Posted January 14, 2014

PHOTOS: Best AFC and NFC Championship Games in NFL history

NFL history, NFL Playoffs, Photos
John Elway drives the Broncos down the field during the AFC title game in 1986.

John Elway drives the Broncos down the field during the AFC title game in 1986. (John Biever/SI)

Championship Sunday is on the horizon, and it has the potential to be an all-timer. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers will head to Seattle to face their bitter NFC West rivals, the Seahawks. On the other side, it’s the 15th meeting between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as the Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots for AFC supremacy. In honor of these heavyweight bouts, we look back at the best AFC, NFC title games in NFL history.

PHOTOS: Best AFC Chamionship Games: 1986: Broncos 23, Browns 20 (OT) (above) – “The game is known, simply, as, ‘The Drive.’ It epitomized the legend that was Broncos quarterback John Elway’s late-game heroics. What some tend to forget is the Browns actually had the first crack at rendering Elway’s legendary 15-play, 98-yard game-tying drive into a footnote. The Browns won the overtime toss, but could not move the ball and it was Elway’s final drive, during which he moved the Broncos 60 yards, that set up the game-winning Rich Karlis kick.”

Emmitt Smith (left) rushed for 114 yards and tallied two touchdowns (one receiving) in the Cowboys' win over the 49ers.

Emmitt Smith (left) rushed for 114 yards and tallied two touchdowns (one receiving) in the Cowboys’ win over the 49ers. (John Biever/SI)

PHOTOS: Best NFC Championship Games: 1992: Cowboys 30, 49ers 20 – “Ever wonder where Jimmy Johnson’s ‘How `bout dem Cowboys!’ giddy howl came from? It was after this one, in a joyous Cowboys locker room. And it was well deserved. The Cowboys set up their 1990s dynasty in protypical style, choking the life — and the football — out of the 49ers defensively and making big plays offensively. Dallas forced four crucial turnovers and got huge games out of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin.”

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