Most Memorable Moment in the History of Every NFL Stadium
What has been the most memorable moment in the history of every NFL stadium? If a city played host to the Super Bowl, then the most memorable moment might have involved two teams from different cities.
There are some stadiums that have seen less memorable moments than others, but that can obviously change over time. This presentation focuses on the current NFL stadiums of all 32 NFL teams. As an example, if you wanted to see if your favorite game from the Meadowlands or Wrigley Field was on here, that would be a different presentation.
In case you were wondering, we are focusing purely on professional football moments, as opposed to sold out rock concerts, visits from the Pope, college football, baseball games or converting the stadium into an outdoor hockey rink for the NHL.
If you are aware of a more memorable game played at the specific stadium in question, feel free to add your opinion in the comments section.
University of Phoenix Stadium (Arizona Cardinals)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The Arizona Cardinals play their home games at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. This stadium opened in August of 2006 and has a seating capacity of 63,030.
The most memorable moment for this stadium would have to be the furious drive that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning directed that allowed the Giants to score the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII. The date was February 3, 2008. The Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in a memorable Super Bowl for the ages.
The catch made by David Tyree of the Giants (see photo) when he was literally pinning the ball against his helmet will have to go down as one of the most remarkable catches in Super Bowl history.
Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
The Atlanta Falcons play their home games at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Seating capacity is 71,250 and it opened in 1992.
The most memorable moment in the history of the Georgia Dome has to be the final play of Super Bowl XXXIV, when Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson was stretching in vain to score the tying touchdown on the final play of regulation, only to come up less than a yard short. He was tackled by Mike Jones, and Jones preserved the Rams 23-16 victory.
The Falcons have also had some special moments, but that play in the Super Bowl is very special. It has been referred to as "The Tackle" or "One Yard Short." When a single play has been given its own moniker, you know that it is a memorable moment. It is one of the greatest moments in Super Bowl history.
M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
M&T Bank Stadium, located in Baltimore, Maryland, is the home stadium for the Baltimore Ravens.
In doing research on the Ravens, I was surprised to learn that the Ravens have only played four home playoff games in their team history. On the other hand, the Ravens have played 13 road games in the playoffs, meaning that the memorable postseason moments at M&T Bank Stadium are few and far between. Especially when you consider that the Ravens are only a .500 playoff team at home, winning two and losing two.
So for most memorable moment, I am opting to go with the Ravens 20-13 victory over the Houston Texans on January 15, 2012 in the divisional playoff round.
The Texans and Ravens offered up two of the top defenses in the NFL in 2011, and the Ravens held the Texans offense featuring Arian Foster and Andre Johnson to 13 points. Coming up with 20 points against the Texans strong defense was an impressive showing. Of course, it helped the Ravens that Matt Schaub couldn't play in the game, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this win qualified the Ravens for the AFC Championship Game the following week in New England.
Ralph Wilson Stadium (Buffalo Bills)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills play seven of their home games at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, and they play one home game per season at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.
For my money, the most memorable moment in the history of Ralph Wilson Stadium has to be the amazing comeback win the Bills pulled off against the Houston Oilers in the Wild Card Game on January 3, 1993. The Bills defeated Houston 41-38 in overtime, after trailing in the game 35-3 early in the third quarter. The Bills wound up going to their fourth-straight Super Bowl appearance in those 1993 playoffs, no doubt propelled by their amazing comeback win.
The Bills were led by backup quarterback Frank Reich on a furious comeback that actually saw the Bills take the lead 38-35 late in regulation, before Warren Moon led the Oilers on a drive in the final minutes that forced the game to go into overtime.
This game is simply known as "The Comeback" and has been called the greatest comeback victory in the history of the NFL.
As for the Rogers Centre, the most memorable moment would have to come from Week 8 of the 2011 season, when the Buffalo Bills shut out the Washington Redskins 23-0. The Bills defense just went ballistic on the Redskins offensive line, registering 10 sacks on the day. That was amazing, since the team only had 29 sacks for the entire year.
Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The Carolina Panthers play their home games at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers franchise began in 1995, and that year they played their games at Clemson while their stadium was being built.
The Panthers moved into their new home in 1996, and in their second year of existence the Panthers hosted the Dallas Cowboys in a divisional playoff game. The date was January 5, 1997 and that game is what I select as the most memorable moment at Bank of America Stadium.
