Where does Vikings’ miracle rank with great plays?

by Gary Shelton on January 16, 2018 · 8 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

Think of it like a greatest hits album provided, of course, that you remember what an album as.

Think of as the NFL's greatest moments -- one per team.

Think of this team's best vs. that team's best. Forget the ordinary touchdowns that led to ordinary wins. Think of the plays that define each team in the NFL. Think of the hearts that soared, and the hearts that were left broken.

Ready?

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Here goes.

Arizona: Forget the final 129 seconds. Kurt Warner hit Larry Fitzgerald on a 64-yard touchdown pass to give the Cardinals a 23-20 lead in the 2009 Super Bowl. For Arizona fans, it's barely worth mentioning that the Steelers pulled the game out on a pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes.

Atlanta: The Falcons didn't stand a chance in their 1999 playoff against Minnesota, right? The Vikings were 15-1 and led the league in scoring, and it figured they would win easily at home. But Gary Anderson of the Vikings missed his first field goal of the year, and Morten Anderson of Atlanta hit a 38-yard field goal in overtime to win it.

Baltimore: The Ravens upset the Denver Broncos in 2013 after Joe Flacco hit Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds to play.

Buffalo: A lot of fans will think kicker Scott Norwood missing wide right best represents the Bills. Buffalo fans would prefer to think about the comeback against the Houston Oilers, a game in which the Bills were 32 points down but won. Steve Christie's 32-yard field goal in overtime were the winning points.

Carolina: On the first play of the second overtime, Jake Delhomme of Carolina found Steve Smith with a 69-yard touchdown pass to beat the Rams.

Chicago: In 1975, Walter Payton ran for 275 yards in a win over Minnesota. It was the best day by perhaps the best running back.

Cincinnati: There for a moment, it looked as if the Bengals had pulled it off. A field goal by Jim Breech gave the Bengals a 16-13 lead over Joe Montana and the 49ers with 5:37 to go despite losing Tim Krumrie to a horrific broken leg and Stanley Wilson to cocaine before the game. But Joe Montana led the 49es 92 yards to spoil things.

Cleveland: You might figure this is out of the black-and-white TV days. In 1964, Frank Ryan threw for three scores and Jim Brown rushed for 114 yards as Cleveland beat the Baltimore Colts, 27-0 for the 1964 NFL title.

Dallas: In 1975, Roger Staubach heaved a long pass toward Drew Pearson in the fading moments of their playoff game against Minnesota. Pearson fought through cornerback Nate Wright -- yes, he pushed -- and caught the pass for a 50-yard score to win the game. Teams had been suggesting Hail Marys since the 1920s, but this one clinched it when Staubach said that, after he threw the ball, he said a Hail Mary.

Denver: You can talk about the Drive, but most of it came down to a a third-and-18 at the Cleveland 48 with 1:47 to play. Elway hit Mark Jackson for 20 yards, the Broncos went on to tie the game and win in overtime.

Detroit: It's been a long time between great moments for the Lions, but how about 1953, when the Lions rallied to beat the Browns. With less than two minutes to play, Bobby Layne hit Jim Doran on a 33-yard touchdown with 2:08 to play for the NFL title. (A more recent moment: Barry Sanders rushed for 237 yards in a 1994 season game against the Bucs.)

Green Bay: There are a lot of great comebacks with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. However, the iconic moment will always be quarterback Bart Starr wedging into the end zone behind center Ken Bowman and guard Jerry Kramer in the Ice Bowl against Dallas in 1966.

Houston: Talk about the kid from nowhere. In 2011, auarterback T.J. Yates led the Texans to a victory in their playoff game against Cincinnati, 31-10.

Indianapolis: In 2006, it looked like the Patriots would own Peyton Manning again. The Pats led 21-6 at the half before Manning warmed up. He ended up throwing for 349 yards in 38-34 victory.

Jacksonville: The Jags had no business being on the field with Denver. Everyone said so. Even the oddsmakers, who made Denver a 12 1/2 point favorite. But after Mark Brunell threw for 249 yards, the Jags upset the Broncos 30-27,

Kansas City: In 1990, Derrick Thomas had seven sacks in one game against Seattle. He almost got No. 8 on the final play of the game. Seattle won the game, 17-16.

Los Angeles Rams: They're an offensive franchise, but the Rams' best moment came when linebacker Mike Jones tackled Tennessee's Kevin Dyson just short of the goal line to win the 2000 Super Bowl. The team was based in St. Louis at the time.

Miami: Safety Jake Scott intercepted two passes to lead the Dolphins to a 14-7 win over Washington in the 1973 Super Bowl. That made the Dolphins 17-0. Any questions?

Minnesota: Let's go back as far as, well, Sunday. Case Keenum hit Stefon Diggs, who then ran 61 yards for the score.

New England: The Patriots seem to win a lot of close games in the Super Bowl. But how about a win the Pats didn't deserve? Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass on the final play of the 2015 Super Bowl. New England still is thankful the Seahawks didn't run the ball.

New Orleans: Something as simple as an onside kick changed everything for New Orleans. It came to start the second half, with the Saints trailing 10-6 in the 2010 Super Bowl. After that, New Orleans outscored the Colts 25-7 to win going away.

