Super Bowl 49: Ranking the most dramatic finishes

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  1. Super Bowl XXXVIII: New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29

Literally every Super Bowl the Patriots have played in during the Belichick-Brady era has ended in dramatic fashion, with all but one of them ending with just a three-point differential.

The game against Carolina, in Houston’s Reliant Stadium, was known in many ways for the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake halftime show gaffe. But the game on the field got equally wild.

The game started a bit slow as Jake Delhomme could not complete a pass to save his life early on, but the Panthers’ defense under John Fox, held the then more explosive Patriots offense at bay long enough to allow for John Kasay 50-yard field goal as time expired on the first half to get the Panthers within four of the favored Patriots.

The third quarter was about as slow as the first, with neither team registering a score, though New England’s final drive which carried over into the final stanza netted a two-yard scoring run from Antowain Smith and a 21-10 lead.

Delhomme then got extremely hot, hitting consecutive passes of 18 and 22 yards to Steve Smith before DeShaun Foster scored a 33-yard touchdown. The two-point try failed, making the score 21-16 Pats.

The Patriots moved the ball all the way down to the Carolina nine-yard line before a Brady pass was intercepted in the end zone by Reggie Howard. Two plays later, Delhomme hit Mushin Muhammad on a Super Bowl record 85-yard touchdown pass to give Carolina a 22-21 lead (they again failed on the two-point try).

The Patriots killed some clock, going 68 yards and scoring on a one-yard touchdown pass to linebacker Mike Vrabel before converting on their two-point try by using a trick play direct snap to running back Kevin Faulk.

Ricky Proehl, the man who almost ruined Super Bowl XXXVI for the Patriots, gave Patriots fans more hiccups, as he again tied the game against them, scoring from 12 yards out with 1:08 remaining. But it would again be Brady who got the last laugh, as he took advantage of an errant kickoff to drive the Patriots to the Panthers’ 23-yard line for Vinatieri to again play Super Bowl hero, as he booted the field goal through the uprights from 41 yards.

Next: The 1st Super Bowl ever to come down to the final seconds