Just getting to the Super Bowl can create legends. As we head into this weekend's conference title games, we look at the 10 best in NFL history.
Dec. 31, 1967: Packers-Cowboys
The NFL Championship Game at Lambeau Field was minus-13 degrees with the wind chill at minus-48 degrees -- the coldest game in NFL history. However, the result of the "Ice Bowl" must have warmed up quarterback Bart Starr and coach Vince Lombardi. The host Packers had the ball near the goal line, but were trailing 17-14 with under 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Starr scored on a quarterback keeper to defeat the Cowboys in the NFL Championship Game for the second year in a row. Green Bay went on to crush the Raiders in Super Bowl II.
Jan. 1, 1978: Broncos-Raiders
The Broncos were riding a wave of momentum after beating the powerful Steelers in the divisional round. Against the defending Super Bowl champion Raiders, the Broncos were able fight off their division rivals (in part thanks to a controversial nonfumble call) as quarterback Craig Morton's fourth-quarter touchdown pass proved to be the difference in the 20-17 win. Denver's "Orange Crush" defense, however, couldn't get it done against the Cowboys in the Super Bowl.
Jan. 10, 1982: 49ers-Cowboys
Down 27-21 late in the fourth quarter, Joe Montana appeared to have tried to throw the ball the away in the back of the end zone. Instead, tight end Dwight Clark leaped high to catch it with 51 seconds left in the game, and the 49ers went on to win 28-27. San Francisco carried its momentum onward and won its first Super Bowl, edging the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jan. 11, 1987: Broncos-Browns
Against one of the best defenses in the league, John Elway led Denver on a 98-yard drive to tie the 1986 AFC Championship Game at 20 with only seconds remaining in regulation. Denver then went on to win the game in overtime 23-20 on a field goal that some Browns fans, to this day, insist sailed wide of the upright. The Broncos were routed in the Super Bowl by the Giants, but nobody will forget "The Drive."
Jan. 17, 1988: Broncos-Browns
Browns running back Earnest Byner amassed an outstanding 187 total yards from scrimmage (67 rushing, 120 receiving) in the 1987 AFC Championship Game against Denver. However, he'll forever be remembered for a heart-wrenching fumble at Denver's 3-yard line late in the fourth quarter with the Broncos ahead 38-31. Byner had what seemed to be a clear path to the end zone before losing the ball. Denver won 38-33 thanks to "The Fumble" before getting hammered in the Super Bowl by the Redskins.
Jan. 20, 1991: Giants-49ers
The 49ers looked poised to reach their third straight Super Bowl despite the fact that Giants defensive lineman Leonard Marshall knocked Joe Montana (pictured) out of the game with a bruised sternum, bruised stomach, crushed ribs and a broken hand. (Montana played in only one game for the 49ers after that.) With the 49ers up 13-12, running back Roger Craig fumbled and the Giants recovered the ball with 2:36 to go. Matt Bahr’s fifth field goal as time expired gave the Giants the win. New York later hung on to beat the Bills in the Super Bowl.
Jan. 17, 1999: Falcons-Vikings
The Vikings appeared Super Bowl-bound in the fourth quarter. Gary Anderson, who hadn't missed a field goal all season, had a 38-yard attempt to put the Vikings up 30-20 with 2:07 to go. Instead, he missed and the Falcons drove down the field to tie the score and force overtime. Then in the extra period, the Falcons' Morten Andersen (pictured) hit a 38-yard kick to send the 11-point underdogs to the Super Bowl (where they lost to the Broncos).
Jan. 23, 2000: Rams-Buccaneers
If it weren't for Ricky Proehl, the Greatest Show on Turf never would have reached the Super Bowl. The favored Rams were struggling, behind 6-5 late to the visiting Bucs. However, Kurt Warner hit Proehl for a 30-yard touchdown pass to put St. Louis ahead. The Rams, aided by a controversial video replay call, held off the Buccaneers. St. Louis played another thriller in the Super Bowl, beating the Titans in a classic.
Jan. 21, 2007: Colts-Patriots
Peyton Manning finally proved he could win a big game. His Colts were down 21-3 midway through the first half. Manning then engineered a fierce rally. However, the Colts trailed 34-31 with less than three minutes to go. Manning led the Colts down the field and Joseph Addai's touchdown put Indianapolis ahead with a minute to go. The Colts then beat the Bears in the Super Bowl.
Jan. 24, 2010: Saints-Vikings
Brett Favre's miracle season appeared to be heading toward a Super Bowl. With the score tied at 28 late in the fourth quarter and the Vikings deep in Saints territory, Favre was under duress. Instead of taking a sack, he threw an awful pass that was intercepted. The host Saints went on to kick the winning field goal in overtime. The NFC champions continued on to win the Super Bowl over the Colts.