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Football Greatest Moments in NFL History
Football History of the Best Games Ever!
The NFL's Finest Moments in History
When talking about football, the phrase "greatest game" is virtually impossible to define. It is as much about how each NFL game makes us feel at the time as much as
anything else. But one must remember, in the NFL each and as far back as you can go in the history of the NFL, each and every football game that has been filled with thrilling sports moments anyone has enjoyed . . . was
absolutely crushing to someone else.From Joe Namath in Super Bowl 3 assuring a win with his Guarantee to the Ice Bowl in 1967 when the Green Bay Packer were victorious over the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC championship in one of the coldest and iciest games in the history of the NFL. Some of these football games you will love to relive and if it was your team that lost, well there is always next year!
NFL History -Greatest Moments in Football
Some may agree, while some may have a different idea of what nfl moment in history belongs on this greatest history list. With that in mind, and in honor of American Football, the greatest sport (IMHO), here are my Top NFL greatest moments that I think will never be forgotten in the history of the greatest game.
1934 NFL Championship Game NY Giants V Chicago BearsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Rubber Sneakers were No Match for the Chicago Bears
The Sneaker Game
1934 NFL Championship
New York Giants 30
Chicago Bears 13
The Polo Grounds
New York City, NY
December 9, 1934
The "Sneaker Bowl" was the second NFL championship game in the history of the NFL. The year before the Chicago Bears had defeated the New York Giants in Chicago,
23-21 in Chicago. But this year it had rained for a week. The field was a
swamp. A nor'easter blew in the night before, too, driving temperatures
down into the single digits. The muddy grass iced over. You could
hardly run on it. The weather had left the Polo Grounds a virtual skating rink. On the morning of the game, the Giants president John V. Mara went and inspected the field and he reported the bad condition of the field to the coach Steve Owen. Ray Flaherty, an end for the Giants, had played a game on an icy
field when he was at Gonzaga. Before the NFL title game, he told Giants
coach Steve Owen that the Gonzaga players had used basketball shoes for
traction. And so Owen sent Abe Cohen, 85 blocks on the subway, with an empty gunnysack. The Giants'
trainer was also the trainer at Manhattan, so he called ahead and Cohen
made it back with nine pairs of shoes for the start of the fourth
The Bears were up 13-3 at the time, and the temperature had dropped to near zero. The Giants called a timeout, and their skill players swapped cleats for sneakers.
"Halas was furious," Davis says. "He screamed at his players to step on the Giants' feet, to spike them through the canvas uppers." But they couldn't get close enough. He complained to the officials, too, but the sneaker switch was within the rules. The Giants, suddenly sure-footed, put up 27 points in the final 10 minutes.
When the game was over, Coach Halas vowed the Bears would bring sneakers to every game he coached from then on.
And forever after, as if saying so would turn back the clock, as if it would empty Cohen's sack or stop the rain and cold from blowing in over the Atlantic, as if it would mean his 1934 team would be legendary for what it won and not for what and how it lost, Halas was heard swearing, "The bastards stole those shoes. Busted a window. Broke in and took the g--damn rubber shoes."
Green Packers beat Dallas Cowboys in the Ice Bowl
Green Bay Packer Fans
"The Ice Bowl"
1967 NFL Championship
Green Bay Packers 21
Dallas Cowboys 17
December 31, 1967
Stadium: Lambeau Field, Green Bay
Despite the frigid temperature of -16 with a wind chill factor of -46, 50,861 fans came out and braved the cold. The game was a sellout. And it was the in the coldest NFL game on record.
The Packers quarter back Bart Starr knew his team was in for a huge challenge as Dallas had gained experience in the championship game the year before. All week long before the game Coach Vince Lombardi was quick to point how good the Cowboys were and what respect he had for them.
Green Bay took an early 14-0 lead but the Cowboys soon adjusted to the cold and by halftime they had narrowed the Packers lead to 14-10. Late in the fourth quarter Dallas took the lead on a halfback option pass leaving Green Bay with one final drive. Bart Starr took his team to the one yard line with just 13 seconds left. Starr's touchdown play, "35 wedge," called for Chuck Mercein to get the ball. No one expected Starr to keep it. But before the play on the sidelines, Starr suggested to Lombardi that he run it instead of the backs because of the poor traction. Lombardi replied, “Then run it and let’s get the hell out of here.”
And that is exactly what they did.
The Green Bay Packers were NFL champions…again. They went on to win Super Bowl II two weeks later in a somewhat warmer locale –- Miami, Florida. It was the last game Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers.
