Super Bowl XXXII Broncos 31 Packers 24

1st half Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman returned the opening kickoff 19 yards to the Green Bay 24-yard line.

On the third play of the drive, quarterback Brett Favre kept the offense on the field by completing a 13-yard pass to Freeman on third down and 9. Then running back Dorsey Levens rushed the ball on three consecutive plays, gaining 27 yards to advance to the Denver 35-yard line. Favre finished the drive with two completions to Freeman: the first one for 13 yards and the second one a 22-yard touchdown pass to give the Packers a 7–0 lead (the Packers were the third team to take the opening kickoff down the field and score a touchdown on that drive. The other two being Miami in Super Bowl VIII and San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIX).

The Broncos stormed right back with a touchdown of their own. Denver running back Vaughn Hebron returned the ensuing kickoff 32 yards to their own 42-yard line. Denver then drove to the Green Bay 46-yard line. On third down, a holding penalty on Packers defensive back Doug Evans nullified quarterback John Elway's incompletion and gave the Broncos a first down. On the next play, running back Terrell Davis ran the ball 27 yards to the 14-yard line. Then after a 2-yard run by Davis, Elway scrambled 10-yards to gain a first down at the 2-yard line. Two plays later, Davis capped off the 10-play, 58-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game (this was the first Super Bowl in which both teams scored TDs on their opening drives).

On the second play of the Packers next possession, Denver defensive back Tyrone Braxton intecepted a pass from Favre at Green Bay's 45-yard line. Aided by 5 runs by Davis, the Broncos marched 45 yards to score on Elway's 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter, taking a 14–7 lead.

Elway's touchdown play involved a fake handoff to Davis, who was previously taken out of the game during the drive because the onset of a migraine headache had severely impaired his vision. But head coach Mike Shanahan decided to send him into the game for the third down play, believing that the Packers would not be fooled by a fake handoff without Davis on the field. Davis later said his vision was so impaired that he was afraid Elway would call an audible at the line and try to hand him the ball.[citation needed] Despite his blurred vision, Davis perfectly executed the play and Green Bay defenders were fooled just enough to allow Elway to score. By the second half, Davis had taken migraine medication and his vision had returned to normal, allowing him to play the rest of the game.

On the Packers ensuing possession, Broncos safety Steve Atwater forced a fumble while sacking Favre, and defensive end Neil Smith recovered the ball on the Packers 33-yard line. Although the Broncos were unable to get a first down, kicker Jason Elam made a 51-yard field goal, the second longest in Super Bowl history, to increase Denver's lead to 17-7. Both teams went three-and-out on their next possessions, and Denver punter Tom Rouen's 47-yard kick planted Green Bay at their own 5-yard line with 7:38 left in the quarter. But Green Bay stormed down the field on their ensuing drive, marching 95 yards in 17 plays and scoring with Favre's 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Chmura with just 12 seconds left in the half. Thus by halftime, the Broncos held onto a slim 17–14 lead.

[edit] 2nd half

Green Bay kicked to Denver to start the 2nd half. On the first play after the second half kickoff, Green Bay defensive back Tyrone Williams forced and recovered a fumble from Davis at the Broncos 26-yard line. Green Bay's offense took possession deep in Denver territory, but Denver's defense forced a "three and out." However, Denver was called for an offside penalty on the field goal attempt following the three and out, giving Green Bay a new set of downs. Green Bay had 1st and 10 inside the Broncos twenty yard line, but again, Denver forced a second consecutive "three and out" and Green Bay had to settle for field goal from the 9-yard line. This series marked a "six and out" forced by Denver's Defense, tying the game at 17–17 on Ryan Longwell's 27-yard field goal.

Green Bay kicked off once again and Denver's offense stalled, forcing a punt, giving the Packers good field position again near their 40 yard line. But for a third consecutive time, Denver's defense forced a "three and out." On the ensuing punt, again Denver's special teams was called for an offside penalty, giving Green Bay a fresh set of downs near midfield. Once again, Denver's defense forced a "three and out" for a fourth consecutive time. Marking back to back "six and outs" by Denver's defense to begin the second half to keep the score tied at 17–17.

Later in the quarter, Green Bay punter Craig Hentrich's 51-yard kick pinned the Broncos back at their own 8-yard line. But the Packers defense could not stop Denver as they marched on a 13-play, 92-yard drive to regain the lead. Aided by a 36-yard reception by receiver Ed McCaffrey, the Broncos advanced to the Green Bay 12-yard line. Then on third down, Elway scrambled for an 8-yard run and dove for the first down, a play in which he was hit so hard that he spun sideways through the air (This run has been later referred to as "The Dive"). Many consider The Dive as Elway's defining career moment and the defining moment of Super Bowl XXXII. Two plays later, Davis scored another 1-yard touchdown run, giving the Bronocs the lead, 24–17.

On the ensuing kick off, Denver's special teams player Detron Smith ran full speed into the wedge of the Green Bay blockers, forcing Antonio Freeman outside, to his left. Freeman was hit as he held the ball exposed running side ways and fumbled, Denver defensive back Tim McKyer recovered the ball at the Packers 22-yard line. Immediately the Broncos tried to capitalize on the turnover by trying to throw for a touchdown, a pass intended for Rod Smith as he ran a post pattern following a fake handoff and a roll out by Elway, but Packers safety Eugene Robinson intercepted Elway's pass in the end zone and returned it to the 15-yard line.

