When there is a truly great NFL game, it develops its own lore, legends, and in the case of the greatest NFL games, gets its own nickname.
The Ice Bowl; The Drive; The Tuck Rule and countless others invoke countless memories of where we were and who were with when history unfolded. But what if every game could be this gripping and memorable? As those who love to gamble on the NFL have already figured out, there’s a way.
While many of the games below in our top NFL games of all-time list are once-in-a-generation experiences, every NFL Sunday has the potential to be one you’ll remember forever when you end up responsibly wagering real money on it. This has been hugely popular in the sport, bringing out even more passion with the fans – check out this guide to find out more about how you can bet on the NFL online.
Below are five of the greatest NFL games of all time that undoubtedly made many in Vegas and later, on online casinos, incredibly happy (or incredibly salty).
1958 NFL Championship Game: Baltimore Colts 23, New York Giants 17
The game that paved the way for all the other games on our list . Around 45 million Americans were estimated to have tuned in to what is now known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and the first NFL playoff game to go into sudden-death overtime.
The 1958 NFL Championship (aka The Greatest Game Ever Played) is seen now as the moment that jumpstarted the NFL’s immense popularity. (Source: neilleifer.com)
Played in late December in Yankee Stadium, a late field goal by the 3.5 point-favorite Colts sent the game to OT. An 80-yard TD drive captained by hall-of-famer Johnny Unitas gave the Colts the Championship and is seen as *the* major turning point in football’s popularity.
1981 NFC Championship: Dallas Cowboys 27, San Francisco 49ers 28
The NFC in the 1970s had mostly been dominated by Dallas, aka America’s Team. That dominance included three wins in three years over the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs, earmarks in an otherwise average decade for San Fran. However, the tides were changing out west in the early 80s due to a quarterbacking force by the name of Montana.
Many still argue whether or not Joe Montana actually meant to just throw the ball away before Dwight Clark made The Catch. (Source: NYDailyNews.com)
With less than five to go, down 27-21, and the ball on their own 11, a resilient Joe Cool marched the Niners down the field. Facing third and three with 58 seconds remaining, a Cowboys rush forced Montana to roll right and throw an off-balance pass that looked doomed to sail out of bounds. Instead, receiver Dwight Clark plucked the pass out of nowhere for the winning touchdown and the 49ers’ first conference championship victory.
Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19
Despite how many memorable Super Bowls there’s been, none of them can say they finished as close as this one. The only Big Game won by a single point featured the league’s best offense in the Buffalo Bills pitted against the league’s best defense in the 7-point underdog New York Giants.
Buffalo’s third all-time leading scorer is unfortunately remembered most for his missed kick at the end of Super Bowl XXV. (Source: ESPN.com)
Down one with 2:16 remaining, the favorites received the ball on their own 10. With a series of short plays, the Jim Kelly-led Bills made their way to the New York 29-yard line with 8 seconds left. Then, in the play that he is most remembered for despite an otherwise solid career, kicker Scott Norwood sailed the 47-yard attempt wide right, marking the first of Buffalo’s four consecutive Super Bowl losses.
1992-93 AFC Wild Card: Houston Oilers 38, Buffalo Bills 41
It looked almost certain the Bills weren’t going to end up in the Super Bowl for a third straight year after being down 35-3 in third quarter of the 1992-93 AFC Wild Card playoffs. Some fortunate bounces of the ball, no-calls, and a shift in weather conditions saw the Oiler lead slowly dwindle, and the remaining BIlls fans in the stadium were re-awakened when the score read 38-35 Buffalo with 3:08 to play.
One city’s The Choke is another city’s The Comeback, as evident by the unbelievable 32-point comeback by Buffalo in the 1993 playoffs against Houston. (Source: TotalProSports.com)
An Oiler field goal sent the game to overtime where Houston would win the toss. Warren Moon’s 50th pass of the day was intercepted and on the same play a facemask penalty was committed, giving Buffalo fresh downs on Houston’s 20. Kicker Steve Christie knocked a chip shot through, allowing the Bills to survive in the playoffs (eventually going to their third straight Super Bowl) and also completing what is still the largest comeback in NFL history.
Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14
One of the largest betting favorites in Super Bowl history, the 12-point favorite and undefeated New England Patriots were expected to win their fourth championship of the decade handily over the wild card New York Giants. Looking to become the first team to finish a season undefeated since the ‘72 Dolphins, it’s no wonder that the shocking Pats’ upset loss that ensued is remembered as one of the NFL’s greatest games ever.
What many will argue was the greatest Super Bowl of all-time gave us inarguably the Super Bowl’s greatest play of all time: The Helmet Catch. (Source: Gunaxin.com)
Most remembered from this game is the Giants’ final drive which was marked by maybe the greatest play in Super Bowl history. On third and five from their own 44-yard line, New York’s Eli Manning somehow eluded an aggressive New England pass rush and whipped a long pass downfield. Near the 25 was receiver David Tyree, who leaped up into tight coverage and somehow pinned the ball between his hands and helmet as he fell to the ground. The catch would allow the drive to continue and for the Giants to add the winning score several plays later with just :35 remaining.