Best NFL Football Plays 1967 Ice Bowl - Green Bay Packers 21 Dallas Cowboys 17
NY Jets Quarter Back #12 Joe NamathClick thumbnail to view full-size
New York Jets Guaranteed Win Over Baltimore ColtsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Broadway Joe Delivers "The Guarantee"
Super Bowl III
NY Jets 16
Baltimore Colts 7
January 12, 1969
When the New York Jets played in Super Bowl III all those years ago, they were heavy underdogs against a team that, on paper, should have chewed them up and spit them out. Joe Namath, frustrated with the lack of respect given to his team, guaranteed a victory before the game. "I try to explain that it wasn't an arrogant line, it was an angry one," Namath has said. "I was at the Miami Touchdown Club dinner at the Miami Springs Villa where Earl Morall (Colts QB), and I was up at the mike, and some guy in the back yelled . . Hey Namath, the Colts are going to kick your ass!”’ , and I said, 'Wait a minute, let's hold on. You Baltimore guys have been talking all week, but I've got news for you, buddy. We're gonna win the game. I guarantee it.'" The quote set off a media storm and the stage for what has become one of the most memorable Super Bowls in the NFL game's history. “I was just saying what I knew. I wasn’t looking to make a fuss,” Namath said years later. “ ’ he said. “We’d been hearing a lot of that. So I said, ’I’ve got news for you. We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.”’
Joe Namath words rang true, as the Jets drove 80 yards in the first quarter and grabbed a 7-0 lead in the second with a four-yard touchdown run by fullback Matt Snell. The defense intercepted Colts quarterback Earl Morrall three times to prevent Baltimore from scoring. Two Jets field goals by Jim Turner in the third quarter and another at the start of the fourth put New York up 16-0. Though Baltimore was able to score in the fourth, it was not be enough. Namath completed 17 of 28 passes, for a total of 206 yards, while wide receiver George Sauer caught eight of those for 133 yards, and Snell ran for a Super Bowl record 121 yards. Apart from ensuring the legacy of Broadway Joe, a future Hall of Famer, this game that gave the AFL legitimacy and was the catalyst for the merger.
Special Teams Lose it In Super Bowl XXV
Bill Parcells the Winning Coach
Buffalo Bills 19 AFC
New York Giants 20 NFC
Super Bowl XXV
January 27, 1991
The Giants were without quarterback Phil Simms and so they were heavy underdogs in the Super Bowl that was played against a patriotic backdrop because of Operation Desert Storm. The greatest Super Bowl ever played began with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem by New Jersey Native Whitney Houston.
Quarterback Jim Kelly would get the Bills into position for a Scott Norwood Field Goal with ten seconds remaining. A kicker in the NFL has a pretty simple job and the 47 yards that Scott Norwood needed to put the Bills in the win column looked like an easy task. With eight seconds remaining in Super Bowl XXV, the Buffalo Bills down by just one point as the score was New York Giants 20-19. The Bills then called in veteran kicker and team leader in points scored, Scott Norwood to make a 47-yard field goal to win the game. The snap and placement of the ball was perfect, Norwood couldn’t ask for better conditions to become a football hero. He kicks the ball and yes it had the distance it needed but then as if the football gods were looking down on the G-Men the ball just sailed to the right. His kick had the distance, but it sailed wide right. The New York Giants take over and just ran the last moments of the game out.
The Kick that went Wide Ride - Buffalo Bills lose Super Bowl XXV to New York Giants
Three Rivers Stadium
"The Immaculate Reception"
1972 AFC Divisional Play Off
Pittsburgh Steelers 13
Oakland Raiders 7
Three Rivers Stadium
Dec 23, 1972
There is some debate as to who coined the phrase "The Immaculate Reception" Supposedly the name came about because a fan called up Myron Cope and urged him to use it, and so he did and ever since we have been calling it that, clearly defining it as one of the greatest moments in the history of the NFL.
At the half, the score was 0-0. The game's first score did not come
until Roy Gerela put the icing on a 55-yard drive with an 18-yard field
goal in the third quarter, putting the Pittsburgh Steelers up 3-0. With 1:13 to go the Raiders were ahead 7-6. Terry Bradshaw moved his team forward, completing two passes but found
himself facing a fourth down with 10 yards to go from his own 40-yard
line, and all that was left on the clock was 22 seconds.
Bradshaw dropped back to pass, the ball and Raiders' defensive back Jack Tatum hit Fuqua at the same time. "Frenchy" fell to the ground, and the ball flew in the air backwards about 15 yards (although Oakland fans swear it hit Fuqua first, making the play illegal) out of nowhere, Franco Harris caught the ball just off his shoe tops and raced down the field on his way to the end zone. It truly was one of the greatest moments in the history of the NFL with a 42-yard run that completed a 60-yard scoring play.
With 15 seconds left on the clock a huge argument erupted as to the validity of the catch. Fans stormed the field and it took the refs 15 minutes to rule that it was a legal catch and clear the football field. Back then the rule stated that a pass could not be tipped from one offensive player to another without a defensive player also touching the ball and so referee Fred Swearingen's ruled that Tatum had also touched the ball, and that it was a legal catch and a touchdown. Mind you the year was 1972 and there were 0 camera angles that showed conclusively whether the catch was legal. Yep, sounds like a miracle to me and it was an immaculate moment alright.
