"The Greatest Game Ever Played"
January 31, 2011 8:48 AM   Subscribe

What are some great, classic (pre-1975, for the sake of argument) American football games I can watch, online or through Netflix? Assume I haven't seen them and avoid spoiling the outcome, if possible.

Way older (black-and-white footage, etc) would be fun. Games that fueled modern rivalries would be cool. I don't know much about football, so no game, movie, website, or whatever is too obvious to mention. I'm thinking pro, but I suppose college is fine too.

I'm interested in the games in as complete a form as possible, not just a highlight reel (I'll take what I can get though). I'm not interested in movies or dramatizations about football.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Ooo! I know the answer to this one! Jets vs. Raiders, 1968.
posted by aniola at 9:09 AM on January 31, 2011

I don't know where you would actually watch this, but definitely the Ice Bowl (Packers vs Cowboys, NFL Championship Game, 1967). Here's the Wikipedia summary:

"Popularly known as the Ice Bowl, it is widely considered one of the greatest games in NFL history, due to the hostile conditions in which it was played, the importance of the game, the rivalry between the teams, the duel between two future Hall of Fame head coaches, and the dramatic conclusion."
posted by warble at 9:16 AM on January 31, 2011

I'll do my part:

OU-Texas 1984. It's the game action boiled down to 10 minutes of the important plays. Don't read the comments if you don't want it spoiled.

OU-Nebraska 1986, part I; part II. Same warning.

Yeah, I'm an OU guy. But OU only won one of those games.

The Packers-Cowboys "Ice Bowl" game (late 1960s) was on a Discovery (??) special boiled down the same way a few years back. That would be fully worth watching.
posted by norm at 9:17 AM on January 31, 2011

Oh, crap, missed the pre-1975 part. 1971 OU-Nebraska, then.
posted by norm at 9:18 AM on January 31, 2011

OK, I just checked on Netflix, and the Ice Bowl is availabe for rental there. (No streaming unfortunately, but still!)

NFL Films: Ice Bowl / Green Bay Packers History
"NFL Films pulls off an incredible feat by piecing together and reconstructing the famed Ice Bowl -- of which there are miles of footage but no coherent reel -- from start to finish. You'll also get a close look at the history and legacy of the Green Bay Packers, one of football's most storied franchises."
posted by warble at 9:25 AM on January 31, 2011

I don't know where you can find it online, but the November 23, 1984 game between the Boston College Eagles and the University of Miami Hurricanes should be on your list. I won't link to any descriptions or highlights because all contain spoilers.
posted by googly at 10:19 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hulu has a lot of NFL Films content. This blog post has a bunch of them linked. America's Game is really good, about the Super Bowl winning team's season for every year going back to the first. It does spoil the results of the SB though, obviously.
posted by smackfu at 10:29 AM on January 31, 2011

The 2007 Fiesta Bowl, pitting the Boise State Broncos against the Oklahoma Sooners was one of the most exciting college football games I've ever watched. The fourth quarter was just, well... You'll see. Unbelievable. It's streaming on Hulu.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:36 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh! Pre-1975. Heh. Oops. Watch it anyway. It was great.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:37 AM on January 31, 2011

1979 cottonbowl. Notre dame vs. Houston
posted by pianomover at 10:57 AM on January 31, 2011

Personally I'd love to watch the whole December 23, 1972 playoff game between Oakland and Pittsburgh (the one with the Immaculate Reception) but I can only find excerpts online.
posted by octothorpe at 11:08 AM on January 31, 2011

I think it would be great to watch in chronological order the defining games of the OSU-Michigan rivalry: a 107 game, 114 year old matchup called The Greatest North American Sports Rivalry.

I don't know which of these are online, but classic games are: 1950, 1969, 1973 (actually 1970 - 1975 are classics, both UM and OSU were ranked in the top 5 all 6 years), and, getting past your 1975 cutoff, 1993, 95, 96 (OSU entered undefeated), 1997 (UM undefeated, OSU #4, and Charles Woodson's highlight reel), and 2006, when OSU and UM were ranked #1 and #2 in the AP poll.
posted by JumpW at 11:17 AM on January 31, 2011

You want rivalry? Then you must check out the 1982 Cal-Stanford game, localy known as "The Big Game" and the 1982 game gave us "The Play."

Since you said 1975 was for the sake of argument, I took that to mean it's not a hard-and-fast limit.
posted by ambrosia at 11:22 AM on January 31, 2011

Watch Harvard Beats Yale 29-29! Great documentary of a classic college game. I believe it's on Netflix streaming.
posted by misskaz at 11:32 AM on January 31, 2011

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