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Arizona Super Bowls historically make for a great game

Fans see big upsets, big comebacks and one of the most legendary catches of all time when the Super Bowl comes to Arizona.

ARIZONA, USA — On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs square off at State Farm Stadium for Super Bowl LVII.

This is the fourth time the Super Bowl has come to Arizona and nearly every Super Bowl played here has been a nail-biter.

With kick-off only days away, let's take a look at some of the action at past Super Bowls in the Valley.

Super Bowl XXX - 1996

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 28: Quarterback Troy Aikman #8 of the Dallas Cowboys leads his team in a huddle during Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sun Devil Stadium on January 28, 1996 in Tempe, Arizona. The Cowboys won 27-17. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Troy Aikman

Jan. 26, 1996, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, the favorite Dallas Cowboys faced off against a red-hot Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.

The Steelers had a slow start to the season at 3-5 at the beginning of week eight, but the team turned it around, winning eight of their next nine games and then two playoff games to get to the Super Bowl against the Cowboys.

The Cowboys recorded a 12-4 season ahead of the playoffs with Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aiken at the helm. They defeated the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers heading into the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XXX started off with Dallas firmly in control of the game, scoring 13 unanswered points between a touchdown pass from Aikman and two field goals.

Pittsburgh's QB, Neil O'Donnell, brought the game back within reach before the half with a TD pass to Yancey Thigpen, making the score 13-7 at the break.

The game went back and forth in the second half, but an interception from the eventual MVP winner, Larry Brown, would turn the tide for the Cowboys.

Pittsburgh was able to fight back from a 13-point deficit to bring the score to 20-17 in favor of Dallas before Brown made the tide-turning pick.

Legendary Dallas running back Emmitt Smith hammered the nail in the coffin, scoring the final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter.

The cowboys won by a final score of 27-17, but the game was much closer than the score revealed.

Super Bowl XLII - 2008

Credit: AP
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) stands next to New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce (58) during the Super Bowl XLII football game at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

The 2007-08 NFL season was full of rich storylines and two of the most compelling came crashing head to head in Super Bowl XLII at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

In a strange turn of events, the New England Patriots were playing for a perfect season, while the New York Giants were looking to become the first NFC wildcard team to win the Super Bowl.

The two teams faced off on Feb. 3, 2008, after some tough playoff games to get them to championship.

Tom Brady led the undefeated Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl appearance since his first in 2001. At the time, Brady had never lost a Super Bowl game.

On the other hand, Eli Manning was only in his fourth year in the NFL and leading a team that had just snuck into the playoffs at the wildcard spot.

Brady and the Patriots were 12-point favorites going into the game, but it was the Giants putting up the first points with the longest opening drive in Super Bowl history resulting in a field goal.

The Patriots would answer back with a drive of their own that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Laurence Maroney in the first play of the second quarter.

The two drives encompassed the entire 15 minutes of the first quarter, and set the pace for the rest of the game.

The second quarter was a scoreless back-and-forth with both quarterbacks fumbling and Manning throwing an interception.

At the end of the half, the Patriots led the Giants by a score of 7-3.

The third quarter was another defensive slog, with neither team able to get into the red zone, let alone score any points.

With the Patriots and Giants unable to get any flow on offense, it was a shock when Manning drove 80 yards for a touchdown in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.

With the Giants ahead 10-7, both teams went three-and-out before New England was able to string together several catches and runs for positive yardage to put them in scoring position.

Brady would connect with the legendary wide receiver Randy Moss on a six-yard touchdown to put the Patriots up 14-10 with only 2:42 left in the game. 

Now, the stage was set for what would become one of the greatest NFL plays of all time.

Manning and the Giants were about to pull off what some call the biggest upsets in professional sports.

With under three minutes left, Manning was able to put together some receptions and pick up a fourth down conversion before almost throwing an interception.

The Giants lined up for a third down at their own 44-yard line with only 1:15 remaining on the clock.

David Tyree's catch against his helmet on a play where quarterback Eli Manning escaped a raucous pass rush led to a New York Giants win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Manning dropped back after the snap and quickly found himself in trouble, narrowly escaping three tackles before squaring back and throwing downfield.

