Here’s Why Super Bowl XLIX Was the Greatest NFL Championship to Date

There’s nothing quite like the Super Bowl. From the win-or-go-home stakes to the spectacle around it, it’s hard to recreate the stage these players appear on every February. No two Super Bowls are alike, which is part of the draw, but it also means that some tend to resonate more than others.

Super XLIX, which pit the defending champion Seattle Seahawks against the perennial favorite New England Patriots is an example of this. It just might have a case for the greatest Super Bowl in history.

The Seahawks’ 2014-15 season

With their Cinderella season the year before and the growing stature of Russell Wilson, the Seahawks entered the season with more expectations than they did the prior season. With Russell Wilson a year older, a prime Marshawn Lynch running the field, and the Legion of Boom even stronger, dreams of a repeat were within reason.

Wilson had another star season, completing 63% of his 452 passes for 3,475 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also showed an ability to rush the ball, getting 53 yards a game and six touchdowns on the season. The QB’s favorite target on offense, Lynch had the type of season that justified his “Beast Mode” nickname, rushing for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

The Seahawks boasted a league-best defense and a top-10 offense. Unfortunately for them, they also had a revitalized Tom Brady on the other side of the field come Super Bowl XLIX.

The Patriots’ 2014-15 season season

Brady was in prime form despite being 37 years old. Leading the Patriots to a 12-4 record, his arm was as good as ever. Although it’d been nearly a decade since the Patriots won the Super Bowl, they remained in contention nearly every year. This year showed a spark that the team hadn’t had since it went undefeated in the ultimately disappointing 2007 regular season. 

Rob Gronkowski was back to All-Pro form after spending part of the season coming off of the bench. The running core of Jonas Gray and Shane Vereen provided the team with a balanced effort along with the other backs. The Patriots had the fourth-best offense and eighth-best defense entering the postseason.

Super Bowl XLIX

The Super Bowl was an exciting, back-and-forth affair in Glendale, Arizona. After a scoreless first quarter, Brandon LaFell scored the first touchdown of the game off of teammate Brady’s pass. For the rest of the quarter, the two teams went back and forth, scoring two touchdowns each. Tied entering halftime, it looked like a down-to-the-wire affair.

The Seahawks came out in the third, but after allowing the Patriots to get back in the game, everything came down to the final play. This moment saw the Seahawks with the ball in prime position to win it all again with a TD. Carroll called a pass play rather than get it into Lynch’s hand. Wilson’s throw to Ricardo Lockette was intercepted. The play will live in infamy forever. 

The greatest Super Bowl ever?

Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots congratulates Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks after Super Bowl XLIX
Bill Belichick speaks with Pete Carroll after Super Bowl XLIX | Jim Rogash/Getty Images

People can reference many Super Bowls when discussing the best, but this particular championship helped define an era. A young up-and-comer faced off against the grizzled veteran. The score never got out of hand for either team, meaning every play was important to the outcome.

While the Patriots’ eventual comeback win against the Falcons or their loss against the Giants after going 18-0 may be as memorable, this was the most complete game in modern memory. 

With every new season comes a new chance at a classic, but sometimes it’s fun to reflect on the past Super Bowls. Who knows? Maybe Super Bowl XLIX will be dethroned by the upcoming game.