Throughout NFL history, regular season success really hasn't meant much if a player can't perform as well in the postseason, especially for the legacy of quarterbacks. By the same token, if a player is average in the regular season, but excels in the playoffs, he becomes a legend.
The following 100 slides will highlight those players who are a part of NFL lore, in large part due to their single-game postseason performances.
This list is dominated by the single most important position in professional sports: quarterback.
But it also includes running backs, receivers, tight ends, defensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, and even a few special teams players. Basically, every position is represented except for offensive line, which speaks of a lack of availability for offensive line statistics.
Every single postseason game throughout history was analyzed for this list. You'll see games dating back to the 1937 NFL championship game. And, of course, a number of games from this year's postseason made the cut for the top 100.
So, let's begin with a player who missed the cut, but deserves mention and then continue in reverse order, starting with number 100.
It was one of the biggest upsets and, quite frankly, biggest flukes in NFL postseason history. But give credit to Tim Tebow, who torched the NFL's number-one ranked defense in the Wild Card game.
Tebow completed just 10 of 21 passes, but they went for 316 yards and two touchdowns. His 31.6 yards per completion is a single-game playoff record.
Oh, and he threw an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime to Demaryius Thomas. You couldn't have scripted a more dramatic ending.
The Divisional Playoff game between the Raiders and the Baltimore Colts is remembered for the Dave Casper's "Ghost to the Post" catch, as well as the Raiders' double overtime victory.
But it was linebacker Monte Johnson who quietly turned in one of the most memorable defensive performances in NFL playoff history. Johnson finished with 20 tackles before he discovered after the game that he had been playing with a broken vertebrae in his neck.
Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith posted the first perfect passer rating (158.3) in NFL postseason history, torching the Cleveland Browns in the divisional playoffs.
Meredith completed 11 of 13 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys won 52-14, their largest margin of victory in postseason history.
Larry Brown played second fiddle to fellow cornerback Deion Sanders during the 1995 season, but it was Brown who emerged as the hero in Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Neil O'Donnell, a quarterback with one of the lowest interception rates in NFL history.
Brown intercepted a pass in the third quarter and returned it 44 yards to set up a one-yard Emmitt Smith rushing touchdown. He added his second interception with four minutes left in the game, returning it 38 yards to set up another Smith touchdown, which clinched the victory.
On a team with such stars as Troy Aikman, Sanders and Smith, Johnson became the first cornerback in Super Bowl history to be named MVP of the game.
The game was especially memorable because of the loss of his young son earlier in the season and the five-year, $12.56 million deal with the Oakland Raiders his performance earned him.
Mike Scifres is one of three special teamers on this list and the only punter. Yet there's no denying that his incredible performance against Peyton Manning and the Colts helped the Chargers escape with a 23-17 overtime victory.
It was a game of field position, as the Chargers were missing their star quarterback and running back in Philip Rivers and Ladainian Tomlinson, respectively.
Scifres unleashed six punts, averaging 51.7 yards per punt, all landing inside the Colts' 20-yard line. Four landed inside the 10, and the final one, a 52-yard coffin-corner punt that bounced out of bounds at the one, forced the Colts to punt from their own end zone late in regulation.
After the game, Scifres remarked, "I don't know if you can dream a game like this."
Running back Steve Van Buren was arguably the league's best offensive player in 1949, leading the NFL in carries, yards and touchdowns. In the Championship Game against the Rams, he proved why, providing virtually all of the offense for the Eagles.
Van Buren rushed 31 times for 196 yards, as the Eagles won 14-0. Quarterback Tommy Thompson attempted just nine passes, throwing two interceptions and the rest of the Eagles' running attack contributed 30 carries for 78 yards.
Van Buren may not have found the end zone, but he was unstoppable on a night the Eagles couldn't muster anything else on offense.
Current ESPN analyst Tom Jackson turned in a dominating performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, intercepting two passes and returning a fumble 35 yards.
Both interceptions came in the second half and his three turnovers led to a total of 17 points. The Broncos won 34-21, their first playoff victory since the AFL-NFL merger.
One of the all-time great performances by a tight end, Dave Casper scored the winning touchdown against the Baltimore Colts in double overtime.
His 42-yard catch at the end of regulation, now known as Ghost to the Post, set up the game-tying field goal. Throughout the game, he caught four passes for 70 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders won 37-31.
Only one other tight end (Rob Gronkowski) has equaled Casper's three touchdown receptions in a postseason game.
One of the best young wide receivers in the game, Julio Jones had a monster game in the NFC Championship against a stiny San Francisco 49ers secondary that included three Pro Bowlers. Jones caught 11 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. This included five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.
The Falcons ultimately lost though, scoring 24 points in the first half, but none in the second half.
The Seahawks' rookie quarterback was the talk of the league near the end of 2012, as he engineered a pair of back-to-back 50-point games for Seattle. He led a 14-point comeback on the road against Washington in his first postseason game, yet he played even better against Atlanta in the Divisional Round.
Wilson led a 20-point comeback a) on the road b) in the fourth quarter c) against the NFC's top regular season team in terms of wins. He threw for 385 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, adding 60 rushing yards and a touchdown.
But the Seahawks' magical season essentially came to an end on Matt Bryant's come-from-behind field goal. With eight seconds remaining near midfield, Seattle trailed 30-28. After a six-yard completion with no time for a field goal, Wilson's Hail Mary was intercepted in the end zone by receiver Julio Jones.
The big matchup in the wild-card round of the postseason featured star wide receiver Reggie Wayne against shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis.
As it turns out, it was no contest. After catching 111 passes for 1,355 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season, Wayne was held to one catch for one yard in their biggest game of the season.
The Jets won 17-16 on a walkoff field goal, spoiling what would end up being the last game Peyton Manning played in a Colts uniform.