Carolina beat Dallas 26-17, but then lost the following week in Green Bay for the NFC Championship title. For a young expansion team like the Panthers to defeat the mighty Cowboys, who still had Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith, it was clear that the Panthers had officially arrived in the NFL.
Soldier Field (Chicago Bears)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
The Chicago Bears play their home games at legendary Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
Going back in Bears history, there have been a total of four NFC Championship Games played at Soldier Field. The Bears won two and lost two of them. Although the NFC Championship Game from the 2010 season was memorable, where the Bears lost 21-14 to the Green Bay Packers and Jay Cutler (injured knee) couldn't play in the second half, I am going to go in a different direction.
Instead, I opt for the game played on January 12, 1986 when the Chicago Bears defeated the Los Angeles Rams 24-0, which advanced the Bears to Super Bowl XX, where they wound up winning their only Super Bowl title to date.
The Bears had a stifling defense that engulfed Rams star running back Eric Dickerson, holding him to only 46 yards on 17 carries. In fact, the Rams were only able to muster 130 total yards of offense, which is the main reason they were shut out.
Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The Cincinnati Bengals play their home games at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Bengals stadium was built in 2000, and since then the Bengals have hosted two playoff games at home, one in the 2005-2006 season (Pittsburgh 31-Cincinnati 17), and the other in 2009-2010 (New York Jets 24 - Cincinnati 14). Since the Bengals lost both games, we would classify those as more forgettable than memorable.
Instead, we will look for a regular season highlight, and for that we choose the game on September 27, 2009 when the Bengals edged the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20. In fact, the Bengals swept the Steelers that year, which is a noteworthy accomplishment.
In this game, Pittsburgh was winning 20-3, and the Bengals wound up scoring 20 unanswered points to win 23-20. Carson Palmer hit Andre Caldwell with a touchdown pass with 14 seconds left in the game to finish the comeback. The Bengals scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to end the Steelers' domination of Cincinnati. Pittsburgh had won the previous eight times in Cincinnati, so this was clearly a memorable moment.
Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland Browns)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Cleveland Browns play their home games at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. This stadium opened in 1999 and was built on the grounds where Municipal Stadium used to be.
As for memorable moments at Cleveland Browns Stadium, we have to fast forward through the first eight years because the Browns were never above .500 in their home games during that time frame. From 1999-2006, they went a collective 20-44 playing at home. In 1999, the Browns went 0-8 at home. Nothing like home cooking, eh?
But things started to turn around in 2007, when the Browns went 7-1 at home. For our most memorable moment, we are selecting a game from that season, played on November 4, 2007 when the Browns beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-30 in overtime. Ironically, they would go to win another overtime game by the same identical score two weeks later in Baltimore.
This game was memorable because it marked a three-game winning streak for the Browns (the first time they did that in six years per this recap of the game from ESPN.com). A number of players stepped up. Jamal Lewis rushed for four touchdowns, Kellen Winslow caught 11 passes for 125 yards and Derek Anderson passed for 364 yards. Too bad the Browns fans have to wait so long between memorable games.
Cowboys Stadium (Dallas Cowboys)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The Dallas Cowboys play their home games at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The new stadium was open for the 2009 season, so that means we only have the last three seasons to pick out the most memorable moment in Cowboys Stadium history.
During that time frame, the most memorable moment to me would have to be from Super Bowl XLV. The Green Bay Packers had just kicked a field goal to go up 31-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers got the ball after the kickoff with 2:07 left to play. All they had to do was drive the field and score a touchdown and they would be Super Bowl champions.
But the Packers defense rose to the occasion and forced the Steelers to turn the ball over on downs. From there is was easy for Aaron Rodgers to run out the clock, securing the Packers victory.
The Cowboys did enjoy one playoff win at Cowboys Stadium, beating Philadelphia 34-14 on January 9, 2010, but that Wild Card win doesn't measure in scope or magnitude to the importance of Super Bowl XLV.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver Broncos)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
The Denver Broncos home field is called Sports Authority Field at Mile High, in Denver, Colorado.