What happened next was a catch that looked impossible as David Tyree pinned the football against his helmet to maintain control and come down with the ball for a 32-yard gain.

Four plays later, Manning would find Plaxico Burress in the end zone to put the Giants up 17-14 after the extra point.

With only 29 seconds remaining, Brady attempted to keep the undefeated streak alive, but a relentless Giant's defense didn't allow the Patriots to gain a single yard before the final whistle.

Super Bowl XLIX - 2015

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (21) intercepts a pass intended for Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLIX. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots were back at the University of Phoenix Stadium to take on the Seattle Seahawks in another thriller on Feb. 1, 2015.

Both the Seahawks and the Patriots were first in their divisions and conferences heading into the playoffs.

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were back in the championship after defeating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tom Brady was also no stranger to the big game, returning for his record-breaking sixth appearance in the Super Bowl.

After a slow start to the game with a scoreless first quarter, both teams exploded in the second, scoring two touchdowns each.

Brady got things started in the first drive of the quarter, taking the ball into Seattle territory and eventually scoring with an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon LaFell.

Wilson and the Seahawks answered back with a long drive downfield that resulted in a touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch, tying the game at seven.

With only 2:16 seconds remaining in the half, neither team was ready to head to the locker room.

Brady drove 59 yards in six plays to score a touchdown with a 22-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski, making it 14-7 Patriots.

The Seahawks got the ball back on their own 20 with under 30 seconds remaining and were able to drive 80 yards for a touchdown.

The drive was capped off with an 11-yard touchdown pass by Wilson with only seconds left on the clock, putting the score at the half to 14-14.

The fireworks weren't over with Seattle taking the ball over 70 yards in the opening drive of the half. The Seahawks put up a field goal to take their first lead of the game at 17-14.

The Patriots would give up the ball on an interception on their next drive and Seattle capitalized on their mistake, driving for a touchdown to give them a lead of 24-14 before the end of the third quarter.

New England would take over the game in the fourth with a brilliant performance out of Brady.

Brady orchestrated two touchdown drives in the last 12 minutes of the game. The final drive took place with only 2 minutes left in the game, resulting in a touchdown pass to Julian Edelman to give the Patriots a 28-24 lead.

The Patriots finished out the game with 14 unanswered points and gave Brady his record-tying fourth Super Bowl victory.

Super Bowl LVII - What lies ahead?

If this Sunday's game ends up being anything like prior Arizona Super Bowls, fans are in for a treat.

Another couple of great storylines are converging in the Grand Canyon State this year and two great quarterbacks are set to make history.

12News SBHQ

12News is your home for all things Super Bowl LVII!

The Valley is expected to draw thousands of people to the Big Game – along with the many events and local attractions State 48 has to offer. 

In Phoenix, several events are planned including the Super Bowl Experience where families can enjoy free entertainment and the Super Bowl Music Fest

Scottsdale will be home to the Historic Old Town ESPN Main Street Tailgate and the Tailgate Time Machine block party. 

>> SBHQ: Check out the full 12News Super Bowl guide

In Tempe, the FanDuel Party at Tempe Beach Park on Feb. 10 will feature a carnival atmosphere with games, music and more.  

Meanwhile, Glendale will host the Super Bowl itself, and city officials told 12News Glendale has had the explosive growth it needs to match it

Visitors can expect roadway and parking improvements, top-of-the-line security, and a newly expanded entertainment district ahead – a project that's been years in the making.

No ticket for game day? No problem. Here’s where you can watch the Super Bowl. 

The Grand Canyon State is home to some beautiful scenery and spectacular weather, both of which make for great golfing and hiking. The 12News digital team has guides to help make your Valley experience GREAT.

Looking for a more low-key Super Bowl weekend? Here’s an introvert’s guide to avoiding crowds on Super Bowl weekend

And here are five interesting places in the metro Phoenix area that every out-of-towner should try to visit before departing after the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl LVII

Get all the latest news and updates about what is happening around the Valley for Super Bowl LVII.

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