Let’s not lie to you, the Wild Card Round 2016-2017 was lousy – that, unfortunately, is the word. You see, we’re not belittling the winning teams. Texans, Seahawks, Steelers and Packers won with all the justice of the world and deserved to advance of phase. Our criticism is in relation to the lack of emotion of the confrontations. Four matches, four laps decided at least 13 points apart, four opponents who offered no resistance. Anyone who tried to persuade a friend to start following the NFL now probably got sick.
But it’s not always so. Believe me, most of the NFL post-season duels are pretty cool. How about taking the hangover and the bad impression of this weekend by recalling some of the best playoff games in history? What is not lacking are big tacks, cool bids and balanced starts being decided on overtime.
Before we #will be in the box, we’ll let you know that a number of good things are out of our Top 10 because it’s impossible to remember or talk about everything . Even so, we believe the list to be quite complete and diverse (and, as you’ll see below, DO NOT ACCOUNT with Super Bowl LI – we’ve only placed matches before the Super Bowl). Check it out and show your friend that he still does not enjoy football because he should give the sport a new chance.
# 10 – Baltimore Ravens 38 x 35 Denver Broncos (AFC Divisional Round 2012)
In January of 2013, Broncos and Ravens made perhaps the most balanced game of all the history of the playoffs . All rooms finished tied, none of the teams could ever open an advantage over seven points over the other and, finally, the duel was only decided in the second overtime, after more than 76 minutes of game.
The away win against Denver, the top-ranked American Conference team of the year, was probably the most epic moment of Baltimore’s start to the Super Bowl. The deciding move was a 47-yard field goal kicked by Justin Tucker, but the most famous move turned out to be Joe Flacco’s 70-yard skyscraper for Jacoby Jones within seconds of the end, which was to take the showdown to extra time.
Also noteworthy was the duel between veterans Peyton Manning at the time in his first season with the Broncos and Ray Lewis, who was taken from the NFL – Lewis, at 37 years of age, finished the day with an impressive 17 tackles .
# 9 – Green Bay Packers 21 x 17 Dallas Cowboys (NFL Championship Game 1967, “Ice Bowl”)
The great highlight of this match was not its high technical quality, a spectacular throw or a super tack, but rather the fact that it was disputed in a temperature of -26 degrees Celsius, with a thermal sensation of -44º C – not by chance, received the name of “Ice Bowl”. It was so cold that the lawn of Lambeau Field turned almost a rock of ice, becoming extremely hard and slippery, the marching band musical instruments that would be presented in the interval froze and the referee’s whistle Norm Schachter glued to his lips.
Speaking exclusively of the game, Green Bay got a nice twist thanks to the courage of Bart Starr. A few seconds from the end and on the edge of the end zone , the quarterback suggested to coach Vince Lombardi that he himself would run the ball, as the running backs were having difficulty due to the frozen lawn. According to the legend, Lombardi replied: ” Run it, and let’s get the hell out of here ” (Run, and we’ll get out of here soon). Starr scored the touchdown and the Packers won. You can see more information and complete details regarding this memorable duel here .
# 8 – New England Patriots 16 x 13 Oakland Raiders (AFC Divisional Round 2001)
Hated by 10 out of 10 people who do not support the Patriots, the infamous “Tuck Rule Game” deserves to be on the list just because of the controversy surrounding it. Losing by 13 to 10 and less than two minutes to go, New England was in the 42-yard line of the Raiders. It was then that young Tom Brady did not notice Charles Woodson, perhaps camouflaged by the snow on the lawn, approaching like a hungry lion. The quarterback was dropped, let the ball escape and apparently suffered a fumble , which was recovered by Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert .
However, the turnover that was likely to decide victory in Oakland’s favor was overturned by arbitration. After reviewing the move, the zebras went back and scored an incomplete pass. The decision was based on the so-called Tuck Rule. She said basically that any intentional forward movement of the quarterback’s arm starts a pass forward, even if he loses possession of the ball while trying to bring it back close to the body. That was what happened to Brady, so the judges scored an incomplete pass and the Patriots kept possession of the ball. Then Adam Vinatieri kicked off two field goals – one in regulation time and another in overtime – to give New England victory.
Although controversial enough, the judges’ decision was correct, as they acted according to the rule at that time. Today, however, Tuck Rule no longer exists – it was abolished in 2013.
# 7 – Arizona Cardinals 51 x 45 Green Bay Packers (NFC Wild Card 2009)
What happens if you put Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner face-to-face in a playoff clash ? A real shootout. In January 2010, Cardinals and Packers combined for 96 points (current post-season record), 62 first downs and 1024 total yards. Green Bay started by losing 17-0 in the first quarter but eventually got an incredible reaction, scoring 21 points in the final 15 minutes of the regular time and taking the game to overtime.
However, ironically, what ended up deciding the match was a defensive move. At the beginning of extra time, Rodgers held the ball too far, was sacked and fumbled . Karlos Dansby retrieved it and walked to the end zone . Also worth mentioning is the monumental performance of Kurt Warner: 29 of 33 full passes, 379 yards, five touchdowns , no interception and a rating of 154.1.
# 6 – Miami Dolphins 27 x 24 Kansas City Chiefs (AFC Divisional Round 1971)
Known for being the longest game in all of NFL history (82 minutes and 40 seconds), the Dolphins-Chiefs duel was also famous for the many chances of winning wasted in Kansas City. In the last round of normal time, 35 seconds from the end, the team missed a 31-yard field goal .
In the first overtime, kicker Jan Stenerud got another chance, but this time he saw his 42-yard shot blocked. Garo Yepremian, a Dolphins kicker , also missed a shot in the first half, but in the second half he did not miss out and gave the Marathon final numbers with a 37-yarder. Also noteworthy for the power of reaction from Miami, who sought the draw after being lost by 10 to 0, 17 to 10 and 24 to 17.
# 5 – Seattle Seahawks 28 x 22 Green Bay Packers (NFC Championship Game 2014)
A spectacular turnaround and one of the wildest games of recent times, Seattle and Green Bay gave a true show in the final of the National Conference of 2014. The Seahawks began being absolutely dominated by the Packers and losing by 16 to 0. Russell Wilson finished the first step with more passes completed for the opponent (three interceptions) than for his teammates (2).
Coming back from break, Seattle took the score from scratch with a pass for touchdown of 19 yards made by punter Jon Ryan . Later, the franchise turned a difference of 19 to 7 in the last four minutes, with right onside recovered kick , bizarre colon conversion and everything else. Green Bay then recovered the ball, marched through the field and kicked a field goal that drew the showdown and led him to overtime. Insanity only came to an end after a 35-yard connection from Wilson to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. Anyway, it’s better if we talk about the best moments .
# 4 – San Francisco 49ers 36 x 32 New Orleans Saints (NFC Divisional Round 2011)
Speaking of crazy and exciting finals, what about this 49ers and Saints? We had nothing less than 34 points in the fourth quarter and four leaderboard changes in the last four minutes of the game.
New Orleans began to lose 17-0 and needed to row the whole game to make a difference until a 44-yard pass from Drew Brees to Darren Sproles turned the marker. San Francisco countered in the next campaign with a 28-yard touchdown ground by Alex Smith. Soon after, the Saints responded after a 66-yard connection between Brees and Jimmy Graham.
It was then that the star of Smith shone and he had his day of Joe Montana. The quarterback led a brilliant drive seven plays and 85 yards in 1:28 minutes, which resulted in a reception for touchdown of 14 yards from the tight end Vernon Davis . The deal was eventually named “The Catch III” – you’ll understand why the nickname is below.
# 3 – San Francisco 49ers 28 x 27 Dallas Cowboys (NFC Championship Game 1981)
The game that marked the birth of a dynasty. The first magical moment of Joe Montana . All of that happened that Sunday, January 10, 1982, when 49ers and Cowboys tried to decide who would be NFC’s Super Bowl representative.
The result from 28 to 27 indicates how well the match was balanced, with both teams trading six times in the leaderboard. Montana, in general, did not live on one of their happiest afternoons, ending the day with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. However, the best remained for the final. Losing 27-21, the quarterback received the ball on his own 11-yard line and with 4:54 minutes on the clock. Then, aided by the races of Lenvil Elliott and Freddie Solomon, Joe Cool marched through the field to reach the six-yard line of the offensive field. With less than a minute in the timer, the campaign has come to an end. All unbalanced and walking backwards during a third descent, Montana threw a “balloon” into the end zone. Dwight Clark, almost like Superman, jumped up and grabbed the ball with his fingertips.
The play was eternalized with the name of “The Catch,” gave the victory to San Francisco over Dallas and ranked the franchise to its first Super Bowl.
# 2 – Buffalo Bills 41 x 38 Houston Oilers (AFC Wild Card 1992)
Known simply as “The Comeback,” this duel went down in history as the greatest turnaround of all time in the NFL , considering both regular season and playoffs . The Oilers went on to open 35-3 in the third quarter and even then they lost in overtime. In addition, a special detail is that the Bills operated the miracle with its reserve quarterback : Frank Reich was replacing the injured Jim Kelly .
After entering the 32-point handicap hole, Buffalo scored 28 points only in the third quarter, taking advantage of Houston’s collapse. The turn came in the late period, with a touchdown of Andre Reed – the wide receiver , by the way, ended the day with three and 136 yards. The Oilers woke up, tied with a field goal in the final minutes and led the game to extra time, but they were defeated. Despite the setback, it is worth mentioning the performance of Warren Moon. The quarterback finished with 36 full passes, then a playoff record – surpassed only in 2010 by Drew Brees.
The closest to such a post-season turnaround were the Colts’ 28 points against the Chiefs in the 2013 Wild Card. In the regular season in 1980, the 49ers also emerged from a 28-point chasm against the Saints.
# 1- San Diego Chargers 41 x 38 Miami Dolphins (AFC Divisional Round 1981)
In addition to being the best playoff game , this is also arguably the best NFL game of all time. Chargers and Dolphins made an epic clash with all the dramatic elements possible: genius throws, decisive mistakes, upsetting, exhausted and dehydrated players because of the heat in Miami.
Led by legendary Dan Fouts, San Diego opened 24 to 0 in the first quarter. Miami reacted, scored 24 points in a row and tied for the third period. In the final play of the first leg, the team scored their hook-and-ladder touchdown when Duriel Harris grabbed the ball and immediately passed it to Tony Nathan running to the end zone . After that, the teams continued to trade punches, finishing the score 38-38 at regular time.
Not enough drama, the Dolphins had a chance to win in the final seconds with a 43-yard field goal , but tight end Kellen Winslow blocked the shot. In overtime, two more wrong field goals , one on each side. The Chargers lost one of 27 yards, while Miami had another attempt blocked. The suffering came to an end only after nearly 14 minutes of extra time when kicker Rolf Benirschke converted the 29-yard shot that gave the game a final number.
The big individual highlight turned out to be Winslow . The tight end added 13 receptions (record of the season in the playoffs ), 166 yards, a touchdown and the saving block. Kellen suffered several injuries throughout the game and in the end had to leave the field loaded due to exhaustion. The image of him coming out in the arms of his companions is quite famous.