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The greatest NFL playoff games ever

You never know what's going to happen on any given Sunday (or Saturday) in the NFL playoffs. Over the years, we've been treated to an array of amazing games, whether we're talking historic comebacks, unbelievable upsets or simply hard-fought games that came down tot he wire.

Here are the craziest, most memorable and unbelievable postseason contests in NFL history.

 
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Super Bowl LI: Patriots 34, Falcons 28

Super Bowl LI: Patriots 34, Falcons 28
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This one will hurt Falcons fans for a long time. Behind the arm of NFL MVP Matt Ryan and the high-powered Atlanta offense, the Falcons jumped all over the Patriots to take a 28-3 in the third quarter. Then the wheels fell off. Despite having one of the best running games in football and two stud backs, Atlanta kept on trying to throw the ball in the second half to run up the score, but to no avail. Led by Tom Brady and James White, the Patriots scored 25 unanswered points to send the game to overtime — a Super Bowl first. Riding all that momentum, White capped off the comeback with a 2-yard TD run to win the first Super Bowl ever decided in overtime, thanks to an epic collapse by the Falcons.

 
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2017 Divisonal Round: Packers 34, Cowboys 31

2017 Divisonal Round: Packers 34, Cowboys 31
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Aaron Rodgers and the Packers came out on fire, jumping out to a quick 21-3 lead. Then, just when it looked like all hope was lost for Dallas, the Cowboys came storming back thanks to three touchdown passes from Dak Prescott. Two of those went to Dez Bryant, including the game-tying score with just over four minutes remaining. The Packers kicked a field goal to retake the lead on a clutch 56-yarder from Mason Crosby with 1:33 left in the game, only to see Prescott again lead a tying drive as Dan Bailey matched Crosby's clutch kick with a 52-yarder of his own to once again knot it up with 35 second remaining. If you thought that wasn't enough time for Rodgers to work his magic, you thought wrong. He drove Green Bay into field goal range in five plays, and Crosby walked it off with a game-winning 52-yarder in improbable fashion.

 
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2016 Divisional Round: Cardinals 26, Packers 20

2016 Divisional Round: Cardinals 26, Packers 20
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In a back-and-forth contest, the Packers found themselves down by seven with less than two minutes to go, only to have Aaron Rodgers complete not just one, but two Hail Mary passes to Jeff Janis of all people. The second, a 41-yard heave as time expired in regulation, followed by Mason Crosby’s extra point, sent the game to overtime. Unfortunately for Green Bay, Larry Fitzgerald hauled in a pass from Carson Palmer to make the miraculous regulation finish a moot point, sending Arizona to the NFC Championship Game.

 
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2016 Wild Card: Steelers 18, Bengals 16

2016 Wild Card: Steelers 18, Bengals 16
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This game was unconventional from the start, with backup A.J. McCarron starting in place on an injured Andy Dalton for Cincy, while Ben Roethlisberger was in and out of the lineup throughout the game. After falling behind 15-0, the Bengals scored 16 unanswered points to take a 16-15 lead in the fourth quarter. With Landry Jones on in relief for Roethlisberger, the Bengals pounced and looked to seal the game with a Vontaze Burfict interception of Landry with less than two minutes ago. However, that wasn’t case. On the ensuing play, Jeremy Hill fumbled, the Steelers recovered and Roethlisberger re-entered the game. Then the Bengals completely unraveled thanks to back-to-back horrendously timed personal fouls by Burfict and Adam Jones, which aided the Steelers to their game-winning field goal with 18 seconds left.

 
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Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24

Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
Focus On Sport/Getty Images

"Just run the ball!" That's what every Seattle fan was screaming at the television when Russell Wilson did the opposite. With the Seahawks on the doorstep of winning their second straight Super Bowl, instead of handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch, a nearly impossible back to take down at the goal line, Seattle called a pass that New England corner Malcolm Butler sniffed out and picked off, building on the New England dynasty while leaving everyone, including Lynch, scratching his or her head.

 
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2015 NFC Championship Game: Seahawks 28, Packers 22

2015 NFC Championship Game: Seahawks 28, Packers 22
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the score 19-7, the Seahawks were seemingly left for dead. Then Russell Wilson ran one in to make it 19-14. Seattle recovered the onside kick after it bounced off Packers tight end Brandon Bostick. Marshawn Lynch went into Beast Mode and put the Seahawks up one with a 24-yard TD, followed by a miracle cross-field pass from Russell Wilson to Luke Willson for the two-point conversion. The Seahawks left too much time on the clock, however, and a hobbling Aaron Rodgers led the Packers far enough downfield to let Mason Crosby send the game into OT with a 48-yard field goal. But the Seattle QB exorcised all his demons from the day in OT, hitting Doug Baldwin for 35 yards on third-and-seven, then finding Jermaine Kearse on the very next play for a 35-yard touchdown that sent Pete Carroll's squad to its second straight Super Bowl.

