Six Longest NFL Games Ever

An average NFL game time is clocked at 60 minutes. But do you know which games span out the most? Want to find out which matches are the most extended NFL games ever? Stick around as we look at the 6 Longest NFL Games Ever. 

NFL matches in themselves are taxing and demand a grueling physical presence on the pitch. But to match that up for an extended amount of time is no joke. Moreover, it is physically demanding and mentally takes the wind out of your sails.

So, without much delay, let’s dive deep into the 6 Longest NFL Games Ever.

Six Longest NFL Games Ever

The list mentioned below is compiled from various sources around the web, such as Fox Sports and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Quickly, let’s have an overview of the 6 Longest NFL Games Ever.

Game among Different NFL teamsOfficial Game Time
6. 2004 NFC Playoffs: Panthers vs. Rams75 minutes, 10 seconds
5. 1977 AFC Playoffs: Raiders vs. Colts75 minutes, 43 seconds
4. 2012 AFC Playoffs: Ravens vs. Broncos76 minutes, 42 seconds
3. 1986 AFC Playoffs: Browns vs. Jets77 minutes, 2 seconds
2. 1962 AFL Championship: Texans vs. Oilers77 minutes, 54 seconds
1. 1971 AFC Playoffs: Dolphins vs. Chiefs82 minutes, 40 seconds

6. 2004 NFC Playoffs: Panthers vs. Rams

  • Official Game Time: 75 minutes, 10 seconds
  • Match Scoreline: Panthers 29-23 Rams

In one of the most tantalizing NFC Playoffs, Carolina Panthers overcame St. Louis Rams 29-23 despite surrendering an 11 point lead. The gripping match lasted for an official game time of 75 minutes and 10 seconds.

The thrilling matchup saw Panthers blow an 11-point lead in the final 2 minutes 39 seconds. However, they stuck to their guns through the double overtime to take home the win.

Moreover, courtesy to Steve Smith’s clutch 69-yard touchdown, Panthers left the Rams stumped after a valiant effort to tie the game.

longest-nfl-games-ever
Panthers vs. Rams in the 2004 NFC Playoffs. (Source: panthers.com)

After falling back to an 11-point deficit, St. Louis found their inner spirits and made an incredible comeback to tie the game in regulation time.

What’s more, the Rams nearly snatched victory on the first possession of overtime after an onside kick recovered was followed on by a sumptuous 33-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins.

However, the Panthers rallied through the challenging period and stuck their heads in. On the first snap of the second overtime, Steve Smith received Delhomme’s pass and carried into the end zone to win the sixth-longest game in NFL history.

As a result, the double-overtime win marked one of the craziest and most nail-biting finishes in NFL history. On the other hand, it left the sellout crowd home shocked and in unbelievable silence as the Rams lost their first playoff loss in their dome in 2004.

5. 1977 AFC Playoffs: Raiders vs. Colts

  • Official Game Time: 75 minutes, 43 seconds
  • Match Scoreline: Raiders 37-31 Colts

In an enthralling matchup in 1977, the Oakland Raiders overcame a tough fight put forth by the then-Baltimore Colts 37-31. The match, which would later be famous for the “Ghost to the Post” play, lasted for 75 minutes 43 seconds.

Explaining the preamble to “Ghost to the Post,” Dave Casper was cheekily given the nickname “The Ghost,” named after Casper the Friendly Ghost. 

The “Ghost to the Post” is a noteworthy play in the NFL history. Moreover, it signifies a 42-yard pass from Ken Stabler to Dave Casper, which set up a game-tying field goal in the dying embers of regulation time.

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While the first quarter of the match was primarily down to defensive intricacies, the second half began with both teams on a scoring spree. However, the Raiders were on top by its end, with a scoreline of 21-17 in favor of Raiders.

The game came to life in the fourth quarter. With both teams having an incredible to-and-fro between them, the Baltimore Colts held the lead for most of the fourth quarter.

However, the “Ghost to the Post” play which saw Casper grasp on to a high, arching pass from Stabler, tied the match with 29 seconds left on the clock.

Casper was once again the man with the golden touch as he scored the winner after receiving a glorious 10-yard touchdown pass from Stabler in the 43rd second of the second overtime.

As of 2022, the 1977 AFC Playoffs between Raiders and Colts is the fifth-longest game in NFL history.

4. 2012 AFC Playoffs: Ravens vs. Broncos

  • Official Game Time: 76 minutes, 42 seconds
  • Match Scoreline: Ravens 38-35 Broncos

The 2012 AFC Playoffs between the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos is a nerve-wracking classic. This epic encounter, also famously referred to as The Mile High Miracle, ended 38-35 in favor of the Ravens, which lasted for 76 minutes and 42 seconds.

Furthermore, “The Mile High Miracle” got its name after Jacoby Jones received a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to tie the game, with just 31 seconds left in the regulation time. 

longest-nfl-games-ever
The Mile High Miracle: 2012 AFC Playoffs between Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos.

After defeating the Ravens at their home turf during the regular season, the Broncos were confident in their quest to repeat the same post-season as well.

However, as the Ravens rallied to push the Broncos to a double-overtime, it was not the smooth sailing that the Broncos initially hoped it would.

