Ten Moments That Made Us Love This Game (Part 1)

 


For my 100th article for the IDP Guys, I wanted to look back on some of the moments that stand out in the minds of some of our writers and readers and really made an impact on them. I asked via Twitter and through our writers Slack channel for some of the most memorable and impactful moments they’ve experienced in their football watching lives. What I got was a reminder of just how many special moments there have been and the inspiration I was looking for to properly celebrate my century mark as a writer for IDP Guys.


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Number 10: Long pole Foles, Big dick Nick.

Recency bias may definitely come into play here but nonetheless this story was pretty amazing, shades of Kurt Warner and the 99′ Rams.

Nick Foles spent the majority of his career as a backup quarterback with the exception of the 2013 season where he started ten games for the Eagles and the 2015 season where he started eleven games for the Rams. While he did have an impressive 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions during that 2013 run his other career stats were basically horrible.

That is until Carson Wentz went down with an ACL tear during game 13 of the 2017-18 season against the Rams. Perennial backup and underachiever Nick Foles came in to try and take the division champion Eagles into the playoffs.

What followed was a come from behind win against the division rival Giants where Foles tossed 4 TDs, and a 19-10 victory against the hapless Raiders where Foles did enough to win and lock up a first round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as the overall number one seed in the NFC.

Their first round opponent was a Falcons team that had just beaten a hot Rams squad and was only a year removed from their own super bowl run. In a slug-fest of a game, Foles and the Eagles did just enough to win 15-10 with a lot of help from the leg of Jake Elliot and a one yard TD run from Blount. The NFC Championship would be against the Vikings who were coming off an emotional roller coaster of a win with the “Minneapolis Miracle” against the Saints.

After getting behind early, Foles lit up the scoreboard and threw for 352 yards and 3 TDs as the Eagles annihilated the Vikings 38-7. It was on to the super bowl against the greatest dynasty the sport has ever seen, a five time champion quarterback and a head coach notorious for removing his opponents strengths and using it against them.

The Patriots and Bill Belichick were the cream of the AFC crop and despite getting to the big game many people still looked at this as Brady and Belichick versus a backup quarterback. The Eagles were 6.5 point underdogs going into the game and many, including myself, didn’t give them a shot in hell.

This super bowl was one of the most entertaining and competitive affairs ever on this stage. It went back and forth all game long and featured trick plays, big plays and scoring aplenty. Long pole Foles threw for 373 yards and 3 TDs and also caught the “Philly Special” to add a receiving TD as well. It all came down to a situation we had seen the previous year as well.

In the previous super bowl, Julio Jones made a wild acrobatic catch and gave the Falcons an opportunity to seal the game late if they had only run three times and kicked the field goal. They didn’t, and the rest is history.

With the Eagles up five and the Patriots driving to take the lead with little time left, Brandon Graham forced a fumble and Derek Barnett recovered, the Eagles didn’t get cute and did what the Falcons should have done the year before. They ran three times and kicked a field goal, killing the clock and giving them an eight point lead with about a minute left in the game.

Brady couldn’t work his magic this time and the Eagles overcame the odds to win their first and only super bowl. With that victory a perennial backup became a national hero, because let’s be real here no one likes the Patriots except Patriots fans.

The legend of big dick Nick was born. Fast forward a season and he’s now the well-paid starting quarterback of the Jaguars and a hero to the city of Philadelphia as well as 49 of the 50 states that make up this great country. Thank you Nick Foles, our hero.

What I remember about this story is what I said a paragraph or two ago, no one gave them a shot in hell, including me. As impressive as it was that this Eagles team made the super bowl, on the back of a backup quarterback using an underdog and team focused approach, I figured there was no way that shit would fly against Belichick.

I was dead wrong and have never been happier about it. This was a hugely entertaining super bowl with the kind of ending we all love, one where the Patriots don’t get another ring.

In the immediate aftermath there were streakers on top of cars, greased poles with blacked out morons climbing up them and wasted dudes eating horse shit on the streets of Philly. It was exactly the kind of over reaction and general shenanigans you would expect out of Philadelphia and they did not disappoint.

Recently ,there have been few Super Bowls that have ended in a manner that I was happy with so this was a nice change of pace for not only me but everyone who isn’t a Pats fan. The original backup to glory story is and always will be Kurt Warner but this story was pretty good in it’s own right. It may be a recent memory but if definitely belongs on this list.

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Number 9: Favre loses his father, goes off on Monday night football.

This moment is one of my personal favorites and was mentioned more than once when I asked NFL Twitter to submit their most memorable and defining moments in their football fandom. Favre had an amazing career filled with many shining performances but this one topped them all. It was the 2003 season and the 9-5 Packers desperately needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The night before, Favres father Irvin, had passed away from a heart attack, leaving the old gunslinger broken and devastated mere hours before kickoff. Favre was unsure about whether or not to play for only about five minutes according to an interview he gave afterwards. He said he knew his father would have wanted him to play.

