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Photo Gallery of Great Moments

Take a walk down memory lane and view some of the greatest moments in NFL history.  Presented here are photos from great games, great moments and great players.  A brief description, to help remind you of some of the key plays and players is also included. 

 

The Immaculate Reception

Franco Harris' great shoe top catch.

The Ice Bowl

Cowboys versus Packers in minus 13 degree temperatures and a minus 40 wind chill factor.

The Catch

Joe Montana finds Dwight Clark in the back of the endzone.

The Music City Miracle

Frank Wycheck throws one of the most famous laterals in playoff history.

The Greatest Game Ever Played

Colts versus Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship Game.

The Sneaker Game

The Giants rally to score 27 points after switching to sneakers on the frozen turf at the Polo Grounds.

The Comeback

Frank Reich leads the Bills back from an almost insurmountable deficit.

The Stop

Kevin Dyson comes up a yard short in Super Bowl XXXIV.

The Drive

John Elway solidifies his reputation for great comebacks.

The Super Drive

Joe Montana leads the 49ers back in the greatest drive in Super Bowl history.

The Hail Mary

Roger Staubach's pass to Drew Pearson added another term to the football lexicon.

The Trounce

Bears win the NFL Championship by a 73-0 score.

The Greatest NFL Playoff Game Ever

Chargers versus Dolphins in one of the most physically demanding games in NFL history.

The Guarantee

Joe Namath's famous guarantee in Super Bowl III.

The Fumble

Earnest Byner marks his place in infamy by fumbling on the three-yard line.

Wide Right

Scott Norwood breaks Bills fans hearts in Super Bowl XXV.

The Longest NFL Game Ever Played

Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian ends the longest NFL game ever on Christmas Day 1971.

The Snowplow Game

Convict Mark Henderson adds his name to NFL lore by using a "snowplow" to help the Patriots win. 

The Tuck Game

Referee Walt Coleman, using instant replay, overturns an apparent fumble by Tom Brady giving the Patriots new life.

 

 

 

The Immaculate Reception

AFC Playoff Game, Raiders versus Steelers, December 23, 1972,

Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA

Trailing 7-6 to the Oakland Raiders, the Pittsburgh Steelers took over the ball on their own 25 with 1:13 to play.  Now at their own 40-yard line, quarterback Terry Bradshaw faced a forth-and-10 with only 20 seconds remaining.  Bradshaw dropped back to pass but was under heavy pressure from DE Tony Cline.  The play was designed to go to WR Barry Pearson but he was covered.  Over the middle of the field, running back Frenchie Fuqua appeared to break open at the Oakland 35-yard line.  Bradshaw threw a pass over the middle of the field and DB Jack Tatum, of the Raiders, administered a punishing hit on Fuqua just as the ball arrived.  The ball deflected upwards and a trailing Franco Harris reached down to snatch the ball out of the air at shoe top level.  He then raced down the sideline to score the winning touchdown and turning a broken play into one of the most memorable moments in NFL history.  Under NFL rules at the time-later changed in 1978-an offensive player could not deflect a ball to a teammate.  The ball had to be touched by a defender.  The on-field referee Fred Swearingen and his crew ruled that Tatum had, in fact, touched the ball, thus making this a legal catch.  NFL official Art McNally, in the press box, watched television replays of the play and conferred with the officials on the field before ruling the call on the field was correct.  This marked the first time in NFL history where instant replay was used to determine if a call on the field was correct.  Pictured above is Franco Harris avoiding a desperation tackle by Oakland Raider Jimmy Warren.

 

The Catch

NFC Championship Game, 49ers versus Cowboys, January 10, 1982,

Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA

Trailing 27-21 to the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers took over the ball on their own 11-yard line with under five minutes to play.  Quarterback Joe Montana methodically drove the 49ers down the field to eventually reach the Dallas 6-yard line with only 58 seconds remaining.  Coach Bill Walsh decided to throw for the touchdown and picked a play that was intended to go to WR Freddie Soloman, with WR Dwight Clark as a secondary choice.  Montana rolled to the right to avoid a heavy pass rush by the Dallas defenders.  Running out of time, and not seeing Soloman open, Montana just three the ball up to the back of the endzone, where he knew from experience Clark should be. The throw was very high though.  Clark leaped over DB Everson Walls to make "The Catch" giving the 49ers a 28-27 victory and a trip to the Super Bowl.  Pictured above, quarterback Joe Montana avoiding the Dallas pass rush and Clark leaping high over Dallas' Everson Walls.

