NFL Network today released its June schedule of “NFL Classics,” original broadcasts of memorable games shown in their entirety for the first time since they were played. If you don’t get NFL Network, you should probably be calling someone about that problem right now. All games air Thursday at 8pm ET:
June 7 — Oakland Raiders vs. New England Patriots (Jan. 2002, CBS). Three inches of snow fell during the final game at New England’s Foxboro Stadium. Kicker Adam Vinatieri sent the game into overtime with a 45-yard FG five plays after the “Tuck Rule” overturned an apparent Patriots’ fumble. Vinatieri won the game with a 23-yard kick in overtime as the Patriots defeated the Raiders 16-13. [And so started Vinatieri’s stretch of clutch postseason kicks.]
June 14 — New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts (Jan. 2007, CBS) Down 21-3 in the first half, Peyton Manning led the Colts to the biggest comeback in conference championship game history with 32 second-half points in a 38-34 win over the New England Patriots in last year’s instant classic AFC Championship Game. [This is also when “genius” and Bill Belichick stopped being synonymous.]
June 21 — Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers (Jan. 2004, FOX) A 52-yard INT-return touchdown by Packers DB Al Harris gave Green Bay a 33-27 overtime victory against Seattle in an NFC Wild Card game. Harris intercepted a pass thrown by Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck, who exclaimed after Seattle won the OT coin toss: “We want the ball, and we’re gonna score!” [I hated this game, since it made the Packers think they were better than they actually were. Fortunately, we’d have the classic “4th and 26″ debacle vs. the Eagles a week later.]
June 28 — New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers (Jan. 2003, FOX) It was the second largest comeback in NFL history. Down by more than three touchdowns late in the third quarter of a 2002 NFC Wild Card game, QB Jeff Garcia and the 49ers scored 25 unanswered points to defeat the Giants 39-38. [Giants’ long snapper Trey Junkin botched the snap on a FG that would’ve won the game. I remember this well, because my real-estate agent was the mom of an NFL long snapper and told us the price tag of long snappers went up after that game. Moms, teach your kids the lucrative art of long snapping.]
Michael J.King Sr.