When teammates were asked how they planned to rally around Favre, wide receiver Donald Driver responded with a quote I still remember to this day: “I talked to the receivers before the game and told them ‘Anything he throws, we catch”. “I don’t care what it is — behind us, over our head, if we have to get on a ladder or jump on a guy’s shoulder, we’re going to catch the ball.”

It was clear very quickly that this would be a special night as Favre racked up 311 yards and 4 passing touchdowns in the first half and ended the game with 399 yards passing plus the four scores. His passer rating was 158.3 at halftime, in other words, perfect.

He also passed Fran Tarkenton to trail only Dan Marino in career touchdown passes on the same night. He would say after the game “I knew my dad would want me to play. I loved him a lot and love this game. It has meant a great deal to me and to my dad and my family. I didn’t expect this performance, but I knew he was watching tonight.”

What I personally remember from this night was that even though I grew up a Cowboys fan, and because of that, especially in the early to mid 90’s, the Packers and Favre were always a threat and a thorn in the side of both my Cowboys and the 49ers. At that time those three teams owned the NFC for about a decade. Despite that, I still had respect for the man.

He played the game the right way. On a personal note, he also experienced something that I’ve also gone through with his struggles with addiction and painkillers. He was a real dude, not some supermodel-marrying pretty boy who will never represent the every man. He had real problems and made real mistakes and he was always upfront and honest about them. It was always to easy to like him.

When his dad died like that I know I felt for him, a lot of the guys I grew up with felt the same way. And in a moment like that for him to step up and give one of the greatest performances of his life on a national stage on Monday night football was incredible and we all knew it was special as it unfolded. It was an unforgettable moment.

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Number 8: The Colts Exorcise Their Demons

The Colts with Peyton Manning at the helm were the definition of always the bridesmaid and never the bride. Year after year they fielded excellent regular season teams but were never able to get through the Patriots, Steelers or other AFC foes to make it into the super bowl.

From 1999, Mannings second season, to 2005 the Colts went to the playoffs six times and lost to the Titans, Dolphins, Jets, Steelers and Patriots twice. In those seven seasons they won double digit regular season games six times and only missed the playoffs once, in 2001.

Their defense was always a source of frustration and things were looking bad once again heading into the 2006 playoffs. The Colts often maligned run defense ranked dead last in the NFL and overall was ranked a meager 23rd in points allowed and 21st in yards allowed.

Their first opponent for the 06′ playoffs was the Kansas City Chiefs and their stud running back Larry Johnson who had racked up 1,789 rushing yards and 17 rushing TDs during the regular season. This was a recipe for disaster and many in the analyst community predicted that Johnson would run all over the Colts as they made their way to another early playoff exit.

What actually happened was the Colts run defense played their best game of the season and held Johnson to 32 yards rushing on 13 attempts.The Colts controlled the game from the first whistle and slowly choked the life out of the Chiefs winning the game 23-8 by totally reversing how everyone thought the game would go.

The Colts themselves ran the hell out of the ball and owned time of possession. Between Joseph Addai and Dominick Rhodes the Colts ran for 190 yards on the ground and added a 6 yard rushing TD from Addai. Adam Vinatieri added three field goals and despite Manning’s sub par three interception performance, the game was really never in doubt.

For the divisional round, the Colts next trip was to Baltimore to play the hard hitting Ravens. This was a slug-fest of a game that came down to which team would make fewer mistakes. Behind the leg of Adam Vinatieri, who had five field goals, and an outstanding defensive performance led by Antoine Bethea (5 combined tackles, 1 PD & 1 INT) Indy held the Ravens to only 83 yards on the ground and picked off Steve McNair twice and sacked him twice as well.

The Colts defense really stepped up, forcing two fumbles and recovering both, and helped offset their own offense’s mistakes (Manning 2 INT and no touchdowns). Ground yards were hard to come by for both teams with the Colts only recording 100 yards rushing themselves between Rhodes, Addai and Manning. It was an ugly game but the suddenly resurgent Colts defense stepped up to the plate and got them into the AFC title game.

The AFC Title game would feature a familiar foe with the Patriots coming to Indianapolis. This was the team, more than any other, that it seemed like Manning could never beat. Whether it was their seemingly seasonal matchup in the regular season, or during crunch time in the playoffs, the Patriots always seemed to come out on top.

It looked like more of the same as the Pats came out fast behind two first half defensive scores and a 7 yard Corey Dillon rushing touchdown to build a 21-3 lead at halftime. But the Colts started to turn it around in the third quarter with Manning throwing and running for a score, narrowing the Patriots lead to seven points going into the final quarter.

