10 Essential Classic NFL Games for the NFL's YouTube Channel
With the progress of technology, following sports and having informed opinions (well, hopefully informed) on generational types of arguments should become easier and easier. It's scary to think how hot my takes would have been as a youngster back in the early '80s if I had had video of old games from before my birth right at my fingertips. We are talking WHITE-HOT TAKES!
This generation of sports-viewing children will have that advantage — the advantage of archived footage that they can watch in their hands at any time. The NFL knows this and has been out in front in terms of giving the people, old and young, what they want.
To that end, it was announced late last week that the league had extended its agreement with YouTube for multiple years beginning with the 2016 season. On top of that, in a genius bit of inclusionary marketing, the NFL will be posting three seminal games from each of the 32 franchises' respective histories prior to the start of the season. Courtesy of the L.A. Times:
The NFL will post three of the most memorable games for each of the 32 franchises to its official YouTube channel prior to the start of the 2016-17 season. Additionally, the NFL will also up the number of in-game highlight clips it uploads to Google-owned YouTube.
The deal underscores YouTube's interest in sports. It follows last week's NBA deal, in which the basketball league will make all of its content on YouTube available to ad buyers under the Google Preferred program.
I know it's not Christmas, but this is really like Christmas for football fans. Nearly 100 classic NFL games for free! So let's make our list, shall we? Here are the ten non-Super Bowl games that I pray find their way onto the NFL's YouTube channel...
10. December 22, 2003 — Green Bay 41, Oakland 7
This was the Monday night game right after Brett Favre found out that his father had passed away. Against the urging of some who thought he should take the night off, Favre sought refuge on the football field and threw the closest thing to a perfect game that we've seen in an NFL regular season game — 22 of 30, 399 yards, four touchdowns and no picks.
9. December 28, 1975 — Dallas 17, Minnesota 14
The game that saw the invention of the term "Hail Mary" in football terms, as Roger Staubach found Drew Pearson for a 50-yard prayer to win a playoff game in December in Minnesota.
8a. January 11, 1987 — Denver 23, Cleveland 20 (OT)
This one is really two parts. You can't talk about The Drive in 1986 (technically on the calendar in 1987) without talking about The Fumble in 1987 (again, technically in 1988). These were the games that punched John Elway's first two Super Bowl tickets, the first on a 98-yard touchdown drive to force overtime and the second on the good fortune of Earnest Byner's butterfingers. It's crazy to remember how close Bernie Kosar was to being mentioned in the same breath as quarterbacks who made Super Bowls back in those days.
8b. January 17, 1988 — Denver 38, Cleveland 33
7. January 3, 1993 — Buffalo 41, Houston 38 (OT)
Warren Moon never got as close as Kosar did to a Super Bowl, and individually he had a better and longer career, but his heartbreak was similar on this fateful afternoon.
6. January 10, 1982 — San Francisco 28, Dallas 27
The game that started the Joe Montana era. The Catch.
5. December 23, 1972 — Pittsburgh 13, Oakland 7
The game that started the Steelers' "Team of the '70s" era, and saw maybe the most famous single play in the history of the NFL.
4. December 31, 1967 — Green Bay 21, Dallas 17
The Bart Starr/Vince Lombardi-era Packers were getting long in the tooth, and the road to what would ultimately be their final championship went through the Ice Bowl, which the Packers won on Starr's one yard sneak with seconds to go.
3. December 28, 1958 — Baltimore 23, New York Giants 17
The so-called "Greatest Game Ever Played" — I mostly want this one on the NFL's YouTube channel because I've never seen this game before, and I feel like I need to brush up on my history.
2. January 19, 2002 — New England 16, Oakland 13
The game that launched the Tom Brady era and eventually led to the first of Brady's six Super Bowl berths and four Super Bowl titles.
1. January 2, 1982 — San Diego 41, Miami 38 (OT)
A totally subjective, personal choice for the number one game. Neither of these teams went on to win a Super Bowl. I just remember watching this game at age 12 and thinking for the first time in my life, "I might be watching one of the greatest games ever," so admittedly maybe this is me, 35 years later, trying to make my 12-year-old self look retroactively smart. This game is best known for a) Don Strock's replacing David Woodley for Miami and throwing for 403 yards, b) Miami's completing a successful hook and lateral play on the last play of the half, and c) Kellen Winslow's having the greatest single game a tight end has ever had, with 13 catches and a blocked field goal to save the game. Just an amazing afternoon of football.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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