Best Monday Night Football Games in NFL History
Monday Night Football has been around since 1970. While most games are broadcast on Sunday, the Monday Night game gives fans something to look forward to following the end of the weekend. Because it’s the only game on, most NFL fans tune into Monday Night Football.
Over the years, we’ve seen some of the greatest games of all time on Monday Night. I want to look back and discuss those great games.
Let’s check them out.
7. Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns (2020)
In 2020, a pair of AFC North opponents met on Monday Night Football, looking to strengthen their postseason chances.
The Baltimore Ravens entered 7-5, while the Cleveland Browns were 9-3. While it wasn’t a must-win for Baltimore, a loss would’ve put their playoff hopes in jeopardy.
Cleveland came out and went right down the field, taking a 7-0 lead on a seven-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb. The Ravens responded with a five-yard touchdown run by Lamar Jackson.
Following a Browns missed field goal and a punt for each team, Baltimore grabbed their first lead of the game on a Gus Edwards touchdown run. Of course, Cleveland came right back with Chubb’s second touchdown run of the night.
With 52 seconds left in the first half, Baltimore sat at their own 44-yard line. Here is how they closed out the drive.
- 39-yard pass to Mark Andrews
- 17-yard touchdown run by Lamar Jackson
Baltimore went into the second half with a 21-14 lead.
It looked like Baltimore was home free, as they took a 34-20 lead into the fourth quarter. However, Jackson had to exit the game with “cramps.” That’s when Cleveland scored 15 straight points to go up 35-34.
Just before the two-minute warning, Trace McSorley injured his knee. That’s when Jackson returned from the sideline for a 4th & 5.
Then, Cleveland went 75 yards in 47 seconds to tie the game. The problem was, they left Jackson too much time.
He put his team in field goal range, where Justin Tucker kicked the game-winning 55-yard field goal with two seconds left. A last-second safety gave Baltimore a 47-42 victory.
There wasn’t much defense, but this game had just about everything else.
6. Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets (2000)
In Week 8 of the 2000 season, the Miami Dolphins went on the road to face off with the New York Jets. Both teams entered 5-1 and were looking to pick up a crucial division win.
From the start, it was all Miami. Their first three drives consisted of a field goal, touchdown, and touchdown. Meanwhile, the Jets opened the game with three three and outs.
New York finally got on the board on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Wayne Chrebet. Miami added a pair of field goals in the second quarter to give them a 23-7 lead at halftime.
Miami added to the lead with a three-yard touchdown run by Lamar Smith. There was little hope for the Jets, as they entered the fourth quarter facing a 23-point deficit.
That’s when the “Monday Night Miracle” happened.
The Jets completely flipped the script. This is how their six fourth-quarter drives went.
- Field Goal
- Field Goal
Three touchdown passes by Vinny Testaverde and a field goal by John Hall tied the game at 30. Immediately following the game-tying touchdown, Miami retook the lead on a 46-yard touchdown pass to Leslie Shepherd.
With 42 seconds remaining, Testaverde threw his fourth touchdown of the quarter to tie the game.
On the first drive of overtime, Miami threw an interception to Marcus Coleman, but his fumble gave Miami the ball back. A few plays later, Coleman had another interception.
Testaverde finished the game with 378 yards and five touchdowns. His fourth-quarter performance was the driving force in the Jets comeback.
For three quarters, this looked like another blowout game. In the fourth quarter, we saw one of the greatest comebacks in Monday Night history.
5. Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Oilers (1978)
Late in the 1978 season, the 8-3 Miami Dolphins faced off with the 7-4 Houston Oilers.
After missing the first seven games of the season with a knee injury, Bob Griese returned to guide the Dolphins. On the other side, Earl Campbell was the star of Houston’s offense.
Miami struck first with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nat Moore. It didn’t take long for Houston to respond with a one-yard touchdown run for Campbell. Each team added another touchdown in the second quarter to go into halftime tied at 14.
In the third quarter, it was a similar story. Campbell had a six-yard touchdown run, while the Dolphins had a short touchdown of their own.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins took a 23-21 lead on a safety.
His 12-yard touchdown run gave Houston a five-point lead. With the Dolphins driving down the field for the game-winning drive, Griese threw an interception at the Oilers 19-yard line.
With the game in the bag, they ran the ball with Campbell. Well, Campbell took the first handoff 81 yards for another touchdown.
Here are his final numbers.
- 28 carries
- 199 yards
- 4 touchdowns
Griese had a last-second touchdown, but it wasn’t enough. The Oilers won the game 35-30.
While Campbell had a legendary performance, Griese had a very impressive performance himself. He went 23/33 with 349 yards and two touchdowns.
These two teams actually met again in the playoffs. Once again, Houston got the best of Miami with a 17-9 victory.
Campbell went on to have a Hall of Fame career. That Hall of Fame career began with this legendary performance on Monday Night Football.
4. Indianapolis Colts vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2003)
Three years after the New York Jets pulled off the “Monday Night Miracle,” the Indianapolis Colts had a legendary comeback of their own.
The Colts came into the matchup 4-0, while the Buccaneers began their Super Bowl defense with a 2-1 start.
From the start, it was a dominating performance from the Buccaneers. Just under five minutes into the game, Brad Johnson hit Keenan McCardell for a 73-yard touchdown.
A few minutes later, the Colts had an interception. On the return, Mike Doss fumbled, with McCardell picking it up and scoring another touchdown.
An early touchdown in the second quarter gave Tampa Bay a 21-0 lead at halftime.