 

The Greatest Game Ever Played

NFL Championship Game, Colts versus Giants, December 28, 1958,

Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

With the Giants leading 17-14 in the forth quarter, The Giants had the ball and were threatening to run out the clock.  On third and four, RB Frank Gifford took a handoff from QB Charlie Connerly and drove for the first down marker.  Colts DE Gino Marchetti got to Gifford and made the tackle.  However, on the play, Marchetti broke the tibia and fibula of his right leg.  The officials waited to mark the ball until Marchetti was carted off the field.  Once the officials marked the ball, the measurement came up about five inches short of a first down.  Giants coach Jim Lee Howell decided not to gamble on trying for the first down and elected to punt.  The Colts took over on their own 14-yard line with 1:56 to play.  Quarterback Johnny Unitas took the field to start a Colts drive that eventually led them to the 13-yard line with only seven seconds remaining.  Kicker Steve Myhra made the field goal sending the game into the league's first ever overtime game.  In the overtime period, the Giants won the toss and elected to receive.  After three downs, the Giants came up short of a first down and had to punt.  The Colts took over on their own 20-yard line.  Unitas started a very memorable 13-play dive, which consisted of two third and long completions to keep the drive alive.  Once the Colts reached field goal territory though, they eschewed going for a field goal and continued to drive for a touchdown.  From the one-yard line-pictured above- RB Alan Ameche blasted through the line for the winning touchdown and giving the Colts the championship.  This game may not have actually been "The Greatest Game Ever Played" but, as it was many Americans' first look at the National Football League through the new medium of television it converted many new fans to the sport.  This game helped television move forward in popularity and helped establish football as a viable sport for television.  The rest, as they say, is history.

 

The Comeback

AFC Wildcard Game, Bills versus Oilers, January 03, 1993,

Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY

Trailing 28-3 at halftime, the Buffalo Bills mounted the greatest comeback in the history of the NFL . However, before they could start their comeback they actually made things worse for themselves.  Three plays into the second half, star RB Thurman Thomas hurt his hip and was gone for the rest of the game.  QB Frank Reich then threw ant interception to Houston safety Bubba McDowell who returned it 58 yards for a touchdown.  With 28 minutes to go in the game, the Bills now trailed 35-3.  Third string Bills QB Gale Gilbert reminded Reich of his great comeback while playing for Maryland against Miami in the 1984 Orange Bowl.  In that game, the Terrapins trailed 31-0 but managed to comeback and win 42-40.  Gilbert told Reich "You did it before in college, there's no reason we can't do it now."  On the next drive, Bills RB Kenneth Davis scored on a one-yard run starting the amazing comeback.  Coach Marv Levy then decided that he had nothing to lose so he called for an on-side kick.  Kicker Steve Christie recovered his own on-side kick give the Bills the ball back.  Four plays later, Reich hit WR Don Beebe on a 38-yard touchdown catch.  The Bills now only trailed by 18 points 35-17.  On the Bills next possession, Reich hit WR Andre Reed for a 26-yard touchdown further cutting the Oilers' lead to a very manageable 35-24.  After the ensuing kickoff, Bills safety Henry Jones picked off Warren Moon and returned it to the Houston 23.  On forth and five from the 18-yard line, the Bills elected not to go for a field goal.  Reich dropped back and found Andre Reed again for yet another touchdown pass cutting the lead to four points..  The score stayed the that way for 13 minutes.  Reich then hit WR Andre Reed, yet again, for a 17-yard touchdown culminating a 74-yard, seven-play drive.  The Bills, at this point, actually had the lead 38-35.  Warren Moon though led the Oilers back with a 63-yard drive which culminated in FG kicker Al Del Greco's 26-yard field goal with only 12 seconds remaining in regulation play, which tied the game.  The Oilers won the coin toss but cornerback Nate Odomes intercepted QB Warren Moon on the third play from scrimmage.  The Bills' cause was further strengthened by a 15-yard personal foul called on Oilers WR Haywood Jefferies.  The result of the interception and the penalty gave the Bills the ball on the Oilers' 22-yard line.  After calling three safe running plays, Levy sent in FG kicker Steve Christie.  Christie's 32-yard field goal completed the greatest comeback in the history of the NFL.  Pictured above-kicker Steve Christie celebrating after his game winning FG.     

