Cream Of The Crop: The 20 Most Memorable Playoff Moments
The NFL brand has lived on plays and moments that have stood the test of time and that stick with us for years to come. These playoff games are a very special kind. They include memorable plays or moments that are amazing and define a whole game. These playoff games are very intense, hard-fought games, and suspenseful. This slide-show represents a capsule of how memorable and how exciting these games were to watch and how they rank in the lore of the NFL.
20. The Catch II
Steve Young throws the game winning touchdown to Terrell Owens
The Packers had lead the 49ers 27-23 late in the game, but the 49ers managed to get the ball back and start a successful drive of their own. They drove to the Packers 25 yard line, and with eight seconds left, Steve Young takes the snap and stumbles. Then throws the game winning touchdown to Terrell Owens who had up to this point, four dropped passes and lost one fumble.
19. The Shocker at Mile High
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
In 1996, The Broncos went into the NFL playoffs as the number one seed. Meanwhile the wild card Jaguars barely made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but had won the their last five games of the season. The Jags came into Denver as the number five seed. The Broncos took a lead 12-0 against the Jaguars, but that lead quickly evaporated as the Jaguars stormed back and took over the game and won 30- 27.
18. The Mud Bowl
This legendary game between the two teams was played on a soggy, wet field, which neutralized the Jet's advantage at skill positions and favored the Dolphins' strengths. The Dolphins held Jets quarterback Richard Todd to 15 of 37 completions for 103 yards and five interceptions. The Dolphins won the game 14-0 and deepened the rivalry between the Dolphins and Jets, whom were swept by the Dolphins. This was the first in NFL history a team ever completed a three game sweep of a division rival.
17.The Ghost To The Post
Raiders' tight end, Dave Casper, nicknamed "The Ghost" by his teammates, caught a pass to set up the field goal that would tie up the game near the end of regulation. In the second overtime, Casper caught 10-yard touchdown pass to win the game.
16.The Improbable Comeback
Quarterback Jim Kelly, running back Thurman Thomas, and linebacker Cornelius Bennett injured and declared out, but backup quarterback Frank Reich led the Bills from a 32-point deficit and defeated the Oilers 41-38. To this day, it is known as the greatest comeback in NFL history. Ironically, Frank Reich led his college team, University of Maryland to their greatest comeback in college history against the University of Miami.
15. The Epic In Miami
The temperature for this game was 85 degrees, and it took place at the Miami Orange Bowl, but it didn't stop the Chargers nor the Dolphins offense. This game alone, set playoff record for most points scored in a playoff game, the most total yards by both teams (1,036) and the most passing yards by both teams (809). At the end of the first quarter, the Chargers capitalized and went out to a 24-0 lead, but the Dolphins cut the lead in half by halftime. The Dolphins took a 38-31 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Chargers tied the game before the end of regulation and in overtime, the Chargers beat Miami 41-38.
14. The Freezer Bowl
One week after their victory against Miami in "The Epic In Miami", the Chargers traveled to Cincinnati to face the Bengals in the coldest game in NFL history. The air temperature was minus nine degrees, but the wind chill factor was minus fifty nine degrees. The Cincinnati Bengals won 27-7 and reached their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
13. The Fog Bowl
It was a matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears, and it originally was actually a very sunny day at Soldier Field. During the second quarter, a heavy dense fog rolled over the stadium, cutting visibility to 15-20 yards. The fog was so heavy and thick that the announcers had trouble announcing what was going on the field. The Bears won 20-12 in this NFC Divisional Playoff matchup.
12. The Sea Of Hands
Clarence Davis catches the game-winning touchdown
There was 24 seconds left in the game, when Raiders runningback Clarence Davis caught the game winning touchdown among the "sea of hands" of Dolphins defenders. This eliminated Miami from the playoffs after they had made to the Super Bowl the past three seasons.
11. The Infamous Guarantee
The Colts were heavily favored against the AFL New York Jets by 19 point favorites. The Jets quarterback, Joe Namath, had "guaranteed" a win against the heavily favored Colts. The Colts lost 16-7 in a humongous upset that would forever change the way the AFL was viewed. The AFL merged with the NFL in 1970 and the rest is history.