The quarterback-wide receiver duo of Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens staged a 24-point comeback against the New York Giants in the wild-card playoffs, as Garcia threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns.
Owens collected nine receptions for 177 yards and two scores. He also completed a 25-yard pass.
The Niners' 39-38 victory advanced them to the Divisional Round of the postseason.
The greatest postseason game of Moss's career came in a shootout against the eventual-Super Bowl champion Rams.
Moss finished with nine catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns in the 49-37 loss.
Vinatieri connected on a 45-yard field goal in the closing seconds of regulation against the Oakland Raiders, a game remembered for the infamous Tuck Rule. Long snapper Lonie Paxton tried in vain to clear the spot of snow, as Raiders piled snow back at the yard marker. Vinatieri's kick, which came in blizzard conditions, was a line drive that barely cleared the crossbar and sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, Vinatieri's 22-yard field goal sent the Patriots into the AFC championship game.
The Lions' star receiver finally got his chance to play in the postseason in 2011, just three years after the first 0-16 season in league history.
He was nothing short of amazing, catching 12 passes for 211 yards and two scores. It was the perfect prelude for his record-setting 2012 season.
The Lions ultimately fell to Drew Brees and the Saints, as expected, but Johnson was completely unstoppable, as usual.
Despite playing without injured rookie running back Brian Westbrook, as well as very minimal talent at the wide receiver position, Donovan McNabb led the Eagles back from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to a 20-17 overtime win against the Green Bay Packers.
McNabb completed 21-of-39 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns. His most memorable play was a 4th-and-26 completion with just over a minute remaining, leading to a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.
McNabb also rushed 11 times for 107 yards, then a single-game postseason record for quarterbacks. His scrambling touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter envoked Fox announcer Joe Buck to comment, "you may watch football for years and never see a better play by a quarterback."
First-year head coach Jim Harbaugh successfully jumpstarted the career of former number one overall draft pick in Alex Smith, turning him into the most efficient game manager in the league.
But, in the Divisional Round against the high-powered New Orleans Saints, Smith was anything but a game manager. He completed 24 of 42 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns and rushed once for a 28-yard touchdown.
He led the 49ers to a pair of go-ahead 80-yard touchdown drives in the final three minutes, a first in postseason history.
The final touchdown came on a 14-yard strike to tight end Vernon Davis with nine seconds remaining in the game, a play referred to by 49ers fans as The Catch III.
The 36-32 victory for the 49ers was especially sweet for Smith, as he outdueled one of the game's elite quarterbacks, Drew Brees, who had just broken the single-season record for passing yards, with 5,476.
The biggest single-game performance of Reggie Wayne's career occurred in the wild-card round of the 2004 playoffs as Wayne grabbed 10 balls for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
His 221 receiving yards, roughly half of Manning's game total (458), are the third-highest single-game total in playoff history.
The Colts won in a rout over the Denver Broncos, 49-24, thanks in large part to Wayne's efforts.
A former first-round draft pick by the New England Patriots in the 1984 supplemental draft, Ricky Sanders hadn't accomplished much in his career until Super Bowl XXII.
As the Redskins rolled to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos, Sanders caught nine passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Incredibly, both touchdowns (one of which was an 80-yarder) and 168 of the receiving yards came in the second quarter.
The 30-year-old Smith turned in a breakout season, rushing for 1,139 yards and 14 touchdowns.
In the postseason, he played the biggest role in handing Peyton Manning his second postseason loss in as many appearances. Smith carried a playoff-record 40 times, compiling 209 yards and two scores.
The Dolphins overcame an early 14-0 deficit, winning 23-17 in overtime on Smith's 17-yard touchdown run.
Super Bowl X is one of the more underrated title games in history. The game featured Lynn Swann's remarkable 161-yard game, as well as an interception by the Steelers on the final play of the game to clinch a victory.
But it also included a four-sack performance by six-time Pro Bowl defensive end L.C. Greenwood, the single-game record for a Super Bowl. Sacks were not an official stat until 1982 but official records credit Greenwood with four.
The Steelers collected their second Super Bowl title by a 21-17 score over the Dallas Cowboys.
With 55 seconds remaining, Sterling Sharpe caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre to stun the Detroit Lions and give Green Bay a 28-24 victory.
For the game, Sharpe finished with five catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns, a pretty impressive postseason debut for the four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Santonio Holmes's performance on the final drive of Super Bowl XLIII forever etched his name in NFL lore.
With the Steelers trailing the Arizona Cardinals 23-20 in the final minutes, Holmes recorded four catches for 76 yards. His final catch, a brilliant six-yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone, gave the Steelers their record-setting sixth Super Bowl title, still unmatched by any other franchise.
He finished the game with nine catches for 131 yards and a touchdown, becoming the third Steelers receiver to win Super Bowl MVP honors.
The Super Bowl duel between Joe Montana and Dan Marino is probably the greatest in NFL history. It was Marino who broke the single-season record with 5,084 passing yards and 48 touchdowns in just his second season, but Montana was the star in the game's biggest stage.
Joe Cool completed 24 of 35 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed five times for 59 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers won easily, 38-16.
At halftime of Super Bowl XXVIII, the Bills held a 13-6 lead over the Dallas Cowboys and appeared to be on their way to ending their three-year Super Bowl losing streak.
Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith's second-half performance ensured a very different outcome. He carried 30 times for 132 yards and two scores. Both touchdowns came in the second half, as the Cowboys outscored Buffalo 24-0 in the final two quarters to win by a 30-13 count.
Rod Martin's performance in Super Bowl XV against the Philadelphia Eagles has been forgotten throughout NFL history. Quarterback Jim Plunkett earned MVP honors and deservedly so.
