What Should the Manning to Tyree Play Be Nicknamed?
Okay, here is something that has bothered me immensely. Wikipedia has a page dedicated to NFL Lore, which I have frequently tried to update, and yet I always get the attention of trollers, who delete my additions and insert their own.
Feel free to add details to mine, or add your own but please be aware of the timeline.
Thus, rather than let that page be dictated by some troll, I thought I would present the topic to the Bleacher Report readers. Mainly because media lore has dominated that NFL Lore page on Wikipedia, while it does exclude what fan journalists talk about.
What can you include as lore, and what can you exclude? In my opinion, it can be a single play, game, player, or a trend that people remember sometimes accurately and sometimes wrongly, but there is enough visual evidence to justify the debate.
"NFL lore" is too subjective and not reportable as facts. The list of NFL Lore is vastly incomplete.
Obviously, there is a question about what defines "lore.” Part of the definition is that, a play, trend, or officiating call represents the fortunes or misfortunes of a team or teams. Thus, you cannot limit "lore" simply to individual games.
I generally think of "lore" as oral history, and in this case, the oral history of the NFL. I define "lore" then as the common stories or perceptions told or debated between fans about what they *saw,* not by statistics and calls—from fans of both teams.
That is really, why fans watch the games—to witness a moment of history, and sometimes those moments take on different forms.
"Lore" then can also include individual players, team nicknames and a series of games, particularly in the postseason, or streaks that define the rise and fall of teams, or the morale of the fans, but I generally try to limit this to whether the team won or lost the Super Bowl or resulted in a Super Bowl appearance.
Because that is the best indication as to whether, fans of other team will talk about it; however, there are moments that transcend team rivalries and ripple throughout the NFL regardless of the Super Bowl.
Manning to Tyree
The other question has been what to call the single "Manning to Tyree" play, while I am unsatisfied by the name "Manning to Tyree." We must be fair to both players with the nickname but also think of something un-used.
I have seen the nickname "Giant Upset" which I think is fitting for New York when you consider the cross-town Jets and, "The Guarantee."
I personally prefer the nickname, "The Truth." In that, the Giants took down a team that had been the pre-determined winner, the New England Patriots. The belief was based on the record setting offense of the Patriots and their record of 18-0, yet quarterback Tom Brady would spend most of the day under pressure by defensive ends and.
In a funny coincidence, the game included one DE named "Tuck," which of course is the name of the play that has symbolized the rise of Brady, and could very well be the same word that symbolizes the fall of Brady.
The reason I prefer nickname of "The Truth" is because stats do not determine wins. You cannot quantify the Manning to Tyree play in stats, and yet you cannot help but remember it. You cannot deny the importance of that play to the game, and thus, I do believe that the name is, "The Truth," -- in an era of frauds in pro sports.
Other Topics for Lore
The Hogs and The Posse
"OJ and the Electric Company" (1973)
In 1973, OJ Simpson would become the first running back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in 14 games.
The Electric Company was the nickname of the offensive line of the Buffalo Bills during the early 1970s. They consisted of Dave Foley, Reggie McKenzie, Mike Montler, Joe Delamielleure, Donnie Green, and Paul Seymour.
Bruce Jarvis was the original center for the Electric Company, but a knee injury ended his career early in the 1973 NFL season, causing him to be replaced with Montler.
They were called the Electric Company due to their running back's nickname. O.J. Simpson played running back for the Bills during the time of the Electric Company. His nickname was the "Juice."
The offensive line would "turn on the juice," which was a metaphor for unleashing Simpson, who at the time was the best running back in the National Football League.
Jim Ringo was the line coach for the Bills, and he was the man who coined the name for them. Of these five linemen and one tight end of the Electric Company, only Joe Delamielleure is in the Pro Football Hall.
"The Purple People Eaters"
The Minnesota Vikings would feature arguably the most dominant defensive line, known as The Purple People Eaters, in NFL history between the late-1960s until the late-1970s, which would lead the Vikings to four Super Bowl appearances in Super Bowl IV, VIII, IX, and XI.
The line featured DT Alan Page, DE Carl Eller, DE Jim Marshall, and DT Gary Larsen.
