In the lead up to Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, The Sports Daily will be remembering some of the most iconic moments and players from Super Bowl history.
Our series starts with the longest plays in the impressive history of the NFL’s biggest game:
Longest Pass: Jake Delhomme to Muhsin Muhammad, Carolina Panthers (85 yards)
Jake Delhomme is widely remembered for his playoff meltdown in Jan. of 2009, when he threw five interceptions and the No. 1 seeded Panthers lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Divisional Round. But he’s also owner of the longest touchdown pass in Super Bowl history.
Delhomme gave the Panthers their first lead of Super Bowl XXXVIII when he bought time to his left and found Muhsin Muhammad behind the Patriots’ coverage for an 85-yard score—breaking the record previously held by Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman (81). Carolina took the lead, 22-21, but eventually lost to New England on an Adam Vinatieri field goal with four seconds left.
Longest Run: Willie Parker, Pittsburgh Steelers (75 yards)
Once one of the fastest running backs in the NFL, Willie Parker used his electrifying speed to give the Steelers a comfortable cushion early in the second half of Pittsburgh’s Super XL win over the Seattle Seahawks.
On the second play of the third quarter, Parker took a handoff from Ben Roethlisberger, made one cut back to his left and sprinted the rest of the way to the end zone for six points. The play covered 75 yards and gave the Steelers a 14-3 lead. Parker finished with a team-high 93 yards rushing, helping Jerome “The Bus” Bettis get his first and only Super Bowl ring.
Longest Interception Return: James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers (100 yards)
Three years after Parker’s long run helped the Steelers win a Super Bowl, James Harrison’s pick-six as the first half expired paved the way for a return of the Lombardi Trophy to Pittsburgh. Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals were driving for the go-ahead points of Super Bowl XLIII, but Harrison stepped in from of Warner’s pass at the goal line and returned the interception 100 yards for a touchdown.
The 275-pound linebacker rumbled through tacklers and only just found the end zone with zero time left on the second quarter clock. The stunning score gave Pittsburgh a 17-7 lead at half time, and the Steelers would eventually hold on thanks to some late-game heroics from Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes.
Longest Fumble Return: Leon Lett, Dallas Cowboys (64)
Remember this iconic play? Lett would rather forget it, but his scoop and near-score still stands as the longest fumble return in Super Bowl history. With the Cowboys drilling the Bills late in Super Bowl XXVII, Lett picked up a fumble from Buffalo quarterback Frank Reich and began high-tailing toward the end zone.
He looked destined to score, but the big defensive lineman celebrated a little too soon. Bills receiver Don Beebe raced up behind him and knocked the ball away before Lett crossed the goal line, and a potential touchdown for the Cowboys turned into nothing more than a touchback. While Dallas still won by a 52-17 margin, Super Bowl XXVII is now remembered more for Lett’s mistake and Beebe’s hustle than anything else.
Longest Kickoff Return: Jacoby Jones, Baltimore Ravens (108)
Jacoby Jones established one of the more difficult Super Bowl records to break when he received David Akers’ second-half kickoff of Super Bowl XLVII and raced 108 yards for a touchdown.
The score gave the Ravens a 28-7 lead over the 49ers. Shortly into San Francisco’s ensuing drive, the power went out in the Superdome. You could say Jones’ return really sucked the life out of the building. Terrible puns aside, his 108-yard return figures to stand in the Super Bowl record books for a long time.
Longest Punt Return: John Taylor, San Francisco 49ers (45)
Here’s some useless trivia knowledge for you: There’s never been a punt return for a touchdown in Super Bowl history. In fact, there’s only been one return over 40 yards, and it came via John Taylor, who produced a 45-yard return during San Francisco’s win over the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII.
The return actually came on a play where Taylor misread the punt, which sailed well over his head. He fielded the ball at his own 9-yard line and made up the lost yardage with a long return. Maybe Ted Ginn or Jordan Norwood—the likely punt returners in Super Bowl 50—will finally provide a touchdown.