But Martin intercepted three passes, returning them for a total of 44 yards. He is the only player in Super Bowl history with three interceptions in a game, a feat made more impressive by the fact that Martin was a linebacker.
The Raiders won 27-10, the first Wild Card team to win a Super Bowl title with their upset of the Eagles.
Former number one overall draft pick Jim Plunkett was simply remarkable against the Philadelphia Eagles, completing 13 of 21 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns.
Plunkett's game included an 80-yard touchdown pass to running back Kenny King, which was then the longest scoring play in Super Bowl history.
The Raiders won 27-10, their second Super Bowl title in an eight-year span.
A case could be made that Brees, with his 103.9 passer rating and 22-4 touchdown-to-interception mark in nine games, is the greatest postseason quarterback ever.
The 2011 Wild Card game was his finest performance yet, as he completed 33 of 44 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-28 victory over the Detroit Lions.
The current defensive coordinator of the New York Jets, former Cowboys cornerback Dennis Thurman collected one of just seven three-interception games in postseason history, victimizing Lynn Dickey of the Green Bay Packers.
Thurman returned the picks for a total of 58 yards, including a touchdown. Dallas won 37-26 and advanced to their third straight conference championship game.
The matchup between the Cowboys and the Packers featured Emmitt Smith and Brett Favre, who shared NFL MVP honors that season.
It was Smith's Cowboys who emerged victorious in a 38-27 win, as Smith carried 35 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Throw in the regular season and those were Smith's 26th, 27th and 28th rushing touchdowns of the year.
John Riggins' 1982 postseason ranks up there with Terrell Davis's 1997 dominance as the greatest stretch by a running back in playoff history.
In the first three playoff games, Riggins carried 98 times for 444 yards and three touchdowns, an average of 33 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown per game.
In the Super Bowl against the Miami Dolphins, Riggins singlehandedly willed the Redskins to victory. The 33-year-old carried 38 times for 166 yards, including a game-winning 43-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-1 in the fourth quarter.
The Redskins won 27-17, avenging their Super Bowl loss against Miami 10 years earlier.
One of the greatest performances by a losing quarterback in the Super Bowl occurred when Jake Delhomme threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns against the vaunted Patriots' defense.
In the fourth quarter alone, Delhomme completed 9-of-13 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns. His go-ahead 85-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad with seven minutes remaining gave the Panthers their first lead of the game, and his game-tying 12-yard strike to Ricky Proehl with 1:04 remaining tied the game at 29.
The Cardiac Cats ultimately lost on a field goal with four seconds remaining, spoiling Delhomme's opportunity for what would have been his record-setting ninth fourth quarter comeback of the season.
After posting elite regular season numbers for several seasons, Drew Brees finally turned in a dominating postseason. He tossed six touchdowns without an interception in the divisional round and conference championship game, while leading the Saints to Super Bowl XLIV.
In the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts, Brees completed 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He led the Saints to a fourth-quarter comeback and the first championship in franchise history, bringing New Orleans their first championship a year after the disaster of Katrina.
The 8-8 San Diego Chargers used a dramatic overtime touchdown run by backup running back Darren Sproles to knock off the 12-4 Indianapolis Colts and MVP Peyton Manning in the Wild Card round.
Sproles more than made up for the loss of star LaDainian Tomlinson. He totaled 105 yards rushing, 45 receiving and 178 as a returner. His 328 all-purpose yards rank as the third-highest single-game total in postseason history.
The Miami Dolphins defeated the Bills 24-17, a game remembered as Dan Marino's last playoff win.
But the Dolphins couldn't stop Pro Bowl receiver Eric Moulds, who tallied nine catches for a single-game postseason record 240 yards and a touchdown.
The AFC championship game between Joe Montana and Jim Kelly turned into the Thurman Thomas show, as the Bills running back rushed 33 times for 186 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 22 yards on two catches.
The Bills beat the Chiefs 30-13, advancing to their fourth straight Super Bowl.
Holliday, who was cut by the Houston Texans and signed with the Denver Broncos in midseason, completed a perfect 16-0 regular season.
In an incident of total irony, the Broncos lost in the AFC Divisional Round to the underdog Ravens, despite a pair of return touchdowns from Holliday.
The 5'5" 169-pound return specialist's 90-yard punt return and 104-yard kick return were both the longest in postseason history.
In a scheduling oddity, the Redskins (6-1-1) played the New York Giants in the final two games of the regular season. They lost both, by a combined 45-17 score, as Baugh threw five interceptions in the season finale.
Adding to the irony was the matchup of the Giants and Redskins in the Divisional Playoffs . But this time, Baugh's 'Skins came through, winning 28-0 on the road.
Slingin' Sammy completed 16-of-21 passes for 199 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Oh, and he played defensive back too, intercepting a pair of passes against a pair of Giants quarterbacks, who combined to complete 4-of-20 passes for 57 yards and three picks.
During the regular season, Anthony Carter led the league with 24.3 yards per reception, but the Minnesota Vikings posted just an 8-7 record. However, they crushed the New Orleans Saints, 44-10, in the wild-card round, setting up a road game against the 13-2 San Francisco 49ers.
In the Divisional Round, the Vikings pulled off one of the biggest upsets in postseason history, defeating the 49ers 36-24. Carter played the biggest role, catching 10 passes for 227 yards.
The Cinderella season for the Vikings came to an end the following week, as the eventual Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins won 17-10.
The Denver Broncos didn't have a prayer in the world of stopping MVP Joe Montana and All-Pro wide receiver Jerry Rice in Super Bowl XXIV.
Montana drove down the field 66on the opening drive, capping it with a 20-yard touchdown to Rice. The duo never looked back, as Montana threw for 297 yards and five touchdowns and Rice recorded seven grabs for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
The 49ers piled on 55 points, the most in a game in Super Bowl history.