Peyton Manning connected with Marvin Harrison for a 37-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. However, Indianapolis’ defense couldn’t stop Tampa Bay.
Following a big kickoff return, the Colts scored on a three-yard touchdown run by James Mungro. Then, the Colts recovered the onside kick. A 28-yard touchdown pass to Harrison with just over three minutes remaining brought the deficit to seven.
Indianapolis’ defense forced a stop to give Manning a chance to tie the game.
Aided by a 52-yard pass to Harrison, the Colts went 85 yards in 36 seconds to tie the game. Tampa Bay had a chance to win it, but the Colts blocked the potential game-winning field goal.
In overtime, Tampa Bay punted while Indianapolis drove the ball into field goal range. Kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed the game-winner, but a penalty on the Buccaneers gave him another chance. He drilled the kick to give the Colts a 38-35 victory.
I’d say it was one of the best comebacks in sports history.
That night, everyone learned you can never count out Peyton Manning.
3. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos (1994)
Who doesn’t love a battle between two great quarterbacks? That’s exactly what we got when Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs took on John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
Kansas City came into the game 3-2, while Denver had a rough 1-4 start.
Neither team found the end zone in the first quarter but both offenses woke up in the second quarter.
Leonard Russell’s 12-yard touchdown run gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead. Not long after, Kansas City responded with a seven-yard touchdown run by Marcus Allen.
Before the end of the first half, Montana and Elway added in a touchdown pass to make it 14-14.
In the third quarter, it was the same story. Montana had a four-yard touchdown pass to Joe Valerio. Elway responded with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Evans. Those scores sent the game to the final quarter tied at 21.
The Chiefs grabbed the lead on a 19-yard field goal by Lin Elliott. Elway led the Broncos down the field and scored on a four-yard touchdown run with just under 90 seconds remaining. Now Montana may have been past his prime but he could still lead his team on a game-winning drive.
Denver gave Montana too much time. He led the Chiefs down the field and threw the game-winning touchdown with eight seconds left.
Check out the final numbers for each quarterback.
|Joe Montana||John Elway|
There is always a lot of hype when two of the game’s greatest quarterbacks face off. On that Monday night in Denver, this battle lived up to the hype and then some.
2. Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins (1985)
What is it about the Miami Dolphins and exciting Monday Night Football games? Miami has been on the wrong end of their previous two appearances on this list, but this one is a different story.
Behind one of the greatest defenses of all time, the Chicago Bears entered this matchup 12-0. They were looking to become the second team in NFL history to finish the season undefeated.
Of all teams, you know the Dolphins wanted to prevent that from happening.
Miami’s offense came out on fire. Check out their first five possessions.
- Field Goal
Dan Marino threw a pair of touchdowns to Nat Moore to give Miami a 31-10 lead at halftime. By then, it was apparent the Bears defense couldn’t stop Marino and the Dolphins offense.
Chicago running back Steve Fuller had a one-yard touchdown in the third quarter, but Miami responded with a 42-yard touchdown by Mark Clayton. The ball was tipped at the line, but it bounced downfield into the hands of a wide-open Clayton.
The Bears concluded the third quarter with a touchdown pass to Ken Margerum.
That was it for the night, as the Dolphins went on to defeat the Bears 38-24.
In the end, this turned out to be Chicago’s only loss of the season. They finished the season 15-1 and won the Super Bowl.
We nearly had a rematch in the Super Bowl but the Dolphins lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
The 1985 Bears may have one of the greatest defenses of all time but they had nothing for the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams (2018)
We’ve seen a lot of games from the 1980s and 1990s. This is a game that younger and older fans know very well.
In 2018, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams had two of the best offenses in the league. Both teams came into this matchup 9-1.
Los Angeles jumped out to a 14-0 lead thanks to a pair of touchdown passes by Jared Goff. Patrick Mahomes threw a 25-yarder to Tyreek Hill to send the Chiefs into the second quarter with a six-point deficit.
Following a field goal by each team, the Chiefs took their first lead of the game on a 21-yard touchdown catch by Kareem Hunt. Each team scored a touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half to make it a 23-23 game at halftime.
Kansas City came roaring back with a 73-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. On the next Chiefs drive, Allen Bailey scored on a two-yard fumble return to give the Chiefs a 44-40 lead.
Following a Rams touchdown, the Chiefs went back ahead with just under three minutes remaining. Los Angeles immediately responded with a go-ahead touchdown with just under two minutes remaining.
Mahomes and the Chiefs offense had two more chances, but a pair of interceptions ended their hopes. Los Angeles won the game 54-51.
Here is the final stat line for each quarterback.
|Patrick Mahomes||Jared Goff|
This game was the third highest-scoring game in NFL history. It also marked the first time in NFL history both teams scored over 50 points.
If you want to know how great this game is, the NFL’s official YouTube titled the highlights to this game “The Greatest Regular Season Game of All Time?”
Other Great Monday Night Football Games
- Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers (1983)
- Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (2003)
Before the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams combined to score 105 points, the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins combined for a then Monday Night Football record 95 points.
It was a back-and-forth affair that finally ended when the Packers kicked a field goal with under a minute remaining. Washington’s missed field goal gave Green Bay the 48-47 victory.
The Atlanta Falcons New Orleans Saints matchup wasn’t a great game by football standards, but it marked the Saints return to the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina.
Steve Gleason’s blocked punt will live on in history forever.
Monday Night Football has produced legendary games in their 50+ year run. Hopefully, we’ll see many more.
Do you want to know what makes Monday Night Football more exciting? Betting! Check out the top NFL betting sites to place your bets.