Page and Eller have been inducted into the Hall of Fame while Page became only the second defensive player to be named NFL MVP in 1971.
The nickname for Minnesota's defensive line would also be an early example of a nickname given to a defense or section of the defense that would lead a team to prominence and sometimes the Super Bowl and sometimes a Super Bowl victory.
Such nicknames include, "The No-Name Defense," "The Steel Curtain," "The Doomsday Defense," "The Fearsome Foursome," "The Orange Crush," "The Bruise Brothers," and "The New York Sack Exchange."
I should note however, that the "Fearsome Foursome" has referred to multiple teams and does predate, "The Purple People Eaters" but I believe that Minnesota's team popularized the use of creative nicknames for defenses because of Minnesota's success.
"Over The Hill Gang"
The Washington Redskins head coach, George Allen, would use draft picks to acquire veterans, which bucked the orthodoxy of building a franchise with rookies from the draft.
These tactics would lead the Redskins to five post-season berths, including a Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl VII. Washington owner Dan Snyder would later use the same tactics of trading draft-picks for seasoned players.
"The Punts of Ray Guy" (1976)
January 26, 1976; AFC vs. NFC
The phrase "hangtime" is believed to have been created due to Guy's booming kicks. Ray Guy was known for punts with a high hang time; he once punted the ball with so much hang time that the opponents pulled the ball and had it tested for helium. The hang time statistic was also instituted in the NFL during his time.
On those occasions when the Raiders played in domed facilities, Guy's punts sometimes struck the roofs of the stadiums.
Arguably, Guy's most famous (or infamous) punt came in a domed stadium during the 1976 NFL Pro Bowl game played at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA, when one of his punts struck the gondola containing a camera and television screens attached to the roof of the stadium.
Guy was extremely adept at pinning the opposing team behind the 20-yard line. Guy is not only the most decorated punter in NFL history but also the first to be nominated for the Hall of Fame in 1994, which was also the year that he was named the punter on the National Football League's 75th Anniversary Team.
"The Ben Dreith Game" (1976)
December 18, 1976; Oakland Raiders vs. New England Patriots
The Ben Dreith Game is notable because it allowed the Oakland Raiders to win, and eventually win the Super Bowl. If not for that call, the Patriots would have likely won the game.
Not only did it cement Oakland's reputation for "ugly" wins, which would later inspire the phrase "Just Win, Baby," but it is also one of the earliest times where fans had a legitimate reason to despise the referees, which is a sentiment that continues to this day.
Because 'the replay' footage clearly showed no roughing, 'the Ben Dreith game' is sometimes cited as a reason for the current instant replay system, because the 'Ben Dreith game' proved that the refs sometimes make costly mistakes that are pivotal to the outcome of the game.
Probably the most controversial team moniker in sports history. Bob Ryan of NFL Films coined the name in 1979.
Ryan used the term to describe his observations that he always saw Cowboy fans in the stadiums and that the Cowboys always seemed to play in nationally televised games.
The Cowboys were also known for pioneering the use of cheerleaders and other forms of exhibitionism.
You cannot pin down one game that inspired this nickname, but notable games before then include, all Thanksgiving Day games, "The Ice Bowl," "The Hail Mary," and Super Bowls V, X, XII, and XIII.
Coincidentally, the Dallas dynasty of the 1970s would close a few seasons later in the NFC Championship game on Jan. 10, 1982 against the San Francisco 49ers.
"Birth of Joe Cool"
On Jan. 10, 1982, Joe Montana-led San Francisco 49ers faced the Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick Park in the National Football Conference Championship Game.
One of the most notable plays in NFL history marked the final quarter; and Larry Schwartz of ESPN.com later defined the 1981 NFC Championship as Montana's signature game.
When San Francisco took possession with 4:54 left in regulation play, Dallas led 27-21; the drive began on San Francisco's 11-yard line.
Behind six successful Montana completions and four running plays, San Francisco moved the ball to the Dallas 13-yard line.
San Francisco faced third down from the Dallas six-yard line, after one unsuccessful pass and then a seven-yard gain.
