Super Bowl XXXIV
Deadlocked with regular season records of 13-3, the NFC champion St. Louis Rams and the AFC champion Tennessee Titans descended upon Atlanta's Georgia Dome on January 30, 2000, to battle for the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XXXIV. St. Louis head coach Dick Vermeil, quarterback Kurt Warner future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (who had scored 12 touchdowns, rushed for 1,381 yards, and recorded a team-leading 87 receptions for 1,048 yards), and the rest of the team entered the Super Bowl in their first playoff appearance since 1989. Warner went from relative obscurity as a backup to Trent Green, who was injured in the preseason, to become the NFL's unanimous Most Valuable Player after completing 65.1 percent of his passes for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns. Dubbed the "Greatest Show on Turf", the Rams came to the game as one of the hottest teams, statistically, ever during the regular season. This included an offense that led the NFL in total yards gained (6,639), scoring (526 points), and passing touchdowns (42). Faulk had gained a record 2,429 total yards from scrimmage, becoming just the second running back (behind Roger Craig) in NFL history to gain over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. Veteran wide receiver Isaac Bruce was the top Rams receiver with 77 receptions for 1,165 yards and 12 touchdowns, while breakout rookie wide receiver Torry Holt had 52 receptions, 788 yards, and six touchdowns. The Titans, under Jeff Fisher and a team that included quarterback Steve McNair, running back Eddie George, and future Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews), had a different tale to tell, as they made their first Super Bowl in franchise history — despite being an inaugural member of the AFL — thanks to the NFL wild card. McNair had finished the season as the second leading rusher on the team with 337 yards and scoring 8 touchdowns. Meanwhile, George had a career high in rushing (1,304 yards), while catching 47 passes for 458 yards. Above all else, Super Bowl XXXIV is perhaps best remembered for having one of the most thrilling game-ending plays in gridiron history.
Fans were treated to a great defensive battle during the contest's first half, with the Rams scoring only three field goals en route to a 9-0 lead … despite having outscored the Titans in total offensive yards, 294–89. St. Louis tacked on a touchdown in the third quarter to take a 16-0 lead. Not to be outdone, the Titans scored an unanswered 16 points, tying the score with just over 2 minutes in regulation play. (That marked the largest deficit ever erased in a Super Bowl, and the first greater than 10 points). On the next drive, Warner nailed Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown pass, allowing the Rams to recapture the lead. With only six seconds left in regulation play, St. Louis and Tennessee were about to embark on one of the greatest plays in NFL history. After the Titans drove to St. Louis' 10-yard line, Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Tennessee wide receiver Kevin Dyson at the legs. Dyson tumbled forward; both players rolling forward as the wide receiver desperately outstretched his arm in the hope of scoring. The ball touched the ground inches away from the end zone … close, but not close enough for a game-tying touchdown … as St. Louis claimed a 23-16 victory. (The play has gone down in NFL lore as "The Tackle" and, perhaps more painfully for Tennessee fans, "One Yard Short.") Warner was crowned the game's MVP, with his 414 passing yards and 45 pass attempts (completing 24) without an interception becoming Super Bowl records. He also became the sixth gridiron star to receive both the NFL and the Super Bowl MVP awards, joining the prestigious ranks of Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, and Steve Young.