It’s not over ’til it’s over. Furthermore, when you’re down, you’re not necessarily out. Those are just two of the many sayings that teach us never to quit. And though they hold a lot of value in how people conduct their lives, they also mean a lot in the world of sports. Football, a game of ebbs and flows, relies on momentum.
Finding ways to make big plays is what talented teams do to pull out victories in tough contests that start as dominating performances for opponents. The impossible comeback has become a staple in the National Football League over the past several decades. At the center of many of these classic events are the field generals who took their franchises to places they never thought they’d be. Here are five quarterbacks who staged the greatest comebacks in NFL history.
1. Frank Reich
Back when the Buffalo Bills were relevant — in the early 1990s — quarterback Jim Kelly was the man who led his team to many tough wins. Late in the 1993 NFL season, he got injured right before the playoffs began, leaving backup quarterback Frank Reich to step in as the starter. The Bills faced the Houston Oilers in the wild card round of the AFC playoffs, the same team that injured Kelly and handily beat the Bills the week before, by a score of 27-3.
Many Buffalo fans were pessimistic about their chances to win with Reich as QB. And when the Oilers jumped out to a 32-point lead early in the third quarter, all hope was lost. That is, until Reich brought the Bills all the way back with three second-half touchdown passes, which actually put Buffalo in the lead until Houston took the game to overtime with a field goal. In OT, Steve Christie kicked a 32-yard field goal to give Buffalo a 41–38 win. The Bills would eventually advance all the way to Super Bowl XXVII, where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys.