven passes for 114 and 113 yards, respectively. A sell-out crowd of 63,130 pays $150 apiece to see the first Super Bowl played in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.


Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17 — January 31, 1993 — Pasadena, Calif.

Could things get any worse for the Buffalo Bills? A one-point defeat two years before, a lopsided 13-point loss a year ago, Super Bowl XXVII has to be better. And for a brief time it looks that way. Five minutes into the game, a Thurman Thomas touchdown puts Buffalo ahead, 7-0. But the Cowboys convert two turnovers by quarterback Jim Kelly into touchdowns 15 seconds apart as the first quarter winds down. It’s the beginning of the end for the Bills. By halftime, they trail 28-10. During their playoff game with Houston, the Bills staged the greatest comeback in NFL history when they erased a 32-point deficit to beat the Oilers in overtime. But Buffalo is in the process of committing nine turnovers, which Dallas turns into 35 points. Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman, who completes 22 of 30 passes for 273 and four touchdowns, is the game’s MVP. Before 98,374 fans in the Rose Bowl, Buffalo becomes the first team to lose three consecutive Super Bowls. A record U.S. television audience of 133.4 million also witnesses the game.


Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13 — January 30, 1994 — Atlanta, Ga.

The Cowboys are trying to make history, while Buffalo is trying to avoid it. Dallas is attempting to join Pittsburgh and San Francisco as the only four-time winners in Super Bowl history. The Bills, meanwhile, do not want to become the first team to lose four consecutive title tilts. Once again Buffalo grabs a first half lead and is up 13-6 at intermission. Once again the Bills fail to hold their advantage. And again, turnovers contribute to their demise, as two Buffalo miscues are turned into 14 second-half points by the Cowboys. Dallas has plenty of heroes. Troy Aikman completes 19 of 27 passes for 207 yards, Eddie Murray kicks three field goals, and safety James Washington causes one fumble, returns another for a touchdown, snares an interception, and records 11 tackles. The game’s MVP, however, is Emmitt Smith who rushes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The first Super Bowl played in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome draws 72,817 even though tickets are priced as high as $250. A record 134.8 million U.S. viewers tune in to see the tenth straight Super Bowl victory by an NFC team.


San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26 — January 29, 1995 — Miami, Fla.

For the first time in Super Bowl history, two California teams are matched up. But that’s where the similarities end. The 49ers are playing for an unprecedented fifth Super Bowl win. San Diego is making its initial appearance in the big game. Although it’s been five years since San Francisco played for the NFL title, the 49ers haven’t forgotten how to ignite their SuperB(owl) offense. Quarterback Steve Young tosses a record 6 touchdown passes as the Niners roll to a 42-10 third quarter advantage. Of Jerry Rice’s 10 receptions for 149 yards, three are for touchdowns. Running back Ricky Watters catches two of Young’s other scoring passes before turning a 9-yard run into touchdown number three in the third quarter. Overall, Young completes 24 of 36 passes for 325 yards and is named the game’s MVP. Quarterback Stan Humphries, who connects on 24 of 49 attempts for 275 yards, leads a valiant San Diego effort. The 49ers wrap up a 16-3 season before 74,107 at Joe Robbie Stadium.


Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17 — January 28, 1996 — Tempe, Ariz.

Both the Cowboys and Steelers are trying to emulate 49ers’ achievement from a year ago: win a fifth Super Bowl. But Dallas has never beaten Pittsburgh on this stage, having lost twice previously to the Steelers by four points. The Cowboys, however, have won two of the last 3 Super Bowls. Pittsburgh hasn’t represented the AFC since January 1980 when its Steel Curtain defense was feared throughout the NFL. Fittingly, perhaps, it’s the defenses that play the deciding role in this match-up. Although the Steelers hold the Cowboys to just 61 total yards in the second half, it’s the Dallas defense that helps ensure victory. Led by cornerback and game MVP Larry Brown, the Cowboys pick off three Neil O’Donnell passes. Brown’s second interception preserves a 20-17 Dallas lead with just four minutes remaining. Emmitt Smith, who is held to 49 total rushing yards, scores his second touchdown two plays later to seal the Cowboys’ win. The first Super Bowl in the Southwest draws 76,347 spectators and a record U.S. television audience of 138.5 million.


Green Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21 — January 26, 1997 — New Orleans, La.

Two teams on a mission. The Packers have not played in a Super Bowl in three decades. The Patriots are trying to erase the memories of a 36-point thumping by the Bears 11 years earlier. In the first quarter, the two teams combine for a record 24 points. After Green Bay jumps in front 10-0, Drew Bledsoe throws two touchdown passes in a four-minute span to put New England in front. But the Packers explode for 17 points in the second quarter for a 27-14 halftime lead, as Brett Favre passes 81 yards for one touchdown and runs two yards for another. Late in the third quarter, a Curtis Martin touchdown run pulls the Patriots within six points. However, Desmond Howard returns the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a Green Bay score. The two-point conversion gives the Packers a 14-point lead. During the fourth quarter, Bledsoe is intercepted a third and fourth time by Green Bay as New England is unable to cross midfield on four possessions. Howard, who returns four kickoffs and six punts for 244 total yards, becomes the first special teams player to be named Super Bowl MVP. Although ticket prices have risen to $275, 72,301 fans fill the Louisiana Superdome.


Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24 — January 25, 1998 — San Diego, Calif.

This is the tale of two cities. For Green Bay the Super Bowl has always been the best of times, for Denver the worst of times. The Packers are aiming for their fourth Super Bowl without a defeat; the Broncos are trying to win their first after four losses. When Green Bay opens the game with a four-minute, 76-yard touchdown drive, it seems the French Monarchy had a better shot at survival than the Broncos. But Denver’s Terrell Davis can carry the ball better than any descendant of Louis XIV. Davis’ first of three touchdowns helps the Broncos get even as Denver puts together a 10-play drive. In the second quarter, the Broncos go up 17-7. But Denver has never been able to sustain a Super Bowl lead. By the time the second half is 3 minutes old, the Packers have tied the game. As the third quarter winds down, Davis scores to put Denver back in front. But the Packers tie the game once more two minutes later. Finally, with 1:45 remaining, Davis caps off his MVP 157-yard rushing performance with touchdown number 3. Not only do the Broncos end their own futility, but stop the AFC’s 13-game Super Bowl losing streak before a Qualcomm Stadium crowd of 68,912.


Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19 — January 31, 1999 — Miami, Fla.

A year ago, the Broncos were a team that couldn’t win a Super Bowl. Now Denver is trying to become the first AFC team since the ’79-’80 Steelers to win consecutive titles. Although the Falcons finished 14-2, the 15-1 Vikings were expected to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. But the "Dirty Birds" knocked off host Minnesota in overtime to win the conference championship. If Atlanta has any first Super Bowl jitters they don’t show, as the Falcons taken an early lead on a Morten Andersen field goal. The Broncos, though, respond with 17 straight first-half points and will never trail again. Before the Falcons score their first touchdown on a 94-kickoff return by Tim Dwight with 11:01 remaining, Denver leads 31-6. The Broncos turn two Darrien Gordon interceptions into touchdowns as Atlanta produces just 13 points from seven drives that reach inside the Denver 30. Although Howard Griffith runs for two scores and Rod Smith catches 5 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown, Broncos quarterback John Elway is named the game’s MVP. In the final game of his storied career, Elway completes 18 of 29 passes for 336 yards.


St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16 — January 30, 2000 — Atlanta, Ga.