 

The Drive

AFC Championship Game, Broncos versus Browns, January 11, 1987,

Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, OH

Trailing 20-13, after a 48-yard TD from Bernie Kosar to Brian Brennan with only 5:43 remaining in the game, the Broncos took possession of the ball on their own 2-yard line.  John Elway ran onto the field and barked to his players in the huddle that "We got 'em right where we want 'em."  True to his word, Elway commenced to march the Broncos down the field.  On a critical third and two, RB Sammy Winder dove off of left guard for a 2-yard gain and a first down.  A little later in "The Drive" the Broncos faced another key third and long situation.  This one was third and 18.  Instead of going for the it all on third down, Coach Dan Reeves elected to go for about half the needed yardage, knowing they still had a forth down play to come.  Instead, Elway found WR Mark Jackson for a 20-yard gain and the much needed first down.  A 14-yard pass to WR Steve Sewell and a nine-yard scramble by Elway moved the ball to the Browns' 5-yard line.  With only 37 seconds left in regulation play, Elway found WR Mark Jackson once again, this time for a touchdown.  The extra point by FG kicker Rich Karlis tied the game and sent the game into overtime.  On "The Drive" Elway completed six of nine passes for 78 yards and ran for another 20.  The Browns won the coin toss and elected to receive.  However, the Broncos defense stiffened up and forced a punt.  The Broncos took possession on their own 25-yard line.  Elway moved the Broncos to midfield but faced a third-and-12.  Once again, Elway found an open wide receiver for the first down, this time it was WR Steve Watson for a 28-yard gain.  After three short running plays, the Broncos sent FG kicker Rich Karlis onto the field to try the game-winning 33-yard field goal.  He pulled the ball slightly but went through to give the Broncos the victory and a trip to the Super Bowl.  Pictured above, John Elway surveys the field looking for an open receiver.

 

The Hail Mary

NFC Divisional Playoff Game, Cowboys versus Vikings, December 28, 1975,

Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, MN

With less than two minutes to play and trailing 14-10 the Cowboys took over possession of the ball on their own 9-yard line.  QB Roger Staubach led the Cowboys attack by hitting WR Drew Pearson on five different passes including a clutch 22-yard forth down conversion at the 50-yard line.  On second down, and only 36 seconds remaining, Staubach threw a desperation pass to WR Pearson who was being covered by CB Nate Wright.  The pass was a bit under thrown and there was some contact between Pearson and Wright.  Wright fell to the ground, Pearson bobbled the ball on the five-yard line.  He eventually was able to pin the ball against his right hip to gain possession of the ball.  He then strolled into the endzone for the winning touchdown.  QB Roger Staubach, in a post-game interview said "It was a Hail Mary pass."  A moniker that would forever stick describing this particular catch and created a new lexicon for all similar pass plays to follow.  Sadly, Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton's father died of a heart attack while watching the game.  His name was Dallas..    

