Four one-score games. Four games in which the team won on the final play. Over ten total lead changes. Three road teams coming out on top.
The 2022 NFL Divisional Round was one of the most remarkable weekends of football in recent memory with all four of its games coming down to the wire, not to mention several story lines surrounding every game.
The Titans, Packers and Buccaneers all lost on walk-off field goals and could all have different quarterbacks leading their team next season.
The Bills certainly won’t have a different quarterback next year, but Josh Allen’s lack of an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime sparked yet another Twitter war regarding the NFL’s controversial overtime rules.
The Bengals are going to the AFC Championship for the first time in 31 years. Matthew Stafford is finally getting his time to shine, and the Rams could’ve been the last team to ever face Tom Brady. The Chiefs have a chance to become the league’s next dynasty. And the 49ers are shocking the world after beating two of the NFL’s best offenses.
All the drama begs the question – did we witness the best weekend of football ever?
It’s tough to give a confident “no” to this question. The last time every Divisional Round game was decided by one score was in 2016 when the Broncos and their blistering defense beat the Steelers, MVP Cam Newton and the Panthers beat the Seahawks, Brady and the Patriots beat Alex Smith and the Chiefs and the Cardinals beat the Packers in overtime when Larry Fitzgerald scored a touchdown on the first possession.
So, just like 2022, all four games were decided by a touchdown or less, and one of the games went to overtime with the team winning the coin toss scoring a touchdown on its first possession.
But none of the games ended with game-winning field goals. And all four home teams won their respective games.
Plus, Twitter wasn’t what it is today back in 2016, so there wasn’t nearly as much debate when the Cardinals beat the Packers in overtime.
And there wasn’t an eye-popping quarterback match up like Patrick Mahomes versus Josh Allen. Peyton Manning was over the hill when he faced Ben Roethlisberger. And many fans thought Manning’s time in the league was running low, but the Broncos won their game (and ended up winning the Super Bowl).
No team had a 31-year conference championship drought. And no team had a second-year quarterback like Joe Burrow.
No team got their MVP-caliber running back back after an injury which sidelined him for the second half of the season like Derrick Henry.
The list goes on and on. I think it’s safe to say, at least in recent memory, the 2022 Divisional Round was the best weekend of NFL action we’ve seen.