The 25 Best NFL Games of All Time

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There have been some amazing football games this year, but have any of them been amongst the best NFL games of all time?

When dissecting the history that is the NFL, there is a lot of ground to cover. Over the course of over a century, the NFL has given us some of the most memorable moments in all of sports. Whether it's the Super Bowl or week 1, you never know when an iconic game might be happening on an NFL field.

Related: The Most Valuable NFL Teams

What makes the format of football so interesting is the ability for game-winning drives. In a sport like soccer you have no breaks and have to create your chances continuously. In football, if your defense can get a stop, your offense has a chance to win the game.

From wildly entertaining high scoring games, the immaculate reception and more recently, the helmet catch by David Tyree, here are the 25 best NFL games of all time in no order.

25. Super Bowl XXIII - San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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  • Date: 1/22/89
  • Final Score: San Francisco 49ers 20 - Cincinnati Bengals 16
  • Location: Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami

With 3:10 remaining in the fourth quarter and the 49ers trailing 16-13, Joe Montana orchestrated a 92-yard drive that is widely considered one of the greatest in NFL history. The drive culminated in a 10-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds left in the game. Super Bowl XXIII is remembered for the dramatic finish, cementing Joe Montana's legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and contributing to the 49ers' dynasty during the 1980s.

24. Super Bowl XIII - Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys

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  • Date: 1/21/79
  • Final ScorePittsburgh Steelers 35 - Dallas Cowboys 31
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami

Super Bowl XIII is often remembered as a clash between two of the NFL's dynasties. The Steelers and the Cowboys had each won two Super Bowls in the 1970s leading up to this matchup. The victory in Super Bowl XIII gave the Steelers their third championship in five years. Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw had an impressive game, throwing for 318 yards and four touchdowns. He connected with four different receivers for touchdowns, showcasing the Steelers' offensive prowess.

23. The Tuck Rule - New England Patriots vs. Oakland Raiders

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  • Date: 1/19/02
  • Final ScoreNew England Patriots 16 - Oakland Raiders 13
  • Location: Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough

The 2001 AFC Divisional Championship game, also known as the "Tuck Rule Game," took place on January 19, 2002, between the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots. The most controversial and memorable moment of the game occurred in the fourth quarter when the Patriots were trailing the Raiders 13-10.

With just under two minutes remaining, Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady dropped back to pass and was hit by cornerback Charles Woodson. The ball came loose, and the Raiders recovered what appeared to be a game-sealing fumble. However, the officials reviewed the play and determined that Brady's arm was moving forward when he was hit, invoking the "tuck rule." According to this rule, if a quarterback's arm is moving forward when he loses possession of the ball, it is considered an incomplete pass rather than a fumble. As a result, the Patriots retained possession of the ball. Taking advantage of this ruling, the Patriots drove down the field and tied the game with a 45-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri. In overtime, the Patriots won the game with another field goal, 16-13.

22. Philly Special - Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots

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  • Date: 2/4/18
  • Final ScorePhiladelphia Eagles 41 - New England Patriots 33
  • Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

The Philadelphia Eagles emerged victorious in a high-scoring and closely contested Super Bowl, defeating the New England Patriots with a final score of 41-33. The Eagles' quarterback, Nick Foles, played a crucial role in their victory and was named the Super Bowl MVP. Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, including catching a touchdown pass in a trick play known as the "Philly Special."

21. The Drive - Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos

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  • Date: 1/11/87
  • Final ScoreDenver Broncos 23 - Cleveland Browns 20
  • Location: Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland

The Broncos, led by quarterback John Elway, found themselves trailing 20-13 with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Starting from their own 2-yard line, Elway orchestrated a 15-play, 98-yard drive that culminated in a game-tying touchdown pass to wide receiver Mark Jackson with 37 seconds left in regulation. The Broncos eventually won the game in overtime, thanks to a Rich Karlis field goal, with a final score of 23-20.

20. Super Bowl III - New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts

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  • Date: 1/12/69
  • Final ScoreNew York Jets 16 - Baltimore Colts 7
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami

Super Bowl III marked the first official year the NFL championship game would be trademarked as the "Super Bowl". The Jets entered the game 19.5 point underdogs. Joe Namath guaranteed victory three days before the big game and delivered. The Jets entered the fourth quarter with a 16-0 lead and never looked back, eventually winning 16-7 in one of the most shocking upsets in the history of professional sports. This game is credited with being responsible for the merger of the AFL and NFL, creating the landscape of the modern NFL. For that reason, it can't be left off of my list of best NFL games.

