By Thomas Neumann
Page 2

Welcome to Page 2's newly revised list of the best NFL playoff games of the Super Bowl era … and why we remember them. We'll keep this short so you can get back quickly to Bill Simmons' column, er, get back to work.

1. Chargers 41, Dolphins 38 (OT) – AFC divisional playoff
Jan. 2, 1982 at Miami
Hero: Kellen Winslow. Chargers tight end had 13 catches for 133 yards, a touchdown and blocked a crucial field goal at the end of regulation. The image of a dehydrated Winslow being helped off the field by teammates is an NFL classic.
Goat: David Woodley. As soon as their starting quarterback was benched, the Dolphins rallied from 24-0 deficit.
Why we remember: The Chargers' big lead. The hook-and-ladder. Seventy-nine points and 1,036 total yards. Dan Fouts and Don Strock each throwing for more than 400 yards.
Oddity: The Chargers went on to play in weather about 80 degrees colder a week later in the AFC Championship Game in Cincinnati.

Peyton Manning
Amy Sancetta/AP photo
Don't get too hyped up just yet Peyton. You still have to go toe
to toe with Rex Grossman.

2. Colts 38, Patriots 34 – AFC Championship Game
Jan. 21, 2007 at Indianapolis
Hero: Peyton Manning. Overcame pick-six by Asante Samuel to finally get the monkey.
Goat: The hoodie. The ladies might love it, but the mystique is gone.
Why we remember: OK, maybe No. 2 is too high. Maybe we're caught up in the moment. So write a nasty response on your blog. Overcoming an 18-point deficit against a three-time Super Bowl champ (largest in conference title-game history). Indy's 32-point second half. Two offensive linemen and a defensive lineman lined up as a fullback scoring touchdowns. Back-and-forth scoring. Crucial pass-interference calls. Jabar Gaffney's tiptoe TD catch. Whew. This could very well go down as the end of a dynasty and the beginning of another. Or just a cruel set-up for Manning to witness first-hand the coronation of Rex Grossman.
Oddity: Reche Caldwell's eyes.

3. 49ers 28, Cowboys 27 – NFC Championship Game
Jan. 10, 1982 at San Francisco
Hero: Joe Montana and Dwight Clark. The touchdown that set a dynasty in motion.
Goat: Everson Walls. He's the one a step behind Clark on the poster.
Why we remember: Clark reportedly jumped higher than any white man ever to that point when he reeled in "The Catch."
Oddity: Don't forget that the Cowboys almost won the game with a last-minute drive.

4. Packers 21, Cowboys 17 – NFL Championship Game
Dec. 31, 1967 at Green Bay
Hero: Bart Starr. His quarterback sneak to win it was a make-or-break play in that if the Packers didn't score, they probably didn't have enough time for another play.
Goat: Pete Rozelle. The commish allowed this game to be played despite kickoff temperature of minus-13. Several players claim to still suffer effects of frostbite.
Why we remember: Packers, frozen tundra, Lombardi, this photo.
Oddity: The system of heating coils under the playing surface at Lambeau Field "malfunctioned," making footing extremely difficult. Sorry, Bob Hayes.

5. Bills 41, Oilers 38 (OT) – AFC wild-card playoff
Jan. 3, 1993 at Buffalo
Hero: Frank Reich. Buffalo's backup quarterback heroically filled in for the injured Jim Kelly to lead the Bills from a 35-3 deficit.
Goat: Entire Houston roster and coaching staff. You don't gag away a 35-3 lead without a team effort on both sides of the ball.
Why we remember: The largest comeback in playoff history.
Oddity: Buffalo's Don Beebe took two steps out of bounds before making the touchdown reception that made it 35-17.

Tom Brady
Matt Campbell/AFP/Getty Images
The "Tuck Rule" was a turning point in Pats history.

6. Patriots 16, Raiders 13 (OT) – AFC divisional playoff
Jan. 19, 2002 at New England
Hero: Adam Vinatieri. Patriots kicker booted a dramatic 45-yard field goal through a near-blizzard to send the game into overtime, then converted a 23-yard winning field goal.
Goat: Raiders defense. They lost their edge and swagger after the infamous "tuck rule" call went in New England's favor.
Why we remember: The "Tuck Rule" call that saved Tom Brady and the Patriots and Vinatieri's clutch kicks in a driving blizzard in the last game at Foxboro Stadium.
Oddity: That the Pats didn't bring out a snowplow to clear a path for Vinatieri. There was precedent in the case of New England vs. Miami, 1982.

7. Broncos 23, Browns 20 (OT) – AFC Championship Game
Jan. 11, 1987 at Cleveland
Hero: John Elway. Broncos quarterback engineered the template for the clutch comeback.
Goat: Marty Schottenheimer. It might not be fair, but it's true. The guy is cursed in the playoffs.
Why we remember: "The Drive."
Oddity: The first four plays of "The Drive" featured running back Sammy Winder – a pass and three runs. None of the final 11 plays of "The Drive" went to Winder.

8. Dolphins 27, Chiefs 24 (2 OT) – AFC divisional playoff
Dec. 25, 1971 at Kansas City
Hero: Garo Yepremian. Nailed the winning field goal in the second OT and didn't attempt any passes.
Goat: Jan Stenerud. You'd think a Hall of Famer kicker could convert a 31-yard field goal to win a playoff game. In this case, you'd be wrong.
Why we remember: It's still the longest game in NFL history, at 82 minutes, 40 seconds of game time, in the last NFL game at Municipal Stadium.
Oddity: Ed Podolak's 78-yard kickoff return -- just a portion of his 350 all-purpose yards -- went for naught because of Stenerud's miss.

9. Broncos 38, Browns 33 – AFC Championship Game
Jan. 17, 1988 at Denver
Hero: Jeremiah Castille. Broncos defensive back caused "The Fumble," sending Denver to the Super Bowl.
Goat: Earnest Byner. He later won a Super Bowl ring with Washington, but that doesn't impress Cleveland fans too much.
Why we remember: Byner's fumble three yards shy of the goal line with just over a minute left as the Browns were marching toward a tying touchdown -- a second straight crushing defeat for Cleveland in the AFC title game.
Oddity: Byner had 187 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in the game. But who remembers that stuff?

10. Steelers 13, Raiders 7 – AFC divisional playoff
Dec. 23, 1972 at Pittsburgh
Hero: Franco Harris. Right place, lucky timing.
Goat: Art Rooney. The Steelers' owner was in the elevator at Three Rivers Stadium and missed the big play. Way to give up on your team, fella.
Why we remember: "The Immaculate Reception." Otherwise this game was a dud. Raiders defensive back Jack Tatum says the ball didn't bounce off him. If that's true, then it illegally bounced off John Fuqua to teammate Harris.
Oddity: Many fans remember the Steelers going on to win the Super Bowl after this game. Actually, it was the Dolphins, who compiled a 17-0 record.

Thomas Neumann is an editor for Page 2. Sound off to Page 2 here.




Thomas
Neumann
UNFORGETTABLE