From the first Super Bowl to the 50th, players from Louisiana have left an indelible stamp on the biggest day in American sports.
Some of the game’s greatest moments and unforgettable performances have involved players from the Bayou State. Plays like Terry Bradshaw’s pass to Lynn Swann for Pittsburgh in Super Bowl X, the second-quarter scoring onslaught by Washington’s Doug Williams against Denver in Super Bowl XXII, and Eli Manning eluding tacklers to find the magnetic hands of David Tyree and help the New York Giants shock unbeaten New England in Super Bowl XLII.
There was even the play of plays for Saints fans — one Louisiana native doing in another as Port Allen’s Tracy Porter intercepted New Orleans native Peyton Manning and ran it back for a touchdown to sew up the Saints’ victory over Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV.
There has been other heartbreak, too. There was Jackie Smith’s dropped pass in the end zone for Dallas in Super Bowl XIII that could have spelled victory against Pittsburgh. There was Jake Delhomme’s gallant effort that just fell short against New England in Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Carolina Panthers’ first trip to the big game.
But they are memories all — five decades’ worth, bitter and sweet, and on rare occasions, both.
Super Bowl I: Jim Taylor (Baton Rouge, LSU) scores the first rushing touchdown in Super Bowl history, a 14-yard run in the second quarter for Green Bay against Kansas City.
Super Bowl I: Max McGee (Tulane) is considered washed up at 34, but leads all receivers with seven catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns in Green Bay’s 35-10 victory.
Super Bowl II: Willie Davis (Lisbon, Grambling) of Green Bay sacks Oakland’s Daryle Lamonica three times in the Packers’ 33-14 win. It would be tied for the Super Bowl record were it not for the fact the NFL didn’t start keeping Super Bowl sack records until 1983.
Super Bowl IV: Frank Pitts (Southern) has three carries for 37 yards and three catches for 33 yards in Kansas City’s 23-7 upset of Minnesota at Tulane Stadium, the first Super Bowl played in New Orleans.
Super Bowl IX: In the last of three Super Bowls at Tulane Stadium (the Superdome isn’t ready in time), Pittsburgh cornerback Mel Blount (Southern) intercepts Minnesota’s Fran Tarkenton deep in Steelers territory to preserve a slim 2-0 halftime lead.
Super Bowl IX: Terry Bradshaw (Shreveport, Louisiana Tech) throws a 4-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to Larry Brown to finally put away pesky Minnesota in a 16-6 win.
Super Bowl X: Bradshaw completes just 9 of 19 passes for 209 yards, but one is Lynn Swann’s balletic 64-yard catch, and two are for Pittsburgh touchdowns in a 21-17 win against Dallas.
Super Bowl XI: Sammy White (Winnsboro, Grambling) catches five passes for 77 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tarkenton — but he absorbs a vicious hit from Jack Tatum and can’t help Minnesota escape a 32-14 mauling by Oakland.
Super Bowl XI: 36-year-old Willie Brown (Grambling) — “Old Man Willie” — returns a Tarkenton interception 75 yards to cap Oakland’s win.
Super Bowl XIII: Bradshaw leads Pittsburgh to a then record third Super Bowl title and earns his first MVP award, completing 17 of 30 for 318 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-31 win over Dallas.
Super Bowl XIII: Blount intercepts Dallas’ Roger Staubach in the second quarter for Pittsburgh, setting up the Steelers’ go-ahead touchdown.
Super Bowl XIII: Veteran Dallas tight end Jackie Smith (Kentwood HS, Northwestern State) drops a wide-open pass from Staubach in the end zone. Smith goes on to earn a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but it’s his only Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XIV: In the last of his four Super Bowl victories, Bradshaw again earns MVP honors, throwing for 309 yards and two TDs in a 31-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Super Bowl XIV: Larry Anderson (Louisiana Tech) returns five kickoffs for a 32.4-yard average, including a 45-yarder to set up Pittsburgh’s first touchdown by Franco Harris.
Super Bowl XV: Harold Carmichael (Southern) catches five passes for 83 yards, but his Philadelphia team is routed 27-10 by Oakland in the Superdome.
Super Bowl XVI: Late in the third quarter, Cincinnati running back Charles Alexander (LSU) catches a pass from Ken Anderson but is brought down at the 1 on third-and-goal by Dan Bunz. The 49ers hold on fourth down and win 26-21.
Super Bowl XVII: David Woodley (Shreveport), the only LSU quarterback to start a Super Bowl, opens with a 76-yard TD pass to Jimmy Cefalo for Miami. But Woodley throws for only 21 more yards the rest of the day as Washington wins 27-17.
Super Bowl XVII: Miami linebacker A.J. Duhe (New Orleans, LSU) intercepts Joe Theismann in the third quarter to preserve a 17-13 Dolphins lead, but the Redskins score two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the win.
Super Bowl XXI: Leonard Marshall (Franklin, LSU) sacks John Elway twice in the New York Giants’ 39-20 romp over Denver.
Super Bowl XXII: Eighteen plays. Five touchdowns. That’s the second-quarter onslaught Washington and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Doug Williams (Zachary, Grambling) unleash on Denver in a 42-10 rout. Williams, the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl, earns MVP honors for his efforts (18 of 29, 340 yards, four TDs).
Super Bowl XXII: Gene Lang (LSU) has five carries for 38 yards for Denver and catches one pass for 7 yards.
Super Bowl XXVI: Gerald Riggs (Tullos) has just 7 yards on five carries, but two are short TD bursts of 1 and 2 yards to help Washington build a 24-0 lead in a 37-24 win over Buffalo.
