original article published at https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2021/01/26/super-bowl-55-raymond-james-stadium-history/
(CBS Local)- After last year’s Super Bowl in Miami, Super Bowl LV is heading about four hours northwest to Tampa and the home of the Buccaneers, Raymond James Stadium. It’s the third time that the NFL’s biggest game has been played at the stadium perhaps best known for the massive pirate ship in the north end zone. Ahead of the big day on February 7, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Kansas City Chiefs let’s take a look back at the two previous games held at the stadium and the best moments from those matchups.
Super Bowl XXXV- Baltimore Ravens 34 New York Giants 7
After the stadium opened in 1998, it didn’t have to wait long before hosting the big game with Super Bowl XXXV coming to town in January of 2001. The game itself is best remembered for the Ravens defense which, to this day, is considered one of the best units in league history.
Baltimore had absolutely punished offenses throughout the course of the 2000 season, holding them to an average of 10.3 points per game, tops in the league. Linebacker Ray Lewis was the star, finishing the year with 137 tackles, three sacks, three fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions. But, Lewis was far from the only hard hitter in a group that also featured free safety Rod Woodson, linebacker Peter Boulware, defensive ends Rob Burnett (10.5 sacks) and Michael McCrary (6.5 sacks) and shutdown corners Chris McAlister and Duane Starks.
The Giants defense was strong in its own right, ranking fifth in the league in scoring defense (15.4 PPG) and had veterans Jessie Armstead, Michael Strahan and Keith Hamilton holding down opponents.
The Giants came into the game riding high off a 41-0 blowout of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game and in the first half, their defense largely matched Baltimore’s, allowing just 10 points, trailing 10-0 at halftime.
In the second half, a wild sequence saw Starks pick off a Kerry Collins pass and return it 49 yards to make it 17-0. The Giants then got a 97-yard return touchdown on the ensuing kickoff to make it 17-7 and possibly inject a bit of life into the team. But, on the next kickoff, Ravens returner Jermaine Lewis ruined those hopes.
January 28, 2001: Jermaine Lewis returns kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown to give Ravens 24-7 lead in Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/iR18sRuEM6
— The Sports Index (@SportsIndex_) February 1, 2020
The Ravens would go on to win 34-7, holding the Giants to just 152 total yards and forcing five turnovers while sacking Kerry Collins four times. Lewis was named the Super Bowl MVP as the Ravens won their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Super Bowl XLIII- Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Arizona Cardinals 23
This game is perhaps best remembered for two Steelers plays that clinched the first Super Bowl win for Mike Tomlin and gave Pittsburgh its sixth title.
The first came as it looked like the Cardinals were about to score and take the lead for the first time in the game. With a first and goal from the 1-yard line, Kurt Warner dropped back to pass and didn’t see linebacker James Harrison dropping off the line of scrimmage. When Warner threw towards receiver Anquan Boldin on a slant, Harrison was right there to pick him off, heading the other way.
Throwback – SB XLIII
James Harrison picks off Kurt Warner and returns it 100 yards for the TD, with time expiring in the 2nd quarter….
It’s currently the 2nd longest play in Super Bowl history pic.twitter.com/6eJGf1fQT2
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) May 4, 2020
That 100-yard pick six made it 17-7 at the halftime break. The Steelers extended the lead to 20-7 with a field goal in the third quarter and held the Cards off the board. Heading into the fourth, it appeared that Pittsburgh was more than in control. But, Warner led Arizona back, connecting with Larry Fitzgerald to make it 20-14. A holding call in the end zone on Justin Hartwig gave the Cardinals a safety to bring the score to 20-16.
On the third play of the ensuing drive, Larry Fitzgerald made magic and put the Cardinals taking a short pass from Warner 64 yards to the end zone and putting Arizona up 23-20 with 2:47 left.
But, Ben Roethlisberger answered, leading the Steelers on an 8-play 78-yard drive that culminated in one of the best catches in recent memory.
On this date in 2009, Santonio Holmes' catch w/ :35 left clinched a Steelers win over Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII. pic.twitter.com/cPMpCGRAdt
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 1, 2015
41. TOE-DRAG SWAG
Feb. 1, 2009
Ben Roethlisberger finds Santonio Holmes in back of end zone with 35 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIII. Holmes gets both feet down, giving Steelers 27-23 win over Arizona.
Factoid: Holmes had 73 receiving yards on his team's 78-yard winning drive. pic.twitter.com/t61hvHznsa
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) July 26, 2019
Holmes, with nine catches for 131 yards and that touchdown, earned the MVP award as the Steelers pulled off the victory.
With Raymond James Stadium set to host its third Super Bowl since opening, here’s hoping that the game is a bit more like the last one held there than the first.
Super Bowl LV is set for Sunday, February 7 with kick-off at 6:30 p.m. EST on CBS and CBS All Access.