Best Winning Celebrations In Super Bowl History

Written By Darren Cooper on January 12, 2022
Top six Super Bowl victory celebrations

The Super Bowl ends, but the Super celebration is just starting.

Millions of sports bettors in Ohio watch the Super Bowl each year, enjoying the game, the commercials, and sometimes, the halftime show.

But after the final whistle, a new show begins as the champion players and coaches rejoice in their victory. These moments are unscripted and provide a great look into the raw emotions of the winners. Oh, to have that feeling just once.

While we’re rooting for either the Bengals or Browns to make it to the Big Game, here’s a look at some of the best Super Bowl winning celebrations in history.

#1 The Gatorade shower

Of course, there is debate about just who originated the popular tradition of dousing the winning coach with the contents of the Gatorade bucket. Was it the Washington Redskins? Was it the Chicago Bears?

Whoever did it first, the custom took off with the New York Giants in the mid-1980s. Star Giants defensive tackle Jim Burt told Rolling Stone magazine that gruff Giants coach Bill Parcells tormented him during a week of practice, so Burt decided to retaliate by dumping a cooler over his coach’s head after a victory.

That splash became a team superstition and tradition after big wins. Parcells became the first coach doused with Gatorade after Super Bowl XXI when his team trounced the Broncos, 39-20.

#2 The Madden ride and fall

John Madden was a beloved football coach, broadcaster and video game icon. He was the coach of the Oakland Raiders for 10 seasons and guided the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1977.

As was the custom at the time, Madden was carried off the field by his players after the victory. But the story had a twist, one that Madden repeatedly told, including at his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2006.

“I was told it took like five or six guys to lift me up, then they dropped me. But that’s OK, because that was me and that was them. They aren’t going to carry me off. You carry him off for a while, boom! You dump him on the ground. But it was the happiest moment of my life.”

Video shows the players stumbling over photographers trying to get a picture and Madden collapsing in a heap. Madden turned it into a great story and it remains a great celebration.

#3 The tickertape angel

One of the more famous games in NFL playoff history saw the Raiders play the Patriots in the 2001 divisional playoffs. The game was played in thick snow and is remembered for the break the Patriots got on a fumble/incomplete pass by Tom Brady.

In the post-game celebration, Patriots long snapper Lonie Paxton celebrated by doing a snow angel in the fresh snow in the end zone, a story he told the Boston Herald in 2014.

Paxton took it to the next level when the Patriots won the Super Bowl that season. The NFL pumps in mountains of confetti in the colors of the winning team at the end of the Super Bowl.

Paxton took the chance to repeat his move, substituting confetti for snow. Now it’s become a common move for members of the winning team to do confetti angels.

#4 Drew Brees and son

Speaking of that confetti, it gets everywhere. Players take it home in bags as mementos. One of the best Super Bowl celebration moments in recent years was after the Saints won their lone Super Bowl over the Colts in 2010.

On the post-game stage, Saints quarterback Drew Brees held his son Baylen in his arms, savoring the moment, and leaning in to nuzzle the youngster. Meanwhile, Baylen’s eyes focused on the lights above and confetti streaming from the sky.

#5 Namath is number 1

Joe Namath did not invent Swagger, but he pretty much perfected it.

The Jets were big underdogs to the Colts in Super Bowl III. But Namath, the Jets quarterback, was undeterred and brashly guaranteed a win in the days leading up to the game. 

Thanks to a stout defense and the bumbling Colts, Namath and the Jets lived up to that guarantee, beating Baltimore, 16-7. The image of Namath running off of the Orange Bowl field with his right index finger in the air is one of the signature moments in Super Bowl history.

Namath is showing the world who is No. 1. No one ever did it better.

#6 “This one’s for John!”

The Denver Broncos were a Super Bowl punchline for America, losing four Super Bowls in 13 years. 

Enter John Elway.

The rifle-armed quarterback made the Broncos successful in his Hall of Fame career but came up short three times in his first three Super Bowl performances. 

Finally, Elway and the Broncos broke through with a 31-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. 

In the post-game celebration, then Broncos owner Pat Bowlen shouted upon being handed the Super Bowl Trophy, “this one’s for John!”

The rare show of emotion by an NFL owner acutely summed up the feelings of the fan base, relieved and thankful for Elway’s heroics.

Photo by uncredited / AP news
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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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