The Broncos current stadium opened up in 2001, when it was known as Invesco Field at Mile High. In trying to pick out the most memorable moment from 2001-present, we only have to go back to the last game played there, on January 8, 2012 when "Tebowmania" was still running in peak form in Denver.
That game of course was the playoff contest where the Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers (why are so many of these games featuring Pittsburgh losing?) 29-23 in overtime in the Wild Card Round.
Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a touchdown drive that tied the game at 23-all in regulation with less than four minutes left to go. On the first play in overtime, Tebow found a wide open Demaryius Thomas, and just like that, one play, 80 yards, touchdown, and a very fast ending to a playoff overtime contest.
Another reason for why this game is so memorable is due to all of the Tebow detractors that find fault with his throwing mechanics. Despite all of his flaws, Tebow rose to the occasion and passed for 316 yards in the game.
Ford Field (Detroit Lions)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan is the home stadium to the Detroit Lions which opened up in 2002.
From 2002 to present, the Detroit Lions have never had a home playoff game in Ford Field, but Super Bowl XL was played in this stadium. That game saw the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10. Even though that was a memorable game, I am going to go with what some people might consider an unusual pick.
The date was September 27, 2009. The Lions were playing host to the Washington Redskins. What was memorable about this game was that Detroit had just lost the week before, giving the team an inconceivable 19 straight losses, dating back to the end of the 2007 season. The Lions had gone 0-16 in 2008, and if they lost to the Redskins the streak would have hit an even more embarrassing 20-straight.
But the Lions defeated Washington 19-14 to end the streak. Matthew Stafford passed for 241 yards and led Detroit to 381 yards of total offense. The monkey was finally off of the Lions back. Two seasons later, they made the jump all the way to becoming a playoff team. But, I think the start for that push came from this game, when the Lions turned that corner.
Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers)
The Green Bay Packers play their home games at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which has been home for the Packers since 1957.
For the most memorable moment at Lambeau Field we have to go way back in time, all the way to 1967. That was the year that the infamous Ice Bowl game was played on New Year's Eve. Green Bay won the 1967 NFL Championship by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 21-17.
The game is memorable for a number of things. The wind chill factor brought the temperatures down to -70 degrees F/-57 degrees C. Players from both Dallas and Green Bay were playing with hands and feet that were suffering from frostbite.
Besides all of the famous players involved from both teams, this is also a memorable game because of the final drive that Bart Starr put together. Trailing 17-14 with less than five minutes remaining in the game, and everybody suffering from the elements, Starr was able to rally his team to drive down the field to the point that they had the ball at the Cowboys three-yard line. But the field was frozen at that end of the field and the Packers running back (Donny Anderson) was having trouble with the ice.
With only :16 seconds left in the game, Starr called a time out and the Packers gambled for the win by running a quarterback sneak over guard Jerry Kramer. If the play failed, the Packers had no way to stop the clock, which is why it was a huge gamble. Kramer got off a great block to give enough room for Starr to sneak over the goal line, and just like that you had the ending to a very memorable game.
photo courtesy of http://espn.go.com/travel/stadium/_/s/nfl/id/9/lambeau-field
Reliant Stadium (Houston Texans)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Houston Texans play their games at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. This stadium opened in 2002, so in the relatively short time period that it has hosted games, what is the most memorable game played here?
I am opting for the very first game in Reliant Stadium history, played on September 8, 2002, when the expansion team Texans hosted their in-state rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. I don't know what the odds were or how much of a chance anybody gave the start up Texans to defeat Dallas, but for anybody that either was at the game, or watched it on TV, there had to be a combination of shock, awe and disbelief that the Texans would wind up winning 19-10.
Quarterback David Carr led the Texans to the win as the Texans broke a tie at 10-all, by scoring nine unanswered points in the fourth quarter. There was now a new sheriff in town, so to speak. From the ESPN recap account of the game, they noted that there was a fan at the game with the following sign: "After just one game, the Texans certainly are men, not 'boys.''
Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Lucas Oil Stadium, also known in some circles as "the stadium that Peyton Manning built," is home to the Indianapolis Colts, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The stadium opened in 2008 and replaced the old RCA Dome.
Regarding memorable moments in Lucas Oil Stadium, we only have to go back to the last NFL game played there, which happened to be Super Bowl XLVI, where the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17. This was a repeat of the teams from Super Bowl XLII and the amount of drama and tension was probably equal for both games.