 

The Greatest NFL Playoff Game Ever

AFC Divisional Championship Game, Chargers versus Dolphins, January 02, 1982,

Orange Bowl, Miami, FL

The Chargers and the Dolphins met on a very humid Saturday in Miami, FL, in January 1982.  The Dolphins trailed 24-0 before Dolphin QB Don Strock led a furious comeback eventually tying the score at 38-38.  The game was decided by a Charger 29-yard field goal 13 minutes into overtime.  Game time was four hours and three minutes.  This would have been a very memorable game in its own right because it set records for most point in a playoff game (79), most total yards (1,036), and most passing yards (809).  But, what fans remember most is the absolute effort both teams put forth.  This was one of the most physically demanding games in history.  Charger TE Kellen Winslow-pictured above-had to be assisted off the field, due to exhaustion, on numerous occasions only to return later.  Dolphin coach Don Shula, in a post-game interview, despite being on the losing end of the score called this "A great game.  Maybe the greatest ever."

 

The Ice Bowl

NFL Championship Game, Cowboys versus Packers, December 31, 1967,

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

On New Years Eve, 1967 the Cowboys were playing the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin.  The temperature at game time was minus 13 degrees with wind chill factors of 40 below.  This may very well have been the origin, of the now famous phrase, "The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field".  Despite the almost inhuman conditions, over 50,000 Packer fans braced themselves against the cold root their team on to victory.  The Packers took an early 14-0 lead with passes from QB Bart Starr to WR Boyd Dowler but Dallas forced two fumbles in the second quarter which led to an eventual touchdown and a field goal.  The score remained 14-10 until the forth quarter when RB Dan Reeves hit WR Lance Rentzel on a 50-yard pass play to give the Cowboys a 17-14 lead.  With less than five minutes remaining in the game, the Packers took over the ball on their own 32-yard line.  In the subsequent 12-play drive the Packers were able to move the ball inside the one-yard line.  With 16 seconds remaining, and no time outs, the Packers could have easily kicked a field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime.  Instead, on third down, they elected to go for the win.  QB Bart Starr dove for the endzone behind a block by G Jerry Kramer, on a QB sneak giving the Packers the 21-17 last minute victory and rewarding their die-hard fans with one of the most memorable games in NFL history.

 

The Music City Miracle

AFC Divisional Championship Game, Bills versus Titans,

Adelphia Coliseum, Nashville, TN

With only three seconds left in the AFC Divisional Championship game between the Bills and the Titans, the Titans pulled off one of the most exciting finishes in NFL playoff history by returning the kickoff 75 yards, utilizing a cross-field lateral throw,  for the winning touchdown. The Titans took a 12-0 lead into halftime but the Bills stormed back with two Antowain Smith touchdowns to take a 13-12 lead with only 11:08 remaining in the game.  With 1:48 remaining, Titans kicker Al Del Greco culminated a 10-play drive by kicking a 36-yard field goal which gave the Titans the a 15-13 lead.  However, QB Rob Johnson led the Bills back into scoring position and Bills FG kicker Steve Christie kicked a 41-yard field goal with only 16 seconds remaining to give the Bills the apparent victory.  However, on the ensuing kickoff, Titans coach Jeff Fisher called for the "Half Back Throwback" play, a play the Titans had practiced every Saturday through the regular season.  Christie kicked a pooch-style kick that TE Franck Wycheck was able to field at his own 25-yard line.  As the Bills special teams players converged on Wycheck, the flank was left exposed and Wycheck threw a 30-yard lateral to Kevin Dyson who had nothing but green in front of him except for a few of his own players to block him, but they were not needed.  Dyson crossed the goal line with only three seconds remaining and the touchdown gave the Titans a dramatic 22-16 victory.  But, before the victory would be ensured, the fans had to sit through an instant replay review by referee Phil Luckett.  After review, he confirmed the on-field call that the throw was, in fact, a lateral and the Titans moment in history was secured.  Ironically, Dyson wasn't even supposed to be on the kickoff return team.  He had replaced an injured Derrick Mason and a cramping Anthony Dorsett.  Pictured above, TE Frank Wycheck throwing the infamous lateral to WR Kevin Dyson and Dyson being escorted down the sidelines for the winning score.

 

The Sneaker Game

NFL Championship Game, Bears versus Giants, December 09, 1934,

Polo Grounds, New York, NY

Trailing 10-3 to the Chicago Bears, the Giants went into halftime having a lot of difficulty maintaining traction on the frozen ground.  Fortunately, earlier in day, Giants President John V. Mara had inspected the field and reported his findings to coach Steve Owen.  Owen and team captain Ray Flaherty discussed the idea of wearing basketball sneakers for the game.  They asked some of the Giants' players to bring sneakers to the game, just in case they were needed.  Abe Cohen, a clubhouse aide, was sent to Manhattan College for additional pairs of sneakers.  The Giants played the first half with their traditional footwear and continued to wear them at the start of the third quarter.  However, the Bears managed to kick a field goal putting the Giants behind 13-3.  They then decided to switch to the rubber-soled sneakers to give them better traction on the ice-covered field.  RB Ed Danowski threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm (Ike) Franklin to make the score 13-10.  On their following possession, RB Ken Strong burst up the middle for a 42-yard touchdown run.  Later in the game Strong scored again from 11 yards out.  Danowski closed out the scoring with a 9-yad run for a touchdown.  Final score: Giants 30 Bears 13.  The switch to the sneakers gave the Giants the much needed edge in traction allowed them to dominate the second half of the game.  Pictured above: Mel Triplett, of the Giants, carrying the ball in the Sneaker Game.

 

The Stop

Super Bowl XXXIV, Rams versus Titans,

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

Super Bowls have a reputation of not being close matchups however, Super Bowl XXXIV was the exception.  This game was a very close fought battle that wasn't decided until the last second, literally.  Titans FG kicker Al Del Greco kicked a game-tying 43-yard field goal with only 2:12 left to play.  One the next play from scrimmage, Rams QB Kurt Warner hit a deep pass to WR Isaac Bruce, who caught the ball on the Titans 38-yard line, cut to the inside and outran the defenders to the endzone giving the Rams a 23-16 lead with only 1:54 remaining in regulation play.  Titans QB Steve McNair guided the Titans on a methodical drive which brought them to the Rams 10-yard line.  With only six seconds remaining, no timeouts and needing a touchdown to tie the game, McNair attempted a quick slant to Dyson, who caught the ball in stride at Rams 3-yard line.  However, Rams LB Mike Jones was in great position and was able to tackle Dyson at the one-yard line as time expired.  Pictured above:  Dyson getting tackled at the one-yard line by Mike Jones.

 

The Super Drive

Super Bowl XXII, 49ers versus Bengals, January 22, 1989,

Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, FL

With only 3:20 to play, Bengals FG kicker Jim Breech kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Bengals a 16-13 lead, setting up one of the most dramatic comeback drives in Super Bowl history.  The 49ers took possession of the ball at their own 8-yard line.  QB Joe Montana led the 49ers onto the field hoping to get within makeable field goal range to give the 49ers a chance to tie the game.  Using short and medium range passes, Montana led the 49ers to the Bengals 35-yard line.  After a 10-yard holding penalty to G Randy Cross made it second and 20 at the Bengals 45 yard line, Montana hit WR Jerry Rice on a 27-yard gain.  Now from the 18-yard line, RB Roger Craig rushed for an eight-yard gain advancing the ball to the Bengals 10.  Instead of playing conservative and settling for the almost certain field goal, Montana called for a pass play designed to go to RB Roger Craig, but he was covered.  Instead, Montana searched out his secondary receiver, WR John Taylor for a touchdown with only 34 seconds left in the game that gave the 49ers a 20-16 victory.  This drive helped to solidify Montana's reputation as a clutch performer and because it occurred in the Super Bowl it became known as the Super Drive.  This marked only the fifth time in Super Bowl history that a team was able to rally for a victory after being behind at the end of the third quarter.  Pictured above:  QB Joe Montana during the Super Drive.

