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NFL: The Top 44 "Crowd Goes Wild" Moments in History (Video)

Bryn SwartzSenior Writer IIIOctober 11, 2016

NFL: The Top 44 "Crowd Goes Wild" Moments in History (Video)

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    In the history of the National Football League, there have been countless moments that have both awed and amazed fans and players alike.

    These moments include phenomenal touchdown runs, sensational catches, big hits and, of course, game-winning touchdowns.

    The following slides highlight 44 of the top "and the crowd goes wild" moments in NFL history. With the exception of plays in a neutral location like the Super Bowl, all of these moments occurred at the stadium of the home team. 

    After all, the crowd isn't going to go wild on the road.

    They are listed in chronological order—and yes, when possible, I have included a video for your viewing pleasure.


Tom Dempsey 63-Yard Walk-Off FG, October 1970

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    Tom Dempsey's walk-off 63-yard field goal is probably the greatest kick in NFL history, especially considering the fact that Dempsey has just half a foot.

    Not in the 41 years since has a kicker booted a field goal of greater distance.

Immaculate Reception, December 1972

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers trailed the Oakland Raiders 7-6 in a 1972 Wild Card playoff game. They faced a 4th-and-10 from their own 40 with just 22 seconds remaining in the game.

    What happened next was voted by NFL Films (in 1994) as the greatest touchdown in NFL history. Then again, following Santonio Holmes' touchdown to win Super Bowl XLIII, it may be just the second-best touchdown in Pittsburgh Steelers history. 

Miracle at Metropolitan Stadium, December 1980

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    The Vikings trailed the Cleveland Browns 23-22 with 46 yards to reach the end zone and time for one more play in a December 1980 game.

    What followed is one of the most awesome Hail Mary touchdowns in the history of the National Football League, courtesy of Ahmad Rashad.

The Catch, January 1982

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    The signature play of the 49ers' dynasty was Dwight Clark's leaping touchdown grab to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the final minute of the 1981 NFC championship game.

    The play both ended a potential Cowboys dynasty and started the 49ers dynasty, a dynasty that ended in the 49ers winning four Super Bowls. 

Steve Young GW Touchdown Run, October 1988

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    The most famous quarterback controversy in NFL history occurred between Joe Montana and Steve Young during the late 1980s. It was plays like this 49-yard game-winning touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings that led to Steve Young taking Montana's job.

    In 1994, NFL Films voted Young's mad scramble the greatest run in the history of the NFL—better than any run by Jim Brown, Walter Payton or any of the other great running backs throughout history.

Joe Montana Leads the Drive, January 1989

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    Joe Montana led the 49ers 92 yards in the final three minutes of Super Bowl XXII to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals for his third championship.

    The drive was capped off by John Taylor's 10-yard touchdown reception with 34 seconds remaining.

Buffalo Bills 32-Point Comeback, January 1993

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    There aren't a lot of proud moments in Buffalo Bills history. All anybody remembers about this franchise is four straight Super Bowl losses.

    But following the 1992 season, the Bills had one of the most incredible postseason games you'll ever see.

    Backup quarterback Frank Reich led a 32-point second-half comeback to stun Warren Moon and the Houston Oilers in the Wild Card playoff game.

Garrison Hearst 96-Yard OT Touchdown, September 1998

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    Garrison Hearst broke loose for a 96-yard touchdown run in overtime in the first week of the 1998 season against the New York Jets.

    It remains the longest overtime touchdown run in NFL history.

Jason Elam 63-Yard FG, October 1998

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    Denver Broncos kicker Jason Elam tied an NFL record by kicking this 63-yard field goal against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1998.

    The Broncos ended up winning the Super Bowl a few months later.

The Redemption Reception, January 1999

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    For whatever reason, this play is not as remembered by NFL fans as it should be. 

    The 49ers trailed the Packers 27-23 with seconds to play in the Wild Card Round when Steve Young hit Terrell Owens for a game-winning 25-yard touchdown reception between a pair of Packers defenders.

