There are plenty of heroic Super Bowl moments, created by superstars like Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.
But what about the quirky heroes, the guys who played a big part in Super Bowl wins, but aren’t necessarily household names. Here are five:
1. Max McGee, Hungover Hero
A 34-year old veteran who’d only caught four passes in the 1966 regular season, McGee figured he wouldn’t play much in the very first Super Bowl, so he broke head coach Vince Lombardi’s curfew and rolled in at 6am after partying all night with some flight attendants. As fate would have it, starting wide receiver Boyd Dowler got hurt on the third play of the game and McGee was thrust into the spotlight. Possibly (probably?) hungover, he scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history, and went on to catch six passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
2. Timmy Smith, One Hit Wonder
Imagine you’re a rookie, your first-ever start is in the Super Bowl and you end up setting a record that still stands today? Timmy Smith had been taking some snaps late in the 1987 season for injured running back George Rogers, but Redskins’ head coach Joe Gibbs rolled the dice and started Smith in the Super Bowl XXII. He responded by rushing for 204 yards – still a Super Bowl record – and two touchdowns as Washington crushed Denver. Two years later Smith was out of the league and would even do prison time for drug offenses.
3. Leon Lett’s Early Celebration
A three-time Super Bowl winner and an integral part of the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line, Lett is primarily known now for one infamous play in 1993. In Super Bowl XXVII, with the Cowboys cruising to a win over the Buffalo Bills, Lett recovered a fumble and was headed to the end zone for a sure touchdown. But he slowed down near the goal line to celebrate and Bills’ receiver Don Beebe chased Lett down and knocked the ball out of his hand just prior to scoring.
4. Moody Duane Thomas
After having his 1971 trade from Dallas to New England voided by the Commissioner, an unhappy Thomas returned to the Cowboys and refused to speak to coaches, teammates and the media for most of the season. He is famous for two quotes: (1) “If the Super Bowl is the ultimate game, how come they’re playing it again next year?” and (2) When asked “are you really that fast?” he replied “evidently.” Thomas, who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns during the regular season, had a great Super Bowl VI, rushing for 95 yards and a TD as Dallas blitzed Miami 24-3. Rumour has it he was voted MVP, but the powers that be didn’t want to give it to him, so it was awarded to Cowboys QB Roger Staubach.
5. Garo Yepremian’s Ill-Advised Pass
One of the first ‘foreign’ kickers in the NFL, Yepremian (of Armenian Cypriot descent) once left the field with his hands in the air, high screaming “I kick a touchdown.” Yepremian started his career with the Detroit Lions, but won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins in 1972 and 1973. He is best remembered for his ridiculous pass attempt after a blocked field goal that gifted the Redskins a touchdown in Super Bowl VII.