Jeff Saturday would fall on his own team’s fumble in the end zone to tie the score at 28 a piece with 13:24 to go in the game. From there, the teams would trade field goals back and forth leading to a three point Patriots lead with a little over three minutes left in the game. Manning would methodically drive his team down the field and eventually Joseph Addai would punch it in to give the Colts a four point lead with one minute left in the game.

The Patriots had two timeouts and a minute to drive 79 yards for the game winning score, very much doable for Brady & company. This time though god himself came down, in the form of Marlin Jackson, and intercepted Brady on 1st and 10 from the Colts 45 yard line ending the game and sending the Colts to the Super Bowl.

This game was a back and forth affair and was a masterpiece by the Colts. Instead of folding under pressure, as they had in so many playoff runs of yesterday, they came together and fought back from a big first half deficit to finally beat their arch nemesis and secure their trip to the Super Bowl.

After that spectacular conference title game, the Colts would play the Bears for the super bowl, but it did not start well at all. With an opening kickoff return to the house by Devin Hester the Bears were out to a quick 7-0 lead. Reggie Wayne would catch a Manning bomb to almost even up the score (missed extra point) but Chicago quickly pulled back ahead with a Mushin Muhhammad TD grab thrown by Rex Grossman.

The Bears led 14-6 after the first quarter and a lot of Colts fans and Manning well-wishers were shitting bricks. Chicago was seemingly scoring at will while the Colts had to navigate the Bears hard hitting defense and the special teams wizardry of Hester. In the second quarter, the Colts started to turn things around with a Vinatieri field goal and a Dominic Rhodes one yard touchdown plunge giving them a 16-14 lead going into halftime.

The third quarter was a field goal fest as Vinatieri added two more while Robbie Gould had one for the Bears as well, putting the score at 22-17 Colts going into the final quarter, still anyone’s game. With about eleven minutes left in the game Kelvin Hayden sealed the game for the Colts with a 56 yard pick six giving Indy a 29-17 lead. From there they salted the game away on the legs of Rhodes and Addai who combined for 190 yards on the ground in this one.

In the end, the Colts used the same game script and strategy they used all playoffs to get it done, run and play defense. The complete opposite of how they won all regular season. It would be Manning’s first of two Super Bowl titles and the first for Indianapolis.

This Colts team reminded me of the mid 90’s Packers, they were always very good in the regular season but never seemed to get to the Super Bowl and in the end only won the one title after all those years of regular season excellence.

What I remember from this season was that it cemented Mannings legacy as a hall of famer and all-time great. His career trajectory was eerily similar to Dan Marinos before he finally got a ring that season. Manning was always a popular pick in our fantasy drafts but I’ll tell you this, if FanDuel had existed back then, there was no way I was picking him for any contests during the playoffs.

It was like a bad joke year after year, the Colts would rattle off these twelve, thirteen, fourteen win seasons then choke when the playoffs came around. Manning may not have been as likable as Favre was but he was still plenty likable and I always pulled for the guy.

The best comparison I can come up with is how people look at Phillip Rivers today. Manning was a guy that did it every season but could never win the big one, he wasn’t offensive to anyone and no one really hated him unless you liked a team besides the Colts in their division.

When he finally sealed the deal in the 2006 season, not only did he deserve it but he also took out the Patriots on his way to the super bowl, thereby sparing most of America from watching the Pats in another super bowl, god knows we were all thankful for that.

The Bears jumped all over them early and it wasn’t looking good but for the second game in a row, Manning and the Colts figured it out after a sloppy and slow start. His second super bowl years later as more of a game manager against the Panthers was a cherry on top for me and many of my friends. Might have been a different story if Cam Newton had been a little better sport about that entire season with the dabbing and team photos and whatnot, when a class act like Manning took out a spoiled-brat sore loser like Newton it was a thing of beauty. Peyton and the 06′ Colts were a great story and I look back on that season with fond memories.

 


Make sure you keep an eye out for part two dropping soon on idpguys.org where I cover moment seven through five in NFL history. And never miss our podcast or forget to visit our offensive side of the ball over at dynastyfootballdigest.com 


 

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Grounded Cowboys fan, if there is such a thing. Writer\Host for the IDP Guys, been playing IDP Fantasy since 2004. Cat enthusiast. Ridiculous opinions are my own. My articles are occasionally on the controversial side of things. FanDuel degenerate and reliable source of income for Bovada. I work at a hospital and volunteer with Autistic kids on the weekend. Hit me up on Twitter if you need any IDP advice or want a second opinion, always glad to help. @Orangeman3142