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Friday, January 16, 2009
ESPNTheMag.Com Presents: All-World Power Rankings


Well, this pretty much defines "awkward."

FOR BEST AFC/NFC TITLE GAME EVER, WE'RE GOING PATRIOTS VS. COLTS FROM THE 2006 SEASON

[Ed's note: Not sure what All-World Power Rankings is? Please click here.]

Logically speaking, there have been a lot of tremendous AFC and NFC Championship games over the years. (A list of NFC games is here; AFC games here.) By the time you get a conference down to two teams, they're pretty evenly matched. So…what's the best Conference Championship game ever?

TOP 5
RANK (YESTERDAY) WHAT WHY
1 (14) COLTS VS. PATRIOTS (AFC TITLE GAME FOR 2006-2007) This may be a controversial No. 1, but here's our logic: ever see the generally-awful movie Sliding Doors? This was the NFL equivalent. If that 21-3 Pats lead held up, Tom Brady probably has four Super Bowls right now and Peyton Manning might be labeled one of the biggest chokers of all-time. That Colts comeback changed a lot of perceptions. Should be noted: Pats still don't have a title since this. "The Curse of Gisele!"
2 (410) COWBOYS VS. 49ERS (NFC TITLE GAME FOR 1981-1982) You know in second grade, when you learn the difference between using "the" and "a" in sentences? "The" is more definitive, right? There's a reason this thing is called "The Catch."
3 (21) GIANTS VS. 49ERS (NFC TITLE GAME FOR 1990-1991) The Giants weren't supposed to win this one, but they did, 15-13. If ya watched it, it was pretty epic: Joe Montana getting knocked out of the game, the Giants' defense swarming on everyone. We might flip-flop it with our next selection, though.
4 (127) FALCONS VS. VIKINGS (NFC TITLE GAME FOR 1998-1999) The Falcons were 11-point dogs in this game, and were down 10 in the final quarter to (cue the violins) "the greatest offensive team of all-time to that point." Then all this stuff started happening. Dirty Birds, indeed.
5 (899) BROWNS VS. BRONCOS (AFC TITLE GAME FOR 1987-1988) This is "The Fumble." Interesting point made by Chris Broussard in this office yesterday: Cleveland's had "The Shot," "The Drive" and "The Fumble." Are we going to call the LeBron James situation "The Contract?"

HONORABLE MENTION
RANK (YESTERDAY) WHAT WHY
18 (144) GIANTS VS. PACKERS (NFC TITLE GAME FOR 2007-2008) The year seemed to be headed directly for Favre vs. Brady, but oh no. Watched this game at a bar in Queens. When the Giants finally won, a really large, Sopranos-looking dude kissed us flush on the cheek and screamed "You're the best, baby!" Still a top five rando viewing moment in our sports fan life.
28 (701) COWBOYS VS. 49ERS (NFC TITLE GAME FOR 1992-1993) Cowboys won 30-20. Wasn't even a tremendous game, although a pretty good one. It's most famous for Jimmy Johnson's "HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!" speech. We love it.

RISING AND FALLING
MOVEMENT WHAT
"THE DRIVE" IN THE 1985-1986 AFC TITLE GAME (We'd like this more if the Broncos won the SB the same year, but man, this was classic Elway.)
COWBOYS BEAT PACKERS IN 1995-1996 NFC TITLE GAME (It was a nice Aikman/Favre shootout, and it set the stage for Favre to win his SB, but at the time it was the third straight year the Boys had beaten 'em!)