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The NFL is the most popular sport in America, and nothing is more exciting than a comeback victory. Over the years, NFL fans have witnessed countless come from behind victories during both the regular and postseasons.
Comeback victories also measure some of the greatest players in the game, especially at the quarterback position. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and John Elway have all established themselves as legends with several come from behind moments.
Let’s go through the biggest NFL comebacks in the game’s history. Don’t forget to check out the RYP NFL pools offered, such as pick’ems and survival leagues! Run your own league and play against friends instead of a book, or join a public contest for free!
Top Comebacks In NFL History
1957: San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions
In 1957, the 49ers were leading the Lions 24-7 at halftime of a playoff game. The game was considered over so much that tickets began to print for the San Francisco vs. Cleveland NFL Championship game.
After taking a 27-7 lead, the Lions scored back-to-back touchdowns on runs from Tom Tracy – one of which was 58 yards. The Lions’ defense went on to force four turnovers in the fourth quarter, adding 10 more points to win 31-27.
1985: Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Philly led the Dec. 1st game 23-0 entering the fourth quarter, and lost. The Vikings scored four fourth quarter touchdowns, three of which came on the arm of Wade Wilson. Anthony Carter caught the final two touchdowns to give Minnesota the eventual win.
Wilson was a backup quarterback. His final quarter statline was 7-of-13 for 143 yards and three touchdowns. The final touchdown came with 1:11 remaining.
1993: Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Oilers
This game might be the greatest comeback in NFL history, even nicknamed ‘The Comeback’. The Oilers led a 1993 playoff game with the score 28-3 at halftime after Warren Moon threw four touchdown passes. Houston added another touchdown with a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown, now leading 35-3.
The Bills would come from behind to actually take a 38-35 lead with three minutes remaining. Houston tied the game on a 26-yard field goal as the teams went into overtime. Buffalo eventually won and went on to lose their third straight Super Bowl.
2000: New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
Also known as the ‘Monday Night Miracle’, the Oct. 23, 2000 AFC East meeting between New York and Miami is one of the most well-known comebacks in NFL history. It included the Jets scoring an insane 30 total points in the fourth quarter to force overtime, and eventually win.
New York scored 23 unanswered points after Miami led 30-7. During the game, Yankees and Mets chants were heard as the game took place in between Games 2 and 3 of the Subway Series.
2003: New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers
In one of the wildest playoff games ever, the Giants blew a 38-14 lead against the 49ers to fall short of the Divisional Round against Tampa Bay. What makes this game intriguing is how it ended.
Down 39-38, the Giants sent Matt Bryant on to kick a field goal but the long snapper had been hurt since Week 16. The Giants signed a replacement and the snap was a miss, but that’s not the crazy part. Since the snap was a botch, the Giants threw the ball down field to an eligible offensive lineman that was pulled down by a defender.
The referees pulled the pass interference flag because they deemed the Giants lineman ineligible, even though he was. The game ended and the Giants appealed, which the league recognized as a mistake despite the 49ers advancing in the playoffs instead.
2007: New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts
On Jan. 21, 2007, Tom Brady and the Patriots went to the RCA Dome to take on Peyton Manning and the Colts in the AFC Championship. Manning was trying to get to his first Super Bowl and of course, Brady and the Pats stood in his way.
The Colts trailed 21-3 but were able to tie the game at 21-21 before New England reclaimed the lead with a Jabar Gaffney touchdown. Dominic Rhodes would fumble the ball into the endzone, but Jeff Saturday fell on it to re-tie the game, now 28-28. The Pats would take a 34-31 lead with 3:53 but the Colts scored last with 1:02 remaining and winning 38-34.
2010: Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
This game is also known as ‘Miracle at the New Meadowlands’ and DeSean Jackson is mostly known in this game. It was his punt return for a touchdown that sealed a Dec. 19 victory over rival New York Giants and knocked them out of the playoffs.
The Eagles scored 28 total points in the fourth quarter to beat New York 38-31, capped with a punt return touchdown from Jackson. What’s even crazier is that Jackson initially fumbled the punt before picking it up and taking it back. The game is also known as ‘The Punt’ for that reason.
2017: Super Bowl LI – New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have seen their fair share of blown leads, known more heartbreaking than Super Bowl LI. Atlanta led Tom Brady and the Patriots 28-3 before New England mounted its comeback.
Entering the fourth quarter, New England trailed 28-9 only to score 19 unanswered points and force overtime. There, the Patriots won on a James White touchdown run marking the first Super Bowl to go to overtime along with the largest comeback win. Both very fitting for both franchises.
2022: Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts
The very recent Vikings vs. Colts game saw a 33-point comeback win, the largest in NFL history. The Colts led 33-0 in a Dec. 17 game in Minnesota, only to lose 39-36 in overtime. The Vikings scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, along with 39 total in the second half.