Super Bowl XXVIII: Eddie Murray (Tulane) kicks three field goals in Dallas’ second straight win over Buffalo, this by a 30-13 score.
Super Bowl XXXIV: Marshall Faulk (New Orleans) rushes for nearly 1,400 yards in the 1999 season for the St. Louis Rams but does his damage as a receiver in the Super Bowl. Faulk has five catches for 90 yards, including a 52-yarder in the 23-16 win against Tennessee, but just 17 yards on 10 carries.
Super Bowl XXXV: Brandon Stokley (Comeaux HS, UL-Lafayette) opens the Baltimore Ravens’ 34-7 rout of the New York Giants with a 38-yard TD pass from Trent Dilfer.
Super Bowl XXXV: New York WR Ike Hilliard (Patterson) has three catches for 30 yards and returns three punts for an 11.0-yard average, one of the Giants’ few bright spots.
Super Bowl XXXVI: Faulk rushes 17 times for 76 yards and catches four passes for 54 more but can’t help two-touchdown favorite St. Louis avoid a 20-17 upset loss to New England at the Superdome.
Super Bowl XXXVI: Otis Smith (New Orleans) intercepts St. Louis’ Kurt Warner and returns it 30 yards to set up a New England field goal.
Super Bowl XXXVI: St. Louis cornerback Aeneas Williams (New Orleans, Southern) has five tackles in the Rams’ defeat.
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Jake Delhomme (Lafayette, UL-Lafayette) puts on a brave show — 16-of-33 passing, 323 yards, three TDs — but can’t lead Carolina to victory on a 32-29 thriller against New England.
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Kevin Faulk (Carencro, LSU) rushes six times for 42 yards and catches four passes for 19 yards for New England.
Super Bowl XXXIX: Faulk rushes eight times for 38 yards and catches two passes for 27 yards in New England’s 24-21 win over Philadelphia.
Super Bowl XL: Ike Taylor (New Orleans, UL-Lafayette) returns an interception 24 yards to set up a Pittsburgh touchdown and has seven tackles in the Steelers’ 21-10 win over Seattle.
Super Bowl XL: Pittsburgh guard Alan Faneca (New Orleans, LSU) pulls right to make a crucial block that springs Willie Parker for a 75-yard third-quarter touchdown.
Super Bowl XLI: On a rainy night in Miami, Peyton Manning (New Orleans) finds Reggie Wayne (New Orleans) for a 53-yard TD pass to open the scoring for Indianapolis. Manning earns MVP honors, completing 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards in a 29-17 win over Chicago.
Super Bowl XLI: Rookie Joseph Addai (LSU) has a workhorse night in the Colts’ victory: 19 carries for 77 yards and 10 receptions for 66 yards.
Super Bowl XLII: It’s likely the greatest pass and catch in Super Bowl history: The New York Giants’ Eli Manning (New Orleans) eludes three sacks and finds David Tyree for 32 yards to the New England 24, the ball glued to Tyree’s helmet. Manning, who earns MVP honors throwing for 255 yards and two touchdowns, throws a 13-yard game-winning TD pass to Plaxico Burress with 39 seconds left.
Super Bowl XLII: Brandon Jacobs (Assumption HS) has 14 carries for 42 yards in the Giants’ 17-14 upset of New England.
Super Bowl XLIII: Ryan Clark (Marrero, LSU) has five tackles in Pittsburgh’s 27-23 victory over Arizona.
Super Bowl XLIV: Next to Billy Cannon’s punt return, it may be the most memorable play in Louisiana football history. With the Saints clinging to a 24-17 lead with 3:24 left, cornerback Tracy Porter (Port Allen) steps in front of a Peyton Manning pass intended for Wayne and returns it 74 yards for the clinching score in New Orleans’ 31-17 victory over Indianapolis.
Super Bowl XLIV: With the Saints trailing 10-6 at halftime, Chris Reis recovers Thomas Morstead’s onside kick at the New Orleans 42. Six plays later, Drew Brees throws a 16-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Thomas.
Super Bowl XLIV: Brees earns MVP honors, completing a then record-tying 32 of 39 attempts for 288 yards and two TDs.
Super Bowl XLIV: In a losing effort, Manning completes 31 of 45 for 333 yards while Addai rushes 13 times for 77 yards (including a 4-yard TD run) and catches seven passes for 58 yards.
Super Bowl XLV: Pittsburgh receiver Mike Wallace (New Orleans) has nine catches for 89 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown in a 31-25 loss to Green Bay.
Super Bowl XLV: Clark has eight tackles for Pittsburgh. Taylor adds four tackles.
Super Bowl XLVI: Eli Manning does in favored New England again. He completes 30 of 40 for 296 yards and a touchdown to again earn MVP honors in the New York Giants’ 21-17 upset of the Patriots.
Super Bowl XLVII: Jacoby Jones (New Orleans) ends the first half with a 56-yard TD catch from Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco then opens the second half with a Super Bowl-record 108-yard kickoff return for a score in a 34-31 win over San Francisco in the Superdome. Jones finishes with five returns for a 41.2-yard average.
Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore safety Ed Reed (Destrehan HS) has an interception and five tackles in the Ravens’ win.
Super Bowl XLVIII: Peyton Manning completes 34 of 49 for 280 yards and a touchdown, but his Denver team is strafed 43-8 by Seattle. Trindon Holliday (Baton Rouge, LSU) has five kickoff returns for a 21.0-yard average in the loss.
Super Bowl XLIX: Brandon LaFell (LSU) has four catches for 29 yards, including an 11-yard TD from Tom Brady in New England’s 28-24 win over Seattle.