Super Bowl XXI – Broncos and Giants


The Denver Broncos 13-5 met the New York Giants 16-2 in Super Bowl XXI held in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in January of 1987.

The Broncos were coached by Mike Shanahan and had won just barely over the Cleveland Browns 23-20 asin old Municipal Stadium with light snow blowing in off the lake the Browns were ahead 20-13 with five minutesremaining in the game before Elway rallied his team 98 yards down the field to tie the game. Rich Karlis kicked a field goal to win it for Denver in overtime.

They were led by future Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway who passed for 3485 yards and nineteen touchdowns and running back Sammy Winder with 789 yards rushing and nine TD’s. Elway’s receivers were Mark Jackson 738 yards, Steve Watson 699 and GeraldWellsite with 529.

The placekicker was Rich Karlis who converted on 20 0f 28 field goals while the defense was led Karl Mecklenburg with 127.5 tackles and Mike Harden with six interceptions.

The Giants were coached by future Hall of Famer Bill Parcells who had restored the Giants’ franchise to its former glory of the late 1950’s and early 60’s.

He was a somewhat tough taskmaster who had been as assistant at Army when Bobby Knight was an assistant there in basketball and they held somewhat similar coaching theories.

The Giants were led by quarterback Phil Simms a former star at Morehead State who threw for 3487 yards and 21 touchdowns, running back Joe Morris 1514 yards and 14 TD’s and receivers Mark Bavaro 1001 yards, Bobby Johnson with 534 and Stacy Robinson 494.

Place kicker Raul Allegre made 24 of 32 field goal attempts and Carl Banks led in tackles with 113, Terry Kinard had 4 interceptions and nose tackle Jim Burt recovered three fumbles.

Future Hall of Famer right outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor led the Giants with 20 sacks and Leonard Marshall had 12 as the Giants’ defense had allowed only three points in their two playoff wins with “LT” being one of the most feared defensiveplayers in the NFL.

The Broncos got on the board first with a field goal by Rich Karlis from 48 yards before the Giants answered with a six yard TD pass from Simms to Zeke Mowatt. A John Elway four yard rushing TD closed out the scoring in the first quarter with Denver ahead 10-7.

The only scoring in the second quarter was a safety as George Martin tackledElway in the end zone and the Broncos lead 10-9 at the half.

Parcells must have made adjustments at halftime. In the second half the Giants scored 24 unanswered points to put the game out of reach 33-10 before Karlis kicked a 28 yard field goal.

The Giants scoring consisted of a TD by Mark Bavaro from thirteen yards on a pass from Phil Simms, a Raul Allegre field goal, a Joe Morris one yard TD run and a six yard scoring play from Simms to Phil MacConkey.

In the fourth quarter Ottis Anderson rushed for a 2 yard TD and Elway completed a TD pass to Vance Johnson for 47 yards and the final score was 39-20 with Phil Simms getting the game MVP award.

The Giants would be back four years later against Buffalo and Denver returned the next year against Washington.

By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate

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