 
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2012 Wild Card: Broncos 29, Steelers 23

2012 Wild Card: Broncos 29, Steelers 23
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Tim Tebow capped off a miracle season in Denver by throwing for 316 yards (seriously) against the vaunted Steelers defense, 80 of which came on a strike over the middle to Demaryius Thomas on the first play in overtime for a touchdown that sent the Broncos on to the divisional round, where they got clobbered by Tom Brady and the Patriots. 

 
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2011 Wild Card: Seahawks 41, Saints 36

2011 Wild Card: Seahawks 41, Saints 36
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The Seahawks finished the regular season a paltry 7-9, but that was all forgotten in the postseason. Marshawn Lynch barreled over nearly every Saints defender on his way to a 67-yard game-clinching touchdown that had the Seattle faithful cheering hard enough that it registered on local seismographs. Hence, the "Beast Quake" game. 

 
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2010 NFC Championship: Saints 31, Vikings 28

2010 NFC Championship: Saints 31, Vikings 28
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Brett Favre's final playoff game in his career did not turn out as he hoped. Miracle plays, questionable choices and a heartbreaking interception in overtime helped send the Saints to their first Super Bowl. 

 
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2010 Wild Card: Cardinals 51, Packers 45

2010 Wild Card: Cardinals 51, Packers 45
Gene Lower/Getty Images

In a game that featured 96 points, 13 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards of total offense, it was Karlos Dansby's fumble return in overtime that gave the Cardinals the victory and sent them on to the next round. 

 
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Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23

Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
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In what arguably may be the greatest Super Bowl of all time, Ben Roethlisberger made the best throw of his career, hitting eventual SB MVP Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone with 35 seconds left to give Pittsburgh its record sixth Super Bowl victory. 

 
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Super Bowl XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14

Super Bowl XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14
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This is the game in which David Tyree made "The Helmet Catch" to keep the then juggernaut New England Patriots from becoming the first NFL team in history to go 19-0. 

 
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Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots 32, Panthers 29

Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots 32, Panthers 29
Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

The two teams combined for 37 points in the fourth quarter, and Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri hit a 41-yard field goal with four seconds left to give the Patriots their second Super Bowl in three years. The game itself, however, was overshadowed by Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at halftime. 

 
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2004 NFC Divisional Round: Eagles 20, Packers 17

2004 NFC Divisional Round: Eagles 20, Packers 17
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Donovan McNabb pulled off a miracle throw to the always outspoken Freddie Mitchell with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter, leading Packers fans to cringe forever when they hear the phrase "4th-and-26."

 
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2004 NFC Wild Card: Packers 33, Seahawks 27

2004 NFC Wild Card: Packers 33, Seahawks 27
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Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck learned a lesson in humility the hard way, as he infamously declared, "We want the ball, and we're gonna score!" after his team won the coin toss in overtime. On the team's second possession, he threw a game-ending pick-six to Al Harris and earned himself a place in the Foot-in-Mouth Hall of Fame. 

 
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2003 NFC Wild Card: 49ers 39, Giants 38

2003 NFC Wild Card: 49ers 39, Giants 38
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Dubbed as the "One Wild Finish" game, the Niners completed a monumental comeback with 25 unanswered points in the second half, but the ending of the game would be forever marred when the NFL admitted afterward that the referees blew a pass interference call on a botched kick that would have given the Giants another shot at a game-winning field goal. 

 
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2001 AFC Divisional Round: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

2001 AFC Divisional Round: Patriots 16, Raiders 13
Matt Campbell/Getty Images

The game that put the phrase "Tuck Rule" into the sports lexicon and also help kick-start the Brady/Belichick dynasty in New England lives in infamy for Raiders nation.

 
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Super Bowl XXXIV: Rams 23, Titans 16

Super Bowl XXXIV: Rams 23, Titans 16
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The game that gave us what might possibly be the most iconic image in Super Bowl history, Kevin Dyson came up a yard short of what would have been a game-winning touchdown for the Titans. 

 
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2000 AFC Wild Card: Titans 22, Bills 16

2000 AFC Wild Card: Titans 22, Bills 16
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In what would become the standard-bearer for amazing finishes, the Titans pulled off a trick play for the ages with 16 seconds to go, with Frank Wycheck throwing the ball across the field to Kevin Dyson on a kickoff in what ended up being known as "The Music City Miracle."

