In 1958: It is known as the Greatest Game Ever Played, and it was the first NFL game to go into overtime. The Colts, led by a young Johnny Unitas, defeated the New York Giants 23-17 in Yankee Stadium to win the NFL championship. The highly anticipated game saw the Colts blow a 14-3 halftime lead, only to rally to tie the game in the final seconds behind the coolness of Unitas. Fullback Alan Ameche’s famous one-yard plunge clinched Baltimore’s first NFL title. The game was a coming out party for Unitas, who, a few years earlier was a Pittsburgh Steelers castoff playing semi-pro ball. He completed 26 of 40 passes for 349 yards, and converted many key first downs. Not only did the game make Unitas an icon, the high television ratings were a sign of things to come for the burgeoning league. The Colts defeated the Giants again the following year in the NFL Championship game
In 1975: The Hail Mary was born on a frozen Metropolitan Stadium field in Minnesota. Trailing the Vikings 14-10 with just 24 seconds left to play, Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Roger Staubach flung a desperation pass from the 50-yard line down the right sideline in the direction of receiver Drew Pearson and Vikings’ defender Nate Wright. Pearson came down with it at the 5 and ran into the end zone for the stunning score. The Vikings protested that Pearson had pushed off Wright (which he later admitted to intentionally doing), but the field judge (who was hit in the head with a whiskey bottle for missing the call) upheld the touchdown and the Cowboys stole one from the Vikings 17-14. The Cowboys won the following week on the road as well, before losing to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.