51 for LI: Super Bowl XXXIV, Ramming The Titans
[lead align=”default”]With only 34 days remaining until Super Bowl LI in Houston, we turn our recollections to a game in Atlanta. That was Super Bowl XXXIV, the first played in the 2000s.[/lead]
The 1999 NFL season saw one team emerge as the best in the NFC: the St. Louis Rams. At 13-3, and with big-time talent on the offensive side of the ball, including Marshall Faulk, the Rams cruised through most of the season and won the conference championship. This was under the guidance of coach Dick Vermeil and quarterback Kurt Warner. The latter was a no-name player entering the 1999 season, who became an NFL great.
They did not have the best record in the NFL, however: Tom Coughlin’s Jacksonville Jaguars did. Unfortunately for the Jags, the Tennessee Titans got the best of them in the playoffs, as well as the regular season. Tennessee pulled a very notable feat in beating Jacksonville three times in one year, and this propelled them to the Super Bowl. Having Steve McNair and Eddie George helped.
Super Bowl XXXIV: The Game
Unlike several of the games to come after it the following few years, this was indeed a good Super Bowl. What at first appeared to be a St. Louis blowout win became a very intense contest in the second half.
With 7:20 to go in the third quarter, St. Louis scored the first touchdown of the game on a Warner pass to Torry Holt. At 16-0, the Rams appeared in complete control, but they were not. Just seconds remained in the third quarter when Tennessee got on the scoreboard. This was thanks to an Eddie George run on a 12th play of a Titans drive, making it 16-6. Though they did not get the two-point conversion, they did get the next touchdown thereafter. This was another short Eddie George run, and the PAT made it 16-13 with about seven minutes to go in regulation.
Jeff Fisher’s defense stopped the Rams, and Tennessee got it back. Just prior to the two-minute warning, the Titans capped a short drive with a 43-yard field goal by Al Del Greco. A blowout no longer, this was a 16-16 ballgame.
Warner wasted little time striking back for St. Louis. On the first play of the ensuing possession, he found Isaac Bruce, who caught and ran for 73 yards and a go-ahead touchdown.
Super Bowl XXXIV: The Last Play
Tennessee got the ball back one more time and drove the length of the field. It looked as though the Rams’ defense was bending and breaking. Yet, only six seconds remained as Tennessee sat at the St. Louis 10. McNair had to go for the end zone.
From out of the shotgun, Steve McNair threw a pass to an open, slanting Kevin Dyson. As Dyson lunged for the end zone, Mike Jones tackled him at the one yard line, and time expired. The Rams were Super Bowl champions, and Tennessee would forever be “one yard short.”