Getting Tricky In The NFL Playoffs

The Kansas City Chiefs probably used more of the playbook than it needed to during a 42-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round. The NFL odds of Chiefs offensive lineman Nick Allegretti catching a touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes or Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce throwing for a score in the same game were low. However, Kansas City pulled both of them out in the same game.

Tricking opponents in big games has a rich history during the NFL playoffs. Teams want to pull out all the stops in the biggest games. More than one of them has swung the balance of Super Bowls, as well as other memorable games.

Dan Reeves, Ice Bowl hero

Dan Reeves had a long career as an NFL coach but started as a running back with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s. He could have made the most memorable play of the 1967 NFL championship game, better known as the Ice Bowl, had Bart Starr not rallied the Packers for a 21-17 victory. 

During the fourth quarter, Reeves put Dallas ahead 17-14. While carrying the ball in the backfield, Reeves would fire a 50-yard pass to Lance Rentzel to put Dallas ahead. The play would end up being the longest by either team all game.

Sealing the Win

Robert Newhouse, a Dallas Cowboys running back, attempted three passes during his 11-year career in the NFL. While Newhouse did throw two touchdowns, it was the second of those two that left an impact on the fabric of the Super Bowl. The Cowboys were leading the Broncos 20-10 in the first quarter of Super Bowl XII and were looking for a play to put the game away.

Dallas handed the ball to Newhouse, who rolled out and fired a pass to Golden Richards, who was able to find the endzone from 29-yards out. The Cowboys won their second Super Bowl with a 27-10 victory.

Philly, Philly

Coming up with a play on fourth-and-short play in Super Bowl LII wasn’t something the Philadelphia Eagles took lightly. Finding a successful scoring play against the dynastic New England Patriots’ dynasty with 34 seconds left before halftime was crucial for Philadelphia, which had never won the Super Bowl. The Eagles decided to go with what is now known as the Philly special.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles went into motion and the ball was snapped directly to tight end Trey Burton. Burton then fired a pass to Foles, who was wide open to give Philadelphia a 22-12 halftime lead. The Eagles would survive a late rally from New England to score a 41-33 win and their first Super Bowl.


The Seattle Seahawks had overcome many challenges during its Super Bowl XL. The Seahawks fell behind 14-3 when Steelers running back Willie Parker scored on a 75-yard touchdown run. However, Matt Hasselbeck pulled Seattle within one score when he found Jerramy Stevens for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 6:45 left in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Steelers coach Bill Cowher put his multi-talented athletes into position to make a big play. Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, who played quarterback in college at Indiana, took a reverse hand-off and rolled toward the far sideline. Randle El would throw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward, who had also played quarterback in college at Georgia. 

This was the first time in Super Bowl history a wide receiver had thrown a touchdown pass. Pittsburgh would go on to win its fifth Super Bowl, 21-10.


With six seconds remaining in the first half of a 1982 playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers, Miami was trailing 24-17. The Dolphins would then pull off a play that caught the defense off guard. Miami completed a pass to Duriel Harris, who pitched to Tony Nathan, who had been trailing the play.

Once Nathan took the pitch, he was able to get into the endzone as time expired. While the score gave the Dolphins a second chance, it was only the beginning of what became known as the Epic in Miami. However, despite Miami’s big plays, San Diego was still able to grab a 41-38 victory in overtime. Kellen Winslow blocked a field goal at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime, where the Chargers found a way to win.