Last weekend's wild-card games were decidedly unwild: Only one of the four games was decided by fewer than 10 points. And certainly none stacks up with these eight, the best conference playoff games in NFL history.
1 Chargers 41, Dolphins 38
AFC DivisionalPlayoff, Jan. 2, 1982
At the conclusion of the Epic in Miami, which the Chargers won in overtime after blowing a 24--0 first-quarter lead, San Diego tight end Kellen Winslow (right), who caught 13 passes and blocked a potential game-winning field goal, said, "I've never felt so close to death before. That's what Muhammad Ali said in Manila, and that's how I felt out there at the end."
2 49ers 28, Cowboys 27
NFC Championship,Jan. 10, 1982
San Francisco booked its first Super Bowl trip with the Catch, Dwight Clark's leaping grab of a Joe Montana pass with 51 seconds left.
3 Broncos 23, Browns 20
AFC Championship,Jan. 11, 1987
John Elway led Denver on the Drive, a 15-play, 98-yard TD trek that sent the game to OT, where the Broncos won.
4 Steelers 13, Raiders 7
AFC DivisionalPlayoff, Dec. 23, 1972
Trailing 7--6 with 22 seconds left, Pittsburgh's Franco Harris snagged a deflected pass and galloped into the end zone for a 60-yard TD on what became known as the Immaculate Reception.
5 Titans 22, Bills 16
AFC Wild Card,Jan. 8, 2000
Down a point with 16 seconds left, Tennessee won on the Music City Miracle—Frank Wycheck's lateral to Kevin Dyson, who sprinted down the sideline for a 75-yard kick return touchdown.
6 Raiders 28, Dolphins 26
AFC DivisionalPlayoff, Dec. 21, 1974
Oakland QB Ken Stabler lofted a desperation pass into the end zone, where running back Clarence Davis, draped by three Dolphins defenders, pulled it in amongst a Sea of Hands, as the play is known.
7 49ers 39, Giants 38
NFC DivisionalPlayoff, Jan. 5, 2003
San Francisco rallied from a 24-point deficit, but its win was secured only when New York botched the snap on a field goal as time expired.
8 Bills 41, Oilers 38
AFC Wild Card,Jan. 3, 1993
Buffalo fell behind 35--3, leading to a mass fan exodus, but backup QB Frank Reich spurred a comeback that inspired the Bills to waive their no-reentry policy, allowing fans to return to see the conclusion of the largest comeback in NFL history.
The longest NFL postseason game (82 minutes, 40 seconds) took place on Dec. 25, 1971, when the Dolphins beat the Chiefs 27--24 despite 350 all-purpose yards by Kansas City's Ed Podolak (left).
The NFL's Greatest Conference Playoff Games
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PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SI IMAGING: HEINZ KLUETMEIER (WINSLOW)