10. The Catch
Dwight Clark catches the game winning touchdown
With 58 seconds left in the game, the 49ers were trailing the Cowboys by a score of 27-21. Montana threw a very high pass into the endzone, where Dwight Clark leapt and fingertipped the ball and brought it in for the game winning touchdown.
9. The Fumble
The Fumble will never be forgotten in the minds and hearts of Browns' fans everywhere. The Browns were trailing 31-38 with one minute and 12 seconds remaining in the game, Earnest Byner appeared to be headed for a game tying touchdown, but Byner fumbled the ball, the Broncos recovered, and he Broncos went onto Super Bowl XXII.
8. Red Right 88
Down by two points late in the fourth quarter, the Browns decided to attempt a pass play for the end-zone instead of a game winning field goal. The pass was intercepted by Raiders safety Mike Davis. With that interception, the Raiders won the game, and eventually reached the Super Bowl and won.
7. Music City Miracle
With 16 seconds left in the game, the Tennessee Titans recieved a kickoff. The Titans were losing at this point. Titans' Lorenzo Neal handed the ball to Frank Wycheck, who lateral the ball across the field to his teammate, Kevin Dyson, who then ran the length of the field to score the game winning touchdown. The Titans won over the Bills 22-16.
6. The Tuck Rule Game
The Infamous Tuck Rule Game
With two minutes left to play in regulation, the Patriots were trailing the Raiders 13-10, in a blizzard of snow. Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson blitzed and sacked Brady, causing a fumble, which then was recovered by the Raiders. The play was reviewed and was ruled an incomplete pass, because Tom Brady's hand was coming forward with the football. The Patriots retained possession and tied the game 13-13 with 27 seconds left. In overtime, the Patriots won with a field goal, 16-13.
5. 4th and 26
Trailing the Packers by three points and with no timeouts left in the game, the Eagles had 26 yards to go on a fourth down. The play which was 74 Double Go, called for wide receiver Freddie Mitchell to run a 25 yard slant. Donovan Mcnabb, the Eagles quarterback, threw a perfect strike to Mitchell, and Mitchell got the first down. This set up David Aker's game tying field goal. In overtime, the Eagles intercepted Brett Favre and won the game with a field goal.
4. One Yard Short
Kevin Dyson is one yard short from the endzone
The Tennessee Titans were trailing 23-16 with six seconds left in the game at the Rams 10 yard line, and with no timeouts left in the game had one last chance. Steve Mcnair passed to Kevin Dyson on a slant. Rams linebacker Mike Jones tacked Dyson at an angle and prevented Dyson from reaching the endzone, therefore ruling Dyson down at the one yard line.
3. The Immaculate Reception
The play started at the Steelers' forty yard line, and it was fourth and ten. Steelers' quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, took the snap and fired the pass to Steelers' halfback, John Fuqua. Raiders' safety, Jack Tatum hit Fuqua the same time as the ball arrived, and the ball ricochet up in the air and was caught by Steelers' halfback Franco Harris for the game winning touchdown. This would reverse four decades of futility and would cause the Steelers to win four Super Bowls in the 70s.
2. The Toe Stopper
The Steelers got the ball back at their own 22 yard line. They were losing to the Cardinals 23-20 at this point. Roethlisberger then completed two passes to Holmes for 27 yards. After an 11 yard catch by Steelers' wide receiver, Nate Washington and a six yard run by Roethlisberger, Roethlisberger then threw a strike to Holmes for a 40 yard gain that would set the Steelers up at the Cardinals six yard line. Two plays later, Holmes would make the catch that would land the Steelers their sixth Lombardi trophy.
1. The Helmet Catch
It was third and five at the Giants 44 yard line and Manning took the snap from shotgun formation. Upon taking the snap, Manning immediately faced pressure from the Patriots defensive lineman. Patriots' defensive lineman, Richard Seymour, grabbed Manning from the back of his jersey, and Patriots' linebacker, Adalius Thomas, grabbed Manning by the shoulder. Nevertheless, Manning stayed on his feet and scrambled and threw a pass to David Tyree, that will never be forgotten in the history of the lore of the National Football League. With this pass, the Giants were able to the beat the undefeated Patriots, who were 18-0 at the time.