With Steve Sabol’s passing, I thought it would be appropriate to bring you my Top 10 favorite NFL Films moments. These video clips have become iconic just as the moments themselves.
10. Holy Roller, 1978. This was one of the craziest finishes to any game. Between blood rivals, the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers, the fumble to end the game in the Raiders’ favor has become one of the biggest moments in the history of the league.
9. Old Man Willie, 1977. In Super Bowl XI, the Oakland Raiders’ Willie Brown intercepted Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton to seal the team’s first championship. The shot at 3:19 of Willie running towards the NFL Films’ camera in the end zone is one of the best shots ever. This clip is from NFL’s Top 100 Greatest Players.
8. Lynn Swann’s Catch, 1977. I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers, but there’s no doubting the diving catch by Lynn Swann in Super Bowl X against the Dallas Cowboys has become one of the most iconic shots by NFL Films in the 1970′s.
7. Marcus Allen’s 74 Yard Run. From Super Bowl XVIII, Marcus Allen sealed the Raiders’ third Super Bowl win. Holy Toledo! This is from America’s Game.
6. The Catch, 1982. From the NFC Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Montana to Dwight Clark. Al Michaels narrates.
5. John Taylor, Super Bowl XXIII. Again from America’s Game, the footage of the game-winning drive by the 49ers over the Cincinnati Bengals is just classic and it ends with the Taylor catch from Joe Montana.
4. Scott Norwood’s miss, Super Bowl XXV. Kind of cruel to include this, but you can see how close this kick was to being good and making the Buffalo Bills champions. Oh, what could have been.
3. Miracle at the Meadowlands, 1978. At the time, the Giants were a rather hapless franchise finding all kinds of ways to lose. At their new home of Giants Stadium in New Jersey, seemingly on their way to beating the Philadelphia Eagles, Joe Pisarcik fumbled a handoff to Larry Csonka and Herman Edwards picked it up for the win. Eagles voice Merrill Reese had the call.
2. Alcoa Fantastic Finishes. Forgive the quality of the clip. Throughout the 1980′s both CBS and NBC would air what was called “Alcoa Fantastic Finishes” at the two minute warning of each game. As the networks went to break, the announcer would say, “As we reach the two minute warning, it’s time for another Fantastic Finish” and we would get an NFL Films feature showing yes, a fantastic finish to a previous game. I wish we still had the “Fantastic Finish” feature.
1. The Immaculate Reception, 1972. I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers, but you can’t deny this moment was one of the greatest in NFL history and also a great moment in storytelling by NFL Films.
You may have your own favorites, but these are mine. And a perfect way to say goodbye to Steve Sabol.