Football games are not for the faint of heart. While technically four 15-minute quarters, games typically last upwards of three hours. The Super Bowl, in all its fanfare, takes that to another level.
Between the halftime performance, advertisements and the occasional unexpected interruption, the Super Bowl is a full-day affair -- hence, Super Bowl Sunday.
Some years come with a bit more drama, extending the already lengthy game. Many of these matchups enter Super Bowl lore for one reason or another and sneak their way into the all-time greats list.
Here’s all you need to know about some of the best and longest Super Bowl matchups.
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What is the longest on air run time for a Super Bowl?
Game duration is a relatively new, and inconsistent, measurement at the Super Bowl but there’s very little debate about the longest ever matchup.
Dubbed the “Har-bowl,” this bi-coastal faceoff between brothers quickly earned a new nickname -- “Blackout Bowl.”
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After the Baltimore Ravens took a commanding 21-6 halftime lead, Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers returned from the locker room looking to gain ground in the second half of Super Bowl XLVII. Things went from bad to worse when Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff for 108 yards, a Super Bowl record for longest play. Down 22 points, San Francisco looked like it might need a miracle to pull this off. Then, something mysterious happened …or at least that’s what Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis would have you believe.
The power in the Superdome abruptly shut off for 22 minutes, suspending play. The next 34 minutes were a bizarre mix of elevator rescues, massive spikes in data and social media usage and the occasional cut to a player looking confused all behind a dimly-lit stadium.
San Francisco made the most of the remaining 13 minutes in the third quarter, rattling off 17 unanswered points. Unfortunately for the younger Harbaugh, Jim, these heroics proved too little, too late as the Ravens held on for a narrow 34-31 Super Bowl win, the second in franchise history. That game lasted a record four hours, 14 minutes from opening kickoff to final whistle.
Only one other game has clocked in over four hours -- Super Bowl XXXVIII featuring the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. After a slow offensive start for both teams, they brought it in the fourth quarter, combining for 37 points. With four hours and five minutes elapsed since the opening kickoff, Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri connected from 41 yards to give New England a three-point lead with four seconds remaining.
What was the quickest Super Bowl?
Drama doesn’t always have to take a long time, as proved by the shortest Super Bowl since duration was recorded in 2000.
A full hour shorter than the Blackout Bowl, Super Bowl XLIV remains one of the most famous Super Bowls of all time. Drew Brees led the Saints in a come-from-behind win over the Indianapolis Colts to win New Orleans its only Super Bowl trophy, all in the wake of a city still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina. He did so in an efficient style, wrapping things up in three hours and 14 minutes.
How many Super Bowls have gone into overtime?
Only once in its 55-year history has the Super Bowl required extra time to square up the score. This honor belongs to the Patriots, who came back from 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI at the half to tie things up at 28 apiece with less than a minute remaining. Despite requiring extra time, this game lasted a total of three hours, 47 minutes, well off the record.
While the regular season allows for an overtime, any tie not resolved at the end of the 10-minute period is chalked up to a draw. Only one game this season -- between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions -- back in November ended in a tie.
What is the highest-scoring Super Bowl?
The title for highest-scoring Super Bowl belongs to Steve Young and the 49ers in their victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. While the Chargers put up a respectable 26 points, the 49ers’ offense was prolific, scoring 14 points in each of the first three quarters. When the final whistle blew, the 49ers won 49-26 for a grand total of 75 points on the board. This was San Francisco’s fifth Super Bowl trophy, the most of any franchise at the time.
However, 49 points is not the most productive offensive performance by a team. That honor also belongs to the 49ers, five years prior with Joe Montana at the helm in Super Bowl XXIV. San Francisco posted 55 points en route to a 45-point rout of the Denver Broncos.
What is the biggest fourth quarter comeback in Super Bowl history?
Do we even need to rehash it? Super Bowl LI is the epitome of a comeback.
While the 28-3 halftime score has been etched in history -- much to the dismay of Falcons’ fans everywhere -- people may forget that the bulk of the work for the Patriots came in the final quarter, scoring 19 of their 25 comeback points.
Outside of that, the only other time a team came back from double digits in the fourth quarter was Super Bowl XLIX when the Patriots stormed back from down 10 to deprive the Seattle Seahawks of their second straight Super Bowl victory.