The First 50 Super Bowls

How Football’s Championships Were Won


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SKU: 9781476670577 Categories: ,

About the Author(s)

The Super Bowl redefined American sports. Over the past half century, the NFL’s championship game has grown from humble beginnings to the biggest sporting event of the calendar year—an event that creates legendary stories, from Len Dawson’s conversation with the president to Jim O’Brien’s game-winning kick and Randy White’s post-game duet with Willie Nelson. Covering 50 Super Bowls, from 1966 through 2016, this book gives an insider’s view of each game, with recollections from the people who participated, many told for the first time.

Bibliographic Details

Ed Benkin
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 296
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7057-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3072-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi
Foreword by Mike Curtis  1
Preface  3
The First 50 Super Bowls
I—Plenty of Seats Available  5
II—The Last 30 for the Old Man  10
III—The Game That Changed the Game  14
IV—The AFL Gets Even  20
V—O’Brien Kicks the Cowboys  23
VI—This Year’s Champions  28
VII—Perfection  32
VIII—Miami Mastery  37
IX—Birth of a Steel Dynasty  41
X—Swann Soars for the Steelers  46
XI—The Raiders Reign Supreme  53
XII—Devastation by Doomsday  57
XIII—Battle of the Best  63
XIV—Stallworth Saves the Steelers  70
XV—Raiders Play the Wild Card  75
XVI—The 49ers Come Out of the Cold  81
XVII—Stinging the Killer Bees  86
XVIII—The Rout of the Redskins  92
XIX—Joe Cool Beats Dan the Man  98
XX—The Bears Shuffle to Greatness  103
XXI—A Giant Performance  110
XXII—Ambushed  115
XXIII—A Drive for the Ages  121
XXIV—Phenomenal 49ers  126
XXV—A ­Star-Spangled Super Bowl  131
XXVI—Capital Punishment  137
XXVII—The New Kids on the Block  142
XXVIII—Jimmy’s Last Roundup  148
XXIX—Nobody’s Backup  154
XXX—A Soap Opera with a Happy Ending  159
XXXI—The Lombardi Comes Home  165
XXXII—The Broncos Break Through  170
XXXIII—Going Out on Top  176
XXXIV—The Rams by a Yard  183
XXXV—Purple Reign  188
XXXVI—The Patriot Way  192
XXXVII—Gruden Gets the Last Laugh  198
XXXVIII—Last Team with the Ball Wins  204
XXXIX—Three Out of Four  210
XL—Finally One for the Thumb  217
XLI—Colts Wash Away Bears  222
XLII—A Giant Upset  228
XLIII—One for the Other Thumb  233
XLIV—The Saints and the City  238
XLV—Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood  244
XLVI—New York, New York  248
XLVII—Lights Out Performance  253
XLVIII—The Seahawks Freeze the Broncos  259
XLIX—The Butler Did It  264
50—Defense Wins Championships  270
Bibliography  277
Index  279

Book Reviews & Awards

“This is one case in which you can actually judge a book by its cover. Sports broadcaster Ed Benkin delivers exactly as promised in The First 50 Super Bowls. The author conducted more than 100 interviews with former players and coaches to present readers with an insider perspective on these fifty football games…recommended”—Choice

Author Interview

Review Fix chats with The First 50 Super Bowls author Ed Benkin, who discusses the book and why it’s a must-read for any hardcore football fan.

Review Fix: What inspired this book?

Ed Benkin: I always had a great passion watching NFL Films videos and always enjoyed watching the Super Bowl videos every year. Working in sports broadcasting and covering and NFL team, it tied in that I wanted to try and write a book and with the 50th Super Bowl coming up at the time, it seemed like the right fit

Review Fix: What was the writing and editing experience like for you?

Benkin: A lot of it was a labor of love, but it was also an enormous project. With 50 Super Bowls, I needed players and/or coaches on both teams in each game. I interviewed 102 former or current coaches and players. It was incredible to hear these men tell their stories after following what they had accomplished. The hard part was reaching everybody and also transcribing all of the interviews. Writing the chapters was actually the exciting/easy part because of all of the information and incredible stories that were told.

Review Fix: Did you learn anything you weren’t expecting?

Benkin: I was surprised and flattered how the players and coaches were so willing to open up about so many things that you would have never known. The purpose of the book was to do more than describe was you saw in the box score of the games and it went better than I could have ever imagined. The older players, in particular, were eager to tell their stories.

Review Fix: Favorite Super Bowl game? Why?

Benkin: Since the book is about the first 50 Super Bowls, I guess Super Bowl 52 wouldn’t count because it was after the book, but working as a Philadelphia reporter and covering the Eagles’ first Super Bowl win was a professional experience that may never be topped. As far as the first 50, Super Bowl 25 stands out. Having spent my childhood in Buffalo, it was the Bills’ first Super Bowl….and it was a one-point classic (even though it did not go Buffalo’s way). Factor in the patriotism with the Gulf War at the time and was one of the all-time great Super Bowl moments.

Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy this book the most?

Benkin: If people like to hear great stories, then you’ll like this book. I like to think it appeals mostly to the football fans but some of the stories told appeal to an even wider audience.

Review Fix:What are your goals for this book?

Benkin: To give people a chance to understand the story behind the games. Every Super Bowl has it stories (even the blowouts) so I wanted people to understand the games from a different perspective. I am also hoping it will be a chance for people to understand the significance of the Super Bowl…not just from a football perspective, but also from a cultural impact.

Review Fix: What’s next for you?

Benkin: The Eagles (and much of the rest of the Philadelphia sports world) continue to keep me busy at KYW and WIP in Philadelphia, but I would certainly love to do another book project…..maybe something that does not involve 102 interviews. Former Baltimore Colt Mike Curtis was a tremendous help with the book and did the forward for it, so I am thinking about the possibility of reaching out to him about a project concerning his life.

Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?

Benkin: Just what an honor and privilege it was to hear from so many great Super Bowl heroes and to learn more about their Super Bowls that I could ever dream of.