 
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1999 NFC Wild Card: 49ers 30, Packers 27

1999 NFC Wild Card: 49ers 30, Packers 27
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The game that made Terrell Owens a household name, the young Niners receiver hauled in a 25-yard touchdown before getting sandwiched by two Packers defenders in what was later dubbed "The Catch II."

 
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1993 Wild Card: Bills 41, Oilers 38

1993 Wild Card: Bills 41, Oilers 38
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Simply known as "The Comeback" game, Bills backup QB Frank Reich helped his team overcome a 35-3 deficit in what is still the largest comeback in NFL history. 

 
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Super Bowl XXV: Giants 20, Bills 19

Super Bowl XXV: Giants 20, Bills 19
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The "wide right" Super Bowl gave the Giants their second Super Bowl victory in franchise history and Scott Norwood a place in Buffalo sports infamy. 

 
23 of 32

1988 AFC Championship: Broncos 38, Browns 33

1988 AFC Championship: Broncos 38, Browns 33
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It was the second year in a row that John Elway and the Broncos ended the Browns' season in the AFC Championship Game, but instead of "The Drive," this game became known for "The Fumble" after Earnest Byner coughed up the ball on the 2-yard line on a play that Browns fans try not to think about all that often. 

 
24 of 32

1987 AFC Championship: Broncos 23, Browns 20

1987 AFC Championship: Broncos 23, Browns 20
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

This is the game that made John Elway a legend. Down seven and at his own 2-yard line with 5:32 left to go in the fourth quarter, the Broncos QB took his team 98 yards to score the game-tying touchdown known as "The Drive." The Broncos went on to win 23-20 in overtime. 

 
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1982 NFC Championship: 49ers 28, Cowboys 27

1982 NFC Championship: 49ers 28, Cowboys 27
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In what is perhaps the most iconic play in NFL history, Joe Montana connected with Dwight Clark with 51 seconds left in the game for what would later be simply called "The Catch." The Niners went on to win their first Super Bowl and kick off a dynasty that would last throughout the decade. 

 
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1982 Divisional Round: Chargers 41, Dolphins 38

1982 Divisional Round: Chargers 41, Dolphins 38
Mitchell Reibel /Getty Images

Known as "The Epic in Miami" and the "Game No One Should Have Lost," this slugfest saw each team put up record amounts of offense with the Chargers coming out on top late in overtime. Losing coach Don Shula called the game "maybe the greatest ever."

 
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1974 AFC Divisional Round: Raiders 28, Dolphins 26

1974 AFC Divisional Round: Raiders 28, Dolphins 26
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

Known as the "Sea of Hands" game, Raiders running back Clarence Davis somehow hauled in a catch in between three Miami defenders to give Oakland a last-second win over Don Shula's Dolphins. 

 
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1972 AFC Divisional Round: Steelers 13, Raiders 7

1972 AFC Divisional Round: Steelers 13, Raiders 7
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Franco Harris and the Steelers defeated the Raiders with help from "The Immaculate Reception," one of the most well-known and also most controversial plays in NFL history. 

 
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1971 AFC Divisional Round: Dolphins 27, Chiefs 24

1971 AFC Divisional Round: Dolphins 27, Chiefs 24
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Miami was able to defeat Kansas City in what is still the longest game in NFL history after Garo Yepremian was able to knock down a 37-yard field goal halfway through the second overtime period. 

 
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Super Bowl III: Jets 16, Colts 7

Super Bowl III: Jets 16, Colts 7
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The first game to actually be referred as the Super Bowl, "Broadway" Joe Namath led his New York Jets against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, famously guaranteeing that his team would win. The Jets did, making Namath a New York legend in the process. 

 
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1967 NFL Championship: Packers 21, Cowboys 17

1967 NFL Championship: Packers 21, Cowboys 17
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One of the most famous (and coldest) games in NFL history saw Bart Starr lead his team to victory over the Dallas Cowboys with a gutsy keeper call on the literally frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The Packers would go on to defeat the Raiders in the second Super Bowl, then know as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. 

 
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1958 NFL Championship: Colts 23, Giants 17

1958 NFL Championship: Colts 23, Giants 17
Robert Riger/Getty Images

No better place to kick off this slideshow than with "The Greatest Game Ever Played," a game that featured 17 Hall of Famers that's also credited with helping football become the American monolith that it is today. Oh, and the game itself wasn't half bad either, with Johnny Unitas leading his Colts to victory over the Giants in overtime. 

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