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Archive for the ‘NFL Playoff Moments’


Dallas and Green Bay Continue Storied Postseason Duels 4

Posted on January 11, 2015 by Chris Kent
Bart Starr scores the winning touchdown in "The Ice Bowl" in 1967

Bart Starr scores the winning touchdown in “The Ice Bowl” on this one yard plunge into the end zone.

The Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. Need anyone say anymore? Despite that, there is plenty to talk about. Especially when the two of them meet in the NFL playoffs because memories abound. Chief among them is “The Ice Bowl” which was played on Dec. 31, 1967 at Lambeau Field. The winner was the champion of the NFL (which became the NFC) and advanced to Super Bowl II to meet the champion of the American Football League (which later became known as the AFC). This game is one of the most storied in the history of the National Football League. The postseason series resumes today when the Packers host the Cowboys in the NFC divisional playoffs.

The temperature at game time was -15 oF and the wind chill was about -48 oF. While Green Bay had the home field advantage that day, the elements were surely not friendly to either side. What edge the Packers had came from them just being used to it more during that time of the year compared to their visitors. It was so cold that attempts to heat the field backfired, transportation problems occurred, and equipment malfunctioned. Even though a tarpaulin covered the field in the days leading up to the game, it left moisture on the field which froze in a flash after the tarpaulin was removed. This created an icy surface on the field that got worse as the game wore on. The turf-heating system for the field malfunctioned and many players had difficulty starting their cars forcing them to make alternative transportation plans in order to get to the stadium on time. When the game did finally begin, referee Norm Schachter blew his whistle only to have it freeze to his lips. Upon freeing it from his lips, he ripped his skin off. The resulting blood just froze to his lips. The marching band from Wisconsin-State University LaCrosse (now The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse) could not perform their pre-game and half-time shows as their instruments froze and would not play. Several band members also got transported to area hospitals for hypothermia. This was literally a test of attrition and the limits of the human body were tested for every player, coach, official, fan, worker, and media person that day.

In the end, Green Bay won 21-17 on one of the most famous plays in NFL history. Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak from the

The bitter cold is shown hear from the fans' breath during "The Ice Bowl"

The bitter cold is shown hear from the breath of the fans cheering in the stands during “The Ice Bowl”

one-yard line on third and goal with 16 seconds left to play provided the winning score. Starr had called timeout prior to the play to discuss strategy with Green Bay coach Vince Lombardi. Knowing that the traction was difficult with the icy field, handing off to a running back or stepping back to make a throw would have been difficult. So Starr convinced Lombardi to sneak it in. In doing so, Starr followed a double team wedge block from right guard Jerry Kramer and center Ken Bowman against Dallas left defensive tackle Jethro Pugh to cross the goal line for the decisive score and a 20-17 lead. The extra point provided the final score. Dallas would down the ensuing Packers’ kickoff and could manage only two incompletions which ended the game. Jubliant Green Bay fans rushed onto the field knocking over players from both teams. It was the end to an iconic game in NFL annals.

Since then, Dallas and Green Bay have also had some lofty playoff history. For three straight seasons during the 1990’s, the Cowboys and Packers met in the playoffs. These meetings came at the height of the Cowboys dynasty period during the decade. Dallas won all three times and all three games were played at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX, the Cowboys prior home to their current plush digs at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX which opened in 2009. Behind the offensive brilliance of “the triplets” – Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin – along with a fast and aggressive defense, Dallas ended Green Bay’s season three straight years from 1993 through 1995 by a combined score of 100-53. The Cowboys beat Green Bay in the NFC divisional playoffs following the 1993 and 1994 seasons by respective scores of 27-17 and 35-9. The most memorable of those three games then came after the 1995 season when the two met for the NFC Championship. A very competitive game went back and forth into the fourth quarter before Dallas wore the Packers down en route to a 38-27 win. Smith ran 35 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns in the win which were all single game postseason career highs for him. Smith’s 35 carries and three touchdowns were also Cowboys single game playoff records which still stand as of this article. Read the rest of this entry →

One Career Ends And Another Is Born: Super Bowl XLVII Storylines 0

Posted on February 05, 2013 by Andy Larmand
Ravens receiver Torrey Smith celebrates on the field of the Superdome following Super Bowl XLVII.

Ravens receiver Torrey Smith celebrates on the field of the Superdome following Super Bowl XLVII.