Montana took the snap and ran to his right. He then made an off-balance pass toward the back of the end zone, and San Francisco wide receiver Dwight Clark made a leaping catch for the game-tying touchdown.
With just 51 seconds left on the game clock, Wersching kicked the extra point and San Francisco won the game 28-27. The catch by Clark was coined simply "The Catch,” and it put San Francisco into Super Bowl XVI.
San Francisco faced the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. Montana completed 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards with one touchdown.
San Francisco won the game 26-21; and, in recognition of his performance, Montana won the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award, which he accomplished two more times before he retired.
In January 1989, the 49ers once again faced off against the Bengals in the Super Bowl. Of his third trip to the Super Bowl, Montana told the San Jose Mercury News: "This trip to the Super Bowl is more gratifying than the others, because the road has been harder."
Then, in Super Bowl XXIII, Montana had one of the best performances of his career. He completed 23 of 36 passes for a Super Bowl record 357 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Despite his great performance, the 49ers found themselves trailing the Cincinnati Bengals 16-13 with only 3:10 left in the game and the ball on their own eight-yard line.
Montana then calmly drove them down the field; completing 8-of-9 passes for 87 yards and throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to John Taylor with only 34 seconds left.
"The 1983 NFL Draft"
April 26-27, 1983
Arguably, the most talented Draft in NFL history, the 1983 NFL Draft has become the benchmark for what a franchise can become by drafting well.
Not only has that Draft produced six Hall of Famers and counting, but also built the foundation for Super Bowl teams for over the next decade, and in some ways would foreshadow the future of NFL Parity, because of the wide success by 20 of 28 teams.
- QB John Elway and LB Karl Mecklenburg of the Denver Broncos;
- QB Jim Kelly and LB Darryl Talley of the Buffalo Bills;
- QB Dan Marino, WR Mark Clayton, and P Reggie Roby of the Miami Dolphins; WR Anthony Carter was selected by Miami but began NFL career with Minnesota after a stint in the USFL
- S Dave Duerson, OL Jim Covert, G Mark Bortz, WR Willie Gault and DE Richard Dent of the Chicago Bears;
- OL Chris Hinton of the Baltimore Colts;
- WR Henry Ellard and DB Vince Newsome of the Los Angeles Rams;
- S Joey Browner and DB Carl Lee of the Minnesota Vikings;
- CB Gil Byrd and RB Gary Anderson of the San Diego Chargers;
- QB Ken O'Brien of the New York Jets;
- CB Albert Lewis and P Jim Arnold of the Kansas City Chiefs;
- LB Mike Cofer of the Detroit Lions
- S Wes Hopkins of the Philadelphia Eagles;
- DB Darrell Green and DE Charles Mann of the Washington Redskins;
- DE Greg Townsend, DT Bill Pickel and C Don Mosebar of the Los Angeles Raiders;
- QB Tony Eason and RB Craig James of the New England Patriots;
- DB Terry Kinard, DT Leonard Marshall and K Ali Haji-Sheikh of the New York Giants;
- OL Bruce Matthews and DB Keith Bostic of the Houston Oilers;
- RB Curt Warner of the Seattle Seahawks
- C Jesse Sapolu and RB Roger Craig of the San Francisco 49ers; and
- DT Tim Krumrie of the Cincinnati Bengals
The success of the 1983 Draft is undeniable; however, people still debate as to whether it was the best. Regardless however, the 1983 Draft was a watershed for which general fans began to fixate on the Draft as the best chance their team has to build and win.
"Just Win, Baby" (1983)
January, 22, 1984; Los Angeles Raiders vs. Washington Redskins
This Super Bowl would also be the one in which the famous "1984" Super Bowl commercial for Apple Computer's would air. Moreover, the first Madden video game would appear for the Apple II Computers in 1988.
The 1983 Los Angeles Raiders would win Super Bowl XVII on Jan. 22, 1984, by defeating the Washington Redskins, 38-9. The Raiders did so by stopping the record setting offense of the Washington Redskins.
The team featured a multitude of Heisman winners, ProBowlers, All-Pros, and future MVPs and Hall of Famers.