Jim Plunkett was virtually flawless, as he led the Raiders past the San Diego Chargers into their second Super Bowl.
Plunkett completed 14 of 18 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns. He added a third touchdown on the ground. His 155.8 passer rating was just a tad shy of perfection.
At 34, Max McGee's career was coming to an end. He played a major role in the Packers' championship success in the early 1960s, but he caught just four passes in all of 1966.
The night before the game, he violated the team's curfew by spending a night out in town. He admitted to having a hangover the next night before the game, telling number one receiver Boyd Dowler that he "hoped (Dowler) didn't get hurt" because he wasn't in good shape to play if Dowler suffered an injury.
Sure enough, Dowler separated his shoulder in the second quarter and had to leave the game. McGee literally hadn't even brought his helmet out from the locker room, so he had to borrow a teammate's to play.
And the rest is history. McGee caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. His first score, which was actually the first touchdown in Super Bowl history, was a one-handed 37-yard catch in which he outran safety Fred Williamson to the end zone.
The Packers won easily over the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
Smith's dominant performance helped the Panthers knock off the Chicago Bears, who boasted the NFL's top scoring defense, in the Divisional Round.
Smith recorded 11 grabs for 218 yards and two touchdowns. The speedster added 26 yards on the ground.
The 29-21 victory propelled Carolina into their second Conference Championship game in three seasons.
Joe Montana's three-game stretch during the 1989 playoffs is arguably the greatest postseason run by any quarterback in NFL history: 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 146.4 passer rating.
Against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship, he completed an astounding 26-of-30 passes (86.67 percent) for 262 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers won 30-3.
Bruising fullback Franco Harris gashed the Minnesota Vikings defense in the biggest game of the season, carrying 34 times for 158 yards and a touchdown.
He set Super Bowl single-game records for carries and yards against the vaunted Purple People Eaters defense. The Vikings, on the other hand, collectively ran the ball 21 times for 17 yards.
Harris was awarded the MVP as the Steelers won 16-6.
Appearing in his third Super Bowl, Terry Bradshaw posted his third triple-digit passer rating. He led the Steelers to a 35-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in arguably the most exciting Super Bowl ever at the time.
For the game, Bradshaw completed 17-of-30 passes for 318 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. His 75-yard touchdown pass to John Stallworth in the second quarter tied the record for the longest touchdown pass in Super Bowl history. Bradshaw earned his first of two Super Bowl MVP awards.
Pro Bowl running back Ricky Watters compiled a postseason record with five rushing touchdowns against the New York Giants. He rushed 24 times for 118 yards and added five catches for 46 yards.
The 49ers rolled to a 44-3 victory and advanced to their fifth Conference Championship game in six seasons.
Rookie cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr. played the largest role in the Eagles' third straight NFC Championship Game loss and their second straight at home.
Manning intercepted Donovan McNabb three times, completely shutting down wide receivers Todd Pinkston and James Thrash, who combined for one catch for nine yards.
The Panthers won 14-3, as Manning earned the Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second straight week.
Following the first 16-0 season in league history, Tom Brady turned in a record-setting performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2007 Divisional Playoffs.
He completed 26 of 28 passes (92.9 percent) for 262 yards and three touchdowns. His 141.4 passer rating is his career-best for a playoff game.
The Patriots won 31-20, equaling the 17-0 mark set by the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
After taking the starting job in midseason from former number one overall draft pick Alex Smith, Kaepernick was electric in his first-ever postseason start.
He outdueled Aaron Rodgers, overcoming an early interception touchdown with 263 passing yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 181 yards (including a 56-yard score in which which he outran several defensive backs) and two touchdowns on 16 scrambles, a single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
The Niners won easily, 45-31, advancing to the Conference Championship game with a new quarterback for the second straight season.
Before there was Montana to Rice, there was Unitas to Berry.
The Colts' tandem was at their finest in the famous '58 NFL Title against the New York Giants, which is now remembered by many as the greatest NFL game ever played.
Berry caught three consecutive passes for 62 yards, as the Colts marched down the field to tie the game on a field goal with seven seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Berry caught three passes for 33 yards on the game-winning touchdown drive.
For the game, Berry finished with 12 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown.
In Dan Fouts' first and last postseason games, he tossed five interceptions. In between, he led the Chargers to an overtime victory in what was arguably the most exciting postseason game in history.
Against the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card game, the Chargers jumped out to a 24-0 first quarter lead, eventually winning 41-38 in overtime.
Fouts threw for 433 yards and three touchdowns (with an interception) on 33 completions. The game, played on a humid 80-degree evening, saw the first of five postseason games won by a quarterback who threw 50 passes in a game.
Patriots cornerback Ty Law played so well against MVP Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts that he caused a rule change during the NFL offseason.
Law's physical style of play against Colts receivers led to the NFL cracking down on the five-yard illegal contact rule during the offseason.
Oh, and during the game, he intercepted three passes, finishing with more catches than star receiver Marvin Harrison.
The Patriots won 24-14 and advanced to their second Super Bowl in three seasons.
The Oakland Raiders were tremendous underdogs in the Super Bowl against a Washington Redskins team that had set the single-season record for points scored (541).
But future Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen turned in arguably the greatest rushing performance in Super Bowl history, galloping for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. His 74-yard jaunt in the second quarter stood as the longest rushing touchdown in a Super Bowl for 22 seasons.
Allen earned game MVP honors as the Raiders won easily, 38-9.
A 16-year backup quarterback in the NFL, Strock's claim to fame is his legendary performance in one of the most exciting postseason games in history.
Strock replaced Miami quarterback David Woodley (a substitution Miami fans dubbed "Woodstrock) with the Dolphins trailing the Chargers 24-0 after the first quarter of the Wild Card game. Over the next three quarters, plus overtime, he completed 29-of-43 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns.