New York Jets: Joe Namath was the guy who swaggered, but Matt Snell took over the Super Bowl. He rushed for 121 yards against the Colts.

New York Giants: David Tyree's catch off of his helmet helped the Giants beat the undefeated Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl. A great scramble by  Eli Manning set up the play.

Oakland: There are a lot of moments for the Raiders, including Marcus Allen, Ted Hendricks and Jim Plunkett. But the one moment that still sticks out was when Oakland ended Miami's two-Super Bowl streak with a 28-26 moment when Ken Stabler hit Clarence Davis.

Philadelphia: Steve Van Buren rushed for 191 yards to lead the Eagles to their second straight NFL title in 1949.

Pittsburgh: The play was for Frenchy Fuqua. Pittsburgh needed only a field goal in the 1972 playoff game. These are the things you forget about the Immaculate Reception, the play that started it all for the Pittsburgh dynasty. Trailing the Raiders 7-6, Pittsburgh's Franco Harris plucked a deflected pass out of the air and went 60 yards for the win. They're still arguing over who deflected the pass (at the time, if it had been a Steeler, the pass would have been incomplete). Pittsburgh lost to Miami the next week, but Steelers were a coming force.

San Francisco: It all started with Montana throwing the ball impossibly high, and Dwight Clark coming down with over the Dallas Cowboys. There were only 58 seconds to play in the 1981 NFC title game. Montana never threw a bigger completion.

Seattle: Yeah, he talked about it. But first, Richard Sherman had to deflect a pass to Michael Crabtree (into the arms of Malcolm Smith) to win the 2014 NFC title and earn its way to the Super Bowl.

Tampa Bay: No, it didn't happen in the 2003 Super Bowl. The best Bucs' moment came the week before, when Ronde Barber intercepted a pass and returned it 92 yards for a score, silencing Philly's Veteran's Stadium.

Tennessee: They call it the Music City Miracle. In 2000, the Buffalo Bills had just taken a 16-15 lead with 16 seconds to go. The kickoff went to Frank Wycheck, who pitched it across the field to Kevin Dyson, who ran 75 yards for the touchdown.

Washington: Doug Williams helps the Redskins explode in the second period to earn an upset win in the 1988 Super Bowl. Williams threw for 340 yards and four touchdowns.

Top 10

1. The Immaculate Reception

2. The Catch

3. Ronde's interception

4. The Minnesota Miracle

5. Elway on third and 18.

6. Dallas' Hail Mary

7. Malcolm Butler's interception

8. Buffalo's comeback.

9. Music City Miracle.

10.Starr in the Ice Bowl.

 

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller January 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

He was terrific. I don’t know if his gambling suspension had anything to do with the snub from the HOF but I always considered him a great player. Should be in the HOF in my consideration.

Reply

Gary Shelton January 16, 2018 at 5:03 pm

I was just a kid, just getting into football. But I loved his book “even fat guys cry.” He was certainly a member in my eyes. The gambling shouldn’t affect anything; Hornung is in, and he was busted, too.

From time to time, I throw a guy like Kramer or Karras up to Jerry. He isn’t effusive in his praise, which confounds me. Again, the eyes of a kid who knew nothing.

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Larry Beller January 16, 2018 at 7:14 pm

Well I was a kid back then too. But I will tell you this, Alex Karras was adored in Detroit. Kind of a Warren Sapp type talent but with a great personality. It’s hard for me to say why he’s not in the HOF. As far as I’m concerned he was one of the greatest.

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Gary Shelton January 16, 2018 at 9:24 pm

That was certainly my impression, although I wasn’t in a position to judge. Besides, who else could punch out a horse?

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Larry Beller January 16, 2018 at 11:54 am

The most iconic game in my memory for the Lions was the 1962 Thanksgiving day game in Detroit against the Packers. The Packers were coached by Vince Lombardi and came into the game undefeated. Some were saying they were the greatest team of all time. The Lions lost to them in October, 9-7 when their much maligned QB threw an ill advised pass late in the 4th quarter, which was intercepted and lead to the Packers winning field goal. The Lions seethed for 6+ weeks knowing they should have won that game. The Lions defense, especially their front 4, was stellar that year but their offense was weak. Very similar to the Bucs under Dungy. Anyway the Lions front 4 destroyed the Packers that day and they had a 26-0 lead into the 4th quarter. The game ended 26-14 but it wasn’t that close. The Packers didn’t lose another game that year.

The Lions great defense lead the team to an 11-3 record but there were no wild card playoffs at that time and they went home after the regular season ended. So close to winning it all but came up empty. However, no Lions fan who saw it will ever forget that Thanksgiving day game.

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Gary Shelton January 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Good story. Like a lot of America, I discovered the Lions through Paper Lion. Was Alex Karras that good? I know the Hall has always bypassed him?

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Bill MYERS January 16, 2018 at 10:17 am

I think it was 95 yards and is still a record for a post season interception return! I wish the Glazers could get exbucs like Ronde involved somewhere in the organization!

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Gary Shelton January 16, 2018 at 9:28 pm

I’m pretty sure it was 92 yards. I remember being in the cold press box at the vet, and Rich McKay was right behind me yelling “Run, Ronde, run. Don’t ever stop running,” And the place was as quite as a graveyard.

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