The good news? Super Bowl XLVII had just about everything one could have asked for in the final professional football game for 213 days. It featured a pair of brothers facing off against each other, an icon of a generation going out on top, an energizing rookie quarterback, a jaw-dropping halftime show, an intentional safety, a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and one 33-minute power outage. Not to mention a furious comeback in the second half that fell just short of making it the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

The bad news? It’s the final football game for 213 days. It was a great one though.

As always, we have a lot to get to in the last edition of the weekly NFL storylines being that this was the final game of the 2012-13 season. I’d just like to thank God for giving me the fingers to type this with. God is so great.

Joe Flacco, Super Bowl XLVII MVP, tied the all-time record with 11 touchdown passes in a single postseason in the first Super Bowl since 2002 without either Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning. Only he and Joe Montana have ever accomplished that. All five quarterbacks to ever throw eight-plus touchdowns and no interceptions in the playoffs have won the Super Bowl. Ray Lewis is going out on top if you haven’t heard. After 12 seasons, Lewis won his second career title. It is the longest span between titles by any player in NFL history. Baltimore has won four straight against the 49ers, outscoring them 103-50. San Francisco lost its first Super Bowl in their history and Baltimore improved to 8-1 all-time as the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. They also improved to 2-0 all-time in Super Bowls (won Super Bowl XXXV in 2000). When they won it all in 2000, they were the No. 4 seed as well and the last two Super Bowl champions have been the No. 4 seed in their respective conferences. The previous two meetings between these two teams featured a total of two touchdowns; this one had six.

Baltimore finished the regular season with a record of 10-6. In each of the last three seasons, the eventual Super Bowl champion finished the regular season with no better than 10 wins (Packers with 10 in 2010, Giants with nine last season). The NFC had won three straight Super Bowls before the Ravens win. The last AFC team to win a title before this was the Steelers in 2008. With 65 points being scored in the Super Bowl, the total from this postseason grew to 571, which broke the previous record of 530 set in 1995. No. 2 seeds had been 4-1 in their last five Super Bowl appearances before the 49ers’ loss. With Flacco winning MVP, six of the last seven Super Bowl MVP’s have been quarterbacks. Only Santonio Holmes in 2008 won the award as a non-quarterback. Baltimore became just the second team to ever win a championship after leading the league in penalty yards during the regular season (1974 Steelers). After 19.5 sacks in his first 13 games, Aldon Smith hasn’t recorded one since. In the Super Bowl, he had no sacks and made just two tackles. Six games are the longest he has ever gone without a sack.

No NFL team had ever even reached the Super Bowl after ranking 15th or worse in both total defense and total offense during the regular season. The Ravens were the first and they won it all. Flacco has no interceptions in his last 195 pass attempts. With a second-quarter interception of Colin Kaepernick, Ed Reed tied the all-time record with his ninth career postseason interception. Baltimore improved to 11-5 in road or neutral playoff games in their history, the best win percentage of any NFL franchise. The 49ers had 15 former first-round picks on their roster for the Super Bowl to the Ravens’ eight, but Baltimore beat them anyway. With his first-quarter TD catch, the fourth for him this postseason, Anquan Boldin tied the amount he had in the regular season. Kaepernick was able to set the record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single postseason with 264. He came up just two yards shy of tying the all-time record for rushing yards by a quarterback in the Super Bowl as he finished with 62, but did have the longest ever TD run by a quarterback in the big game with his 15-yarder.

Read the rest of this entry →

49ers and Giants Have Storied Playoff History 23

Posted on January 20, 2012 by Dean Hybl

The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers have played some memorable playoff games over the last 30 years.

When the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants meet for the NFC Championship on Sunday it will mark the eighth time the two squads have met in the playoffs and second time with the Super Bowl on the line.

Given that these two squads have a combined total of eight Lombardi Trophies, it is hard to believe that when they first met in the playoffs thirty years ago, neither team had ever made a Super Bowl appearance.

In the first playoff game of the Joe Montana and Bill Walsh era, the 49ers jumped out to a 24-10 halftime lead and went on to register a 38-24 victory. They would go on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.

That game proved to be the first of five playoff meetings over the next decade.

The 49ers claimed the second matchup three years later with a 21-10 victory on their way to their second Super Bowl title.

However, the tide would soon turn as the Giants won 17-3 in 1985 and then in 1986 completely demolished the 49ers 44-3 on their way to their first Super Bowl title.

The two teams would not meet again in the playoffs until the 1990 season and for the first time they were playing in the NFC title game.