The most memorable touchdown was a hook-and-ladder play by the Dolphins on the final play of the first half.
Strock put the Dolphins in position for a game-winning field goal attempt at the end of regulation and in overtime but both kicks were missed. The Chargers eventually won 41-38 after almost 14 minutes of overtime.
In what is now known simply as The Ice Bowl, the Packers trailed the Cowboys 17-14, with the ball on the one-yard line, 16 seconds left in the game and no timeouts remaining. Starr called his own number on third-and-one, diving up the middle behind guard Jerry Kramer's block to score the winning touchdown.
Starr passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns, adding the third touchdown on the ground, in a game marked by wind chills at -59 degrees.
With the win, the Packers advanced to the Super Bowl, where they easily defeated the Oakland Raiders.
The unlikely hero for the Dolphins in the 1982 AFC Championship was linebacker AJ Duhe, who intercepted three passes from off Jets quarterback Richard Todd.
Duhe returned the final interception 35 yards for a game-clinching touchdown. The Dolphins won 14-0 and advanced to their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.
By the time Dwight Smith entered the end zone with his second interception touchdown of the night, the voting for Super Bowl MVP had already been completed. Teammate Dexter Jackson captured the MVP with two interceptions, certainly a deserving performance.
But, had the voting been done after the game, Smith and his record-setting two interception touchdowns would probably have won the MVP.
The performance helped make regular-season MVP Rich Gannon look like one of the league's worst quarterbacks. Gannon finished with five picks and the Buccaneers won big against the Oakland Raiders 48-21.
In 1999, the Rams scored 526 points, the third-highest single-season total in league history, as Warner tossed 41 touchdowns and earned MVP honors.
But the pressure was on heading into the postseason. Warner didn't disappoint.
Warner threw a 77-yard touchdown strike to Isaac Bruce on the Rams' first play on offense. He proceeded to complete 27-of-33 passes for 391 yards, five touchdowns, and an interception, posting a 143.0 passer rating. The Rams scored 35 points in the second half and won 49-37.
History remembers the 2010 Packers for their dramatic postseason run, in which they defeated three road teams, before knocking off Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.
But their Divisional Round victory against the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons was easily their most impressive victory. Rodgers played practically a perfect game, completing 31-of-36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. He added a rushing touchdown. The game saw Rodgers rack up a record-10 touchdowns in his first three playoff games.
The Packers rolled to a 48-21 victory.
In Super Bowl X, Lynn Swann turned in one of the most memorable performances in Super Bowl history, helping the Steelers beat the Cowboys 21-17.
He recorded four catches for 161 yards and a touchdown, including a 53-yard bobbling catch late in the second quarter that showcased his skills in ballet and as an elite receiver. He earned MVP honors, a Super Bowl first by a wide receiver.
As poor as Kerry Collins was in the Super Bowl loss against the Baltimore Ravens (four interceptions, zero points of offense), he was that dominant in Big Blue's NFC Championship upset of the Minnesota Vikings.
The Giants cruised to a 41-0 victory, highlighted by Collins' 381 passing yards and five touchdowns (and two interceptions).
ESPN analyst Chris Berman calls Kurt Warner's 1999 season the greatest one-year storybook season in the history of the NFL. He couldn't be more right.
Warner threw 41 touchdowns, recorded a 109.2 passer rating and led the Rams to 526 points in his first year as a starter.
In the Super Bowl, he threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns. The second touchdown, a 73-yard bomb to Isaac Bruce, came with 1:54 remaining and proved to be the winning score, as the Rams defeated the Titans 23-16.
Warner won Super Bowl MVP, making him the sixth player to win regular season MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same season.
Larry Fitzgerald's 2008 postseason run was like something out of a movie.
He recorded at least six catches, 100 yards and a touchdown in all four games despite playing with a broken left thumb and torn cartilage in the same hand.
In the NFC Championship against the Eagles, he was a one-man show, catching nine balls for 152 yards and three touchdowns. All three touchdowns came in the first half, a conference championship game record, with the most impressive touchdown coming after running back J.J. Arrington lateraled the ball back to Kurt Warner, a 62-yard flea flicker.
He just missed the cut for the top 100 with his Super Bowl performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he scored two touchdowns, both in the fourth quarter, and finished with seven catches for 127 yards.
The big storyline heading into Super Bowl XXIX involved quarterback Steve Young, who was desperately looking to lead the 49ers to their first Super Bowl title since Joe Montana left the team.
Jerry Rice made Young's job a lot easier. The All-Pro receiver caught 10 balls for 149 yards and three touchdowns, including a 44-yard score on the first drive of the game.
It was Rice's third Super Bowl performance and the third time he had turned in a dominating performance. The 49ers won easily against the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
The signature moment of the Hall of Fame career of Joe Montana occurred in the final minutes of Super Bowl XXIII against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Trailing 16-13 with 3:10 remaining and the ball on their own 8-yard line, the 49ers began one of the most famous drives in NFL history. Montana calmly pointed out actor John Candy in the stands and then marched his team 92 yards in 11 plays.
The final play, a 10-yard touchdown strike to John Taylor, gave the 49ers a 20-16 lead with 34 seconds to play. The victory marked Montana's third Super Bowl title.
The 2007 New York Giants are one of the worst regular season squads to win the Super Bowl. Yet they did so by defeating the only 18-0 team in NFL history: the 2007 New England Patriots.
Eli Manning's numbers were good enough to earn MVP honors, but not great, as he threw for 255 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. But his efforts in the final three minutes were nothing short of legendary.
Manning led the only game-winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes of a championship in which a touchdown was the only optional result of the drive.
His 32-yard heave helmet-caught by David Tyree ranks as one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history and his touchdown on a fade route to Plaxico Burress gave the Giants an improbable 17-14 victory.
