The NFL has seen some of the most awe-inspiring comebacks in the history of sports. While very few can match the legendary March Madness comeback of Texas A&M versus Northern Iowa in the 2017 tournament, some teams have conjured magic out of the pigskin, generating greatly-memorable comebacks.
With the rise of the passing offense in the last 20 to 30 years, many comebacks that are covered in this list will be from recent memory. However, over the course of this article’s history, games from all across NFL history will be published. The first few will be from the 21st-century with one notable exception, but over time, a larger catalog of games will be covered.
The anatomy of a comeback has a variety of methods. Some comebacks are generated heavily by offensive production, including those led by Hall of Fame, or future Hall of Fame, quarterbacks such as Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. Other comebacks are fueled by defensive or special teams efforts. All three facets of the game are required to generate comeback as the offense must score points while the defense and special teams take points away from the opponent and prey on catastrophic mistakes made by the other team.
As of writing, the largest comeback in the history of the NFL is 32 points for the Buffalo Bills against Houston Oilers. The largest comeback in the Super Bowl was the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII as they overcame a 25-point deficit to down the Falcons. While four-possession comebacks such as Super Bowl LIII rarely happen, they are a joy to watch for those without a rooting interest.
Many comebacks act as a combination of self-inflicted wounds by the leading team and a variety of serendipitous breaks for the losing team. As with any sport, incredible luck is required in order to manufacture a large comeback. Sometimes, a turnover or penalty can spark an electric comeback, while some comebacks never materialize or fall just short.
The list will be updated throughout the 2019 season and beyond as teams create magical moments on the football field. While the article is generally focused on historical comebacks, recent comebacks will be addressed over time.
Some of the following comebacks could result in a string of dominance, while others were one-offs in an era of poor performance.
As a general rule, any comeback on the list must be multiple possessions. Many comebacks on the list will be playoff games, but it is not a requirement.
The following articles may be disturbing for those teams known as choke artists including the 2016 Falcons.