Top 3 Most Heart-Breaking (Yet Exciting) Losses in NFL Playoff History

By: Chris Maurice

The NFL Playoffs attract millions of fans each year, with 12 franchises making it to the postseason, and while everyone wants his or her favorite team to win, only one can. What is worse, however, is when fans are sure their team has won, just to have it ripped away from them. With that in mind, here are the top three most devastating losses in NFL playoff history:

  1. New England Patriots vs Oakland Raiders, 2002 AFC Divisional Round—the Brady Rule (The Tuck Rule): As if Spygate wasn’t enough to mar the Patriots three Lombardi Trophies from the turn of the century, there’s also The Brady Rule. Brady drops back to pass in the late fourth quarter in blizzard conditions with his team down to the Raiders—the makings of a great comeback, right? Not exactly. Charles Woodson came around on Brady’s blindside, sacked Brady, knocked the ball loose, and then watched as his teammates recovered it. The refs reviewed it, decided that Brady needed a little help to win, and called upon an obscure rule in one of the most controversial calls in NFL history, robbing the Raiders of a win. The rule has since been abolished.
  2. New York Giants versus New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLII:And the Patriots make the list once again, this time with a much different outcome. 16-0 in the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs for a grand record of 18-0 heading into the Super Bowl, the Patriots were eyeing perfection. The Giants on the other hand barely snuck into their Wild Card slot. Easy win, right? It was back and forth the whole game. Then, at the end, with the Patriots up 14-10, the Giants are put into third& long. Eli Manning takes the snap, gets grabbed by a few defensive linemen, breaks free, hurls the ball downfield, and David Tyree makes the best catch in NFL history. Plaxico Burress’s catch was just icing on the 18-1 cake.
  3. New England Patriots versus Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX:That’s right, the Patriots make the list in all three spots! With Marshawn Lynch’s power running leading the way, the Seahawks were marching down the field at the end of the game, looking to win two Super Bowls in a row and form a dynasty in Seattle. An insane pass and circus catch by Jermaine Kearse, and suddenly the Seahawks could feel the next Lombardi in their hands. Too bad Russell Wilson screwed it up (along with Pete Carroll) by throwing an interception from the 1 yard line. Malcolm Butler became a celebrity overnight, and Marshawn Lynch was left wondering why Carroll didn’t like him.

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