 

The Trounce

NFL Championship Game, Giants versus Bears, December 08, 1940,

Griffin Stadium, Washington, DC

The 1940 NFL Championship Game was the first full blown version of the T-formation and marked George Halas as an outright offensive genius.  Amazingly, just three weeks before this memorable game, the Redskins beat the Bears 7-3 in a very tight defensive battle.  The Bears thought they had been robbed by a bad call by the referee and stated so publicly.  Redskins owner George Preston Marshall stated that the Bears were "cry-babies."  The Bears used this comment to help motivate themselves for the matchup.  Coach George Halas had been working on refining his T-formation for years but he unveiled it in its full-blown glory for the Championship Game.  On the second play from scrimmage, Bears RB Bill Osmanski ran for a 68-yard touchdown and the route was on.  Only 12 balls were allocated for the game and after each touchdown a fan got a free ball on the extra point attempt.  By the end of the game, there was only one ball left so the referee made Chicago either run or pass for their conversion attempts on their last two touchdowns.  Chicago rushed for 381 yards, completed seven of 10 passes and intercepted eight Redskins' passes-three of which were returned for defensive touchdowns-while totaling 11 touchdowns in the game.  Final score:  Bears 73 Redskins 0; the biggest margin of victory in NFL Championship history.  Pictured above:  An unidentified Bear rushing down the field. 

 

The Guarantee

Joe Namath was named MVP after leading the Jets to victory in Super Bowl III.

Super Bowl III, Colts versus Jets, January 03, 1993,

Orange Bowl, Miami, FL

In the last championship game known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game-changed to Super Bowl in 1970 when the AFL and NFL officially merged-QB Joe Namath made one of the most brazen guarantees in all of sport.  According to the odds makers, the New York Jets entered this game as 19-point underdogs.  The Baltimore Colts had a powerhouse team that only lost one game all season long.  Keep in mind that the AFL and NFL had a pretty good rivalry going at the time.  In the first two AFL-NFL Championship Games the AFL took a trouncing in both games.  In the first game Green Bay beat Kansas City 35-10 and in the second game Green Bay beat Oakland 33-14.  So, it was a common belief at the time that the AFL was vastly inferior to their NFL rivals.  In the third matchup, the Colts were a powerhouse team and the Jets were taking a lot of abuse in  the Miami area leading up to the game.  Joe Namath started talking to the press and made a couple of memorable quotes.  He bad-mouthed many of the Colts players, including QB Earl Morrall.  He said that he "studied quarterbacks and I assure you the Colts have never had to play against quarterbacks like we have in the AFL."  To Morrall's credit, he decided not to get into a war of words but DE Billy Ray Smith was more than willing.  He responded to Namath's comments by saying "He hasn't seen defenses like ours in his league.  Our defenses are as complicated as some teams' offenses."  After taking a bunch of heckling at a local Miami bar, three days before the game,  Joe Namath with a double scotch in hand, made his now famous guarantee "We'll win.  I guarantee it."  True to his word, Namath led the Jets to a 16-0 lead only surrendering a late Baltimore touchdown when Johnny Unitas came off the bench to lead the Colts to the score but by that time it was too little, too late; and Joe Namath's famous guarantee became a part of NFL football lore.

 

The Fumble

                

 

AFC Championshp Game, Browns versus Broncos, January 17, 1988,

Mile Hile Stadium, Denver CO

View a Video Clip of "The Fumble"

