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Memorable Moments of the Decade: NFL – SportsUntapped.com
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Added November 23rd, 2009 by Sooze

Memorable Moments of the Decade: NFL
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With a little more than a month left of 2009, it’s about time we reflect on the most memorable moments in sports from back when the nerds freaked out about Y2K right up until the present time.

The first post in our Memorable Moments series takes a trip down the NFL’s memory lane. Since I’ve limited myself to choosing just one performance from each year (almost impossible) I’ll need you to add your own unforgettable memories in the comments section.

1999-00: Super Bowl XXXIV was a non-stop battle between the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams. Back and forth they went until the Rams had a late and sturdy 23-16 lead. Though this game was all about former grocery bagger Kurt Warner, the moment belongs to St. Louis linebacker Mike Jones. Steve McNair led the Titans in a ridiculous drive deep into St. Louis territory with six seconds left in the game: just enough time to throw up a miracle from the Rams’ 10-yard line. McNair threw a slant to Kevin Dyson, who was headed straight for the end zone before Jones made “The Tackle” to yank him down around the 1-yard line and preserve the win.

 

2000-01: Cincinnati Bengals running back Corey Dillon made NFL history by breaking the late, great Walter Payton’s single game rushing record with 278 yards against what was then the league’s second-ranked rushing defense of the Denver Broncos. Of course, that record has since been broken (by Jamal Lewis for 295 yards in ’03 and Adrian Peterson, 296 yards in ’07) but it was pretty sweet at the time. In December of the same year, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens set a single game reception record with 20 catches against the Chicago Bears. That one has yet to be broken.

2001-02: It was the last season before the great NFL realignment, back when each conference still had 3 divisions. Those were the days. Every jersey on every team donned a patch to remember those who fell in 9/11, and the underdog New England Patriots were about to win their first of three rings after going 5-11 the year before. With Super Bowl XXXVI all knotted up at 17 a piece, Tom Brady drove the Pats 53 yards to set up a 48-yard field goal attempt by Adam Vinatieri, who nailed it just before the clock ticked to 0:00 to defeat the mighty St. Louis Rams.

2002-03: Things got pretty ugly late in the NFC Wild Card game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants, but the 49ers ended up with the second-biggest comeback in NFL playoff history. Trailing 38-14 with four minutes left in the third quarter, San Francisco scored 25 straight points on two TD passes and a scoring run by Jeff Garcia, as well as two 2-point conversion catches by T.O.

2003-04: Monday Night Football’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders holds one of the most memorable moments of 2003. Just a day after his father died of a heart attack, Brett Favre threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns, moving into second place in NFL history for career TD passes while leading the Packers to a 41-7 rout.

2004-05: Ah yes, the year the NFL began to penalize excessive touchdown celebrations with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. So lame. Even though the Patriots won their second Super Bowl that year, the star of the season was Peyton Manning. The Indianapolis quarterback threw an incredible 49 touchdown passes for 4,557 yards with a passer rating of 121.1 as he won his second MVP award. Highlighting the season, Manning nailed five TD passes to help the Colts defeat the Denver Broncos in the AFC Wild Card playoff, 41-10.

2005-06: The Steelers’ 21-10 victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL marked their record-tying fifth championship, but their first since 1980 — and the first ever for Jermone Bettis and coach Bill Cowher. Thanks in part to some controversial calls by officials, who are honored as our memorable moment-makers for this season, the Steelers became the first #6 seed to win the Super Bowl. Ben Roethlisberger finished the game having completed just 9-of-21 passes for 123 yards and two picks with a 22.6 quarterback rating: the lowest ever by a Super Bowl winning quarterback. Almost as unfortunate was the fact that this strange yet smoking hot ad was banned from Super Bowl commercial time.

2006-07: Rookie Devin Hester was an absolute animal in 2006. The return specialist had six touchdown returns for the Chicago Bears that season, adding another when he returned Super Bowl XLI’s opening kick for a touchdown — the first time that had ever happened in the history of the game. Too bad for him that the Colts quit kicking it directly to Hester, and Indianapolis went on to win it 29-17.

2007-08: This year belonged to the 16-0 New England Patriots, having secured the only other undefeated season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately, they failed to win the Super Bowl. Eli Manning and the New York Giants were trailing the big, bad New England Patriots 14-10 at third down and five with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. Avoiding a sack, Manning threw up a prayer to David Tyree, who used one hand and his helmet to catch the football and keep the drive alive. The Giants went on to score a touchdown and win Super Bowl XLII.

  

2008-09: After a safety and a 65-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ lead had evaporated along with their hopes of another ring. Good thing it ain’t over til it’s over. Big Ben marched his Steelers down the field, capping off the drive with a nice pass to Santonio Holmes, beating the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 to win their second Super Bowl in four seasons and sixth overall for the franchise.

2009-10: Though we’re just finishing up with Week 11, it’s already been an exciting season. The game of the year belonged to Brett Favre, heading into Lambeau Field to crush his former Packers for the first time in a Minnesota Vikings uniform. That is, until the New England Patriots played the undefeated Indianapolis Colts. Bill Belichick’s questionable call to attempt a 4th-down conversion from his own 28 with a 6-point lead with just over two minutes to play? It’s a head-scratcher. Indy came back in dramatic fashion to win it 35-34, so to help Belichick save face, his body guard does what any muscle would do: he tackles a camera man.

Update: Devon Hester getting pantsed Sunday night may be even more memorable.

So that’s my list. What did I miss?

 
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