    Owens' touchdown made up for his four drops throughout the game and is considered "The Redemption Reception."

Music City Miracle, January 2000

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    Trailing 16-15 against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round, the Tennessee Titans needed a miracle to pull out a victory and extend their season.

    They got it in the form of a play called Home Run Throwback. Titans fullback Lorenzo Neal caught the short kickoff and handed the ball to tight end Frank Wycheck, who ran to the right, stopped and threw the ball across the field to wide receiver Kevin Dyson. Dyson sprinted untouched down the sideline for a 75-yard game-winning touchdown.

    Oh, and I don't believe the play was a forward lateral. Watch.

One Yard Short, January 2000

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    The St. Louis Rams capped off their incredible storybook season by defeating the Tennessee Titans in a Super Bowl that came down to the final play.

    Titans quarterback Steve McNair led a 16-point second-half comeback and had the Titans threatening on the final drive. But Rams linebacker Mike Jones made a spectacular game-saving tackle of wide receiver Kevin Dyson on the 1-yard line on the game's final play, preserving the championship for St. Louis.

Chris McAlister 107-Yard FG Return, September 2002

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    Ravens defensive back Chris McAlister took a missed field goal back 107 yards for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 31-3 halftime lead against the Denver Broncos.

    The play stood as the longest touchdown in NFL history until it was broken three years later by Nathan Vasher.

Cardinals Knock Vikings Out of Playoffs, December 2003

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    One of the more underrated plays in the history of the NFL came on the final play of the 2003 regular season. Facing a 4th-and-24 from the 28-yard line, the Cardinals needed a touchdown to beat the Vikings. The Vikings needed to make one stop to clinch a postseason berth.

    What happened next remains arguably the most heartbreaking regular-season loss in Minnesota Vikings history and, in my opinion, is one of the most incredible endings to a football game you'll ever see.

    Oh, and what a call by Vikings announcer Paul Allen.

River City Relay, December 2003

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    Trailing 20-13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars with just seven seconds remaining, the New Orleans Saints needed to go 75 yards for a game-tying touchdown. Incredibly, it happened.

    Aaron Brooks connected with Donte' Stallworth, who lateraled to Michael Lewis, who pitched the ball to Deuce McAllister, who hurled the ball across the field to Jerome Pathon, who dove into the end zone for a touchdown.

    So why did the Jacksonville crowd go crazy? Because after the touchdown, Saints kicker John Carney missed the extra point, losing the game for New Orleans and eliminating it from a potential postseason berth.

Nathan Vasher Missed FG Return, October 2005

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    On the final play of the first half of a game against the 49ers, Nathan Vasher returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a touchdown.

    The play provided the Bears with a 7-3 lead and stood as the longest touchdown in NFL history—until Antonio Cromartie broke the record two years later.

Ben Roethlisberger Makes the Tackle, January 2006

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    Although the Colts lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC divisional playoffs, they had everything going in their favor after Jerome Bettis fumbled on the 2-yard line on what would have been a game-sealing touchdown.

    Nick Harper returned the fumble for the Colts, but Ben Roethlisberger managed to bring down Harper at the 42-yard line, saving the game for the Steelers.

Matt Bryant 62-Yard Walk-Off FG, October 2006

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    I'll never get over this play as long as I live. The Eagles were defeated 23-21 on a walk-off 62-yard field goal by Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant.

    Sixty-two yards. Ridiculous.

Giant Collapse, November 2006

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    Rookie quarterback Vince Young led this incredible 21-point fourth-quarter comeback against the New York Giants in 2006, arguably the signature moment of Young's rookie season.

    The Giants finished 2-6 in the second half of the season, largely because of games like this.

Tony Romo Fumble, January 2007

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    With the Dallas Cowboys trailing the Seattle Seahawks 21-20 and just a minute remaining in the Wild Card Round of the postseason, the Cowboys needed to convert a chip shot 19-yard field goal to take a 23-21 lead.

    They never got a chance to take that kick. Holder Tony Romo fumbled the snap and was brought down on the 2-yard line by Seattle safety Jordan Babineaux, clinching a Seattle victory.

Colts Comeback vs. Patriots, January 2007

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    Peyton Manning and the Colts completed an incredible 18-point comeback against the New England Patriots in the 2006 AFC Championship Game, as Joseph Addai rushed for a three-yard touchdown in the final minute to provide the Colts with a 38-34 lead.

    Marlin Jackson sealed the Indianapolis victory by intercepting Tom Brady at midfield, propelling the Colts into Super Bowl XLI.

Devin Hester Super Bowl KR Touchdown, February 2007

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    I can't imagine a bigger thrill than returning the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl for a touchdown.

    Incredibly, it was the seventh return touchdown of the season for the Bears' Devin Hester, who enjoyed one of the greatest rookie seasons of any player in NFL history.

Tom Brady Flea-Flicker Touchdown, December 2007

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    The signature play for the 2007 New England Patriots is probably this flea-flicker touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Jabar Gaffney.

    The touchdown helped the Patriots keep their perfect season alive and defeat the eventual AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

David Tyree Helmet Catch, January 2008

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    David Tyree's 32-yard catch to help the New York Giants stun the New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII is the single greatest play in Super Bowl, and possibly NFL, history.

    Tyree's grab, in which he pinned the ball against his helmet with his right hand, came with just a minute remaining in the fourth quarter of a game the Patriots led 14-10, and it never would have happened if Eli Manning hadn't somehow eluded the grasp of several Patriots defenders.

    The catch remains the last of Tyree's NFL career.

Matt Ryan Bearly Beats Chicago, October 2008

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    Matt Ryan is known as Matty Ice, and it's comebacks like this miracle against the Chicago Bears that have earned him that reputation.

    If Ryan didn't lead this comeback, the Bears would have made the playoffs (and not my Eagles). Thank you, Matt.

Cardinals OT Blocked Punt Touchdown, October 2008

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    The Cardinals shocked the world by advancing to the Super Bowl following the 2008 season.

    One of their most incredible victories was this overtime thriller against the Dallas Cowboys in which a blocked punt was recovered for a touchdown in the first minute of overtime.

Ed Reed 108-Yard INT Touchdown, November 2008

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    The Eagles-Ravens game in November 2008 is remembered for the benching of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

    He was replaced by Kevin Kolb, who threw this 108-yard touchdown Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens.

Troy Polamalu Sends Pittsburgh to Super Bowl, January 2009

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    Troy Polamalu sent the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Super Bowl with this 43-yard interception touchdown off Joe Flacco of the Ravens in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game.

    The defensive leader for the Steelers provided what was at that point the biggest play of the season for Pittsburgh.

Ryan Clark Crushes Willis McGahee, January 2009

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    One of the most memorable NFL rivalries included this devastating hit in the final few minutes of the 2008 AFC Championship Game.

    Ryan Clark delivered a vicious hit on Ravens running back Willis McGahee, and three minutes later, the Steelers advanced to their seventh Super Bowl.

James Harrison 100-Yard Super Bowl Interception Touchdown, February 2009

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    Ben Roethlisberger's touchdown to Santonio Holmes was the signature play of Super Bowl XLIII (and maybe NFL history).

    But if it wasn't for James Harrison's incredible 100-yard interception touchdown on the final play of the first half, the Pittsburgh Steelers wouldn't have defeated Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals.

Santonio Holmes Super Bowl-Winning Touchdown, February 2009

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    Santonio Holmes's game-winning touchdown in the final minute of Super Bowl XLIII ranks as one of the most memorable touchdowns in NFL history.

    Holmes's six-yard touchdown could not have been a more perfect throw or a more perfect catch.

Brett Favre Miracle Touchdown, September 2009

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    Brett Favre's 2009 season ranks as one of the most incredible seasons by a quarterback in NFL history, especially considering the fact that he was 39 years old.

    He threw 33 touchdowns against just seven interceptions and led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.

    His signature moment of the season was this incredible 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis with just three seconds remaining in the game to beat the 49ers.

Vince Young 99-Yard GW Drive, November 2009

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    Say what you want about the career of (former) Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young, but one thing is for sure: He is one clutch quarterback.

    Take the 2009 game against the Arizona Cardinals in which he led a ridiculous 99-yard game-winning touchdown drive, including three fourth-down conversions, ending on a walk-off touchdown pass to Kenny Britt.

Matthew Stafford Walk-Off Touchdown, November 2009

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    The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2009, Stafford didn't accomplish a ton in his rookie season.

    But he did provide one of the most memorable moments of the season, throwing for five touchdowns in a victory against the Cleveland Browns. The final play, a one-yard walk-off touchdown, came as he nursed a separated shoulder.

Mike Wallace Walk-Off Touchdown vs. Packers, December 2009

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Green Bay Packers 37-36 on this incredible 19-yard walk-off touchdown from Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace in a December 2009 game.

    The victory kept the Steelers' slim postseason hopes alive and capped a 503-yard passing day by Big Ben.

Brian Dawkins' Return to Philly, December 2009

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    For 13 seasons, safety Brian Dawkins was the most popular athlete in the city of Philadelphia. A man who could do no wrong, Dawkins made six Pro Bowl selections and anchored a fierce Eagles defense that appeared in five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl.

    But he left the Eagles after 2008 to join the Denver Broncos. He returned to Philadelphia the following season to an ovation that gives me chills every time I watch the clip.

Karlos Dansby Overtime Touchdown, January 2010

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    The highest-scoring postseason game in NFL history ended in overtime when Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby scooped up an Aaron Rodgers fumble and danced his way into the end zone.

    The Cardinals won 51-45, the last victory of Kurt Warner's career.

Tracy Porter Intercepts Brett Favre, January 2010

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    Brett Favre has won three Most Valuable Player awards. He holds the all-time record for career completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and consecutive games played. He has won a Super Bowl and has led three franchises to winning records.

    Yet many will remember Favre's career for plays like this, when he cost the Vikings a Super Bowl berth by throwing a costly interception to Tracy Porter of the Saints with seconds remaining in regulation of a tied NFC Championship Game. The Vikings would lose 31-28 in overtime.

Tracy Porter Intercepts Peyton Manning, February 2010

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    Peyton Manning has won four Most Valuable Player awards. He held the single-season record for passing touchdowns. He leads the Colts into the postseason every year, and he will retire ranked either first or second in every major passing category.

    Yet the defining play of his career might be his game-losing interception to Tracy Porter of the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.

Calvin Johnson No Touchdown, September 2010

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    Calvin Johnson's incredible game-winning touchdown against the Chicago Bears in Week 1 of the 2010 season never counted because of a flawed NFL rule.

    Bears fans got lucky in this game.

Mike Thomas Hail Mary, November 2010

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans were tied 24-24 in a November game this past season.

    On the final play of the game, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard unleashed a Hail Mary, which was batted directly into the hands of wide receiver Mike Thomas for an improbable 50-yard game-winning touchdown.

Andre Johnson vs. Cortland Finnegan, November 2010

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    It's always entertaining when NFL players fight on the field. The fight between Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan was a classic.

    You've probably heard the joke: Cortland Finnegan should change his name to Cortland Innegan because Andre Johnson knocked the F out of him.

Dan Connolly 71-Yard Kick Return, December 2010

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    Everybody wants to see an offensive lineman score a touchdown. In a nationally televised game between the New England Patriots and the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, Patriots lineman Dan Connolly grabbed a short kickoff and rumbled 71 yards down to the 4-yard line.

    Connolly's kick return is believed to be the longest by an offensive lineman in the history of the National Football League.

Marshawn Lynch Touchdown Run, January 2011

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    In his first ever postseason game, newly acquired Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch busted loose for a 67-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

    Lynch's touchdown, in which he broke eight tackles, might be the greatest run I have ever seen in my entire life. The touchdown caused the crowd noise to literally shake the ground, and it led to one of the biggest upsets in NFL postseason history, as the Seahawks won 41-36.

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