Trying to avenge the previous year's loss, in the AFC Championship game, the Cleveland Browns came to Denver with a lot of confidence.  However, on the third play of the game, DB Freddie Gilbert intercepted an errant Bernie Kosar pass, four plays later Broncos QB John Elway hit WR Ricky Nattiel for an 8-yard touchdown pass.  On the Browns next drive, they managed to advance the ball to the Broncos 45-yard line but a fumble by Kevin Mack turned the ball back over to the Broncos.  Two plays later, RB Gene Lang ran for a 42-yards to the Cleveland 11-yard line.  On a third-and-goal from the Browns three-yard line, on a pass play into the endzone, the Browns were called for holding, giving the Broncos new life.  On the ensuing play, RB Steve Sewell ran into the endzone, giving the Broncos a 14-0 first quarter lead. The Browns regrouped and managed to put together a 13-play drive which culminated in a 24-yard field goal.   However, Broncos QB John Elway put together an 11-play drive which ended with RB Steve Sewell scoring another touchdown.  The teams went into the halftime with the Broncos leading by a very comfortable 21-3 margin.  At the beginning of the second half, Elway threw an interception and Bernie Kosar made him pay by hitting WR Reggie Langhorne for an 18-yard touchdown.  Elway responded once again by hitting WR Mark Jackson on an 80-yard TD giving the Broncos a 28-10 lead.  The Browns counterpunched though by marching 80 yards in five plays.  Kosar threw a 32-yard TD to RB Ernest Byner.  On their next possession, the Browns cut into the lead when Byner scored again on a 4-yard run.  The score was now 28-24.  The Broncos bounced back with a38-yard field goal by FG kicker Rich Karliss.  They now led 31-24.  The Browns came right back though to tie the score though on a 4-pass to WR Webster Slaughter.  With just over four minutes to play, Elway hit RB Sammy Winder on a 23-yard pass to take the lead and setting up the memorable finish.  After another Cleveland drive, with 1:12 left to play, RB Earnest Byner took a handoff and ran to the three-yard line.  CB Jeremiah Castille stripped Byner of the ball, as he was headed into the endzone for the tying score, and recovered the fumble.  The Broncos ran the clock down and decided to take a safety with :13 seconds remaining.  Cleveland was only able to attempt one pass before time ran out.  Final score:  Broncos 38 Browns 33.  Earnest Byner will forever be linked to one of the most disappointing losses in Cleveland Browns history.  Pictured above:  Byner getting tackled by Jeremiah Castille and a disappointed Earnest Byner after the fumble.  

 

Wide Right

Super Bowl XXV, Bills versus Giants, January 27, 1991,

Tampa Stadium, Tampa, FL

Buffalo entered this game a solid favorite but due to a Giants ball-control philosophy, the Giants held the ball for over 40 minutes, a Super Bowl record.  In the second half, the Bills only held the ball a total of eight minutes.  In the third quarter, the Giants managed a 14-play drive covering 75 yards and a Super Bowl record 9:29 which culminated in RB Ottis Anderson's one-yard TD run giving the Giants a 17-12 lead.  On the opening play of the forth quarter, Bills RB Thurman Thomas rambled 31-yards for a touchdown giving the Bills the lead back 19-17.  Giants FG kicker Matt Bahr kicked a 21-yard field goal a little later in the game giving the Giants a 20-19 lead and setting up one of the most memorable finishes in Super Bowl history.  With eight seconds remaining in the game, Bills FG kicker Scott Norwood entered the game to attempt a 47-yard field goal that would give the championship to the Bills.  However, he placed his plant foot about six inches forward of where he normally would the the ball sailed "Wide Right" giving the victory to the New York Giants.  Norwood wasn't immediately vilified for his errant kick, but after subsequent Super Bowl losses, fans looked back on the kick as their best chance to have won a Super Bowl and started to look upon Norwood as a goat.  The term "Wide Right" will forever be linked to kicker Scott Norwood as it is now a part of the football lexicon.  Pictured above:  Norwood sending the kick "Wide Right".

 

The Longest NFL Game Ever Played

AFC Divisional Playoff Game, Dolphins versus Chiefs, December 25, 1971,

Memorial Stadium, Kansas City, KS

A lot of football fans upset their families on Christmas Day in 1971.  The Dolphins were playing the Chiefs at Memorial Stadium in Kansas City.  The game started out as just another, normal, playoff game but soon evolved into one of the greatest contests in NFL history.  The game was tied at halftime 10-10.  The second half saw each team trading touchdowns in each quarter so with 1:36 remaining, the score was still tied at 24.  Chiefs RB Ed Podolak returned the Dolphins' kickoff 78 yards to the Miami 22 yard line, being tackled by Curtis Johnson of the Dolphins.  The Chiefs decided to play it safe and ran three consecutive running plays in an attempt to run out the clock.  The Chiefs' FG kicker was future Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud.  He came on to win the game with a 32-yard field goal.  Unfortunately for the Chiefs, he pushed the ball to the right setting up a most memorable overtime game.  In the overtime Stenerud has a chance to redeem himself by kicking a 43-yard field goal.  Again fate intervened when MLB Nick Buoniconti sliced through the offensive line to block the attempt.  At seven minutes and 40 second of the second overtime period, Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian kicked a 37-yard field goal to give the Dolphins a hard fought 27-24 victory.  Other memorable moments in this game were provided by Chiefs RB Ed Podolak who amassed a playoff record 350 yards in all-purpose yardage (85 rushing, 110 receiving, and 155 on kick returns).  This was the last game played at Memorial Stadium-the Chiefs moved to Arrowhead Stadium the next year.  The game totaled 82:40 making it "The Longest NFL Game Ever Played".  Amazingly, not many Chiefs' fans were able to witness the disappointing loss as the game was not sold out and the game was blacked out in the Kansas City area.  Pictured above:  Dolphin kicker Garo Yepremian kicks the game winning field goal.

