OPINION: D.A.'s Top-5 greatest plays from Super Bowls in Arizona

David Tyree
Photo credit John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday will mark the fourth Super Bowl played out west in the Arizona desert. This is the third game in Glendale -- the first was after the 1995 NFL campaign, when the Cowboys and Steelers battled in Tempe. So with three games in the bank, let's count down the greatest plays from the Big Games in Arizona.

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No. 5: Jay Alford's sack (SB 42) -- The Giants' defensive front swarmed the undefeated Patriots during Super Bowl 42. New England had one of the most explosive offenses in league history, and Big Blue's defense completely shut it down. There were several sacks to pick from, but Alford's takedown of Tom Brady on 2nd and 10 with 24 seconds left in the game sealed the thrilling upset. Alford blew through New England's line like a dump truck and slammed Brady to the turf, hammering a nail into the Pats' championship hopes.

No. 4: Surprise Onside (SB 30) -- The Steelers trailed by 10 points to the Cowboys with just over 11 minutes left in Super Bowl 30. And that's when the daring Bill Cowher called for a "surprise onside" kick. The gamble paid off, as Pittsburgh recovered the ball. They used the momentum to drive down for a touchdown, and pull to within three points. Pittsburgh's defense then forced a Dallas punt, leading to a potential game-winning or game-tying drive. Sadly for the Steelers, Neil O'Donnell threw a crushing interception to Larry Brown.

No. 3: Jermaine Kearse's circus catch (SB 49) -- It'd easily be recalled as one of the best catches in Super Bowl history, had the Seahawks handed the football off to Marshawn Lynch at the goal line. Instead, it's in the dustbin of super memories. On 1st and 10, Russell Wilson lofted a pass down the near sideline that was perfectly covered by Malcolm Butler. The corner got a finger on it, and so did Kearse, fully extended. The acrobatic grab as Kearse is falling -- off his fingers, both legs, and into his hand -- inside the 6-yard-line was just amazing. It should've been Seattle's "helmet catch." It's still surreal to watch.

Malcolm Butler
Photo credit Rob Carr / Staff / Getty Images

No. 2: Malcolm Butler's pick (SB 49) -- The reason Kearse's catch isn't an all-timer is because of this play. Instead of pounding Beast Mode into the end zone, Seattle chose to throw the ball. Wilson's pass wasn't low enough, which allowed Butler to jump the route, pick it off, and clinch yet another title for the Patriots. The Seahawks' decision to throw at the goal line is still the worst play call in history. The moment began a series of events that led to the unraveling of their organization.

No. 1: The Helmet Catch (SB 42) -- One of the craziest, most memorable, most unlikely plays in NFL history. On a 3rd and 5, Eli Manning scrambles out of the Pats' grasp multiple times. Nearly dragged down, he heaves the ball to receiver David Tyree in the middle of the field. With just over a minute to play, Tyree somehow sticks the ball to his helmet and outwrestles Patriots veteran Rodney Harrison. The thrilling catch kept the Giants' drive alive, and it ended with a game-winning touchdown to Plaxico Burress. It's the seminal moment from one of the all-time upsets. The best play in Arizona Super Bowl history.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports