NFL Top 10 Regular Season Games of All Time

What the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers did on the night of January 9, 2012 – and perhaps more historically speaking, what they didn’t – will be a game and a moment. we will talk about forever. It immediately enters the pantheon of legendary NFL moments that are remembered for entire seasons.

The NFL is all about postseason memories, whether it’s the Super Bowl or the early rounds where entire fandoms live and die in every game. But the regular season can produce the same drama, intensity, and story, and those are the 10 greatest regular season games ever played.

# 10: New York Jets 44, Baltimore Colts 34, September 24, 1972

The 1986 Jets-Dolphins would later become the highscore standard, but this match will be remembered forever as the last shootout between two of the greatest legends to ever put on high shoes, or perhaps tights. It was the best of Johnny Unitas against the best of Joe Namath, one last time.

Yes, they met at Super Bowl III, and we can guarantee that this is the most famous Jets-Colts game. But that epic shootout was truly the last big game for the Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Unitas would retire shortly thereafter and Namath’s knees would reduce the legend to barely functional status in his last five seasons.

But September 24, 1972 was the day to step back, as Unititas threw for 376 yards and two touchdowns and Namath put in his best passing performance, with 496 yards and six touchdowns.

# 9: San Francisco 49ers 38, New Orleans Saints 35 (OT), December 7, 1980

The 1981 NFC Championship game, featuring Dwight Clark’s “Catch”, is widely regarded as the game that made Joe Montana a legend in the making, but Montana’s real escape game dates back to the previous season. Early in his collaboration with head coach Bill Walsh, Montana led the 49ers in the biggest regular-season comeback in NFL history, erasing a 28-point halftime deficit against the humble Saints.

This happened shortly after Montana’s last game with Notre Dame, the famous Cotton Bowl “Chicken Soup”, when a flu-stricken Montana rallied the Fighting Irish from a 34-12 deficit. . Now he had done it at the pro level, and a year later the 49ers were Super Bowl champions.

# 8: Oakland Raiders 43, New York Jets 32, November 17, 1968

Do not adjust this dial! This game is on the list not so much for what happened on the field in Oakland, but rather in the control room at NBC headquarters in New York. It was the infamous “Heidi Game”, when NBC cut the last 90 seconds of the Jets-Raiders game at exactly 7 p.m. ET, to broadcast the children’s movie “Heidi”.

The Jets were leading 32-29 when TVs across the country rocked (except on the West Coast), which basically meant no one had seen the Raiders score two touchdowns to make a miracle comeback. The NBC switchboard was blown away by angry calls, and NBC issued an apology the following night in the Nightly News.

And that, boys and girls, is the reason these late afternoon NFL games are kept on air until the bitter end. Sorry, “60 minutes”, you’ll just have to wait.

# 7: New York Jets 51, Miami Dolphins 45 (OT), September 21, 1986

Prior to 2018, it was considered the biggest shootout in regular season history. Everyone remembers the great Dan Marino with the Dolphins, but that day it was Ken O’Brien of the Jets, who made three picks ahead of Marino in the famous 1983 NFL Draft, who won the Victoire. For one day, anyway, the Jets could be happy with the choice.

O’Brien completed 29 of 43 passes for 479 yards and four touchdowns, all for Wesley Walker, including the overtime winner. Walker had six catches for 194 yards, one of three receivers in the game to exceed 150 yards.

Marino did the usual Marino things, completing 30 of 50 passes for 448 and six touchdowns. The incredible receiving duo known as the “Marks Brothers” Mark Clayton and Mark Duper combined for 15 catches, 328 yards and three touchdowns. The 884 net passing yards combined set a 15-year record.

# 6: Dallas Cowboys 35, Washington Football Team 34, December 16, 1979

They called him “Captain Comeback”, and it turned out to be the last hurray for the great Roger Staubach, in what turned out to be the last regular season game of his brilliant career and his last win in a Cowboys uniform. And that he did it against hated rival Washington to win another NFC East title made that comeback even sweeter.

It was actually a double comeback for Staubach, as the Cowboys recovered from a 17-0 deficit to take a 21-17 lead, only to fall behind, 34-21, with 3: 49 to play. No problem for the greatest two-minute exercise quarterback of his generation, or perhaps any generation. Staubach needed just three passes and 80 seconds to produce the first touchdown that brought him to 34-28, then after a brilliant tackle from veteran Larry Cole stopped John Riggins to force a punt, Dallas went on to resumed his own 25-yard line with 1:46 left.

