As dramatic as the Rose Bowl was, it didn't strike me as an all-time great game mostly because there wasn't much defense especially in the second half. Vince Young was great, but he runs a lot more like Donovan McNabb than Reggie Bush or Michael Vick - it's not the most graceful thing to watch - the other team just wasn't able to tackle him. I'm probably in the minority here, but the lack of defense made me feel the game wasn't all that intense - despite the drama and the enormous stakes. I'm not a college guy, so maybe there's something I'm missing, but whenever I watch college hoops, it usually seems MORE intense than NBA, while this game seemed less intense than a big NFL game.
In the end, the game wasn't that competitive in one important way - when one offense was on the field, it dominated the opposing defense. The offenses were very competitive, of course, but they don't directly play against each other. They just take turns. So instead of watching a competitive football game - where every play is an enormous struggle the outcome of which you're unsure of, you're watching a slam dunk contest between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins with each defense playing the role of the basket. Sure, I had no idea who would win the game, but drive by drive in the second half, you could pretty much know that the offense was going to come through.
To me in a truly great football game, there has to be competitiveness between all the units where you don't know whether the offense or defense will win the battle. And in games where one side dominates, it's usually better if it's the defense - that makes the offensive execution by one much more dramatic. In a shootout, waiting for one defense to hold isn't as exciting because it's up to the offense to execute, and a shredded defense holding once usually amounts merely to a lack of execution rather than anything incredible the defense does - it's the nature of football that an offense breaking through a great defense is exciting, while a defense holding for once isn't.