"We got fogged in at the start of the trip and nothing went right from then on. You play 21 ball games for this moment - fourth down. Then the ball bounces off one man's chest into another man's arms and it's over. No tomorrow." Raiders head coach John Madden.
The Immaculate Reception as seen on NBC
Dallas Cowboy Drew Pearson 1975 NFC DIVISONAL PLAYOFF
"Roger Staubach might be the best combination of a passer, an athlete and a leader ever to play in the NFL," said Cowboy's head coach Tom Landry.
1975 NFC Divisional Playoffs
Dallas Cowboys 17
Minnesota Vikings 14
December 8, 1975
The Dallas Cowboys Doomsday Defense vs. the Minnesota Viking Purple People Eaters. This has to be one of the most remembered games in the history of the NFL. It was a defensive battle that saw Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton put together a late game touchdown drive that put his team on top 14-10 with just 1:51 remaining. The home crowd was going wild as they all thought the Vikings would return to the Super Bowl for the 3rd consecutive season. Thanks to Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach who took over on his own 15 yard line moved Dallas to midfield in just 9 plays. With no time outs and less than 30 seconds left on the game clock Roger lined up in Dallas trademark shotgun formation, he pump faked left and then unleashed a desperate bomb half the length of the field. Wide receiver Drew Pearson turned to the right to follow the flight of the ball. Pearson who was covered by Nate Wright was on him but he lost his footing on the frozen field. Pearson turned and caught the ball by trapping it against his right hip at the five-yard line. Viking Paul Krause demanded that the field judge Atmen Terzian call offensive interference penalty. A Viking fan apparently agreed , tossing a whiskey bottle from the stands which struck Terzian in the head. Staubach who had been hit immediately upon releasing the ball didnt even see the play unfold. After the game Staubach said, "It was just a Hail Mary pass; a very, very lucky play.” The quarterback told reporters that he closed his eyes, threw the ball as hard as he could, and said a Hail Mary prayer. Since then, every last-second, pass out of desperation has been called a "Hail Mary” play.
The Cowboys became NFC champions the following
week, winning at Los Angeles. But they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers
21-17 in Super Bowl X. Back in the day I was a huge Cowboys fan, and this was a Super Bowl game I remember well, for I was in attendance!
Dallas Cowboys Roger Staubach throws a Hail Mary in one of the Greatest Moments in the History of the NFL
John Elway's Greatest NFL Moment
AFC Title for the Cleveland Browns was a true Heartbreaker Moment
1986 AFC Championship
Denver Broncos 23
Cleveland Browns 20
January 11, 1987
Denver quarterback John Elway orchestrated a classic 96 yard drive in the closing minutes of the season to cement his reputation as one of footballs clutch performers to send the Broncos to the Super Bowl. One of the many heart breakers the Cleveland fans have had to endure, this one extremely tought as the Browns had taken a late 20-13 lead. Denver muffed the ensuing kickoff and wound up with the ball on its own 2 yard line with 5:32 left to play. Elway took the field like there was not other place in the universe he wanted to be. Destiny had brought him to that 2 yard line, and so began a victorious march against a Cleveland defense that appeared helpless against the Broncos relentless attack. Fifteen plays later, after scrambling for 9 yards to the Cleveland 5 yard line and with just 39 seconds remaining Elway threw the ball for the ninth time of the possession and hit Mark Jackson for the tying touchdown. Then on Denvers first overtime possession , Elway marched his team another 60 yards on 9 plays to put them in position for a game ending 33 yard field goal.
As a result of this drive the Denver Bronco's would go to the Super Bowl XXI to face the New York Giants. John Elway was the first Denver Bronco's player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Tennesee Titan Kevin Dyson
The Miracle of the Tennessee Titans ' AFC Wild Card Playoff Game
The Music City Miracle
The Music City Miracle
Buffalo Bills 16
Tennessee Titans 22
AFC Wild Card Playoff
January 8, 2000
The Tennessee Titans won their first ever playoff game in this AFC Wild Card game when they defeated the Buffalo Bills. The Titans were trailing the Bills 16-15 with 16 seconds when they pull an improbable play off . Ask any football fan and they will remember this famous "Music City Miracle.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of the winning return "We worked on that play yesterday, The play is called Home Run Throwback, it's a play you usually work on Saturdays, the day before a game. That play was designed with Frank Wycheck in the middle to try and put the ball out laterally."
It was a last-gasp lateral pass on a kickoff return went for a 75-yard touchdown in the final seconds, Lorenzo Neal catches the ball and hands it off to Frank Wycheck who then throws the ball across the field to Kevin Dyson who then runs 75 yards for the winning touchdown.