After the interception, the Packers marched 85 yards in just 4 plays, 3 of them receptions by Freeman, to tie it up once again 1:28 into the fourth quarter with Freeman's 13-yard touchdown catch. On the scoring play, Packers receivers Anotio Freeman and Robert Brooks ran a "criss-cross" pattern, with Antonio Freeman on the inside running towards the sidelines. Denver Defensive back Darrion Gordon hesitated as to which to cover and Farve hit Freeman for the score.

Both teams' defense tightened up, and the clubs exchanged punts twice. With Green Bay pinned at their own 10-yard line, Hentrich then kicked the ball 39 yards to the Packers 49-yard line with 3:27 left in the game. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Packers linebacker Darius Holland committed a 15-yard facemask penalty while tackling Davis on a 2-yard run, moving the ball to the 32-yard line. Two plays later, Elway completed a 23-yard pass to fullback Howard Griffith. A holding penalty pushed the Broncos back to the 18-yard line, but then Davis rushed 17 yards to the 1-yard line and the Broncos called a timeout. This left the Broncos facing second and goal with 1:47 left on the clock. The Packers had two timeouts remaining.

Packers coach Mike Holmgren told his team to let the Broncos score to maximize the time the Packers would have on the clock for a potentially game-tying drive. He admitted later that he had thought that it was first and goal rather than second and goal, crucial to clock management decision making on the play[3]. Davis did score his third rushing touchdown on second and goal, leaving 1:45 on the clock. The Broncos now had a one touchdown lead, at 31–24.

The Packers attempted one final drive to try to tie the game before the end of regulation and send the contest into overtime. Freeman returned the Broncos kickoff 22 yards to the 30-yard line, and the Packers advanced to the Broncos' 35-yard line with 1:04 left in the game with a pair of completions from Favre to Levens for gains of 22 and 13 yards on the next 2 plays. After a 4-yard pass to Levens, Favre's next 2 passes fell incomplete. Then on fourth down, Denver linebacker John Mobley broke up a pass intended for Chmura, enabling the Broncos to take the ball back and run out the clock for the victory.

[edit] Post-game

During the post-game victory celebration, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen held the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the air and said, "This one's for John," referring to the fact that Elway's long quest for a Super Bowl victory was finally complete. [2]

Elway finished the game with 12 out of 22 pass completions, for 123 yards and 1 interception. Elway became the sixth player to score touchdowns in three different Super Bowls, joining Lynn Swann, Franco Harris, Thurman Thomas, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Kurt Warner. He was also the Broncos second leading rusher behind Davis with 17 rushing yards and a touchdown on 5 carries. Terrell Davis is the only player to rush for three touchdowns in a Super Bowl, and the only non-49er to score three touchdowns in a Super Bowl. Roger Craig, Jerry Rice and Ricky Watters are the only other players to do so. Rice had 3 touchdown catches in two different Super Bowls. Davis' three touchdowns in the Super Bowl gave him a total of 48 points (8 touchdowns) during the postseason, an NFL record.

Levens was Green Bay's leading rusher with 90 rushing yards, and was their second leading receiver with 56 yards on 6 pass receptions. Both Freeman and Favre had outstanding performances for the second Super Bowl game in a row. Favre completed 25 out of 42 passes for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 1 interception. Freeman caught 9 passes for 126 yards, 2 touchdowns receptions, and also gained another 104 yards on 6 kickoff returns, giving him 230 total yards, the third highest total in Super Bowl history. Freeman also tied himself for second all-time in touchdown catches in Super Bowls with three, joining Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Cliff Branch. (Jerry Rice has the most with eight). He also became just the third player to have at least 100 yards receiving in back-to-back Super Bowls, joining Rice and Stallworth.

Denver became the first team to score on four one-yard touchdown runs in a Super Bowl. The Packers also became the third, and most recent, defending Super Bowl champion to lose the Super Bowl, joining the Dallas Cowboys (won Super Bowl XII, lost Super Bowl XIII) and the Washington Redskins (won Super Bowl XVII, lost Super Bowl XVIII).

Seven up

Showing more grit than prowess, John Elway executed a brilliant game plan in the Broncos' stunning Super Bowl win over the Packers

by Michael Silver

He spent 15 years pushing the physical limits of football, making jaws drop and decorating highlight clips with bursts of brilliance. Then, with one fearless thrust of his 37-year-old body late in the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXII, John Elway finally lifted himself and the Denver Broncos to the top. In the greatest Super Bowl ever, the pivotal moment, fittingly, belonged to one of the NFL's alltime greats.

For all the importance of coach Mike Shanahan's dazzling game plan, of running back Terrell Davis's MVP performance and of the game-ending stand by Denver's oft-slighted defense, it was Elway, with his self-described "three-inch vertical leap," who elevated himself into immortality and his franchise into the realm of champions with the Broncos' 31-24 upset of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.