Crunch time, the 2 minute drill, Mr. Clutch, sudden death, Hail Mary’s; one of the most exciting plays in football is when a team secures the win as time expires. Below, I will review some of the most memorable game-winning plays in football history. Take some notes, this can be you this season out on the Flag Football fields!
- The Immaculate Reception
Possibly the GOAT game-winning play. This took place in 1972 in a playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders. In the final seconds, down 7-6 and having gone the entire game without a TD; the Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw threw a 4th-and-10 bomb. The ball was deflected and the Steelers Fullback Franco Harris was able to grab it before it hit the ground, and ran 60 yards for the win!
- Music City Miracle
A more recent playoff buzzer beater, this took place in a 2000 game between the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills. With 16 seconds left in the game, the Bills hit a field goal and took a 16-15 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, the Titans received the ball around the 25 yard line. The Titans the proceed to: hand the ball back, throw a lateral pass across the field, and run the return into the end zone; winning the Titans the game and advancing them to the next round of playoffs.
- “The Band is on out the Field!”
Also known simply as “The Play”, this legendary football play finished a 1982 Big Game (an annual game between the Stanford Cardinal and California Golden Bears, dating back to 1892). With 8 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Stanford (including future Pro Football Hall of Famer Quarterback, John Elway) went up 20-19 with a field goal. With 4 seconds on the clock, Stanford executed a squib kick to the Cal 45 yard line. What happened next was a series of laterals and pitches, resulting in the Golden Bears unexpectedly advancing towards the end zone. At the same time, all 144 members of the Cardinal band had run out on to the field by the end zone. The Golden Bears Kevin Moen rushed through the swarm of band members, cheerleaders, spectators, and players to the end zone for the touchdown; punctuated by slamming into the band’s trombonist and giving Cal the 25-20 victory.