Every football fan loves to watch an epic comeback… unless their favorite team is on the losing end, of course! We all remember when the Patriots came back from a 10-point deficit to win Super Bowl XLIX.
And, we remember when the Patriots (again!) topped their own record and not only came back from a 25-point deficit but also scored 31 unanswered points for an epic win against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
The last time any team had overcome a 25-point deficit was during the 2014 season when the Cleveland Browns pulled off an astounding win against the Tennessee Titans.
But these are big comeback wins that are fresh in the minds of all sports fans. What about the ones are already in the history books?
We pulled out our celebrity contact list to ask some of the leading names in football which comebacks from years past they consider the most memorable. Here’s the consensus on the top five most epic comeback wins in the history of the NFL.
Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Oilers on January 3, 1993
This game was a wild card playoff matchup between the Bills and the Oilers. It’s actually been called “The Comeback,” so it’s no surprise to find it at the top of our list!
Jim Kelly, the Bills’ future Hall of Fame quarterback, was out for this game, and Frank Reich played in his place. The Oilers quarterback, Warren Moon, was another future NFL Hall of Famer.
Reich will go down in the history books for leading the most epic comeback in the history of the NFL. Here’s how it all went down.
During the first half of the game, Moon led the Oilers to a generous lead of 28-3. The Oilers returned from halftime with an interception followed by a touchdown, increasing their lead to 35-3.
However, the Bills overcame that 32-point lead with four touchdown passes thrown by Reich, as well as a rushing score from Kenneth Davis. With this power streak, the Bills took the lead 38-35.
The Oilers attempted to come back with a field goal that tied things up, but the Bills came in for the win with a 32-yard field goal courtesy of Steve Christie when the game went into overtime.
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints on December 7, 1980
The December 7, 1980 game between San Francisco and New Orleans is considered one of the biggest regular-season comebacks in National Football League history.
The 49ers were on their home turf and led by the legendary Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. This was only Montana’s second year of many quarterbacking for San Francisco.
The visiting New Orleans Saints were led by another legendary quarterback, Archie Manning. At the end of the first half, the Saints were in the lead, 35-7.
The second half of the game was just as one-sided as the first, except it was San Francisco who dominated. The Saints never scored another point.
Montana and the 49ers took the lead with three touchdowns, one rushing and two passing. They overcame a 28-point deficit and won the game with an impressive 36-yard field goal from Ray Wersching in overtime.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs on January 4, 2014
The January 4, 2014 game between the Colts and Chiefs was also a wild card playoff game. The Chiefs had lost Jamaal Charles, their All-Pro running back, during the very first possession of the game.
But that didn’t stop them from hammering the Colts to build a lead of 31-10 during the first half of the game. They came back in the second half with an opening drive touchdown that increased their lead 38-10.
But here’s where the game took an epic turn! Andrew Luck, quarterback for the Colts, threw three touchdown passes during the second half of the game. He also recovered a fumble and ran it to the end zone to score a fourth touchdown for the Colts.
The Chiefs managed to pull off two field-goals in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Colts. The game-winning touchdown pass thrown by Luck was a spectacular 64-yarder to T.Y. Hilton.
The Colts overcame a 28-point deficit to win this game by one point. Final score: 45-44!
Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts on September 21, 1997
During the September 21, 1997 game between the Bills and the Colts, the Colts were led to a 26-0 first-half lead by a relatively unknown quarterback named Jim Harbaugh.
The game took a sudden change after that, though, as the Bills scored 10 points right at the end of the first half. The Bills overcame the 26-point deficit and ended up taking the game by two points: 37-35.
Bills’ rookie running back, Antowain, Smith had a spectacular second half and was the leading force behind their comeback. Smith finished out the game with 129 yards and only 12 carries that scored three touchdowns for the Bills.
This game was the beginning of the end for Harbaugh, who was soon replaced by Peyton Manning.
Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans on October 5, 2014
Like most epic comeback games, the October 5, 2014 game between the Browns and the Titans was a tale of two halves. The second half of the game started out with the Browns trailing by 18 points and showing no signs of recovery.
The comeback was fueled by a blocked punt that turned into a safety by Tank Carder, the Browns linebacker, at the start of the fourth quarter. Two fourth-quarter touchdown passes (both thrown by Brian Hoyer and caught by Travis Benjamin) quickly followed.
One of those passes won the game with only 1:09 left on the clock, giving the Cleveland Browns the most epic comeback in NFL history by an away team. Final score: 29-28.
Any football fan will tell you that there are memorable moments in just about every game. But, these five games stand out as the most epic comeback wins in NFL history, and some of the most exciting, according to some of the leading manes in football.