The game had it all – from high-scoring sprees, recurring touchdowns, lead changes to single-digit temperatures. Moreover, the coldest game in Denver’s history was described as “one of the most exciting and entertaining post-season games in NFL history” by Sports Illustrated.

In one of the most invigorating matchups in the NFL history, Ravens and Broncos were toe-to-toe at 14-14 at the end of the first quarter, 21-21 at halftime, 28-28 through the third, and 35-35 after regulation time – forcing the game into overtime.

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The game eventually ended after a minute and 42 seconds into the second overtime, when the rookie kicker Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal to make a 38–35 win for the Baltimore Ravens.

A rollercoaster epic in its own right, the 2012 AFC Playoffs between the Ravens and the Broncos is the fourth-longest game ever.

3. 1986 AFC Playoffs: Browns vs. Jets

  • Official Game Time: 77 minutes, 2 seconds
  • Match Scoreline: Browns 23-20 Jets

Another classic matchup on our list, the 1986 AFC Playoffs between Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, which lasted for 77 minutes and 2 seconds, ended 23-20 in Browns’ favor.

Despite heading into the fourth quarter with a 20-10 lead, the Jets capitulated in the final fourth quarter of the match. Meanwhile, despite their lead, the Jets were statistically outplayed in every measure. 

With just 4 minutes 14 seconds left on the clock, the Browns came out swinging, instigating an inspiring comeback that forced the game into overtime.

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Rallying his troops with a clutch touchdown, Cleveland’s running back, Kevin Mack, scored a touchdown to bring the score to 20-17. Shortly after that, Mark Moseley scored a late goal to force the match into overtime which meant the Jets surrendered a 20-10 lead in 4 minutes.

Moseley was again in the thick of things as he scored the winning goal that sent Browns to the 1986 AFC title match.

As of 2022, the 1986 AFC Playoffs between Browns and Jets ranks as the third-longest NFL game ever.

2. 1962 AFL Championship: Texans vs. Oilers

  • Official Game Time: 77 minutes, 54 seconds
  • Match Scoreline: Texans 20-17 Oilers

The longest championship game in professional history, the 1962 AFL Championship matchup between Dallas Texans and Houston Oilers lasted for 77 minutes and 54 seconds, where the Texans won the match 20-17.

Dallas Texans dominated the initial phase of the game to a point where they led the match 17-0. However, courtesy of a significant capitulation on their end and an extraordinary performance on the Oilers’ end, the game went into overtime.

Oilers’ quarterback George Blanda was at the forefront of their comeback battle. He mustered a heroic equalizer to force the game into overtime after seemingly being out of the match early on.

The 1962 AFL Championship match between Dallas Texans and Houston Oilers.

During the overtime, neither team could conjure up the finishing blow as both teams remained cautious and weren’t ready to take any risks. But all of that changed after the Texans intercepted George Blanda at the end of the first overtime.

Moreover, the Texans team started believing in their ability to see the game through. And so they did, after a grueling 77 minutes and 54 seconds on the field.

Finally, in scenes of complete jubilation and joy, head coach Hank Stram was serenaded with champagne in their final game.

As of 2022, this classic encounter ranks as the second-longest match in NFL history.

1. 1971 AFC Playoffs: Dolphins vs. Chiefs

  • Official Game Time: 82 minutes, 40 seconds
  • Match Scoreline: Dolphins 27-24 Chiefs

On a cold Christmas day in 1971, two of the most prominent teams in the NFL met – the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs. Moreover, playing for a marathon-esque period of 82 minutes and 40 seconds, Dolphins and the Chiefs made history with the longest game played in NFL history.

With a see-saw battle throughout the match, both teams had their moments of brilliance on the pitch. Chiefs dominated the first quarter taking a commanding lead of 10-0.

However, with the “if they can do it, so can we” mentality, Dolphins came out with all guns blazing, tying the match 10-10 at the end of the second quarter.

Following two quarters where each team took turns to dominate, the third quarter was more of an even battle. Both teams scored touchdowns, and the match went to the final fourth quarter.

The Chiefs led in the fourth quarter, with the scoreline reading 24-17 in favor of the Chiefs. However, Dolphins fought back hard and equalized with a minute and 25 seconds left in the final quarter.

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs (Source: Sportscastimg)
AFC Divisional Playoffs – Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs (Source: Sportscasting)

With just 35 seconds left and the score tied at 24-24, Jan Stenerud had a golden opportunity to win it for the Chiefs. But, to his disappointment and of the Chiefs, Jan fluffed his lines and missed his mark – forcing the game into overtime.

Wrecked by exhaustion and palpable tension, both teams missed some glorious opportunities to win it for their teams in the first overtime. But, despite a flurry of missed chances, neither team was ready to face the barrel of defeat.

But the deadlock was broken halfway through the sixth quarter when Yepremian scored from 37-yards out, clinching victory for the Miami Dolphins.

Conclusion

NFL throughout the years has been a treat to watch. Even more so, when the matches are so tantalizingly close that they require multiple overtimes to ascertain a winner.

Moreover, the matches mentioned above represent the beauty of the NFL, where heroes are born, and long-fought battles are decided in the intricacies. 

And with that, we come to the end of our coverage on the Six Longest NFL Games Ever.

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