The Giants were able to pull off another upset of the Patriots thanks to the long sideline pass from Eli Manning to Mario Manningham and the "Hail Mary" pass from Tom Brady at the end of the game that fell harmlessly to the ground.
There were some memorable Colts games involving Peyton Manning since 2008, but none topped the spectacle of Super Bowl XLVI.
EverBank Field (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Vincent Laforet/Getty Images
The Jacksonville Jaguars play their home games at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. This stadium has been the home of the Jaguars since 1995.
To my way of thinking, the most memorable moment at EverBank Field had to be the playoff game on January 23, 2000, when the Jaguars blasted Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins 62-7. This game was memorable because it gave the Jaguars another chance to capture their first AFC Championship (they lost the first try in the 1996-1997 season), but it also marked the end of Dan Marino's career, as he retired from the NFL.
This game was all Jaguars all the time, and Jaguars fans had to like their chances for the following week against the Tennessee Titans at home. But you just never know what is going to happen from one week to the next. The Titans upset the Jaguars at home, 33-14 and the Jaguars are still in search of that first trip to the Super Bowl.
Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs)
Earl Richardson/Getty Images
The Kansas City Chiefs play their home games at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. This has been the Chiefs' home since 1972.
Ever since Kansas City moved into Arrowhead Stadium, they have failed to come away with an AFC Championship title. They had two AFL Championships in 1966 and 1969, but that happened before they moved to Arrowhead. In 1993, the Chiefs lost the AFC Championship Game to the Buffalo Bills.
For the most memorable moment at Arrowhead Stadium, I will select the overtime playoff win against Pittsburgh. The game was played on January 8, 1994 and the final score was Kansas City 27-Pittsburgh 24. Kansas City trailed 17-10 coming into the fourth quarter, but Joe Montana led the Chiefs to two touchdown drives. One was on a run by Marcus Allen, and the second on a touchdown pass from Montana that tied the game in regulation at 24-all.
Montana passed for 299 yards and the Chiefs rolled up 401 yards of offense. The Chiefs won it in overtime on a 32-yard field goal from Nick Lowery.
Sun Life Stadium (Miami Dolphins)
Mike Powell/Getty Images
Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida is home to the Miami Dolphins, the University of Miami Hurricanes and it will be the location for the 2013 NCAA BCS National Championship Game played next January. What is kind of different is how many name changes this stadium has received over the years.
So far, it has been called Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Land Shark Stadium and Sun Life Stadium. Got all that? The stadium has more names than the Dolphins have quarterbacks vying for the starting job.
The most memorable moment for this stadium (built in 1987) was the very first Super Bowl game played here (the stadium has hosted the Super Bowl five times so far), Super Bowl XXIII. That game featured Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers versus Boomer Esiason and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals were winning 16-13 with 3:20 left in regulation, and the 49ers were starting a drive from their own 8-yard line. Montana calmly led his offense on a 92-yard drive that took 11 plays to execute. Montana hit John Taylor with a 10-yard touchdown pass and the 49ers won the game 20-16. Montana passed for 357 yards in the contest.
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Minnesota Vikings)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
For now, the Minnesota Vikings are still playing their home games in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which has been the team's home since 1982. Prior to the Vikings' move to their current stadium, they made four appearances in the Super Bowl while playing out of the Metropolitan Stadium. They have made no appearances in the Super Bowl since.
Over that 30-year history in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the most memorable game I came up with was the 1998-1999 NFC Championship game. It was an exciting contest, which the Vikings lost to the Atlanta Falcons 30-27 in overtime on January 17, 1999.
The Vikings were in control of the game, as Randall Cunningham ran in for a score and threw a touchdown pass to Randy Moss. But Gary Anderson picked a bad time to miss his first field goal of the year. Atlanta then came back down the field and scored a touchdown in the final minute of regulation to send the game into overtime. Atlanta kicked a field goal in overtime to go to their first Super Bowl.
Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Gillette Stadium has been home for the New England Patriots since 2002. What has been the most memorable game in the history of that stadium?
