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Archive for the ‘NFL Playoff Moments’


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 →

Super Bowl XX: Not On This Given Sunday 2

Posted on January 26, 2010 by Phil Andrews
walter payton sweetness

The outcome of Super Bowl XX was never really in doubt as Walter Payton and the Bears dominated the Patriots.

Wow, has it really been 24 years?  Jan 26, 1986. Super Bowl XX, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tony Eason and the New England Patriots, against Jim McMahon and the Chicago Bears.

After watching the Super Bowl on TV as a kid, I couldn’t believe I was actually there to cover the big game in person. It was just my second year in television so I was still a little wet behind the ears.

At the time, I was working for Channel 9, WMUR TV in Manchester, N.H. and was in the Big Easy as part of the media contingent covering the Patriots.

That year the Pats were actually a surprise Super Bowl suitor given the teams they had the beat to get there.  After finishing the regular season with a record of 11-5 and in third place behind the Dolphins and Jets in the AFC East, New England’s ticket to New Orleans consisted of three wildcard road wins against  the Jets (26-14), Raiders (27-20) and Dolphins (31-14).

Ironically, Miami was the only team that season to beat the Bears, who arrived on Bourbon Street with a gaudy record of 18-1, following play-off wins over the Giants (21-0) and the Los Angeles Rams (24-0).

Yep, back to back play-off shutouts, but no surprise really when you consider at the time the Bears where in the record books as one of the best defenses ever in league history.

That year, the Bears, “46 Zone” defense, allowed the fewest points (198), total yards (4,135), and fewest  yards rushing (1,319). They also led the league with thirty-four interceptions. Read the rest of this entry →

Greatest Moments in NFL Playoff History: Moments 1-10 7

Posted on January 08, 2010 by A.J. Foss
The miracle reception by Franco Harris led to the first of many playoff victories for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The miracle reception by Franco Harris led to the first of many playoff victories for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

We have spent the last week counting down the top 50 moments in NFL Playoff History  (since the beginning of the Super Bowl era in 1966), but it is now time to look at the “Best of the Best.”

So, here is the top 10 of the 50 Most Memorable NFL Playoff Moments.

10. 1999 AFC Wild Card Game-Bills vs. Titans “The Music City Miracle”
The Buffalo Bills appeared on their way to a victory over the Tennessee Titans when Steve Christie made a 41-yard field goal to give Buffalo a 16-15 lead with 16 seconds to go.

All the Bills had to do was kickoff to the Titans and not allow a big return and they would advance to the next round.

On the kickoff, Christie hit a pooch kick that was caught by Titans fullback Lorenzo Neal at the Titans’ 25-yard line.  Neal handed the ball off to tight end Frank Wycheck who turned toward the left sideline and threw it back to wide receiver Kevin Dyson.

Dyson caught it and then ran 75 yards for a shocking touchdown with three seconds left.

The play was reviewed to see if Wycheck’s pass was a backwards lateral or a forward pass.  If it were forward, it would negate the touchdown and give the game to the Bills.

Replays seemed to show the pass was parallel, not going forward or backwards, thus making it a lateral in referee Phil Luckett’s mind who upheld the decision.

The Music City Miracle gave Tennessee a 22-16 win and propelled them to their first Super Bowl. Read the rest of this entry →

Greatest Moments in NFL Playoff History: Moments 11-20 6

Posted on January 07, 2010 by A.J. Foss
Drew Pearson and Roger Staubach answered the prayer of Cowboy fans with the "Hail Mary" to defeat the Minnesota Vikings in the 1975 NFC Playoffs.

Drew Pearson and Roger Staubach answered the prayer of Cowboy fans with the "Hail Mary" to defeat the Minnesota Vikings in the 1975 NFC Playoffs.

You know that a game or moment is truly special if it is forever known by a special moniker. As we continue the countdown of the top 50 moments in NFL Playoff History (since the start of the Super Bowl era in 1966) we are now getting to moments that have endured as classic parts of NFL history.

Below are moments 11-20.

What Is Your Favorite Part of the NFL Post-Season?

  • Conference Championship Games (35%, 7 Votes)
  • Super Bowl (30%, 6 Votes)
  • Divisional Playoff Games (25%, 5 Votes)
  • Wild Card Weekend (10%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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20. 1996 AFC Divisional Playoff-Jaguars vs. Broncos
The Jacksonville Jaguars, a two-touchdown underdog, knock off the NFL-best 13-3 Denver Broncos 30-27 in one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history.

