Jan. 25, 1987. New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20. The first-ever Super Bowl title for the New York Giants, thanks largely to the incredible 22-of-25, 268-yard, three-touchdown MVP performance from quarterback Phil Simms.
The record-setting performance led coach Bill Parcells to say “This might be the best game a quarterback has ever played.” No Giants fan will ever argue the point.
There have been other brilliant performances in the 24 years since Simms led the Giants amazing second-half route, overcoming a 10-9 halftime deficit to win easily. Last-minute comebacks, huge total yardage numbers. Not one as coldly efficient as the work Simms did that day in Pasadena. Over the years Parcells has pointed out that two of the three incomplete passes Simms threw that day were drops by Giants receivers.
Here is Simms discussing that Super Bowl in a CBS Sports video:
“What stands out to me, I think, is the way it unfolded,” Simms said in the video. "All that we thought, everything we thought they were going to do they actually did.
“The game played out almost exactly how the coaches thought it would.”
Thanks to the SI Vault, we can go back and look at the Super Bowl recap by the great football writer, Paul Zimmerman.
Here is part of what Zimmerman wrote:
Somewhere inside the mind of every quarterback there’s a 22-for-25 day, a day when every pass has eyes and every decision is correct. And for a showcase there’s a bright, sunlit stadium with more than a half-century of tradition, a place like, well, the Rose Bowl. There are 101,063 people in the stands to watch, and about 2,000 writers and broadcasters to tell people about it, and some 130 million Americans gathered around their TV sets to see what has been called the Ultimate Game.
That’s where the fantasy usually stays, inside, because nobody ever goes 22 for 25 in a game like the Super Bowl, not in this high-powered era with sophisticated defenses featuring shifting zones and blitzes and mixed coverages.
But let’s say there’s a quarterback who deserves this mythical kind of day, a quarterback who has spent eight years in the NFL being hammered by adversity and injury, who has heard the boos of the New York fans for as long as he can remember, a quarterback like the Giants’ Phil Simms.
On Sunday, Simms got even. The Giants crushed the Denver Broncos 39-20 in Super Bowl XXI, and Simms, the game’s MVP, personally carved them up with the best percentage passing day in Super Bowl history—in any NFL championship game ever, for that matter.
One thing for sure is that Simms will never again hear boos from Giants fans.