This Super Bowl win has marked the only Super Bowl victory for the city of Los Angeles, which has famously been without a team since 1995, and would make the Raiders the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in more than one city (the Colts became the second in 2007).
Raiders owner Al Davis would coin the slogan "Just Win, Baby" after the victory. The win would also be the pinnacle achievement for Davis in his famous rivalry with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, whose hometown team was the Los Angeles Rams. NFL Films has named that rivalry the greatest rivalry in NFL history.
Not only would the Raiders win after a reputation for troubled players, characters, and dirty tricks (such as CB Lester Hayes' stickum). Then-Super Bowl records of 191 yards rushing and a 74-yard run by future NFL MVP RB Marcus Allen would highlight the game. That play has been famously been referred to as, "The Cutback."
"Super Bowl Shuffle" (1985)
The 1985 Bears have the common distinction of being the most dominant team in NFL History, even though the 1972 Dolphins were 17-0 and the 2007 Patriots finished 18-1.
The reason why is that the Bears finished the 1985 season with a Super Bowl win by dominating the whole way but would famously suffer only one loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Unlike the 1972 Dolphins, who would often squeak out wins, and the 2007 Patriots, who did not win the Super Bowl—the Bears of 1985 were not only dominant, but were so confident in their dominance, that the Bears would record the video "Super Bowl Shuffle" before the end of the regular season.
The Bears of course, backed that up by defeating New England in the Super Bowl.
"Bo Knows Monday Night Football" (1987)
November 30, 1987; Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks
Bo Jackson is probably the single greatest "flash-in-the-pan" in NFL History. In Bo's short career, he would dominate opponents with speed and power, most notably against Seattle's Brian Bosworth in 1987 on Monday night in the Kingdome, with a still-standing record of 221 yards.
He also made a 91-yard run to the outside, untouched down the sideline. He continued sprinting until finally slowing down as he passed through the entrance to the field tunnel to the dressing rooms with teammates soon following.
The fame brought by that performance would partially lead to the commercials with music legend Bo Diddley entitled, "Bo Knows."
However, a career ending injury would cut-short Bo's super-hyped career, an injury sustained against the Cincinnati Bengals during the 1990 postseason.
The Raiders would lose the next week to the Buffalo Bills, 51-3, and the Bengals would enter 15 years of futility, until returning to the postseason in 2005. The Bengals would leave on a similar note to the Raiders with a knee injury to Carson Palmer, and then a series of arrests of Cincinnati players.
"The Trade" (1989)
The trade of Herschel Walker in 1989 by the Dallas Cowboys to the Minnesota Vikings would mark the return to prominence of the Cowboys that would be marked by three Super Bowl wins, and a near decade of dominance with QB Troy Aikman, RB Emmit Smith, and WR Michael Irvin.
The Cowboys received five players and six draft picks, which would include RB Emmit Smith, DT Russell Maryland, CB Kevin Smith, and S Darren Woodson.
"The Lett Downs"
Few people resonate in sports history for great plays and for blunders, but Dallas Cowboys DT Leon Lett is easily the most prominent one.
In Super Bowl XXVII, late in the fourth quarter, Lett made a play by recovering a fumble on Buffalo's 45-yard line and proceeded to run it back towards the end zone.
When he reached the 10-yard line, he started to slow, and held the ball out as he approached the goal line.
However, he did not see a hustling Don Beebe, who was chasing him down from behind. Beebe knocked the ball out of Lett's outstretched hand just before he crossed the goal line, which sent the ball through the end zone, and resulted in a touchback that cost Lett his touchdown.
Lett later said he was watching the Jumbotron, and trying to do a "Michael Irvin,” where he put the ball out across the goal line.
On Thanksgiving Day in 1993, during a rare snow and sleet storm in Dallas, the Cowboys were leading the Miami Dolphins 14-13 with mere seconds remaining in the game. The Dolphins attempted a 41-yard field goal to take the lead but the kick was blocked.
While most of his teammates began celebrating, Lett attempted to recover the ball but slipped on the ice as he attempted to pick the football up, and Miami recovered the "muff" on the Dallas one-yard line.
