John Elway had achieved everything in his NFL career except winning a Super Bowl. In 1997 the Broncos finished 12-4 and sneaked through the AFC playoffs to face the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. Denver was an underdog but hung tough against the defending champs. On a key third-down play in the third quarter, the 37-year-old Elway scrambled for eight yards, dove into two Green Bay defenders and was spun in the air like a helicopter. Running back Terrell Davis said later that he knew at that moment the Broncos would win, which they did, 31-24.
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Cal-Stanford Part II
With their playoff life on the line, the Saints were trailing the Jaguars 20-13 with six seconds left at Alltel Stadium. New Orleans had the ball at its own 25 when Aaron Brooks completed a pass to Donte' Stallworth. Stallworth lateraled it to Michael Lewis, and then it went to Deuce McAllister and Jerome Pathon as the Saints wound their way down the field for an incredible touchdown reminiscent of the 1982 Cal-Stanford running-over-the-band score. Unfortunately for New Orleans, kicker John Carney missed the extra point and the Saints lost 20-19.
3 of 10David Bergman/SI
With time running out in the NFC divisional playoffs, the Eagles were trailing the Packers 17-14 and faced a fourth-and-26 on their own 25. Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb completed a 28-yard pass to Freddie Mitchell to keep the drive alive. Eagles kicker David Akers tied the game in regulation and hit the game-winner in overtime. Philly advanced to the NFC Championship Game, which it lost to Carolina.
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Play Until the Whistle Sounds
With the game tied at 20, the Vikings missed a 32-yard field goal on a rain-drenched field at the end of regulation against archrival Green Bay in a crucial Monday-night showdown. The game went to overtime and the Packers got the ball first. On third-and-four from the Minnesota 43, Green Bay's Brett Favre lofted a pass to Antonio Freeman, who got tangled with defender Cris Dishman and hit the ground. The ball bounced off Dishman, and Freeman, with his back on the ground, grabbed it and watched Dishman run by. Still untouched, Freeman got up and ran 15 yards into the end zone for the game-winning score.
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The Tuck Rule
With time running out in the AFC divisional playoffs, the Patriots were driving on the Raiders in a driving snowstorm. New England quarterback Tom Brady was apparently sacked by blitzing Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson and fumbled the ball. The Raiders recovered it, but the officials ruled that Brady was attempting a pass, thus no turnover. The decision was based on what is known as the tuck rule, which states that a QB needs to tuck the ball back into his body before a fumble can occur. New England kept the ball and tied the game near the end of regulation on an Adam Vinatieri field goal in the snow. The Patriots eventually won on a Vinatieri field goal in overtime.
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T.O. Saves the Day
In the 1998 NFC playoffs, the Packers were beating the 49ers 27-23 with just 8 seconds left. San Francisco quarterback Steve Young had one last chance and he found Terrell Owens down the middle for a 25-yard touchdown right between two Packers defenders. Ironically, Owens was having an awful day, dropping a few key passes from Young, but he redeemed himself in a big way.
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Monday Night Miracle
The Jets entered the fourth quarter of a big Monday-night showdown against the Dolphins trailing 30-7. Then New York quarterback Vinny Testaverde went to work. The Jets stormed back to tie the game at 30 before Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler threw a 46-yard touchdown to Leslie Shepherd to give the Fins a 37-30 lead. The Jets responded by marching down the field, with Testaverde eventually lofting a pass to eligible tackle Jumbo Elliott in the end zone. Elliott juggled the ball, but then pulled down the game-tying touchdown. The Jets won 40-37 in overtime.
8 of 10John Biever/SI
The Patriots were heavy underdogs against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, but they hung tough and were tied when they got the ball with 1:30 remaining. Tom Brady led New England down to St. Louis' 30 to set up a 48-yard field-goal try. Adam Vinatieri nailed it, giving the Patriots their first championship. The kicker with ice water in his veins would also kick the Super Bowl winner two years later against the Panthers.
9 of 10Bob Rosato/SI
Music City Miracle
Steve Christie hit a 51-yard field goal to give Buffalo a 16-15 lead with 16 seconds remaining in an AFC wild-card game. The Bills squibbed the ensuing kickoff and the Titans' Lorenzo Neal picked it up and handed it to Frank Wycheck. The Tennesse tight end then lateraled the ball to Kevin Dyson on the other side of the field. Dyson dashed down the sideline for the game-winning touchdown. The play was controversial, since the Bills didn't believe Wycheck's lateral was backward.
10 of 10Tom Hauck/Getty Images
Titans Fall Just Short
The Titans were trailing the Rams 23-16 with time running down in Super Bowl XXXIV when quarterback Steve McNair led Tennessee on a desperate final-minute drive. The Titans had one shot at the end zone with six seconds left. McNair threw a slant to receiver Kevin Dyson, who was headed toward the end zone, but linebacker Mike Jones got to him and brought him down around the one-yard line, preserving the St. Louis win.
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