Countdown of the 20 Greatest Super Bowl’s: #3 Super Bowl XXXIV
#3 Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans
St. Louis Rams – 23
Tennessee Titans – 16
January 30, 2000
MVP: Kurt Warner, QB, St. Louis
Key Play: The Titans had just tied the game with a little over two minutes left. On the Rams’ next play from scrimmage, Kurt Warner hit Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown, which held up as the winning score.
Super Bowl XXXIV featured two unexpected teams, as Warner came out nowhere to lead the Rams to the top of the NFC, while the Titans, fresh off a name change from the Oilers, pulled off the “Music City Miracle” to advance past the wild-card round.
Despite both teams having dynamic quarterbacks, the first half did not feature much scoring. While the Rams out gained the Titans 294-89 in yardage, they had to settle for field goals and led 9-0.
In the second half, the Rams started to pull away by blocking a field goal, which led to a 9-yard touchdown pass from Warner to Torry Holt. However, Steve McNair answered with a scoring drive on the next possession, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Eddie George. After failing to convert a two-point conversion, the Titans trailed 16-6 near the end of the third quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Titans got the ball back and McNair led another long drive that again ended with a touchdown by George. Once more, Tennessee forced a three-and-out, and Al Del Greco kicked a 43-yard field goal to tie the game at 16-16. The comeback marked the largest deficit overcome in a Super Bowl, but it wouldn’t last long. On the next play from scrimmage, Warner hit Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown to put St. Louis up 23-16.
The Titans started their next and final drive with the ball at their own 12-yard line and 1:48 left. Making good use of his running ability, McNair brought the Titans to the Rams’ 10-yard line with six seconds to go. On the final play, McNair hit Kevin Dyson on a slant over the middle, just as they planned. However, Mike Jones, the previously unknown Rams’ linebacker, broke off his coverage of Frank Wychek to come up and make the tackle. Dyson stretched towards the goal line, but Jones had him wrapped up, and the Titans fell short at the 1-yard line.
The final play has become one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history, but a score would have only tied the game. The real key was Bruce’s touchdown because it put St. Louis back in front. Had the Rams instead punted the ball back to the Titans, Tennessee would have had a chance to kick a field goal for the win.