The Patriots have enjoyed wild success during the time period in question (2002-present). While a strong case could be made for quite a few Patriots key victories, I am going to go with the game on January 20, 2008. That was the AFC Championship Game where New England defeated the San Diego Chargers 21-12. By winning the game, New England kept their perfect season alive with a record of 18-0 going into Super Bowl XLII.
Of course we all know that the New York Giants upset the Patriots in that Super Bowl, but the fact that the Patriots went 10-0 at home that season, and stood on the brink of perfection has to go down as one of the most memorable moments in Gillette Stadium history. The Patriots were an offensive machine that year, as Tom Brady was finding Randy Moss and Wes Welker with ease. They came so close to pulling off that perfect season.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans Saints)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The New Orleans Saints have been playing in the Superdome since 1975. The Saints have experienced some incredible highs and some incredible lows while playing there. Let's focus on the most memorable game in Superdome history.
Actually, there are two great games worth mentioning, and I am torn in trying to pick one over the other. One game involved the Saints, when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game 31-28 to advance to their first Super Bowl game. The game featured Drew Brees versus Brett Favre in a classic matchup of great quarterbacks.
The second memorable game in the Superdome was Super Bowl XXXVI, when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots upset Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams 20-17. That was really the start of the Patriots beginning their run as a dynasty team.
I can easily see how either game could be selected, but I will have to go with the Saints game over Minnesota as the most memorable. The Saints brought a lot of healing to the city of New Orleans with that win and taking the Super Bowl crown shortly thereafter.
Met Life Stadium (New York Giants and New York Jets)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Met Life Stadium opened up in 2010 and is the home to both the New York Giants and the New York Jets. With only two years of games to pick from, it clearly cuts back on the options for selecting the most memorable game at the stadium to date. At least we know that there will be one memorable game played here for sure, Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be the first Super Bowl played in the cold elements of February in an open stadium. This should make for an interesting championship game.
For the most memorable game to date, I isolated the two-game stretch on January 1, 2012 and January 8, 2012 as the best games so far. Both involved the New York Giants. The first game saw the Giants defeat the Dallas Cowboys 31-14, which allowed the Giants to qualify as a playoff team. Had the Giants lost that Week 17 contest they would have been out of the postseason. So, that win was huge for them.
The following week, on January 8, the Giants continued with their momentum by pounding the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 in the Wild Card Round, shutting out the Falcons high-octane offense in the process. That was the start of the Giants playoff run that would propel them to eventually winning Super Bowl XLVI, and represents the only home playoff game that was played in Met Life Stadium so far.
The victory over NFC East rival Dallas to make the playoffs (and save Tom Coughlan's job in the process) will be my choice for most memorable game to date.
O.co Coliseum (Oakland Raiders)
You Tube video of final minute of Heidi Game
The Coliseum, home to the Oakland Raiders, has been through some name changes over the years, and is now known as the O.co Coliseum. Opened in 1966, the stadium has been home for several different stretches. The original time frame was from 1966-1981, and then a second time from 1995-present.
Out of those two time periods, some very memorable games have occurred. My choice for the most memorable game has to be the "Heidi game", played on November 17, 1968. That was the most memorable game because it forced a number of operational changes to be made to the NFL and the networks covering the games. Few games in the history of the NFL have had greater impact on the game as a whole.
The situation was that the New York Jets (behind Joe Namath) were beating the Raiders 32-29 with less than a minute to play. NBC decided that it had to leave the contest to go to its regularly scheduled programming, which was the movie Heidi. Meanwhile, back at the Coliseum, the Raiders proceeded to score 14-straight points in the final minute of regulation to complete a stunning comeback win, 43-32.
NBC stations were flooded with phone calls, which ultimately resulted in the network's decision to let football games play to their natural conclusion, and other programming scheduled after the game would have to run on a delayed basis. For all of those reasons, the "Heidi Game" will go down as the most memorable game in Coliseum history.
Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia Eagles)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Lincoln Financial Field, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, became home to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003. This field has also served as the home to the Army versus Navy game for many years, which is one of the most moving and patriotic athletic events you could ever attend.
When Lincoln Financial Field opened, the Eagles were the toast of the NFC, as they enjoyed home-field advantage for both the 2003 and 2004 NFL seasons, hosting the NFC Championship game both years. In 2003, the Eagles lost to Carolina 14-3. But, the Eagles won the 2004 game, beating Atlanta 27-10, which then qualified the Eagles for Super Bowl XXXIX. The game was played on January 23, 2005.
