We were going to do the top playoff games of all-time, but that is just too difficult a task with so many great games over the years. This list does not include Super Bowl games, as that will have it's own list next month. The years in parenthesis is the year of the season. For example, the AFC Championship last year was played in 2016, but it was the 2015 season, so 2015 is in parenthesis.
10. Falcons over Seahawks, 30-28 in Atlanta – NFC Divisional Playoff (2011)
This game was not close until the fourth quarter, as the #1 seed Atlanta Falcons jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead before allowing 21 points in the final quarter to go down one. Matt Ryan, though, lived up to his nickname “Matty Ice” as he easily got the Falcons into field goal range despite having just 25 seconds to work with. Matt Bryant handled it from there, hitting the game-winning 49-yarder.
9. Packers over Eagles, 21-16 in Philadelphia – NFC Wild Card Playoff (2010)
Michael Vick took the league by storm in 2010, throwing for 21 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 starts, leading the Eagles to the playoffs. However, they ran into the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the first round, and Vick couldn’t get it done late in the fourth quarter with a chance to win. Tramon Williams made the game-winning interception with the Eagles at the Green Bay 27-yard line, and Aaron Rodgers went on to win his only Super Bowl to date.
8. Colts over Chiefs, 45-44 in Indianapolis – AFC Wild Card Playoff (2013)
Down 31-10 at the half, it looked like Andrew Luck was looking at his second first round playoff exit in as many years in the league. Then, Kansas City scored again to open the second half, putting the Colts down 38-10 and ending any chance of a comeback… or so we thought. The Colts went on a 35-6 run to end the game and win by one. Things might have been different if Jamaal Charles wasn’t knocked out with a concussion, but it made for an unbelievable game.
7. Broncos over Patriots, 20-18 in Denver – AFC Championship (2015)
The final meeting between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning was an instant classic. Brady was beat up all day behind a weak offensive line, as he was hit the most times in any NFL game all year. Still, it didn’t prevent him from orchestrating a clutch touchdown drive, including two fourth down conversions, to bring the Patriots within two before they missed the two-point conversion. Peyton Manning would go on to end his illustrious career with a storybook ending, winning Super Bowl 50.
6. Cardinals over Packers, 26-20 (OT) in Arizona – NFC Divisional Playoff (2015)
Another game from last season, this was the second overtime thriller between these two teams (more on that later). The Packers looked done when they were down seven with the ball on their own four-yard line in a 4th and 20, but Aaron Rodgers made magic happen with a bomb to Jeff Janis for 60 yards. Then, with just four seconds left, magic struck again when Rodgers completed a Hail Mary again to Janis—who somehow had 101 yards on the drive—to send it to overtime. From there, Larry Fitzgerald took over for Arizona with a 75-yard catch-and-run before scoring the game-winning five-yard score.
5. Seahawks over Saints, 41-36 in Seattle – NFC Wild Card Playoff (2010)
This is all that needs to be said:
4. Cardinals over Packers, 51-45 (OT) in Arizona – NFC Wild Card Playoff (2009)
The second Cardinals over Packers overtime game on the list, Kurt Warner was quarterbacking for Arizona and took them all the way to the Super Bowl in his final season. Warner was an insane 29/33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns, while Aaron Rodgers wasn’t too far behind, going 28/42 for 423 yards and four touchdowns. The game might be even higher on the list if not for it’s anti-climatic ending; after combining for a billion yards and a thousand points, the Cardinals defense recovered a fumble for a touchdown on the first overtime possession.
3. Ravens over Broncos, 38-35 (OT) in Denver – AFC Divisional Playoff (2012)
Ray Lewis winning the Super Bowl in his final season would not have happened without the miracle Joe Flacco touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones in the Divisional Round game between Baltimore and Denver. The Broncos defense somehow let the speedster behind the defense with less than a minute to go, which sent the game in overtime. Justin Tucker won it for Baltimore after a Peyton Manning interception set the Ravens up for a game-winning field goal. Many have called it the “Mile High Miracle,” but #2 on our list gets that distinction.
2. Broncos over Steelers, 29-23 (OT) in Denver – AFC Wild Card Playoff (2011)
The true “Mile High Miracle” was accomplished by none other than Tim Tebow. No one gave the 8-8 Tebow-led Broncos a shot to win a playoff game, just like they weren’t given a shot to make the playoffs. The high-powered Steelers were outdueled by Tebow, who threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another. Tied at 23 at the end of regulation, Demaryius Thomas housed an 80-yard pass from his quarterback to beat the Steelers, and Tebow finished with 316 passing yards. Peyton Manning was signed by the Broncos that offseason, but it would have been nice to see what Tebow could have done with Denver’s roster.
1. 49ers over Saints, 36-32 in San Francisco – NFC Divisional Playoff (2011)
Fast-forward to 1:05 in this clip (or watch the whole thing) and enjoy.
Oh, how the Niners have fallen.