19. 1971 AFC Divisional Round - Kansas City Chiefs vs. Miami Dolphins

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  • Date: 12/25/71
  • Final Score: Miami Dolphins 27 - Kansas City Chiefs 24
  • Location: Kansas City Municipal Stadium, Kansas City

The 1971 AFC Divisional matchup between the Chiefs and Dolphins gave us the longest game in NFL history. The game was a total of 82 minutes and 40 seconds, and included two overtime periods. Garo Yepremian hit a 37 yard field-goal in the second overtime to give the Dolphins the victory.

18.) Super Bowl XXV - New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills

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  • Date: 1/27/91
  • Final Score: New York Giants 20 - Buffalo Bills 19
  • Location: Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay

Super Bowl XXV was the first of four consecutive Super Bowl losses for the Buffalo Bills, with this being their closest. Buffalo had a chance to win the game with a 47 yard field goal, but Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed the kick wide right.

17. 1958 NFL Championship - Baltimore Colts vs. New York Giants

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  • Date: 12/28/58
  • Final Score: Baltimore Colts 23 - New York Giants 17
  • Location: Yankee Stadium, New York

The 1958 NFL Championship is viewed by many as the most important game in NFL history. This was one of the first games televised by the NFL, leading to a great surge in popularity. Colts receiver Raymond Berry would bring in 12 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown, a record that wouldn't be broken for over 50 years.

16. Super Bowl XLIII - Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals

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  • Date: 2/1/09
  • Final Score: Pittsburgh Steelers 27 - Arizona Cardinals 23
  • Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay

There are so many iconic plays from this game it's hard to choose one. From James Harrison's 100 yard pick-six to Larry Fitzgeralds 64-yard touchdown reception, this game was action-packed. No play is as remembered as the toe-tapping touchdown by Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes to give the Steelers the lead with just seconds remaining.

15. 1982 AFC Divisional Round - San Diego Chargers vs. Miami Dolphins

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  • Date: 1/2/82
  • Final Score: San Diego Chargers 41 - Miami Dolphins 38
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami

The 1982 AFC Divisional Playoff meeting between the Chargers and Dolphins is one of the most remembered playoff games of all-time. Kellen Winslow dealt with numerous injuries throughout the game and still put up an outstanding 166 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Chargers hit a game-winning field goal in overtime from 29 yards out to walk off with the win.

14. Week 8: 2015 - New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants

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  • Date: 11/1/15
  • Final Score: New Orleans Saints 52 - New York Giants 49 
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

In the fourth highest scoring game of all-time, the New Orleans Saints took down the New York Giants 52-49. Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw for 6 touchdowns, but that wouldn't match the 7 touchdowns and 505 passing yards that Drew Brees put up.

13. Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks

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  • Date: 2/1/15
  • Final Score: New England Patriots 28 - Seattle Seahawks 24
  • Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix

It looked as though the Patriots dynasty was coming to an end, as the Seahawks sat at the 1-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the game poised to take the lead. However, instead of giving the ball to star running back Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks shockingly threw the ball and it was intercepted by the Pats' Malcolm Butler, sealing the win.

12.) Miami Miracle - Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots

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  • Date: 12/9/18
  • Final Score: Miami Dolphins 34 - New England Patriots 33
  • Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami

During Tom Brady's entire stint in New England, they owned the Dolphins. However, on this particular Sunday, the Dolphins stole a miraculous victory. Trailing 33-28 with the ball on their own 31 yard line, Kenyan Drake took the ball in for a game-winning touchdown after multiple laterals, sending the Hard Rock Stadium crowd in to a frenzy.

11. Music City Miracle - Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills

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  • Date: 1/8/00
  • Final Score: Tennessee Titans 22 - Buffalo Bills 16
  • Location: Adelphia Coliseum, Nashville

The Music City Miracle gave us one of the greatest and most shocking ends to an NFL game. The Bills hit a field goal with 16 seconds remaining to take a 16-15 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, the Titans lateraled the ball several times before taking it 85 yards for a touchdown, winning the game.

10.) 1993 AFC Wild Card Game: Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Oilers

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  • Date: 1/3/93
  • Final Score: Buffalo Bills 41 - Houston Oilers 38
  • Location: Rich Stadium, Buffalo

Since we're on the topic of comebacks, you can't leave out the 1993 Bills. Trailing the Oilers 35-3 at the start of the second half, the Bills took over the momentum. They would engineer the greatest postseason comeback of all-time, winning the game 41-38, eventually advancing to the Super Bowl. If you come back from being down 32 points in the playoffs, there's no chance we're leaving you off our list of best NFL games.