 

The Snowplow Game

Regular Season Game, Dolphins versus Patriots, November 12, 1982,

Sullivan Stadium, Foxboro, MA

In a game that is actually a misnomer, convicted convict Mark Henderson, who was working for the Patriots on a work release program, added his name to NFL lore.  On the morning of the game it started snowing real early.  Henderson manned the sweeper which was attached to a John Deere tractor.  It had a four-foot long brush that spun and swept the carpet hence the misnomer, he was not actually using a snowplow.  Snow continued to fall throughout the game and viewing the lines on the field was very difficult.  Players on both sides were also struggling with footing and the game stayed scoreless until 4:45 was left in the game.  Patriots  head coach Ron Meyer called a time out with the Patriots on the 16-yard line and getting ready to attempt a field goal.  He then ran down the sideline toward Henderson and yelled for him to "Do something."  Henderson stated that he knew what Meyer wanted so he proceeded to the 20-yard line to sweep the line during the time out.  Holder Matt Cavanaugh clapped his hands and yelled "Follow me."  Henderson said "I went down the 20-yard line, which is where I was stationed.  Then I did a little swerve over to the 23, kind of a nonchalant swerve."  There was then a nice clean carpet for kicker John Smith to kick the 33-yard field goal giving the Patriots a 3-0 victory. At the time, there was no rule prohibiting this action so the sweep and the field goal stood despite protestations from coach Don Shula of the Dolphins.  Now in bad weather, coaches confer on the field to determine what can and cannot be done during the game but, Mark Henderson will always be associated with "The Snowplow Game.".  Pictured above:  Mark Henderson sweeping the spot on the field in front of Patriot Don Hasselbeck.

The Tuck Game

       

AFC Divisional Playoff Game, Raiders versus Patriots, January 19, 2001,

Foxboro Stadium, Foxboro, MA

In a blinding snowstorm and trailing 13-10 with only 1:43 left in the game, on the Raiders 48-yard line, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was hit by Charles Woodson on a first and 10 pass play.  The hit forced Brady to lose control of the ball which was subsequently covered by Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert.  The ruling on the field was that the play resulted in a fumble, essentially giving the Raiders the victory. The replay official, in the booth, signaled referee Walt Coleman that the play should be reviewed.  After viewing the replay, Coleman overturned the call on the field by ruling that Brady's arm was coming forward making the play an incomplete pass.  The Patriots maintained control of the ball and Patriots FG kicker Adam Vinatieri, with 27 seconds remaining in regulation play,  tied the game by kicking a low, line-drive 45-yard field goal that just barely cleared the crossbar.  In overtime, The Patriots took the opening kickoff and marched down the field.  Vinatieri then kicked a 23-yard field goal giving the Patriots the OT victory.  This victory was used as a springboard for the Patriots subsequent victory in Super Bowl XXXVI over the Rams.  The ruling is based on a little used rule in the NFL rulebook Rule 3, Section 21, Article 2, Note 2:  When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body.  Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.  Note 3:  If the player loses possession of the ball while attempting to recock his arm, it is a fumble.  Pictured above:  The ball on the ground after the apparent fumble and kicker Adam Vinatieri celebrating after the game winning field goal.

                             

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