Published: January 10th, 2011 | Tags: Marshawn Lynch, Adam Vinatieri, Danny White, Drew Pearson, Earnest Byner, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Franco Harris, Frank Wycheck, Jack Tatum, Joe Montana, Kevin Dyson, Lorenzo Neal, Pick Six, Roger Staubach
How can you not like a play that became a seismic event?
So many superlatives came out of the Seahawks’ upset of the Saints in the opening round of the playoffs. Biggest upset in history? Was Marshawn Lynch’s run the greatest run in postseason history? That is debatable.
How about the greatest moment of victory? Think of the top playoff moments of all-time. Where would Lynch’s run rank? This list will be limited to moments or single plays from the playoffs, so “The Drive” and “The Comeback” will be left out. Plays from Super Bowls and championships are out, too. So sorry, Ice Bowl. We will do a Super Bowl list later as that game gets closer.
There are a number that failed to make the cut, including Ghost to the Post, the Sea of Hands and Earnest Byner’s fumble.
Here are the six greatest moments of victory in postseason history:
6. Music City Miracle: The play was called “Home Run Throwback” but later became known under its current and more famous name. The Bills, leading 16-15 in the closing moments of a 2001 AFC wild-card game, kicked off to Titans FB Lorenzo Neal, who handed the ball to Frank Wycheck, who threw a lateral across the field to Titans WR Kevin Dyson, who raced 75 yards for the touchdown. The Titans survived the scare and went on to face St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXIV. That game had its own moment of victory, of course, when Dyson was tackled a yard short of the end zone on the final play of the game.
5. Marshawn Lynch’s run: This play could rate higher if the Seahawks make a deep run into the playoffs. Otherwise, it might be more known for bad tackling by the Saints. You know what would also help? A cool nickname. How does this thing not have a nickname yet? Especially in the internet age.
But please, be creative. No nicknames derivative of coffee.
Or Pearl Jam.
4. Adam Vinatieri’s winning boot: Sure, everybody remembers the “Tuck Rule” and the brilliance of Pats QB Tom Brady, but this game had so much more. Vinatieri had to kick a 45-yard field goal in the snow to send the game into overtime in the first place, and then kick a 23-yarder to seal the win. The Patriots went on to upset St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI. And wouldn’t you know it, Vinatieri was at it again, winning that game with a field goal, too.
Now Vinatieri is considered the most-clutch kicker in NFL history.
3. The Hail Mary: The one and only. Cowboys QB Roger Staubach was known for his comebacks, but this was his masterpiece. Staubach threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to WR Drew Pearson in the closing seconds of a 1975 NFC Divisional playoff game. After the game, Staubach referred to the pass as a “Hail Mary” and the legend was born. The Cowboys would then defeat the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game to meet the Steelers in Super Bowl X, giving birth to a great rivalry.
2. Immaculate Reception: The Steelers were one of the downtrodden NFL franchises prior to the arrival in 1969 of coach Chuck Noll. But when Steelers RB Franco Harris caught a ball that had ricocheted off teammate John “Frenchy” Fuqua (via Jack Tatum) and raced into the end zone to beat the Raiders in a 1972 divisional playoff game, a dynasty was born (or at least conceived).
The Steelers would fall to the perfect Dolphins the following week, but the team would win four Super Bowls during the 1970s.
1. The Catch: 49ers QB Joe Montana, running from Ed “Too Tall” Jones, finds Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone to give the 49ers a 28-27 lead in the 1981 NFC Championship Game.
True historians will note, however, that the true moment of victory came when 49ers safety Eric Wright snagged Pearson by the collar, preventing him from scoring on the next play from scrimmage. Cowboys QB Danny White lost a fumble on the next play, and the 49ers’ dynasty was born. But which play was on the cover of Sports Illustrated?
And there it is. One of the great parts of the NFL is that everybody has their own opinion. But in this instance, I can confidentially say that every football enthusiast will be in complete agreement with not only this list, but the entire order here.