It was the first kick return for a touchdown by the franchise since Mel Gray in 1988.
The officials reviewed the controversial play at their own discretion in the final two minutes of a game and ruled the toss by Wycheck was indeed a lateral. Probably because the referee Phil Luckett, had been involved in three high-profile controversial calls in two seasons. It was Luckett who botched a coin toss at a Thanksgiving Day game between Detroit and Pittsburgh in 1998. A week later, he allowed a questionable touchdown by Vinny Testaverde of the New York Jets that may have cost the Seattle Seahawks a playoff berth. These calls inspired the return of instant replay.
It was a miracle finish for the Titans (14-3) in their first-ever playoff game at Tennessee and a heartbreaking loss for the Bills (11-6), who lost in the wild card round for the second straight year.
This win gave the Titans an eventual run to Super Bowl XXXIV where the St. Louis Rams beat the Titans 23-16.
A Tennessee Titan Miracle
TheBuffalo Bills in "The Comback" A great moment in the NFL
1992 AFC Wildcard Play Off Bills vs Oilers
1992 AFC Wildcard Play Off
Buffalo Bills 41
Houston Oilers 38
January 3, 1993
After falling behind 35-3 in the third quarter, Buffalo rallied to tie the game thanks to a heroic performance by backup quarterback Frank Reich. Houston won the toss but Warren Moon's interception returned possession to the Bills. Steve Christie's 32-yard field goal would give Buffalo the unlikely 41-38 victory and complete the largest comeback in NFL history. It wasn't just the 32 point deficit that stacked the odds all the way against the Bills. It was Houston's all out first half dominance. Oilers QB Warren Moon pretty much took the Bills secondary apart, throwing for four touchdowns in the first half. Then, on one of the first plays of the second half, Houston strong safety Bubba McDowel intercepted a Frank Reich pass and returned the ball for 58 yards for another Oiler touchdown. Many Bills headed for the exits. The Bills responded with a convincing touchdown drive, capped by a 1 yard run by Kenneth Davis. Now down 35-10 Buffalo attempted an onside kick, which was miraculously recovered by the bills kicker Steve Christie Reich who once led the University of Maryland to the greatest comeback in college football, then looked to make the same mark in the NFL history throwing to 4 straight second half touchdowns to put the bills ahead 38-35 with just under 3 minutes to play. The Oilers answered with an Al Del Greco field goal to tie the game and send it into overtime, but the Buffalo defensive back Nate Odomes intercepted a Moon pass early in the extra period to set up Christies game winning 32 yard field goal.
In addition to keeping their Super Bowl hopes alive (the Bills would win their next two on the road to make that third consecutive appearance), Buffalo set an NFL record. Their 32-point comeback victory remains the largest in NFL history.
Greatest Moment In the NFL "The Comeback"
Eli Manning to David Tyre A New York MomentClick thumbnail to view full-size
The New York Giants Greatest Moments in TimeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Plaxico BuressClick thumbnail to view full-size
"What a Catch"
2007 Super Bowl XLII
NY Giants 17
New England Patriots 14
University of Phoenix Stadium,
February 3, 2008
The Giants were not even supposed to be here. Yet in one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history the G men beat the previously undefeated Patriot, winning the franchise’s first championship since the 1991 Super Bowl.
ELI Manning was beyond amazing as he pulled away from at least four Patriots and a near-certain sack on third down, and then sending the ball to David Tyree. Tyree made a leaping 32-yard reception, clutching the ball against his helmet as he fell, an unbelievable catch. And to the worlds amazement, the Giants were at the Patriots’ 24-yard line with 59 seconds left in the game. Coach Tom Coughlin said " It might have been among the greatest plays in Super Bowl history."
The 2008 championship game was a defensive struggle through three quarters, with the teams combining for only 10 points. But the drama began to build in the fourth quarter when it was apparent that New York might actually beat the unbeatable New England Patriots. Tom Brady and the Patriots were seeking to become the first 19-0 team, but a New York pass rush sacked Brady five times and attacked him countless others. David Tyree’s 32-yard reception with a minute to play, after a surreal third-down escape of a sack by Eli Manning, set up the winning 13-yard touchdown to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds to play. Tyree’s helmet catch is arguably the most memorable play in the NFL's Super Bowl history.
The Giants co-owner John Mara said, after the game “It’s the greatest victory in the history of this franchise, without question, I just want to say to all you Giants fans who have supported us for more than 30 years at Giants Stadium, for all those years in Yankee Stadium and some of you even back to the Polo Grounds, this is for you.”
I must say as I do bleed blue, this game will forever be the greatest spine chilling game I have ever watched. It is certainly one I will never forget and I am sure to tell my grandkids all about it someday!