There was no need to pick up the ball as the Cowboys would have automatically received possession and could have simply run out the clock. By touching the ball and then failing to hold onto it, Lett enabled the Dolphins to take possession and then try another field goal. This second attempt was successful and the Dolphins won the game 16-14.
In 2008, the game was named the third most memorable in the history of Texas Stadium by ESPN.
Lett however, would partially atone for his blunders in Super XVIII when he made the undisputed key play to win that Super Bowl.
With the Cowboys trailing 13-6 in the third quarter, Lett, "sliced through the Buffalo line like a knife..." forcing a fumble while tackling running back Thurman Thomas in the backfield on the third play of the drive.
Lett had stopped Buffalo's advance and turned the game's momentum back in favor of the Cowboys. Dallas safety James Washington recovered the ball and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown to tie the game, and the Cowboys won 30-13.
"Prime Time in the Super Bowl" (1996)
January 28, 1996; Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys
CB/PR/WR Deion Sanders would capitalize on his unique speed and athleticism that allowed him to be a multi-sport athlete, along with RB Bo Jackson, and made Sanders an example of "shutdown corner."
Sanders was so fast that opposing quarterbacks considered it too dangerous to challenge him by passing to his covered receiver, for the fear that Sanders would return an interception for a TD, which would earn him the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1994 with the San Francisco 49ers.
That reputation made Sanders the most prominent example of an unorthodox weapon in the NFL. Sanders would be pivotal in the Dallas Cowboys victory of 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX on Jan. 28, 1996, because Pittsburgh QB Neil O'Donnell would spend the day attacking CB Larry Brown instead.
Brown, of course, won the Super Bowl MVP award for his interceptions that day, and famously received a big contract from the Raiders in free agency but flopped.
The NBC show Friends also famously followed Super Bowl XXX, which aired a two-part episode, "The One after the Super Bowl."
Sanders and Bo Jackson would also take advantage of opportunities with touchdown celebrations that would foreshadow the on-field antics of WR Keyshawn Johnson, WR Terrell Owens, WR Chad Johnson and others.
Sanders would ultimately tutor return specialist Devin Hester while Hester was at the U of Miami. Hester of course, would become an explosive return specialist for the Chicago Bears in 2006, which would spearhead their fortunes to appear in Super Bowl XLI.
Furthermore, the careers of the multi-sport athletes like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are easily the most prominent examples of the rise of the prima Dona, in the NFL. There were troubled players who came before them, but their careers highlight a rise in showboating, and controversial celebrations.
"The Greatest Show on Turf"
ESPN coined the term "Greatest Show on Turf" to describe the St. Louis Rams offense until several weeks into the 2000 season.
The first appearance of the term came when ESPN's Chris Berman, preparing to cover highlights of a 57-31 win over the San Diego Chargers that year, said to television audiences, "Forget Ringling Brothers; the Rams are the Greatest Show on Earth."
Over the following weeks, fans replaced "Earth" with "Turf" to signify the Rams' artificial playing surface, as well as, how well it served the Rams' already speedy offense. The media retroactively applied the term to the 1999 team, because the offensive philosophy and key players were the same.
The Greatest Show on Turf was anchored by running back Marshall Faulk, NFL Offensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years from 1999 through 2001, quarterback Kurt Warner, two-time NFL MVP, the receiving duo of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, as well as Az-Zahir Hakim and veteran Ricky Proehl.
Together they became the only team in NFL history to score 500+ points in three consecutive seasons. No other team has ever done it two seasons in a row.
Quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk finished first and second in MVP voting each of the three years, also an achievement unmatched by any offense in NFL history.
The Rams went 13-3, 10-6, and 14-2 in those 3 seasons, respectively, and reached the playoffs every year (interesting to note that in each of the three seasons, the Rams started 6-0 each time before dropping their first game).
In 1999, the team reached Super Bowl XXXIV and defeated the Tennessee Titans to claim the first franchise championship in almost half a century.
The Rams lost in the first round of the 2000 playoffs to the New Orleans Saints, but returned the next year to reach Super Bowl XXXVI, where they ultimately fell to the New England Patriots.
