The Boston Bruins let a 3-1 third period lead slip through their fingers last night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, as the Chicago Blackhawks roared back to win 4-3 in the third overtime. In honor of this epic overtime playoff showdown, let's take a look at the greatest overtime playoff games in NFL history.
Too soon: 2012 AFC Divisional Playoff Game
In an effort to avoid the hyperbole and the instant gratification prevalent throughout the internet, let’s give this one a year before we give it a proper ranking. I have a feeling this one will crack the top six when you think about the improbable bomb from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones and the Ravens' run in the playoffs. But let’s hold back for right now.
Considered: 2011 AFC Wild Card Game
Tim Tebow is likely out of the league after a handful of seasons, but he did engineer a playoff victory for the Broncos. In fact, he has more playoff victories for the Broncos than Peyton Manning. And instead of throwing the game-crippling interception, Tebow actually threw a walk-off touchdown to Demaryius Thomas.
Considered: 2007 NFC Championship Game
This game was supposed to be the perfect sendoff for what many thought would be Brett Favre's final season in the NFL. The Packers were playing host to the New York Giants, and Favre was supposed to guide his team to one last title. But in the end, it really turned out to be the perfect sendoff for Favre's career in Green Bay only -- tossing the game-crippling interception in the big game like he had always done in years past.
Considered: 2009 NFC Wild Card Game
Kurt Warner's performance (379 yards passing, five touchdowns) might be the greatest ever in a postseason game, and he almost lost. The Cardinals stormed out to a huge lead, but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers rallied Green Bay with 21 fourth-quarter points to force overtime. And when the Packers won the opening toss in overtime, it was easy to think that the Cardinals were about to fold in this one. But Karlos Dansby picked up Rodgers' fumble and raced 17-yards for a touchdown to seal the Packers' fate.
Considered: 2009 NFC Championship Game
Stop me if you have heard this one before: Brett Favre throws an interception to end his team's hopes of going to the Super Bowl. This time, it was Favre breaking the hearts of Minnesota Vikings fans as his desperation pass late in regulation was intercepted by the Saints to force overtime. The Saints won the toss and drove down into Vikings territory to set up Garrett Hartley's 40-yard field goal to send New Orleans to its first Super Bowl.
6. 1971 AFC Divisional Playoff Game
The Chiefs and Dolphins played in the longest game in NFL history on Christmas Day in 1971. This game went into double-overtime and lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds before Garo Yepremian won the game for the Dolphins with a 37-yard field goal, 27-24. The Dolphins beat the Baltimore Colts, 21-0, in the AFC Championship Game before losing to Dallas, 24-3, in Super Bowl VI.
5. 1998 NFC Championship Game
Many fans were clamoring for a Super Bowl matchup between the defending champion Broncos and the 15-1 Vikings. And many figured that was the game we were going to get when Gary Anderson, who hadn't missed all season, lined up for a 38-yard field goal with just over two minutes left in regulation. But Anderson missed, and the Falcons went on to win the game on Morten Andersen's 38-yard field goal in overtime. The biggest losers in this? Anybody who watched the ensuing Super Bowl between the Falcons and Broncos. ... And Eugene Robinson.
4. 1981 AFC Divisional Playoff Game
There are many nicknames for this game: "The Epic in Miami", "The Miracle that Died", "The Game No One Should Have Lost". This game will be forever remembered for the horrible field conditions, the Dolphins rallying from a 24-0 deficit and Kellen Winslow's heroics. Winslow had 13 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown, but his most impressive play was him stretching out to block Uwe von Schamann's 43-yard field goal attempt as time expired in regulation to send the game into overtime. The image of him being helped off the field is one of the most enduring in NFL history.
3. 1992 AFC Divisional Playoff Game
The Bills were not only down 32 points to the Oilers in the third quarter of this playoff tilt, but also down a starting quarterback as Jim Kelly was injured. Enter backup Frank Reich who, coincidentally, had engineered the greatest comeback in NCAA history, and not only brought the Bills back but gave them the lead in regulation following a 17-yard touchdown pass to Andre Reed. That forced the Oilers to rally, and Warren Moon set up Al Del Greco's field goal to send the game into overtime. But in the end, it was Steve Christie who booted the game-winner to set up another Super Bowl run for the Bills.
2. The Tuck Rule Game
This might have been one of the greatest moments in not only NFL history, but the history of the world. But that is any time the Raiders lose. But we all remember the play, the one in which the Raiders appeared to seal the win in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game when Charles Woodson stripped Patriots quarterback Tom Brady of the ball. But the then-little known "Tuck Rule" was entered into the sporting lexicon, along with the legend of Brady as he orchestrated two scoring drives -- including the final one in overtime -- to lead the Patriots to victory.
1. 1958 NFL Championship Game
Often referred to as the "Greatest Game Every Played", the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in overtime to capture the 1958 NFL championship at Yankee Stadium. The game featured many future Hall of Famers -- Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Sam Huff, and Frank Gifford to list only a few. But it was Alan Ameche, who scored the winning touchdown for the Colts and launched the phenomenon of the NFL that was just starting to reach new fans with the popularization of television.