For the first seven weeks of the 1999 season, the St. Louis Rams were unbeatable. Then they met the Titans in Nashville, where Tennessee erupted for 21 first quarter points. Although the Rams rallied, the Titans held on for a 24-21 victory. Now, after both teams finish 13-3 and survive their respective conference playoffs, they meet again. The Rams’ high-powered offense, directed by quarterback Kurt Warner, dominates the first half. But despite rolling up 294 yards, St. Louis has to rely on three Jeff Wilkins’ field goals to take a 9-0 halftime lead. After failing behind 16-0 on a Warner to Torry Holt touchdown pass, the Titans finally awake from their mid-winter slumber. With 14 seconds left in the third quarter, Eddie George’s 1-yard run puts Tennessee on the board. Nearly eight minutes later, George scores his second TD. With 2:15 remaining, Al Del Greco caps the Titans 16-point comeback with a 43-yard field goal. Just 21 seconds later, however, Warner hits Isaac Bruce on a 73-yard scoring play and the Rams lead again. The Titans still have a chance as they move to the Rams’ 10 with 6 seconds remaining. However, on the final play of the game, Kevin Dyson is tackled on the 1-yard line after catching a Steve McNair pass. Warner, who wins both the Super Bowl and league MVP awards, completes 24 of 45 passes for 414 yards.

Sources: NFL.com, superbowl.com, The 1999 National Football League Record & Fact Book, McDonald’s® History of the Super Bowl, and the websites of NFL teams.

Quick quiz

Do you have what it takes to compete for a pro football trivia title? See if you deserve a tryout. Take this quiz.

1. A recent ESPN Sports Poll found that the Super Bowl is the most anticipated sporting event among Americans 12 and over. What event was a distant second?

A. Olympics
B. NBA playoffs
C. World Series
D. NCAA Men’s Final Four (basketball)
E. NFL playoffs

2. Before the 1950 season, the NFL absorbed three teams from the defunct All-America Football Conference. The 1949 champions of both leagues were then paired in a season-opening Saturday night game. Who were they?

A. Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles
B. Chicago Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers
C. Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams
D. Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions
E. Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers

3. How many teams were in the American Football League when it began play in 1960?

A. 10
B. 8
C. 9
D. 12
E. 11

4. The Super Bowl trophy is named after legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. With what team did Lombardi finish his coaching career?

A. New York Giants
B. Detroit Lions
C. Atlanta Falcons
D. Cleveland Browns
E. Washington Redskins

5. The last NFL championship game not leading to the Super Bowl was the January 2, 1966, contest between what teams?

A. Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers
B. Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers
C. Chicago Bears and New York Giants
D. Baltimore Colts and Cleveland Browns
E. Green Bay Packers and New York Giants

6. Of the following teams, which is the only one to have appeared in the Super Bowl?

A. New Orleans Saints
B. Detroit Lions
C. Arizona Cardinals
D. Cleveland Browns
E. Philadelphia Eagles

7. In the 1940 NFL Championship Game, the Chicago Bears shut out the Washington Redskins by the widest margin in league history. How many points did Chicago score?

1. 64
2. 59
3. 56
4. 73
5. 77

8. Which of the following former running backs never scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl?

A. Walter Payton, Bears
B. Franco Harris, Steelers
C. Tony Dorsett, Cowboys
D. Marcus Allen, Raiders
E. John Riggins, Redskins

9. The St. Louis Rams, winners of Super Bowl XXXIV, began their existence in what city?

A. Columbus, Ohio
B. Los Angeles
C. Cleveland
D. Anaheim, Calif.
E. Portsmouth, Ohio

10. What team owner suggested the name "Super Bowl" for the AFL-NFL World Championship Game?

A. George Halas, Chicago Bears
B. Carroll Rosenbloom, Baltimore Colts
C. Joe Robbie, Miami Dolphins
D. Lamar Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs

E. Charles Bidwell, St. Louis Cardinals



1. C — World Series; 2. A — Cleveland Browns & Philadelphia Eagles; 3. B — 8; 4. E — Washington Redskins; 5. B — Cleveland Browns vs. Green Bay Packers; 6. E — Philadelphia Eagles; 7. D — 73; 8. A — Walter Payton, Bears; 9. C — Cleveland; 10. D — Lamar Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs.

How do you rate?

0-1 correct: Training camp opens in six months. Better start getting in shape.
2-3 correct: We have a slot for you on the practice squad.
4-5 correct: How does special teams sound?
6-7 correct: You’ll be in the starting lineup next week.
8-9 correct: Pack your bags for the Pro Bowl.
10 correct: Congratulations! You’ve made the Hall of Fame.

Compiled by Ron Kopczick, Pentecostal Evangel promotions coordinator.


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As of February 11, 2010