Talk pro football with SI.com's Andrew Perloff in Huddle Up, a forum to discuss the hottest topics around the NFL.
1/21/2007 10:54:00 PM
Championship Game Classic
Peyton Manning celebrates the Colts' 38-34 win over the Patriots.
The Colts' 38-34 win over the Patriots tonight ranks as one of the top three conference championship games in NFL history. The only two contests I'd put ahead of Indy's stunning victory were the 49ers' 28-27 win over the Cowboys in 1981 (“The Catch”) and the Broncos' 23-20 overtime win over the Browns in 1986 (“The Drive”).
The showdown at the RCA Dome might not have a nifty nickname yet, but there are so many remarkable stories coming out of Indianapolis. It was the biggest comeback (18 points) in championship game history. Peyton Manning is no longer the best quarterback never to reach a Super Bowl. Tony Dungy will join Lovie Smith as the first two black coaches in Super Bowl history. The great Tom Brady finally falters in the final minute of a playoff game.
From a historical perspective, this game could end up having a parallel to the '81 49ers' win. San Francisco was able to slay the mighty Cowboys, who had thoroughly dominated the NFC, and begin a new era in the NFL. Perhaps this game will mark the end of New England's domination of the AFC and usher in Indy's time to shine.
The game started out looking like a typical Patriots' domination of the Colts. And until the end of the first half, Indy gave no one any reason to think differently. But this Colts team is different from ones that have wilted in Foxboro in years past. It shook off New England's best shot early on and finally played like the team that is so hard to beat during the regular season. Now Indianapolis has to beat Chicago so this masterpiece doesn't go to waste.
Let me know where you think this game ranks among the best conference championship games of all time.