Unfortunately, the Eagles lost to New England 24-21, so Andy Reid is still in search of his first Super Bowl title as coach of the Eagles.
We will nominate that NFC Championship Game from 2004 as the most memorable game in Lincoln Financial Field history. For one thing, it marked the fourth-consecutive NFC Championship game for the Eagles, who had lost each of the three previous times. Secondly, it paired up Donovan McNabb against Michael Vick, two quarterbacks that were in their prime. Not only that, but the game was played in frigid conditions, as the temperature was 17 degrees F/-8 degrees C. The wind chill made it even worse.
Philadelphia held Vick to 162 yards of total offense. The Eagles defense sacked Vick four times and shut out the Falcons offense in the second half, cruising to the 27-10 victory and winning that elusive NFC title.
Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Heinz Field in Pittsburgh has been the home of the Steelers since 2000. The field is also home to the University of Pittsburgh Panthers football team.
For the most memorable moment in Heinz Field history, there are two AFC Championship games played at the stadium, and the Steelers came away with a win in both games. The first was on January 18, 2009 when the Steelers defeated Baltimore 23-14. The next time was January 23, 2011, when Pittsburgh beat the New York Jets 24-19. The game against the Jets will be my choice for most memorable, but for some different and unique reasons.
If you stop to think about it, the Steelers probably should have lost this game. Ben Roethlisberger put on a clinic for all the things a starting quarterback shouldn't do if they want to win a championship game. He completed only 10 out of 19 passes for 133 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions. His Passer Rating was an anemic 35.5. Mark Sanchez, on the other hand, completed 20 of 33 passes for 233 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His Passer Rating was 102.2.
Despite the wildly differing totals, it was the Steelers that jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first half, thanks in part to a defensive touchdown. The Jets did come back with 19 unanswered points, but the Steelers defense was able to limit the scoring and hold on for the five-point victory, which then propelled them to Super Bowl XLV.
Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego Chargers)
Kevin Terrell/Getty Images
Qualcomm Stadium has been home to the San Diego Chargers since 1967. It is located in beautiful San Diego, California.
For the most memorable game, I chose the Chargers Divisional Playoff game against the Miami Dolphins, which was played on January 8, 1995. The Chargers won the game 22-21 as Stan Humphries out-dueled legendary Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino by one point.
The victory propelled the Chargers to win the AFC Championship game at Pittsburgh the following week, and then advanced to appear in Super Bowl XXIX, which is their only Super Bowl game in franchise history.
In the key 1995 game against Miami, Marino threw three touchdown passes in the first half to lead Miami to a big 21-6 lead at halftime. The Chargers committed three turnovers to none for the Dolphins in the game. But San Diego's defense put a clamp on Marino and the Dolphins offense in the second half as they shut them out for the rest of the game. Humphries led the Chargers offense and a safety by the defense turned out to be the margin of victory.
When the dust had settled, San Diego outgained Miami 466 yards to 282 yards of total offense. So despite giving up three more turnovers, the Chargers found a way to win. Quite a memorable game indeed.
We would also be remiss if we did not give some recognition to the Denver Broncos Super Bowl XXXII championship, which was also held at Qualcomm Stadium. The date was January 25, 1998 and Denver beat Green Bay 31-24. That was a classic matchup between John Elway and Brett Favre and could have easily been selected as the most memorable moment for this stadium as well.
Candlestick Park (San Francisco 49ers)
Walter Iooss Jr. / Sports Illustrated
Candlestick Park has been home for the San Francisco 49ers since 1971. The stadium is located in San Francisco, CA.
This choice is pretty easy. The most memorable moment in Candlestick Park history has to be "The Catch," the reception that Dwight Clark made in the 1981 NFC Championship game that led the San Francisco 49ers to a comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys 28-27.
This play and the subsequent photo is one of the most memorable plays in NFL history. Clark caught the pass from Joe Montana with only 51 seconds left in the game. For the game, Clark caught eight passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
The sight of Montana scrambling towards the sidelines and Cowboys defenders closing in on him and Montana waiting for the last second to throw the pass, hoping that Clark could leap high enough to haul it down was just a remarkable play all the way around.