Though much less heralded, the St. Louis defense during those three seasons was critical to the overall team performance. In 2000, when the Rams scrambled just to reach the playoffs, the Rams defense ranked among the NFL's worst.
In 1999 and 2001, when the Rams reached the Super Bowl, the defense statistically ranked among the NFL's best—and ironically enough, it was a defensive stop known as "The Tackle" by Rams linebacker Mike Jones that gave the Greatest Show on Turf its championship.
"The Kick Heard 'Round the World" (2002)
February 3, 2002; New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams
In Super Bowl XXXVI, the underdog New England Patriots would upset the heavily favored St. Louis Rams on the final drive of the game with a 48-yard FG by kicker, Adam Vinatieri, to earn New England's first NFL title in franchise history over "The Greatest Show on Turf."
Vinatieri also made a 47-yard FG, in a snowstorm, a few weeks earlier in the "Tuck Rule Game" to tie the game against the Oakland Raiders, and then a FG to win the game.
During the "Tuck Rule Game," LS Lonnie Paxton famously made snow angels to celebrate the win, because he would make mock snow angels after the Patriots would defeat the Rams. Vinatieri's clutch-kicks in Super Bowls have earned him the reputation as a legitimate contender for the Hall of Fame, as a kicker.
The kick would also mark the beginning of an era for New England, which has included two more Super Bowl wins in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005, a Super Bowl appearance in 2007-2008, and a win-loss record of 86-26 (not counting 2000 and 2008).
"Seeds of Chucky" (2003)
January 26, 2003; Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Oakland Raiders would return to contention from 2000-2002 with Coach Jon "Chucky" Gruden and the shoulders of aging players like Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, and Rich Gannon.
Al Davis would also buck the orthodoxy of the NFL Draft by selecting K Sebastian Janikowski in the first-round of the 2000 NFL Draft, because a kicker was seen as their biggest hole for a team that had a small-window to succeed.
In 2000, Rich Gannon would lead the Raiders to the AFC Championship game during the 2000-2001 postseason against the Baltimore Ravens, where DL Tony Siragusa would intentionally injure Gannon to sideline him (the NFL fined Siragusa for the hit).
The Ravens would eventually win the game, and then defeat the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
In 2001, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown became the oldest receiver tandem to record more than 1,000 reception yards in the same season, and Jerry Rice would explode in the 2001 postseason against the Jets, and thus prove that was still a viable veteran. The Raiders would lose the next week in Foxboro in the, "Tuck Rule Game."
After “The Tuck Rule Game” in 2002, Al Davis traded coach Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay for draft-picks while Gannon would earn the NFL's trophy for MVP when the Raiders posted an 11-5 record on Rich Gannon's record-setting numbers for passing.
The Raiders would ultimately have their age exploited in a Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The aggressive tactics of Al Davis to win however would set the stage for a series of blunders by Davis, in which he would squander draft-picks, trades, and free-agent signings on busts but would also alienate coaches and players, such as CB Phillip Buchanon and WR Jerry Porter.
One such trade was for WR Randy Moss, whom the Raiders ultimately traded to the New England Patriots, and who set the single-season record for TD receptions in 2007 during New England's 18-1 season.
This period in Oakland's history is storied because; the blunders of Al Davis have directly affected the fortunes of other teams.
For instance, the Raiders passed on QB Phillip Rivers and QB Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 NFL Draft for OL Robert Gallery. The Chargers acquired draft picks they would use to select Pro Bowlers and Rivers from the Giants for Eli Manning (who has won a Super Bowl with the Giants) and Roethlisberger who has won a Super Bowl with the Steelers.
The Raiders released QB Kerry Collins who has now led the Tennessee Titans, in place of Vince Young, in 2008. The Raiders fired head coach Norv Turner, who has done respectably in San Diego. The Raiders allowed CB Charles Woodson to leave for Green Bay, and has since returned to dominance as a corner.
More importantly, the blunders of Al Davis in the new millennium have begun to tarnish an otherwise great legacy.