Fresh off back-to-back Super Bowl titles, Terry Bradshaw turned in arguably the best game of his career in the divisional round against the Baltimore Colts.
Bradshaw completed 14-of-18 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. His perfect 158.3 passer rating was the first in postseason history and one of the most efficient games by a quarterback on a team that failed to reach the Super Bowl.
The 1950 Rams still hold the single-season record for average points per game (38.8), leading the NFL in virtually every offensive category.
They were somewhat held in check in the divisional playoff game against the Chicago Bears, scoring 24 points. Quarterback Bob Waterfield threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns, with receiver Tom Fears during the majority of the damage.
Fears caught seven passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns, which still stands as one of the best statistical performances by a receiver in postseason history. The Rams advanced to the Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns.
Backup quarterback Frank Reich led the greatest comeback in NFL history against the Houston Oilers.
The Bills trailed 35-3 early in the third quarter after Reich threw a 58-yard pick-six to Bubba McDowell, but he kept his cool and tossed four touchdown passes in the third quarter, including three to Andre Reed.
The Bills won in overtime, 41-38, as Reich finished the game with 289 yards passing and a 115.9 passer rating.
Bart Starr tossed four touchdown passes as the Packers survived a 34-27 shootout with the Dallas Cowboys with a trip to the first Super Bowl on the line.
Starr completed 19 of his 28 passes for 304 yards and a 143.5 passer rating. Since Starr's dominant game, only six quarterbacks have posted a higher passer rating with as many touchdown passes in a playoff game.
En route to his first Super Bowl title, Troy Aikman completed one of the best postseasons by a quarterback in history. He tossed a combined four touchdowns and no interceptions in the divisional and conference championship games.
In the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills, Aikman completed 22-of-30 for 273 yards and four scores. He added 28 yards on the ground and led the Cowboys to 52-17 blowout victory.
Players routinely played both offense and defense in the 1940's, but the performance of running back/defensive back Joe Laws in the '44 NFL Title was one of the best in history.
On offense, the Packers' running back rushed 13 times for 74 yards. On defense, he intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble. On special teams, he added 49 all-purpose yards on kick and punt returns.
The Packers defeated the Giants, 14-7 in a low-scoring affair.
Roger Staubach's performance against a dominant Pittsburgh Steelers defense is arguably the greatest ever by a losing quarterback in the Super Bowl.
Staubach completed 17-of-30 passes for 228 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, for a passer rating of 100.4. He added 37 yards on the ground and would have thrown a fourth touchdown if future Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith hadn't dropped a wide-open pass in the end zone in the third quarter.
The Cowboys clawed back from a 35-17 deficit to make it a 35-31 game in the final minute but couldn't collect the victory after Pittsburgh recovered their onside kick attempt. More than 30 years later, Dallas' 31 points is tied with the 2012 49ers as the most ever by a losing team in the Super Bowl.
No returner has ever impacted a Super Bowl as much as Desmond Howard did against the New England Patriots. He returned four kicks for 154 yards, including a 99-yard touchdown, and six punts for 90 yards.
Howard, who won MVP honors, set a single-game Super Bowl record with 244 return yards. The Packers won 35-21, as Howard's touchdown provided the final score.
The signature moment of the career of one of the greatest quarterbacks ever occurred in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, as Johnny Unitas orchestrated a Colts victory over the New York Giants.
Trailing 17-14 with two minutes remaining and the ball on their own 14-yard line, Unitas led the Colts 73 yards before a game-tying 20-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining forced the first sudden-death overtime game in NFL history.
In overtime, Unitas called all the plays on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a one-yard touchdown plunge by fullback Alan Ameche.
Unitas finished the game with 349 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception. His clutch performance in the final minutes of regulation and overtime played a huge role in the dramatic rise of popularity for the NFL.
You want to know how much the game of football has changed over the last 40 years? Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese threw exactly seven passes in the Super Bowl against the powerful Minnesota Vikings defense.
Running back Larry Csonka took care of the rest. He carried the ball 33 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns against a Vikings defense that surrendered just five rushing scores all season.
The Dolphins cruised to a 24-7 victory, their second straight title. Csonka became the first running back to win the game's MVP award.
Playing in the first Super Bowl of his career, Jerry Rice caught 11 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. He set single-game Super Bowl records for catches and yards.
On the final drive, Rice caught three passes for 51 yards, including a 27-yard catch on 2nd-and-20. The 49ers won 20-16.
The last time the Detroit Lions won an NFL Championship came during the Tobin Rote Era, as the Lions quarterback dominated the Cleveland Browns.
Rote completed 12-of-19 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns, adding 27 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. His five total touchdowns helped the Lions cruise to a 59-14 victory.
Arguably the best quarterback in the league during the late 1960s, Daryle Lamonica turned in his finest game in the divisional round of the postseason.
The Mad Bomber threw for 347 yards and five touchdowns on 19 completions, an average of more than 18 yards per completion.
Oakland's 41-6 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs propelled them into the AFL Championship Game against Joe Namath and the Cinderella New York Jets.
There might not be a more underrated big-game performance in the history of professional sports than Timmy Smith in Super Bowl XXII.
The Redskins rookie running back carried just 29 times for 126 yards and no scores during the regular season. But in the postseason, he was the 'Skins feature back.
In the Super Bowl, Smith rushed 22 times for 204 yards and a touchdown, an average of more than nine yards per carry. His 204 yards is a single-game Super Bowl record.
The Redskins used a 35-point second-quarter to defeat the Denver Broncos 42-10. Smith's game turned out to be the only significant contribution in his career, as NFL Network voted him the number two one-shot wonder in league history.
Little-known running back Eddie Podolak was sensational against the Miami Dolphins, turning in one of the best all-around performances in league history.
