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The Most Iconic Moments in NFL History

Like many a league sport, the National Football League has had some standout moments in its 103-year history. Let us take a trip through NFL history to discover the most iconic moments in American football.

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 24.07.2023
Most Iconic Moments in NFL History

Like many a league sport, the National Football League has had some standout moments in its 103-year history. However, very few sports have given us the same jaw-dropping plays and miraculous comebacks that the NFL has consistently delivered. For decades, the fans attending stadiums and casual viewers of TV specials alike have been left on the edge of their seats by the thrilling action unfolding on the pitch.


From the Steelers' "immaculate reception" to the Miracle in Miami, let us take a trip through NFL history to discover the most iconic moments in American football.

The Immaculate Reception (1972)

The Immaculate Reception occurred over 50 years ago, but it remains one of the most iconic NFL moments of all time.


During the closing seconds of a playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders, the Steelers' Franco Harris defied gravity. With absolutely no time to lose, he caught a deflected pass, floated in mid-air, and turned that pass into a touchdown. This improbable moment catapulted the Steelers to victory, setting the stage for the dynasty that was to come.

The Catch (1982)

Since the very beginning of the NFL, we have been treated to some legendary plays, but none have quite been edged into football lore in the same way as "The Catch".


This pivotal play happened during the 1981 NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. With under a minute left on the clock, quarterback Joe Montana delivered a pinpoint pass to Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone, securing a touchdown and propelling the 49ers to victory.

The Music City Miracle (two thousand)

The 1999-2000 NFL playoffs will rightly be remembered for the "Music City Miracle". During the wildcard game between the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills, the Titans needed just one more point to win, but with 16 seconds remaining, the odds were more than stacked against them. However, the dream team of Lorenzo Neal and Frank Wycheck stretched time as they got the ball to Kevin Dyson, just in time for him to race down the sideline and dive into the touchdown.

The Largest NFL Betting Payout

Before we head into a new century of on-pitch moments, let us take a look at the NFL betting payout that made history. The advent of iGaming has meant that real money wagering activities, whether that’s playing online blackjack at Joe Fortune or backing sports teams on mobile bookmakers apps’, are more popular than ever before. National Football is a hugely popular sport among punters, with many scouring comparison sites to secure the most lucrative betting markets. Billy Walters is one of those punters who knew exactly how to play the odds, earning life-changing winnings after betting on several NFL games.


For instance, in 2007, he landed one of his biggest bets after backing USC Trojans $2.2 million to beat the Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. However, even that bet pales in comparison to his Super Bowl XLIV wager.


In 2010, he bet $3.5 million on the underdog team — New Orleans Saints — to win against the Colts. The Saints triumphed, finishing the match at 31-17 and handing Walter his biggest-ever win in the process.

The Helmet Catch (2008)

Super Bowl XLII will forever be remembered for one of the most spectacular plays ever witnessed when the New York Giants ruined what was shaping up to be a perfect season for the Patriots. In a series of moments that echoed the supernatural catch from 1982, they snatched that undefeated record away from the Patriots.


Eli Manning eluded multiple defenders, only to end up heaving the pass downfield. Then, in an incredible display of skill and athleticism, receiver David Tyree caught and pinned the ball to his helmet, securing a crucial catch that kept his team's drive alive.

The Miracle in Miami (2018)

There's something about the NFL that attracts plenty of miracles, and the next miracle to make a list is the 2018 "Miracle in Miami", which unfolded during a regular-season game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins.


With seconds remaining and the Patriots leading, the Dolphins executed multiple laterals in a desperate attempt to score. Wide receiver Kenny Stills tossed the ball to DeVante Parker, who then pitched it to running back Kenyan Drake. Drake sprinted down the sideline and crossed the goal line just as time expired to secure this improbable victory.

The Philly Special (2018)

If there is one thing, we will always remember Super Bowl LII for, it is the brilliant and audacious teamwork of the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles. In a game that saw the Eagles face off against the mighty New England Patriots, the underdogs served up the Philly Special and history was made.


With the team in a crucial fourth-down situation near the goal line, Quarterback Nick Foles had the shotgun in hand. However, instead of taking a direct snap, the ball snapped back to Corey Clement, who instantly flipped it to Trey Burton. Unbeknownst to the Patriots, Foles then slipped out into the end zone, ready and waiting to receive Burton's game-winning touchdown pass.

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