Photo courtesy of http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82943314/article/reviewing-the-nfls-best-torchpassing-moments.
Century Link Field (Seattle Seahawks)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Century Link Field has been home for the Seattle Seahawks since 2002. The stadium is located in Seattle, Washington and is built on the same site as the old Kingdome structure.
The most memorable moment in the stadium's history has to be the infamous run by Marshawn Lynch through more than half of the New Orleans defensive unit en route to his epic 67-yard touchdown run that clinched the victory for Seattle. The date of the Wild Card Game was January 8, 2011.
Seattle beat New Orleans 41-36. The Seahawks were able to gain 415 yards of total offense on Gregg Williams' defensive unit. We don't know if the bounty-hunting was still going on then or not, but whatever Williams was trying to use that day for motivation, it wasn't working. Lynch was able to break tackles all day, as he wound up racking 131 yards in the game.
Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis Rams)
The St. Louis Rams play their home games in the Edward Jones Dome, which was first opened in 1995. The stadium is located in St. Louis, Missouri.
The most memorable moment in the Rams' stadium has to be the 1999-2000 NFC Championship game, when Ricky Proehl made a miraculous one-handed catch that proved to be the game-winning play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The date was January 23, 2000 and the Rams won the contest 11-6 in a tightly played defensive struggle of a game.
Proehl's catch proved to be huge, as the victory lifted St. Louis to appear in Super Bowl XXXIV, where they won the game on the Mike Jones tackle of Kevin Dyson, which served as the cover picture of this presentation.
Photo courtesy of http://evonsports.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/top-10-nfc-championship-games-of-all-time/
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was built in 1998. It is in Tampa, Florida, and was built to take the place of Tampa Stadium, which was demolished in 1999. Personally, I was glad to see Tampa Stadium go away, since I had traveled cross-country to witness Super Bowl XXV in person. The outcome was not the one I was looking for.
As for the most memorable moment in Raymond James Stadium to date, that would have to be the game played on February 1, 2009, which was Super Bowl XLIII. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in a classic championship game featuring Ben Roethlisberger versus Kurt Warner.
The Steelers defense did a good job of harassing Warner throughout the game and punished him with some hard hits. Warner hung in there though, and led the Cardinals to a 23-20 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Roethlisberger led the Steelers down the field, and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in the back corner of the end zone with 35 seconds left. The play had to be reviewed, but the touchdown catch held up and the Steelers had their sixth Super Bowl title, a new team record.
Warner attempted a "Hail Mary" pass in the closing seconds, but LaMarr Woodley came up with a sack and strip of the ball (see photo) from behind to end the suspense. It was a great finish to a very memorable game.
LP Field (Tennessee Titans)
Was it a forward pass or a lateral?
The Tennessee Titans play their home games at LP Field, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans have been playing there since 1999.
The most memorable moment at this field has its own name, otherwise known as the Music City Miracle. The infamous play that allowed the Titans to come back and defeat the Buffalo Bills 22-16 in the Wild Card Game, which was played on January 8, 2000.
The special teams touchdown allowed the Titans to steal a playoff win from the Bills, which could be measured as some kind of revenge for the Bills all-time comeback win over the Houston Oilers back in 1993. The Oilers later became the Titans when they relocated from Houston to Tennessee.
The Oilers went all the way to the Super Bowl but came up just short when Kevin Dyson was stopped at the one-yard line. The Bills haven't been to a playoff game since then.
Fed Ex Field (Washington Redskins)
Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images
Fed Ex Field, home of the Washington Redskins is located in Landover, Maryland. The stadium has been home to the Redskins since 1997.
The most memorable moment since 1997 would have to be the only home playoff game played in this stadium. That was a Wild Card Game on January 8, 2000 where the Redskins beat the Detroit Lions 27-13. Hard to believe that the Redskins have only hosted one playoff game since Daniel Snyder purchased the team in 1999, but that is the reality.
In the playoff game, the Redskins dominated Detroit. The Redskins were already up 27-0 by halftime. They were driving for more points in the fourth quarter when Detroit blocked a field goal and Ron Rice picked it up and ran 93 yards for a touchdown for the Lions. Washington was led by two Stephen Davis touchdown runs and a touchdown pass from Brad Johnson.