Since the creation of the National Football League (NFL) just over one hundred years ago, the sport of American football has undergone some seismic changes. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the seven men responsible for establishing the league would never have dreamt that a century later, fans would be able to take advantage of American football in-play betting odds on this bitcoin-accepting bookie… but here we are.
So, what are some of the highlights from the last 100 years which have made the NFL and the sport it governs so eminently memorable? While such a list is always going to be highly subjective and open to debate, we’ve narrowed it down to our five favorites below.
5) "The Catch"
When a play has come to be known as "the Catch", you know it must have been special. This landmark moment occurred in January 1982, when the San Francisco 49ers were down six points to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game with just seconds on the clock. Despite the long odds facing them, Joe Montana drove his team up the field and, with 58 seconds remaining, initiated the play. Although his favored target Freddie Solomon was tightly covered, Montana recalibrated his strategy and found Dwight Clark in the endzone instead.
4) The Bills’ biggest ever comeback
In 1993, the Buffalo Bills were trailing the Houston Oilers by 32 points at the halfway point in a crucial wildcard playoff match. However, the New Yorkers rallied impressively and even managed to take a 38-35 lead as the game reached its climax… only for the Oilers to mount their own mini comeback and take the game to overtime. However, an interception from safety Henry Jones set up a field goal opportunity and the Bills went on to win 41-38.
3) The Philly Special
Trick plays are generally designed to keep defense coaches guessing and provide entertaining fodder for Hollywood movies – they’re rarely (if ever) used in the biggest sporting event of them all. That’s why the use of the Philly Special from Eagles coach Doug Peterson in Super Bowl LII was all the more surprising, especially since his team were at a fourth down on the one-yard line. After a trio of intricate passes, the ball ended up with quarterback Nick Foles, who ran through for the score.
2) A yard short
In 2000, the Los Angeles Rams and the Tennessee Titans squared off in Super Bowl XXXIV, with both franchises striving to claim their first Vince Lombardi. After an impressive comeback from 16-0, the Titans conceded a touchdown with two minutes on the clock and left themselves with 88 yards to cover in order to salvage the game… with five seconds remaining, Steve McNair passed to Kevin Dyson – who was tackled just a single yard before the endzone. Tough.
1) The Immaculate Reception
Although it took place over 50 years ago, the Immaculate Reception is still our (and the NFL’s) most iconic moment from the history of American football. During the Divisional Round game between the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburg Steelers in 1972, Terry Bradshaw attempted a pass to receiver John Fuqua, only to see the ball rebound off his man and into the grateful arms of the onrushing Franco Harris, who took it all the way for a touchdown and propelled Pittsburg to glory.
These are our best moments from 100 years of the NFL… what are yours?