Each week, there are at least a few matchups on the NFL schedule that scream of historical significance. In celebration of the NFL’s centennial season, CBS Sports will highlight several notable games of historical significance on a weekly basis. This week, we take a look at a notable Super Bowl rematch, a Thanksgiving Day blunder, the greatest blowout in NFL championship game history, the anniversary of a historic upset, the Browns‘ statement to the NFL, and one of the greatest runs in NFL playoff history.
Oakland at Minnesota
This is the only Super Bowl rematch that will take place in Week 3. On Jan.9, 1977, the Oakland Raiders, a perennial playoff disappointment to that point, finally one the “Big One,” defeating the Minnesota Vikings in the first Super Bowl played at the legendary Rose Bowl.
Game MVP Fred Biletnikoff helped set up three of Oakland’s touchdowns, while Raider Hall of Fame linemen Art Shell and Gene Upshaw helped Oakland rush for a whopping 266 yards and two scores. Kenny “The Snake” Stabler enjoyed an efficient day, racking up a 111.7 quarterback rating while throwing a touchdown pass to Dave “The Ghost” Casper.
Oakland’s defense harassed Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton all afternoon, picking off him twice that included “Old Man” Willie Davis’ memorable 75-yard pick six that put the game on ice.
While John Madden’s Raiders finally won their coveted world title, Super Bowl XI marked the fourth Super Bowl loss for Bud Grant’s Vikings.
The 1984 49ers lost just one game during their second championship season in the 1980s. In Week 7, San Francisco, despite having a 17-10 fourth-quarter lead over the visiting Steelers, would surrender 10 unanswered points in a 20-17 defeat.
While San Francisco would cap off their 15-1 season with a Super Bowl victory, the Steelers would fall to Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game.
Browns vs. Rams
After winning four championships in the All-American Football Conference, many fans wondered if the Browns could continue their winning ways after joining the NFL in 1950. Cleveland would do exactly that, winning nine of their first 11 games before defeating the Rams in one of the greatest championship games in NFL history.
After falling behind by eight points entering the fourth quarter, Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham led the Browns on two scoring drives that enabled them to come out with a 30-28 victory. Graham threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns, while the Browns’ defense recorded four critical interceptions of Los Angeles quarterback Bob Waterfield.
On Dec. 8, 1940, the Bears defeated the Redskins in the NFL Championship Game, 73-0. The victory is still the most lopsided victory in NFL history. Chicago amassed 381 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, while their defense returned three interceptions for touchdowns.
Dolphins vs. Cowboys
On Thanksgiving Day, 1993, Leon Lett, months after committing one of the greatest blunders in Super Bowl history, would commit one of the most memorable moments in the history of Thanksgiving football.
Lett’s Cowboys, leading Miami by a point with just seconds remaining, began to celebrate after blocking the Dolphins’ game-winning field goal attempt. Lett, thinking the ball was still in play, slipped while trying to jump onto the loose pigskin, creating a fumble that Miami recovered. Lett’s gaffe allowed the Dolphins to try another kick, with the second attempt splitting the uprights to give Miami the improbable win.
While Lett and the Cowboys lost that day, they would still win their second consecutive Super Bowl, defeating the Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII.
While the 7-9 Seahawks were a decided underdog entering their first-round playoff matchup against the defending champion Saints, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch made a play that would spearhead the Seahawks’ upset victory. The ground was shaking at CenturyLink Field as Lynch made a play that would later coin him a nickname — Beast Mode.
Leading by four points with just over three minutes left, Lynch’s improbable 67-yard scoring run put the game on ice while providing one of the greatest runs in NFL history.
The game was a preview of what was ahead for Lynch and the Seahawks, who would win two NFC titles and Super Bowl XLVIII later in the decade.