There’s plenty of excitement when the NFL playoffs begin. Now the games mean something. Face it, Detroit at Seattle means nothing to most of us in the regular season, but when the two face off Saturday night in the Wild Card round, then we are all locked in.
Just like any other sport, there have been plenty of good and bad games in the post season. Here we will focus on the good.
5.) January 4, 2004: Green Bay Packers 33, Seattle Seahawks 27 (OT)
This game is known as much for what happened during the overtime coin toss as the actual game itself. After the Packers and Seahawks played to a 27 all tie, the captains lined up at midfield for the coin toss. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, after winning the toss for the start of overtime, said, “We want the ball, and we’re going to score.” It was for all to hear, on television and at Lambeau Field. After a three and out by both teams, it was the Packers who scored. Al Harris picked off a Hasselbeck pass and returned it 52 yards for the game winner. It was the first playoff game ever won in overtime with a defensive score.
4.) January 8, 2000: Tennessee Titans 22, Buffalo Bills 16
The battle between the Titans and Bills in Nashville in 2000 is known for one thing: The Music City Miracle.
Buffalo’s Steve Christie hit a field goal with :16 seconds to go in the game for a 16-15 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Tennessee’s Lorenzo Neal fielded the kick and handed off to Frank Wycheck. He took off down the right sideline and then latteraled the ball back across the field to Kevin Dyson. Dyson scampered 75 yards for a touchdown and the win. It looked like the ball from Wycheck to Dyson was actually a forward pass, and still looks like that today. The play was reviewed, but upheld saying Wycheck’s lateral did not travel forward. The Titans went on to play in Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome, where they lost to the Rams in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.
3.) January 6, 2007: Seattle Seahawks 21, Dallas Cowboys 20
In the fourth quarter of this classic in Seattle, the Seahawks scored a late safety, trimming the Dallas lead to 20-15. After the free kick gave the ball to Seattle at midfield, Hasselbeck led them down the field and hit Jerramy Stevens with a 37-yard touchdown pass for a 21-20 lead. The Seahawks went for the two-point conversion, but failed. Once the Cowboys got the ball back, they drove all the way down to the Seattle 8-yard line. With 1:19 to go in the game, Martin Gramatica was called in to attempt a 19-yard field goal. He never got the chance. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo bobbled and dropped the snap. He tried to run but was stopped at the 2-yard line. It also was the final game for head coach Bill Parcells, who retired from Dallas and took a front office job with the Dolphins.
2.) January 3, 1999: San Francisco 49ers 30, Green Bay Packers 27
Some of the all time great NFL players participated in this game. One of them was former Georgia star Garrison Hearst, who rushed for 28 yards and had three receptions for the 49ers. The Packers, with Brett Favre as quarterback, scored twice in the second quarter to lead 17-10 at the half. However, the see-saw second half saw some great moments. With 4:19 to go in the game and trailing 23-20, Farve engineered an 89 yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman giving Green Bay back the lead. However, under the guidance of Steve Young, the 49ers drove right down the field and won the game with :08 to go as Young hit Terrell Owens with a 25 yard touchdown pass. During that drive, it was apparent that Jerry Rice fumbled the ball away to the Packers, but he was ruled down by contact and San Francisco kept the ball for the eventual winning score. Sorry Packers fans, instant replay challenges were not in effect until the following year. The winning catch by Owens is know by 49ers fans as “The Catch II.”
1.) January 3, 1993: Buffalo Bills 41, Houston Oilers 38 (OT)
The biggest comeback ever in NFL history. The game is simply known as “The Comeback.” The Bills were down to the Oilers 35-3 in the early stages of the 3rd quarter when their efforts put them in the record books. However, the Bills stormed back to score 35 unanswered second half points. A touchdown pass from quarterback Frank Reich (playing for the injured Jim Kelly) to Andre Reed with just 3:08 left in the fourth quarter, gave the Bills their first lead of the game at 38–35. Houston sent the game into overtime on a 26-yard field goal from Al Del Greco. In overtime, Steve Christie kicked a 32-yard field goal for the 41–38 win. The Bills went on to the Super Bowl for the third straight season where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys at Rose Bowl stadium in Super Bowl XXVII.