And Staubach did it again, culminating the winning run with a short touchdown pass to Tony Hill for the win and the final comeback for the captain.

# 5: New York Jets 40, Miami Dolphins 37 (OT), October 23, 2000

All of the games left on the roster are Monday or Sunday night contests, and these are certainly all worthy of prime time, anytime. A lot of people didn’t see how this game went, as the Dolphins entered the fourth quarter with a 30-7 lead.

What they missed was the second-biggest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history, as the Jets scored 23 unanswered points to tie the game, then fell behind again ahead without doubt the most famous touchdown ever scored by an offensive lineman, as Vinny Testaverde forced overtime with a touchdown pass to tackle-eligible Jumbo Elliott, who blew the ball on his way to the ground but took stood firm, then stared in amazement at the aptly named Jumbotron to see the replay of his incredible take.

# 4: Kansas City Chiefs 31, Denver Broncos 28, October 17, 1994

We had Legend versus Legend at No.10, but it was best of all, as Joe Montana, who now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, faced John Elway at Mile High Stadium. Montana had badly beaten Elway at Super Bowl 24, but now they’ve put on an epic Monday night duel.

It looked like Elway would finally take some revenge against Montana, scoring on a four-yard rush with 89 seconds left to give the Broncos a 28-24 lead. But as we should have learned by now, whatever uniform Montana wears, if you give him time, he will find a way to win. And he did it once again in his Hall of Fame career, hitting Willie Davis for a five-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left for the game-winner.

# 3: Los Angeles Rams 54, Kansas City Chiefs 51: November 19, 2018

It was one of the few times that a game was so anticipated, and yet it still managed to exceed all expectations. What happened at the Old Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the third most successful game in NFL history, the highest Monday night game ever played, and the first time in the history of the NFL, both teams scored 50 points.

Patrick Mahomes threw for 478 yards and had six touchdown passes for the second time in his mega-breakout season, while Jared Goff threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns, all the more remarkable as the Rams had just placed Cooper Kupp on the pre-match injured reserve. .

The two teams would be linked in another way this season: both lost to the New England Patriots in the playoffs, Kansas City losing the AFC championship game at home and the Rams managing just three points in the Super. Bowl.

# 2: Miami Dolphins 38, Chicago Bears 24, December 2, 1985

The 1972 Dolphins are still the only team to finish an unbeaten season, going 17-0. The New England Patriots are the only team to lead an unbeaten regular season in the 16-game era of 2007. But the argument for the best team not to go undefeated likely begins with the Bears. Chicago of 1985.

Led by their sultry ’46’ defense, the play of quarterback Jim McMahon and the run of all-time legend Walter Payton, the Bears were 12-0 towards the Orange Bowl to face the Dolphins, who were the favorites to win the AFC behind Dan Marino and were determined to keep the ’72 Dolphins’ legacy intact.

And Marino delivered as the Dolphins led 31-10 in the first half, then held on to secure the win and hand over to the Bears what turned out to be their only loss en route to an 18-1 season and a victory at Super Bowl XX.

# 1: Las Vegas Raiders 35, Los Angeles Chargers 32 (OT), January 9, 2022

The biggest regular season game is also the most recent. But why wait to put this classic at the top of the list? This was in place for greatness all week leading up to the first Sunday night game in an 18 week in NFL history. Was it a playoff game between the Raiders and Chargers, or would the teams agree to a draw, securing both a playoff berth?

The drama only grew as the Chargers frantically erased a 15-point deficit in the final five minutes to force overtime, converting fourth for fourth until they finally scored the tying touchdown with no more time in regulation.

Then in overtime, after the teams traded field goals and the clock hit the two-minute warning, it appeared, to the horror and dismay of Pittsburgh Steelers fans around the world, that the Raiders were going to kill the clock and create the tie that had been speculated on all week.

But no! The Chargers called what could be considered the most misguided time-out in NFL history with 39 seconds left, as the Raiders prepared to call a play from the Chargers 40-yard line. Were the Raiders going to let time pass before the time out? We’ll never know. What happened was Josh Jacobs ran 11 yards at 29, the Raiders called time-out with two seconds remaining and kicked the game-winning basket to send the Chargers to pack their bags and the world of the game. football humming from a remarkable finish to an unprecedented 18.e Sunday in the NFL.

Statistics courtesy of Professional football benchmark

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