San Francisco was shooting for a third straight Super Bowl title, but in what would prove to be his final playoff start as a member of the 49ers, Joe Montana suffered a huge hit from defensive end Leonard Marshall that knocked him out of the game for nearly two years.

The 49ers led the game 13-6 in the second half, but three Matt Bahr field goals, including the game winner following a Roger Craig fumble, allowed the Giants to steal a 15-13 victory and end the dreams of a third straight Super Bowl for the 49ers.

New York went on to defeat the Buffalo Bills 20-19 to win their second Super Bowl under head coach Bill Parcells. Read the rest of this entry →

The 20 Greatest Individual Playoff Performances in NFL History 6

Posted on January 07, 2011 by A.J. Foss

John Elway led the Broncos 98 yards to tie the game then led them to victory over the Browns in the AFC Championship Game.

After previously counting down from number 40-21, here are the 20 greatest individual performances in NFL playoff history.

This list spans back to the beginning of the Super Bowl era in 1966 and does not feature any performances from the Super Bowl.

20. Ken Stabler-1974 AFC Divisional Playoff, Dolphins vs. Raiders

“The Snake” lead the Raiders to a victory in one of the greatest games in NFL history as Stabler completed 20 of 30 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns, his last touchdown pass a remarkable as Stabler launched a pass toward the end zone, as he was being pulled down by a Dolphins defender, that was caught by Clarence Davis, who took fought three Miami defenders for the ball.

The “Sea of Hands” as it become known as, gave the Raiders a 28-26 win and ended the reign of the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins.

19. Lamar Smith-2000 AFC Wild Card, Colts vs. Dolphins

In the first playoff game since 1982 without Dan Marino as the starting quarterback, the Dolphins go back to their roots, a smash-mouth rushing attack.

Lamar Smith carries the ball a playoff record 40 times for 209 yards and scores two touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown, a 17-yard run in overtime to give the Dolphins a 23-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Read the rest of this entry →

Classic Rewind: Missed Kicks Sink Jets vs. Steelers 2

Posted on December 15, 2010 by A.J. Foss

Many Jets fans will tell you that they are the unluckiest franchise in the National Football League because the Jets always find a way to lose in the most important games.

Another chapter to the Jets’ star-crossed history was added in their 2004 AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers when kicker Doug Brien missed not one but two field goals in the final two minutes of regulation that could have won the game for New York, but ended up losing the game in overtime.

In 2004, the Jets finished with a 10-6 record to earn a wild card berth, the team’s third playoff appearance in four years under head coach Herm Edwards.

In the Wild Card Round, the Jets pulled out a 20-17 overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers when Brien made a 28-yard field goal with five seconds left in the first overtime period to give New York an upset victory and sent them to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

The Steelers had the best record in the NFL during the 2004 season, a 15-1 record thanks to the league’s best defense and best rushing game lead by Jerome Bettis.

The biggest surprise of this season was the fact that the Steelers were able to go 15-1 with a rookie quarterback.

The Steelers used their pick in the first round to select quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was designated to be their quarterback of the future and sit on the bench for the 2004 season.

But when incumbent starting quarterback Tommy Maddox was knocked out of the second game of the season with an elbow injury in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Roethlisberger was forced to step in and take the reins as the starting quarterback.

Roethlisberger started 13 games and won all 13 of them, which included a 34-20 win against the New England Patriots that ended their 21-game winning streak, and a 17-6 win against the Jets. Read the rest of this entry →

Classic Rewind: Falcons Fly Past Eagles For Wild Card Win 3

Posted on October 13, 2010 by A.J. Foss

In 1978, the National Football League expanded not only its regular season from 14 to 16 games, but also its playoff format from eight teams to 10. With the inclusion of one extra playoff team per conference, a game between the two wild card teams would be played one week before the three divisional winners began their postseason.

Thus, the Wild Card playoff round was born and in the very first NFC Wild Card Game the Atlanta Falcons would host the Philadelphia Eagles in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.

The Eagles were making their first postseason appearance since they won the NFL championship back in 1960.  Following that season, the Eagles went into freefall as the franchise had only two winning seasons from 1961-75.

After a 4-10 season in 1975, the Eagles hired UCLA head coach Dick Vermeil, whose team had just defeated #1 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, to the same position.

By his third season, Vermeil had turned the Eagles into a winner as the team finished with a 9-7 record to clinch one of the two NFC Wild Card spots for the team’s first playoff appearance in 18 years.

While the Eagles were returning to the postseason, the Atlanta Falcons were making their first foray into the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry →

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