The Top 10 Super Bowls In California

Written By Darren Cooper on February 8, 2022 - Last Updated on August 22, 2022
Highlighting the ten best moments of Super Bowl's in California

Super Bowl LVI is back where it all started.

This will be the 13th time California has hosted a Super Bowl. And the first in SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers.  

The Rams will take on the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in Super Bowl LVI. It’s the second year in a row that a team is playing in the Super Bowl in its home stadium. Last year, it was Tampa Bay. That worked for the Bucs, who beat the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Rams are the moneyline favorites to beat the Bengals on multiple sportsbooks, including Caesars, DraftKings, MGM and FanDuel. The point spread is 4.5 and the over/under at Caesars is 48.5.

The big game is Sunday, and legislation could be on the way with California sports betting proposals coming together for a vote in November.

For now, here’s a look at the top 10 moments at Super Bowls in California.

#10: A steel dynasty

With all this talk about the Rams playing in Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI, it should be noted this is technically not the first time. The Rams played against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Rose Bowl in Super Bowl XIV.

The game saw the end of the NFL’s Steelers dynasty of the 70’s. Pittsburgh rallied to win its fourth Super Bowl title in six years with a 31-19 win. 

#9: Phil’s near-perfect day

Super Bowl XXI at the Rose Bowl wasn’t much of a contest, with the New York Giants taking apart the Denver Broncos 39-20.

But the stat line of Giants quarterback Phil Simms is still awe-inspiring. Simms went 22-25 for 268 yards and three scores. That’s about as good as a quarterback can be.

#8: Piracy 

Super Bowl XXXVII was all about coach Jon Gruden. He led his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, against his old team, the Oakland Raiders, in San Diego. It was a rout.

The Bucs ran back three interceptions for touchdowns. Gruden raced down the sidelines in step with his players. The 39-year old was the youngest to win a Super Bowl at the time.

#7: He’s all Mann

Peyton Manning (he’ll be in all the commercials Sunday) became the first quarterback to lead two NFL teams to Super Bowl titles when the Broncos beat the Panthers 24-10 at Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara.

Manning got the headline, but it was Denver’s defense that won the day. Star linebacker Von Miller (now a member of the LA Rams) was named MVP.

#6: First time

The first Super Bowl wasn’t even a Super Bowl. It was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game and was played at the LA Memorial Coliseum in 1967.

Seldom-used wide receiver Max McGee caught two touchdown passes for the Packers in a 35-10 win. After the game, Packers coach Vince Lombardi (whose name is now on the trophy for the winner) dissed the Chiefs. He said the AFL didn’t have teams good enough to compete against the established NFL.

#5: The El-icopter

Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway ended decades of frustration for Denver fans with one signature play. Elway scrambled for a first down on third-and-six from the Packers 12.

At Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, he was clobbered by two Packers and did a full 360 in mid-air. Elway’s guts sparked the Broncos to their first Super Bowl win.

#4: This quarter was 35

It’s simply the greatest single quarter of football any team has ever played in the Super Bowl. Washington quarterback Doug Williams returned from an awkward-looking injury to author a second quarter for the ages at Jack Murphy Stadium in Super Bowl XXII.

Williams threw four touchdown passes in the quarter (yes, in the quarter), including two long connections with Ricky Sanders. Washington scored 35 points in the quarter on their way to a 42-10 win over the Broncos.

#3: Perfection

There’s only been one NFL team to ever go through a season undefeated: The 1972 Miami Dolphins. They clinched a 17-0 season with a 14-7 win over Washington in Super Bowl VII at the Coliseum.

The game is better known for the fumbled/pass/screw-up by Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian that led to Washington’s lone score. Perfect deserves better.

#2: The Lett-down

Dallas was romping past the Buffalo Bills at the Rose Bowl in Super Bowl XXVII when Cowboys defensive lineman Leon Lett picked up a fumble. He took off down the sidelines with teammates around him. Lett held the ball down low, expecting to score a touchdown.

Somehow, Bills wide receiver Don Beebe sneaked through the pack. He swatted the ball from Lett’s grasp through the back of the end zone for a touchback. The play is known for two things: Lett’s showboating and Beebe’s resolve (despite his team being down 52-17).

#1: The diesel chugs on

A big, bruising running back is part of American football lore. And Washington running back John Riggins played the part to a T.

Riggins, nicknamed “The Diesel,” solidified his place in Super Bowl history with one of the game’s most dramatic plays at the Rose Bowl in Super Bowl XVII.

With his team down 17-13 and just over 10 minutes left, Riggins carried the ball on fourth and one from the Dolphins 43. He planted Dolphins defensive back Don McNeal and raced in for the go-ahead score.

Get in on Super Bowl action

Although sports betting in California is not yet legal, residents can participate in daily fantasy sports. DFS puts your passion and understanding of the sport into play, and there are several DFS platforms running promotions to get you started.

Photo by Uncredited / Associated Press
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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