The NFL is coming off an astounding, exciting, thrilling weekend that had everything a fan could ever ask for. During the divisional round of the playoffs last weekend, football fans were treated to must-see television that had people glued to their tv screens.
Here are the 3 reasons why I believe this was the greatest weekend in NFL history.
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3 Reasons Why Divisional Round was Greatest in NFL History
3. Upsets and more upsets
It’s not a shock that fans were treated to some close games this past weekend. After all, the divisional round tends to be the one of the better weekends of the entire season. Wild Card weekend always features teams that are clearly not Super Bowl worthy, so you see blow outs from time to time. On Championship Sunday, there are only two games. All it takes is one game not to be great and the weekend is a bit of a bust.
However, the divisional round features mostly teams capable of going on a run. This year, we got insane upsets that left some people in Las Vegas ecstatic.
The Tennessee Titans opened the divisional round coming off the first-round bye at home, and lost to the upstart Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals were four-point underdogs, but most did not really give them much of a shot. Thanks to their rookie kicker, Evan McPherson, Cincinnati is moving into the AFC Championship.
Former Florida kicker Evan McPherson’s ‘called shot’ energizes playoff run for Bengals https://t.co/2TH6GOur7e
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) January 26, 2022
The upsets did not stop there. Saturday night, the biggest favorite of the weekend, Green Bay Packers, lost in shocking fashion. The Packers defense dominated, but Aaron Rodgers and the offense couldn’t get much going. San Francisco, 6.5 point underdogs, became the second upset, winning 13-10.
Sunday afternoon picked up where Saturday night left off. The Los Angeles Rams, 3.5 point underdogs, dominated for much of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They led 27-3 at one point and ultimately won 30-27. Three games down, three upsets. We nearly got a fourth later that night.
2. Fantastic Finishes
For the first time in playoff history, every game of the weekend was decided on the final play. Think about that for a minute. How many games on a typical Sunday of football have the final play decide the game. I would guess there’s usually one, maybe two out of the 13-16 games that day.
This was the 1st postseason round in NFL history with 4 games featuring a game-winning score on the final play. h/t @EliasSports
WHAT. A. WEEKEND. pic.twitter.com/gwnVIBRsVe
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 24, 2022
McPherson sent the Titans home early with his field goal. The 49ers, after blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown with just four minutes remaining, also ended the game with a field goal. The Packers special teams were as bad as anyone has ever seen. They had a field goal blocked, had a punt blocked for a touchdown, and even on San Francisco’s game-winning field goal, the Packers didn’t even have all 11 players on the field.
Packers' special teams unit ranked 32nd in 2021. https://t.co/q6rmOzgaJB
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) January 23, 2022
That finish had everyone buzzing. Everyone figured there was no way Sunday could live up to Saturday. Somehow, it surpassed it.
We all watched Tom Brady and the Buccaneers erase a 27-3 deficit and tie the game with under a minute remaining. It had Falcons fans experiencing PTSD. Then, Matthew Stafford saved the day for the Rams, finding Cooper Kupp for a 44-yard gain deep over the middle. That set up the game-winning field goal on the final play, again.
The NFL’s most anticipated game of the weekend was the final one, Bills at Chiefs. But after the way the first three games played out, we were all due for a dud. Nope, instead we all witnessed one of the most exciting football games ever played.
Arguably Most Exciting Finish Ever
It was a back and forth affair. There were 25 points scored in the final two minutes of regulation, most in playoff history and second most in any game ever. It appeared Josh Allen and the Bills had won with a touchdown with just under two minutes remaining. Then it looked like Patrick Mahomes pulled it off, hitting Tyreek Hill for a touchdown with 1:02 left to retake the lead.
Josh Allen didn’t flinch. He led his team calmly down the field and found Gabriel Davis for his fourth touchdown reception (NFL postseason record), putting the Bills in front. This time, it had to be the dagger. There were only 13 seconds left.
We were wrong again. Mahomes did the unthinkable, and the Bills defense did the impossible. They allowed Kansas City to go 44 yards in two plays in 10 seconds. Harris Butker kicked the game-tying field goal, sending us to overtime. At this point, I think most of the country and football-watching world was about to faint.
You know the rest. The Chiefs won the coin toss, marched right down the field and Travis Kelce’s touchdown catch ended the game.
After the game, and a brief celebration with his teammates, Mahomes showed why he is that special.
.@PatrickMahomes left the celebration and ran across the whole field to find @JoshAllenQB.
Ultimate respect for these competitors. #NFLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/T5uEk4OXty
— NFL (@NFL) January 24, 2022
1. Legends were the Losers
It was one thing to see these crazy upsets, and the insane finishes in the NFL. But we also witnessed the fall of two of the greatest legends the game has ever seen.
This season was supposed to be the one Aaron Rodgers finally gets back to a Super Bowl. They were the best team all season and considered the prohibited favorites to win it all. Yet, here we are again. Rodgers is out of the playoffs early, losing a home playoff game. His future with the team and the sport now uncertain.
Then Tom Brady followed that up by losing on Sunday. Granted, he performed a little better than Rodgers did. Both guys were under duress all game, but turnovers and some key throws from Brady helped lead the team back from a 24-point deficit. Ultimately, the Buccaneers were eliminated as well. Tom Brady’s future is now also uncertain, with the chance of retirement absolutely real.
First time in 12 YEARS Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady aren’t playing in a conference championship game 🤯 pic.twitter.com/HzrYwQQb1o
— Overtime (@overtime) January 23, 2022
For the first time in 12 years, Championship Weekend will not feature either Tom Brady nor Aaron Rodgers. Granted, Brady was there for almost all 12. What a weekend for the NFL.