The National Football League (NFL) has been the scene of thrilling games throughout its rich history. Football fans have witnessed unforgettable moments on the field, from stunning comebacks to high-voltage duels. Below, we look back at five of the best games that have left their mark on NFL history.
What is the NFL?
The NFL is the National Football League, the professional American football league played in the United States.
Composed of 32 teams, it consists of a regular phase, divided into two Conferences: AFC and NFC.
In addition, each conference has four divisions: North, South, East and West.
Once the regular phase is over, fourteen teams compete in the playoffs, with the team with the best record in each conference being exempt from the first round.
When both the AFC and NFC finals have been played, the two winning teams compete in the Super Bowl for the championship, and that’s when fans have fun placing multiple football bets on their favorite teams.
The greatest games in NFL from the 1980s to the present
The NFL has lived on the fields of all the franchises that have made up the league. Here, we list 12 games that marked a before and after in history.
1986 AFC Championship Game: Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns
John Elway gave a football lesson when he took the ball on his 2-yard line and moved the ball 98 yards for a touchdown with 37 seconds left in regular time. In overtime, the Broncos clinched their Super Bowl berth.
Despite New England’s comeback in Super Bowl LI, the most remarkable comeback in postseason history belongs to the Bills. By the third quarter, Buffalo was trailing Warren Moon’s Oilers by 32 points. However, Jim Kelly scored 35 unanswered points, and Moon was forced to send the game into overtime. The Bills clinched their ticket to the Divisional Round in the extra period.
1999 AFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans
That year, the Titans had a crazy playoff. They were moments away from elimination in their first game in January football. Still, with 16 seconds left, a series of lateral passes gave the ball to Kevin Dyson, who was stopped short of the diagonals. The play was later reviewed and validated by the game officials.
Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans
Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and Torry Holt ended a dream season for the Titans. The Nashville team came within one yard of winning their only Super Bowl, but a proverbial tackle by Mike Jones on Kevin Dyson denied them the win.
2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game: Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots
This is the duel that cemented a dynasty: safety Charles Woodson in fourth quarter action caught Tom Brady, who lost possession of the ball. The zebras, after reviewing the play, determined that the New England passer attempted to throw the ball, which was ruled an incomplete pass.
2006 AFC Championship Game: New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
Peyton Manning (after eight years in the league) reached his first Super Bowl. Before that, however, he had to set up a heavyweight duel against Tom Brady and the Patriots, who took an early lead.
Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
When everyone thought that the Patriots would become the second undefeated franchise in history, an outstanding performance by Eli Manning and an incredible reception by David Tyree snatched the glory from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s team.
2013 AFC Wild Card Game: Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
As the third quarter neared its end, Andrew Luck’s Colts were losing by a score of 38-10 to Alex Smith’s Chiefs. However, the deficit was no big deal for Indianapolis, who pulled off the second-best comeback in playoff history, behind only the Bills’ comeback in 1992.
2014 AFC Divisional Playoff Game: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
In this game, New England came from behind to even the score, and subsequently advanced to the Conference Final. First, they tied the score at 14, then returned with the score at 28. Then, Danny Amendola and Brady combined for the winning touchdown.
2014 NFC Championship Game: Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
In that same postseason, the Seahawks secured their presence for the second consecutive Super Bowl by defeating the Packers after trailing by 16 points. First, kicker Jon Ryan threw a touchdown pass, then a fumble recovered on a kickoff, and then a miraculous two-point conversion by tight end Luke Wilson took the game into overtime. In overtime, Jermaine Kearse, who had a dreadful afternoon, caught the final touchdown pass.
2017 NFC Divisional Playoff Game: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Here the Vikings made magic with a series that culminated in a 35-yard pass from Stefon Diggs to Case Keenum, who broke free and raced to the diagonals to give Minnesota a direct ticket to the NFC Championship Game.