The Super Bowl is known for the biggest players performing on the biggest stage. Names like Montana, Aikman, Brady, and Staubach made their careers by coming up big in the Super Bowl. What about the no-name players, the one-hit wonders if you may ask?
In the 56 years that the Super Bowl has existed, there have been plenty of players that seek an opportunity to perform and took full advantage of it. Players who used this one shining moment utilized it to help their careers to the fullest. Here are five players that became one-hit wonders at the biggest event in the NFL, the Super Bowl.
To Dallas Cowboys fans, Larry Brown is a legend and to Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raider fans, he is a pariah. The former TCU cornerback, Brown, was drafted in the 12th round of the 1991 NFL Draft, and he was given low expectations coming into the league due to being drafted in the later rounds. After being an average corner for a better part of his time with Dallas, Super Bowl XXX would be his moment to shine.
Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Larry Brown had three interceptions, including two in the second half in which the Cowboys capitalized into two touchdowns to win 27-17. Brown would receive MVP honors and used that award to sign with the Raiders in the offseason to a five-year, $12.5 million contract with $3.5 million guaranteed. After that season, he only played in 12 games with the Raiders and never lived up to the hype of being a Super Bowl MVP.
In Chris Matthews’ 22-game career, he only had 16 receptions and one touchdown. Before his biggest moment, he only had one other game with four or more receptions and his highest yardage total was 51 yards. Super Bowl XLIX, it all changed for Matthews.
In the game against New England Patriots, Chris Matthews caught five passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. Two incredible catches were his high point in the game and afterward, his star would fade quickly. Going from applying to Foot Locker to his biggest statistical performance in a Super Bowl, that is the epitome of a one-hit wonder.
Mike Jones is a former linebacker in the NFL, most notably playing for St. Louis Rams (Los Angeles). Jones spent time with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders in which he was the leading tackler in 1995 & 1996. In 1999, before Super Bowl XXXIV, Jones recorded one sack, four interceptions, and recovered two fumbles.
In the history books, Mike Jones is known for his tackle on then-Tennessee Titan Kevin Dyson, known as “The Tackle”. Besides this tackle, Jones only had three other solo tackles in this game. Forget about one big year, Mike Jones had one big play and it helped the Rams get their first Super Bowl title in history.
“The Helmet Catch.” The play has been replayed for years and it is one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. The wide receiver who caught the pass from quarterback Eli Manning was named David Tyree.
During Super Bowl XLII, Tyree had three receptions and 43 yards including the helmet catch in which he was draped by New England Patriot Rodney Harrison. After that play, Eli Manning would throw the game-winning touchdown to Plaxico Burress that would upset then 18-0 Patriots. Only one play made his career, but Tyree made the most of it and it helped end a near-perfect season.
Super Bowl XXII, the Washington Commanders (then Redskins) vs the Denver Broncos. In this game, it featured the first African American starting quarterback in Doug Williams who would go on to win MVP. While Williams received the MVP honors, running back Timmy Smith received his share of national attention after his performance in the game.
In the 42-10 victory over the Broncos, Smith rushed for a Super Bowl-record 204 yards and two touchdowns. After that game, Smith’s career turned for the worst, he tried to play with multiple teams but could not live up to the hype of that one special day. In 2005, he was arrested for conspiring to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
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