9. Week 15, 2022: Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts

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  • Date: 12/17/22
  • Final Score: Minnesota Vikings 39 - Indianapolis Colts 36
  • Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

In week 15 of the 2022 season, the Vikings pulled off the biggest statistical comeback in NFL history. With 8 minutes remaining in the game the Vikings trailed 33-0 and had just a .6% chance to win the game. After a miraculous comeback the Vikings took home the win 39-36.

8. Super Bowl XXXIV - Tennessee Titans vs. St. Louis Rams

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  • Date: 1/30/00
  • Final Score: St.Louis Rams 23 - Tennessee Titans 16
  • Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta

There are only 12 teams in NFL history to have never won a Super Bowl, and the Tennessee Titans are one of those teams. They came excruciatingly close to winning in 2000. Down by a score, the Titans went on late-game drive. Kevin Dyson was sprinting to the endzone and was just inches from reaching the goal-line before Mike Jones made the stop, giving the Rams the Super Bowl victory. The most exciting ending in Super Bowl history definitely earned a place on our list of best NFL games.

7. Super Bowl XLII - New York Giants vs. New England Patriots

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  • Date: 2/3/08
  • Final Score: New York Giants 17 - New England Patriots 14
  • Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix

There is only one thing in this world that can stop Tom Brady; Eli Manning and the New York Giants. The Patriots were undefeated entering the Super Bowl, touting a perfect 18-0 record. After one of the greatest catches in NFL history by David Tyree, the Patriots fell to 18-1 and the Giants were Super Bowl champs.

6. Immaculate reception - Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders

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  • Date: 12/23/72
  • Final Score: Pittsburgh Steelers 13 - Oakland Raiders 7
  • Location: Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh

We recently eclipsed the 50th anniversary of the iconic Immaculate Reception, just days after one of the centerpieces of the play, Franco Harris, passed away. During the 1972 AFC Divisional playoffs the Steelers trailed 7-6 with 22 seconds remaining. Terry Bradshaw threw a deep pass intended for John Fuqua, but the ball would be tipped off Raiders safety Jack Tatum's helmet. Franco Harris caught the ball right before it hit the ground and took it to the end zone, winning the game for the Steelers 13-7.

5. Ice Bowl - Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys

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  • Date: 12/31/67
  • Final Score: Green Bay Packers 21 - Dallas Cowboys 17
  • Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay

There are few rivalries in football that stand up to that of the Packers and Cowboys. The most iconic matchup between these two powerhouses came at the 1967 NFL championship game. The Packers, coached by Vince Lombardi, narrowly edged out the Cowboys 21 to 17. This game is still the coldest game ever played in NFL history. Temperatures reached -15 Fahrenheit with a wind chill reaching -48 Fahrenheit.

4.) Super Bowl LI - Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots

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  • Date: 2/5/17
  • Final Score: New England Patriots 34 - Atlanta Falcons 28
  • Location: NRG Stadium, Houston

The Patriots capped off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, erasing a 28-3 Falcons lead. This was the first and only Super Bowl to go into the overtime period and cemented Tom Brady's status as the greatest quarterback of all-time, giving him his fifth of seven Super Bowl rings.

3. Week 11, 2018: Kansas Chiefs vs Los Angeles Rams

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  • Date: 11/19/18
  • Final Score: Los Angeles Rams 54 - Kansas City Chiefs 51
  • Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles

In what is remembered as one of the greatest regular season games of all-time, the Rams defeated the Chiefs by a narrow 3-point margin. Both teams were 9-1 entering this game and there were numerous lead changes in the fourth quarter. This remains the third highest scoring game in NFL history.

2. 1981 NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers vs Dallas Cowboys

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  • Date: 1/10/82
  • Final Score: San Francisco 49ers 28 - Dallas Cowboys 27
  • Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco

Dubbed "The Catch", the 1982 NFC championship game is one of the most iconic games in all of sports. With a mere 58 seconds left in the game, Joe Montana connected with Dwight Clark, who was streaking in the back of the end zone and made a miraculous catch. This capped off an 83-yard game winning drive and put an end to the Cowboys dynasty.

1. 2022 AFC Divisional Round - Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills

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  • Date: 1/23/22
  • Final Score: Kansas City Chiefs 42 - Buffalo Bills 36
  • Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City

No list of best NFL games is leaving this one off! The 2022 AFC Divisional Round was so epic and so controversial that it actually caused the NFL to change a rule. After a wild comeback that saw the Chiefs tie the game with seconds remaining, they pushed the game to overtime. The Chiefs got the ball first, scored, and won the game. The NFL now allows both teams to touch the ball during the overtime period unless the first team to possess it scores a touchdown.

Did we miss one of the best NFL games on this list? Shoot us a message on Twitter @137pm and let us know!

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