Podolak rushed 17 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. He caught eight passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. He returned three kicks for 154 yards, including a 78-yard return in the final minute of regulation.
But Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud missed a potential game-winning field goal at the end of regulation, plus another one in overtime and the Dolphins won 27-24.
Podolak's 350 all-purpose yards are a single-game postseason record and the fifth-highest single-game total in NFL history.
Two years before Super Bowl XXII, Doug Williams was playing in the USFL. Five months before Super Bowl XXII, Doug Williams was a backup. One day before Super Bowl XXII, Doug Williams was undergoing a six-hour surgical procedure to remove a root canal.
So on the list of most unlikely Super Bowl heroes ever, Williams, along with Smith (see previous slide) have to be near the top.
Against the Broncos, Williams completed 18-of-29 passes for 340 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. The Redskins won 42-10. In the second quarter alone, Williams completed 9-of-11 passes for 228 yards and all four scores. The Redskins collected 35 of their points.
Williams, who became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl title, was named the MVP.
The surprising Rams captured the NFC West title in 1985, led by the success of 34-year-old rookie quarterback Dieter Brock and star running back Eric Dickerson.
In the Divisional Round against the Dallas Cowboys, Dickerson singlehandedly lifted the Rams to a victory. Dickerson carried 34 times for 248 yards and a pair of scores. The Rams won 20-0 and advanced to the NFC Championship.
For the second straight season, Manning won the regular season MVP and then picked apart the Denver Broncos in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
Manning completed 27-of-33 passes for 458 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. By halftime, Manning had racked up 361 passing yards.
He also rushed for a touchdown, as the Colts cruised to a 49-24 victory that wasn't even as close as the score indicated.
Running back Keith Lincoln turned in one of the most impressive all-around performances in postseason history, as the Chargers crushed the Boston Patriots 51-10.
Lincoln rushed 13 times for 206 yards and a touchdown, while catching seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. His 13 carries are the fewest ever for 200 rushing yards, a 15.8 yard average.
Arguably the greatest postseason performer in NFL history, Terrell Davis rushed 31 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns in a Super Bowl victory against the Green Bay Packers.
His final touchdown, a one-yard plunge with fewer than two minutes remaining, proved to be the winning score.
Two factors made the victory even more impressive. First, Davis missed almost the entire second quarter with a migraine, and second, Davis's dominance made up for a poor performance from quarterback John Elway.
The Broncos, who were 14-point underdogs in the game, won 31-24.
Kellen Winslow's performance in the 1981 Wild Card game against the Miami Dolphins is easily the greatest game by a tight end in NFL history, regular season or postseason.
Winslow recorded 13 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. He also blocked a potential game-winning field goal with four seconds remaining in regulation.
Throughout the game, Winslow suffered a pinched nerve in his shoulder, dehydration, severe cramps, and three stitches in his lip. After the game, in what has become an image representative of perseverance, Winslow was helped off the field by two of his teammates.
The Chargers won 41-38 in overtime, in what is commonly referred to as the most entertaining, if draining game in postseason history.
As a rookie, Sammy Baugh burst onto the scene in 1937, leading the NFL in almost every passing statistic while leading the Redskins to an 8-3 mark and a division title.
In the championship game against the Chicago Bears, Baugh completed 18-of-35 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns. By comparison, he averaged 103 passing yards per game and threw eight touchdowns (in 11 games) all season.
The Bears used six defensive backs (five was common at the time) but Baugh still shredded their defense, as the Redskins emerged victorious by a 28-21 score. A 1969 book about the first 50 years of the NFL ranked the game as one of the 10 most important ever as Baugh and the Redskins played a style of football that was "15 years ahead of its time."
What Daryle Lamonica and the Oakland Raiders did against the Houston Oilers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs ranks as one of the most dominant efforts in any game in NFL history.
Lamonia threw just 17 passes. But he completed 13 for 276 yards and a ridiculous six touchdowns, representative of a league known for throwing the ball around. He tossed a meaningless interception, giving him a final passer rating of 133.4.
The Raiders won 56-7, giving Lamonica a total of 11 touchdown passes in two Divisional postseason games.
In 24 postseason games, Tom Brady has never thrown four or five touchdown passes in a game.
But he threw six, tying a playoff record, against the Denver Broncos. Five came in the first half.
For the game, Brady threw for 363 yards, posting a 137.6 passer rating. He also unleashed a 48-yard quick-kick punt that rolled to the Broncos' 10-yard line.
The Patriots easily won, 45-10, advancing to their sixth conference championship game in 10 seasons with Brady as quarterback.
Otto Graham is the only quarterback in the game's history to throw for three touchdowns and rush for three more in the same game and he did it on the game's biggest stage.
Graham's six total touchdowns more than overshadowed his two interceptions and the Browns destroyed the Detroit Lions 56-10 to capture their sixth championship in a nine-year span.
The big story surrounding the 1986 Giants was their defense, which ranked second in scoring during the regular season and allowed a total of just three points in their first two postseason games.
But the unlikely hero in the Super Bowl was quarterback Phil Simms, who picked apart the Denver Broncos with the most efficient passing performance in title game history.
Simms completed 22-of-25 passes (88.0 percent) for 268 yards and three touchdowns. He remains the only quarterback in Super Bowl history with as many touchdown passes as incompletions.
The Giants won 39-20, for their first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Following four consecutive championships in the AAFC, the Cleveland Browns joined the NFL with the challenge of continuing their dominance against more intense competition.
They reached the NFL Championship Game for a fifth straight season but fell behind 14-0 against the high-powered Rams.
Graham rallied the Browns to a 20-14 lead. Later, with Cleveland trailing 28-27, Graham led a 60-yard drive in the final two minutes to set up kicker Lou Groza's game-winning 16-yard field goal.
