Other than The Immaculate Reception, what was the greatest gift in recent NFL history?
The Holy Roller – Chargers’ fans call this “The Immaculate Deception,” and you can see why. Down by six with 10 seconds left and the ball at the San Diego 14, Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler was about to be sacked before desperately hurling the ball toward the end zone. There it was pushed forward by Pete Banaszak … then Dave Casper … with Casper recovering in the end zone with no time left. Result: Raiders touchdown, Raiders win and a rules change.
The Miracle in the Meadowlands – The Giants had a defeat of Philadelphia all but clinched, running one more play with 30 seconds left, when the unthinkable happened: Quarterback Joe Pisarcik fumbled the snap, Philadelphia’s Herm Edwards recovered, took it 26 yards to the house and the Giants lost. Result: Offensive coordinator Bob Gibson was fired the next morning and hasn’t worked in the league since.
The Thanksgiving Day Classic – This one stars Dallas Cowboys’ defensive lineman Leon Lett, who snatched defeat from the clutches of victory by sliding into a last-minute botched field goal by Miami’s Pete Stoyanovich. That’s OK, but not making the recovery wasn’t. Lett’s mistake gave Stoyanovich one more shot, this one from 18 yards, and he didn’t miss. Result: A 16-14 Dallas lost and a lifetime of memories for Lett.
Music City Miracle – With Buffalo up, 16-15, in the 1999 AFC playoffs and only 16 seconds left, kicker Steve Christie’s kickoff was handled by Tennessee’s Lorenzo Neal … who lateraled to Frank Wycheck … who threw an across-the-field pass to Kevin Dyson … who — you got it — ran 75 yards for the winning touchdown. Result: Tennessee advanced, Buffalo didn’t and the Bills fired long-time special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven.
The Tuck Rule Game – What goes around came around for Oakland when an apparent Tom Brady fumble late in a 2001 playoff game was recovered by the Raiders’ Greg Biekert. Ballgame, right? Not so fast. The little known “Tuck Rule” was invoked, the Patriots kept the ball and wound up winning a game in overtime they should have lost. The Raiders charged conspiracy, the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl and the NFL amended the rule … over a decade later.