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10 of the best AFC Championship Games in NFL history

Will 2024's game add another chapter?

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

The Ravens and Chiefs get together at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday to settle the AFC Championship, which should be a solid matchup. One for the ages? There have been many memorable AFC Championship Games over the years, with these 10 currently holding rank as the best of all time.

10. The Mud Bowl, 1983

Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports
Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game known as the “Mud Bowl” 14-0 to advance to the Super Bowl. Dolphins linebacker AJ Duhe made three interceptions in the game including one in the fourth quarter which he ran back for a touchdown to seal a Dolphins 14-0 victory.

9. The Freezer Bowl, 1982

USAT
USAT

With a kickoff temperature of nine degrees below zero and a minus 59-degree wind chill, what would be dubbed the “Freezer Bowl” was the coldest game in NFL history. The Bengals defeated the San Diego Charges, 27-7.

8. Patriots-Chiefs, 2019

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady led a 75-yard drive that concluded with Rex Burkhead’s 2-yard touchdown run in a 37-31 victory in overtime for the AFC championship. Brady was 30 of 46 for 348 yards. The final quarter of regulation saw the teams combine for 38 points.

7. The Fumble, 1988

MPS-USA TODAY Sports
MPS-USA TODAY Sports

On second down at the Denver eight-yard line, with the Browns needing five yards for a first down, Bernie Kosar handed the ball off to Byner, who had the first down and saw a chance to score the tying touchdown. The Broncos’ Jeremiah Castille closed the gap to meet Byner, who instead of continuing to veer left straightened to avoid running directly into Castille. Although Castille did not stop Byner’s progress and bring him to ground, he managed to knock the football out of Byner’s hands at the three-yard line. Castille recovered the fumble at the three-yard line, giving the Broncos possession of the ball and preserving the seven-point edge.

The Broncos ran three plays to gain a total of nine yards while forcing the Browns to use their remaining timeouts. On the ensuing fourth down, Broncos coach Dan Reeves had his punter, Mike Horan, take an intentional safety rather than punt out of his own end zone,  After the ensuing free kick, the Browns were thwarted on their last drive, when a Kosar Hail Mary pass came up short; the Broncos won, 38–33.

6. Peyton Manning beats the Patriots, 2007

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning led the Colts from 18 points down in the second quarter, and on a game-winning 80-yard drive late in the fourth, for a 38-34 victory over the New England Patriots. Manning threw for 349 yards and one touchdown and brought his team back from a 21-3 deficit, the biggest comeback in conference title-game history.

5. The Drive, 1987

Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK
Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK

Broncos quarterback John Elway, in a span of 5 minutes and 2 seconds, led his team 98 yards in 15 plays to tie the game with 37 seconds left in regulation. Denver won the game in overtime by making a 33-yard field goal, pulling off a 23–20 win over the Cleveland Browns.

 

4. Elway leads the Broncos to a win over Steelers, 1998

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

After falling behind early, the Broncos, led by Terrell Davis’ 139 rushing yards and a defense that forced three Kordell Stewart interceptions, led by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter. But after Pittsburgh pulled to within a field goal on Stewart’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Charles Johnson, the Broncos faced a crucial third-and-6 situation with two minutes left. Elway, who was still in pursuit of his first Super Bowl title, punched his fourth ticket to the Super Bowl by completing the game-clinching pass to Shannon Sharpe.

3. Patriots top the Ravens, 2012

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Chaos ruled before Billy Cundiff rushed onto the field and attempted a game-tying field goal for the Ravens. The kick missed and New England advanced to another Super Bowl, 23-20.

2. Chargers shock the Steelers, 1995

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Chargers linebacker Dennis Gibson preserved the victory with just over a minute left by knocking down the fourth-and-3 pass thrown by Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell.

1. Bengals-Chiefs, 2022

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Evan McPherson kicked a 31-yard field goal with 9:22 left in overtime after Joe Burrow led a furious second-half comeback. They got the Bengals to the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 years with a 27-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC championship.

Story originally appeared on List Wire