After falling behind 12-0 in the first quarter, the Jaguars score on six straight possessions in the final three quarters to shock the Broncos and advance to the AFC Championship Game in just their second year of existence.

19. 1979 AFC Championship-Oilers vs. Steelers
In the final seconds of the third quarter, the Houston Oilers were at the Steelers’ 6-yard-line when quarterback Dan Pastorini lobbed a pass for Mike Renfro in the back of the end zone, who appeared to make the catch and get both of his feet in bounds for the game-tying touchdown.

But the two judges at the back of the end zone stood frozen for what seemed like an eternity debating whether or not Renfro made the catch.

The side judge, Donald Orr, came in and ruled the pass incomplete, saying that Renfro did not have possession of the ball before he went out of bounds.

However, replays showed that Renfro had possession of the ball and both feet in bounds when he made the catch and the call should have been a touchdown for the Oilers.

Instead, the Oilers had to settle for a field goal, and eventually lost the game 27-13. Read the rest of this entry →

Greatest Moments in NFL Playoff History: Moments 21-30 7

Posted on January 06, 2010 by A.J. Foss
The defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys seemed headed for an early playoff exit until Roger Staubach brought them back against the San Francisco 49ers in the 1972 playoffs.

The defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys seemed headed for an early playoff exit until Roger Staubach brought them back against the San Francisco 49ers in the 1972 playoffs.

As we dig further into our countdown of the top 50 moments in NFL Playoff history (since the start of the Super Bowl era in 1966), we explore some games that have become an important part of football lore for propelling great players and teams toward Super Bowl glory.

What Is Your Favorite Part of the NFL Post-Season?

  • Conference Championship Games (35%, 7 Votes)
  • Super Bowl (30%, 6 Votes)
  • Divisional Playoff Games (25%, 5 Votes)
  • Wild Card Weekend (10%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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30. 1972 NFC Divisional Playoff-Cowboys vs. 49ers

The legend of “Captain Comeback” begins with in this game as Roger Staubach replaces starting quarterback Craig Morton late in the third quarter and leads the Cowboys to 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 30-28 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers.

The winning score comes with 52 seconds left when Staubach finds Ron Sellers for a 10-yard touchdown.

29. 1977 AFC Championship Game-Raiders vs. Broncos
Late in the third quarter and trailing 7-3, the Raiders force a fumble when safety Jack Tatum hits Broncos running back Rob Lytle at the 2-yard line, knocking the ball loose.

The ball is picked up by Raiders nose tackle Mike McCoy who begins running down the field for an apparent touchdown that would give the Raiders the lead, when whistles are blown to stop the play.

The referees ruled that Lytle was down before the fumble even though he was clearly still in the air when he fumbled.

The reversal of fortune gave the Broncos the ball at the 1-yard line where Jon Keyworth ran in for a 1-yard touchdown to extend the Broncos’ lead to 14-3.

The Broncos would eventually win the game 20-17 to advance to their first Super Bowl. Read the rest of this entry →

Greatest Moments in NFL Playoff History: Moments 31-40 6

Posted on January 05, 2010 by A.J. Foss
The Colts fell just short of pulling off a miracle in the 1995 AFC Championship Game.

The Colts fell just short of pulling off a miracle in the 1995 AFC Championship Game.

Continuing our look at the 50 greatest moments in NFL Playoff History (since the beginning of the Super Bowl era in 1966), today we look at moments 31-40. These moments include some great comebacks and some exciting final plays by some of the greatest players of all-time.

What Is Your Favorite Part of the NFL Post-Season?

  • Conference Championship Games (35%, 7 Votes)
  • Super Bowl (30%, 6 Votes)
  • Divisional Playoff Games (25%, 5 Votes)
  • Wild Card Weekend (10%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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40. 1966 NFL Championship-Packers vs. Cowboys
One year before their famous battle in the “Ice Bowl”, the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys played in another epic NFL Championship Game.

This game comes down to a goal-line stand as the Cowboys cannot get a touchdown after four plays from inside the 2 to tie the game and send into overtime.

The Cowboys’ fate is sealed when quarterback Don Meredith is intercepted in the end zone by Tom Brown on 4th-and-2 with 28 seconds to go.

The Packers come away with a 34-27 victory for their fourth NFL championship in seven years, and advance to the very first Super Bowl where they would trounce the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Read the rest of this entry →

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