For the game, Graham completed 22-of-33 passes for 298 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, for a passer rating of 122.2. He also rushed 12 times for 99 yards. The rest of the team contributed 13 rushes for 15 yards, meaning Graham accumulated 96 percent of his team's offensive production during the game.
For the third straight season, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers faced off in the conference championship game. This time, the Niners finally won, advancing to their first Super Bowl in the Steve Young era.
One of the biggest reasons for the 49ers' success in 1994 was flashy big-play cornerback Deion Sanders, who arrived before the season as a free agent. Sanders intercepted six passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns in 1994, earning him the Defensive Player of the Year honors.
But, against Dallas receiver Michael Irvin with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, Sanders couldn't do anything right. Irvin caught 12 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
That's the third-most receiving yards Irvin ever compiled in a single game and it came against one of the best defensive backs in NFL history.
Irvin's performance is the greatest ever by a player on a losing team.
The greatest single-game defensive performance in NFL postseason history occurred when rookie Vernon Perry intercepted future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts four times during a Wild Card playoff game.
Perry's four interceptions tied a single-game record. He also blocked a field goal and returned it 57 yards.
The Oilers beat the San Diego Chargers 17-14, despite playing without starting quarterback Dan Pastorini and running back Earl Campbell, the NFL MVP that season.
The signature game of arguably the greatest quarterback in league history occurred against the Denver Broncos after the 1989 season.
Montana completed 22-of-29 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns.
The 49ers scored exactly two touchdowns in each quarter and won 55-10, the largest margin of victory in Super Bowl history.
The last full game of Kurt Warner's career was one of the best games ever played by a quarterback.
The 38-year-old picked apart the Packers' number two ranked defense, completing a ridiculous 29-of-33 passes (87.1 percent) for 379 yards and five touchdowns. His passer rating was 154.1. No player in NFL history has thrown as many passes (33) with as high of a passer rating.
Warner's game came without the services of injured three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Instead, Warner found a new threat, as rookie Early Doucet caught the second and third touchdown passes of his career.
In a game dominated by offense, the Cardinals won on a defensive touchdown in overtime, 51-45, concluding one of the greatest postseason games in history.
Following one of the greatest regular seasons by a quarterback in NFL history, Steve Young finally got the monkey off his back by capturing his first Super Bowl ring.
Young completed 24-of-36 passes for 325 yards and six touchdowns, a single-game postseason record. He also rushed for a game-high 49 yards, becoming the first player to lead both teams in passing and rushing in the same Super Bowl.
The 49ers coasted to an easy 49-26 victory, their franchise-record fifth title.
Five seasons into his career, Peyton Manning had earned a reputation as a terrific regular season performance (2003 regular season MVP award) who couldn't get it done in the postseason, with an 0-3 record in January.
But everything changed against the Denver Broncos in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Manning turned in the single greatest passing performance by a quarterback in the history of the NFL playoffs. He completed 22-of-26 passes for 377 yards and five touchdowns. His passer rating was a perfect 158.3.
At one point before halftime, Manning's stats looked like this: 16-of-17 for 327 yards and four touchdowns.
The Colts cruised to an easy 41-10 victory, scoring 31 by halftime and all 41 in the first three quarters.
In the 1943 NFL championship game, Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman almost singlehandedly willed the Bears to a victory against the rival Washington Redskins.
Luckman completed 15-of-26 passes for 286 yards and five touchdowns, then a single-game record. Four of his touchdown passes came in the second half.
His 135.6 passer rating was almost three times the league average (48.6). He added eight rushes for 64 yards, outrushing the entire Redskins team.
He returned two punts for 32 yards. He handled the Bears' punting duties. And he intercepted two passes on defense.
Luckman did everything for the Bears but sell tickets, as he capped off the greatest regular season by a quarterback in league history with the greatest single-game postseason performance in league history.
The 100 greatest single-game postseason performances in NFL history consists of the following breakdown:
Quarterback (44), Wide Receiver (18), Running Back (16), Cornerback (6), Linebacker (5), Tight End (2), Safety (2), Returner (2), Defensive End (1), Kicker (1), Punter (1)
Super Bowl (33), Divisional (23), Wild-Card (21), Conference Championship (13), NFL/AFL championship (10)
Winning team (89), Losing team (11)
Played for: San Francisco (12), Green Bay (8), Oakland (8), Dallas (7), Pittsburgh (6), Washington (6), Indianapolis (5), San Diego (5), Miami (4), New England (4), St. Louis (4), Buffalo (3), Carolina (3), Denver (3), NY Giants (3), Arizona (2), Cleveland (2), Detroit (2), Minnesota (2), New Orleans (2), Philadelphia (2), Atlanta (1), Chicago (1), Kansas City (1), NY Jets (1), Seattle (1), Tampa Bay (1), Tennessee (1), Baltimore (0), Cincinnati (0), Houston (0), Jacksonville (0)
Played against: Denver (10), Indianapolis (9), Dallas (7), NY Giants (6), Green Bay (5), Miami (5), San Diego (5), Kansas City (4), Minnesota (4), New England (4), Philadelphia (4), St. Louis (4), Chicago (3), Detroit (3), Pittsburgh (3), San Francisco (3), Tennessee (3), Atlanta (2), Buffalo (2), Cincinnati (2), Cleveland (2), New Orleans (2), Oakland (2), Washington (2), Arizona (1), Baltimore (1), Jacksonville (1), NY Jets (1), Carolina (0), Houston (0), Seattle (0), Tampa Bay (0)
Joe Montana (4), Jerry Rice (3), Kurt Warner (3), Jim Plunkett (2), Terry Bradshaw (2), Tom Brady (2), Bart Starr (2), Daryle Lamonica (2), Peyton Manning (2), Sammy Baugh (2), Otto Graham (2)