By the way, the movie Seeds of Chucky premiered in 2004, not 2003 in which the Super Bowl between the Raiders and Buccaneers occurred. However, I chose to ret-con the name because I could not resist it.
December 22, 2003; Oakland Raiders vs. Green Bay Packers
One of the defining moments of Brett Favre's career and arguably his greatest game ever took place on Dec. 22, 2003, in a Monday Night Football game against the Oakland Raiders.
The day before, on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2003, Brett's father, Irvin Favre ran into a ditch near Kiln, MS -- where years earlier, Brett Favre had nearly died in a car accident.
Favre chose to play the day after his father's death. He would pass for four touchdowns in the first half and 399 total yards in a 41–7 victory over the Raiders on international television -- Favre even received applause from "Raider Nation."
Afterwards, Favre said, "I knew that my dad would have wanted me to play. I love him so much and I love this game. "It's meant a great deal to me, to my dad, to my family, and I didn't expect this kind of performance. But I know he was watching tonight."
Favre earned the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. He then attended his father's funeral in Pass Christian, MS. Favre would also win an ESPY Award for his Monday Night Football performance.
"The Gadget" (2006)
February 5, 2006; Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Pittsburgh Steelers would defeat the Seattle Seahawks 20-10 in Super Bowl XL in a game of many story lines featuring RB Jerome Bettis, Willie Williams, and Darren Perry.
The game would however be marked by controversial calls by the referees that many argue had cost the game for Seattle.
The most notable moment however was a gadget pass by WR Antwaan Randle El to Hines Ward for a 43-yard touchdown.
The play would earn offensive-coordinator Ken Whisenhunt a reputation that led to his head-coaching job for the Arizona Cardinals.
Whisenhunt would lead the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2009 against none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers, in a game that featured many similar themes. Such as controversial calls by the refs and the fact that both Seattle and Arizona are the only NFL teams to have their full name inscribed on their end zone.
"Extraordinary Retribution" (2006)
February 04, 2007; Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears
Super Bowl XLI, would mark the first time a black head coach, Tony Dungy, and would lead a team to the Super Bowl, but by Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears. Super Bowl XLI would also highlight the extraordinary return abilities of Devin Hester.
Moreover, Super Bowl XLI would be QB Peyton Manning's first Super Bowl win, and would make the Colts the second team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in more than one city.
It would also disprove all of the negative perceptions of Peyton Manning, because Manning had to lead a comeback against New England in the previous week, Manning would have to win in bad weather during the Super Bowl. Manning would also defeat a Florida Gator in doing so, Rex Grossman, who has been the goat for fans of the Chicago Bears ever since.
"The Iced Kicker Game" (2007)
Sept 17 2007, Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
On Sept. 17, 2007, a trend began in a 23-20 loss in overtime by the Oakland Raiders to the Denver Broncos, after Denver coach, Mike Shanahan, used timeouts to "ice" Oakland's kicker, Sebastian Janikowski—that resulted in the negation of a FG and then a miss on the second try. Teams followed that trend throughout the 2007 NFL Season -- including the Oakland Raiders a week later against the Cleveland Browns.
The idea of "icing the kicker" had been around before the 2007 Season, but never to the degree that teams used it in the 2007 NFL Season.
Who could resist a bad joke about an iced Polack?
"The Ed Hochuli Bowl" (2008)
Dec. 28, 2008, San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
With the score 52-21, the San Diego Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos and earned a postseason berth with a record of 8-8 and denied the postseason to Denver at 8-8. The game was viewed as a referendum on a call made earlier in the season by referee Ed Hochuli.
The Chargers had comeback from 4-8, while the Broncos had skidded from 6-5 after a rout by the Raiders in Denver. Though the score was anti-climatic, the game was the culmination of paradoxical success and failure between San Diego and Denver that pivoted on the controversy over the first contest in which Denver defeated San Diego after referee Ed Hochuli negated what should have been a fumble by Denver quarterback Jay Cutler.
After the loss, the Broncos would terminate head coach Mike Shanahan after 13 seasons, 2 Super Bowl victories, and the Broncos would also trade quarterback Jay Cutler after he demanded a trade, after rumors that the Broncos sought to trade him.
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