Step back in time: What have past Super Bowls in Tampa looked like?

The Big Game

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — This year’s Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium is right around the corner, but this isn’t Tampa’s first rodeo when it comes to hosting the big game.

This year will mark the fifth time the City of Tampa has hosted the Super Bowl. It previously hosted in 1984, 1991, 2001 and 2009.

While it’s the city’s fifth hosting gig, it’s only the third Super Bowl that will be played at Raymond James. The 1984 and 1991 games were played at Tampa Stadium, which was demolished in the late 90s and replaced by Raymond James Stadium. The 2001 and 2009 Super Bowls were played at Raymond James, where this year’s game will also take place.

Here’s what the past Super Bowls in Tampa looked like:

Super Bowl XVIII: Jan. 22, 1984

The defending Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins of the NFC went up against the AFC champion Los Angeles Raiders at Tampa Stadium on Jan. 22, 1984. Super Bowl XVIII marked Tampa’s first time hosting a Super Bowl.

Washington was favored to win the game, but the Raiders defeated the Redskins 38-9. Raiders running back Marcus Allen was named the game’s MVP.

There were 72,920 fans in Tampa Stadium for the game and more than 77 million viewers on the CBS telecast. The NFL posted the full game on YouTube in 2016.

Super Bowl XXV: Jan. 27, 1991

AFC champion Buffalo Bills faced off against the NFC champion New York giants on Jan. 27, 1991, in Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium. It was the second time the City of Tampa hosted the game and the second and final time the big game would be held at Tampa Stadium. Total attendance for the game was 73,813.

The game was played in the midst of a tense time in the United States – just more than a week after the nation led a coalition of countries in an aerial bombing in the Persian Gulf War. Security was tighter than normal and concerns were high. According to ESPN, there was even talk that the game could be moved to a later date or called off altogether.

The game marked the second Super Bowl appearance for the Giants. It was Buffalo’s first time making it to the big game and would mark the start of the team’s four-year streak of making it to consecutive Super Bowls without winning the championship.

The game ended in dramatic fashion. With 8 seconds left to play and Buffalo trailing by just one point, Bills kicker Scott Norwood kicked a 47-yard field goal attempt “wide right.” The Giants won 20-19, making it the closest final score of a Super Bowl ever.

The full game has been posted on YouTube by the NFL.

Super Bowl XXXV: Jan. 28, 2001

The New York Giants of the NFC faced off against the AFC’s Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28, 2001. While Super Bowl XXXV was the third Super Bowl held in Tampa, it was the first time the big game was played at Raymond James Stadium. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had played their final game at the old stadium in December 1997 before the new Raymond James Stadium opened.

The City of Tampa made it an even bigger celebration when it was decided the date of the annual Gasparilla pirate festival would be moved. The city decided to hold Gasparilla the Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday, drawing an estimated 750,000 people to the festival.

The Ravens went into the Super Bowl as the favorites to win and ended up defeating the Giants 34-7. Baltimore’s win denied New York the chance to get its third Super Bowl title. The Giants won their first championship in Super Bowl XXI in 1987 and won a second title at Tampa Stadium when they won Super Bowl XXV in 1991.

According to TampaBaySports.org, Baltimore held the Giants to just 152 yards. New York scored its single touchdown on a kickoff return.

The game was attended by 71,921 people. The NFL has posted the full game on YouTube.

Super Bowl XLIII: Feb. 1, 2009

The last time Tampa hosted the Super Bowl before 2021 was Feb. 1, 2009. Super Bowl XLIII featured a showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers of the AFC and the Arizona Cardinals of the NFC.

The game has been ranked among both the top 10 Super Bowl games and the 10 greatest games of all time.

Going into the game, the Steelers were the favorites to win. Pittsburgh defeated the Cardinals 27-23, earning the franchise’s record-setting sixth Super Bowl championship.

Pittsburgh wide receiver Santonio Holmes was named Super Bowl MVP after recording nine catches for one touchdown. The touchdown came from a six-yard pass made with 35 seconds left in the game, securing the Steelers’ four-point win over the Cardinals.

The full game is available on the NFL’s YouTube channel.

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