"Holy Toledo!"

March 21, 2017

Greatest Quarterback Duels In NFL History, plus a few others

Recently debated was the topic of “The Greatest Quarterback Duels’”, which included yet another Top 10 List. I grabbed my pen and wrote them down, wanting to see how many of these games I had in my vintage video collection. Turns out that I have 9 of the 10, and the Game Of The Week Show of the 10th game.

The list was full of great duels, however there were a few I thought were omitted. I’ve added my two cents, and I thought you may wish to add your thoughts as well. As it turns out I have 9 of the 10, but I also have many more that should have been included in this list.

Any 2 games for $22
Any 5 for $45
Any 10 for $75

A formal combat with weapons between two opponents, usually fought in the presence of witnesses.

The word actually dates back to Medieval Times, which is fitting. I could see Stabler brandishing his shield and sword, Marino seems more like a flail and spear guy, and Montana would need something more complex like a crossbow. Whereas Joe Kapp is definitely a battle ax.

With that said here is the Top 10 Quarterback Duels.

1992 Wk2 Buffalo at San Francisco, on 2 DVDs
The “No Punt Game” featuring two Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Steve Young rolls up almost 600 yards of offense, Jim Kelly almost 500, and they both toss 3 TD’s. A 34-31 thriller with three 2nd Half lead changes.

2009 Wk11 Cleveland at Detroit, on 2 DVDs
Not all great duels are fought by legendary quarterbacks. In his rookie season Matthew Stafford leads a furious comeback, only to have Brady Quinn recapture the lead. In a wild finish Stafford throws a TD pass with no time remaining to win it 38-37. Both QB’s combine for 9 TD passes in an extremely entertaining contest.

1994 Wk1 New England at Miami, on 3 DVDs
Two gunslingers taking shots at each other all afternoon. Drew Bledsoe stakes his team to an early lead, Dan Marino fires back, and Drew returns fire. What follows is a back and forth gun fight at the Orange Bowl, including three more lead changes in the 4th Quarter! Hall of Fame field generals Bill Parcells and Don Shula wage war in a game stuffed full with 997 total yards, and 9 TD passes. A legendary 39-35 shootout that I may have had a bit higher on this list.

2009 Wk10 New England at Indianapolis, on 2 DVDs
You had to expect that whoever finalized this list would include Brady versus Manning. Of the many games to chose from this is a pretty good one.

When Randy Moss catches a TD pass from Tom Brady to give the Patriots a 31-14 lead in the 4th quarter, crusty old Bill Belichick thinks his lead is safe. The undefeated Colts have other plans, which includes 14 points in the final 2:23. With only 13 seconds left Peyton Manning throws his 4th TD pass of the day to give the Colts an amazing 35-34 comeback win.

Note: To Raider Fans
You will not find a single Raiders game on this list. I remind you that I did not choose these games, I am merely reporting them. Later this week I will release my own Top 10 Raiders QB Duels list. I would have included it in this article but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much chewy goodness.

1983 Wk7 Washington at Green Bay MNF, on 2 DVDs
This game is often discussed so I recently broke out the dvds and watch it again. A phenomenal football game from start to finish.

It is fitting that the highest scoring game in the history of Monday Night Football would be played at Lambeau Field. Bart Starr’s Packers, led by a very underrated QB Lynn Dickey, outscore the champion Redskins 48-47 in a game for the ages. Heroic efforts by Joe Theisman, Gerry Ellis, and great kickers Jan Stenerud & Mark Moseley. Both teams combine for 31 points, and an incredible five lead changes in the 4th quarter.

1987 AFC Championship Cleveland at Denver, on 2 DVDs
Really, this is #5? I would have selected the ’86 game over this one.

Everyone remembers “The Fumble’, but what most fans tend to forget is that Bernie Kosar led the Browns to 30 points in the 2nd Half. With the season on the line both quarterbacks delivered when it mattered most, Elway & Kosar each throwing 3 TD passes in this historic battle for AFC supremacy.

Honorable Mention:
Before we get to the top 4, let’s consider a couple games that in my opinion deserved serious consideration. See what you think…

-2011 NFC Divisional New Orleans at San Francisco, on 2 DVDs
After three quarters this game was a tight struggle, the 49ers leading 20-14. What followed was arguably one of the most exciting 4th Quarters ever. In the final 4 minutes Drew Brees and Alex Smith gave us four lead changing touchdowns. When Jimmy Graham caught a 66 yard bomb with just over a minute left it appeared to be over. Somehow Alex Smith had the 49ers in position for a long tying field goal. With the clock ticking down and everyone thinking overtime, Alex hits Vernon Davis for the game winning TD. Truly a fantastic finish.

-2004 Wk12 Cleveland at Cincinnati, on 3 DVDs
The names Kelly Holcomb and Carson Palmer don’t exactly conjure up images of great quarterback duels. However the 65,677 who attended this game at Paul Brown Stadium on the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2004 may suggest to you otherwise. For they witnessed one of the truly incredible offensive explosions in NFL history. This wild 58-48 game was loaded full of huge plays and excitement. The 106 total points scored places this game as the 2nd highest ever. Only a 1966 game between the Giants and Redskins ranks higher. When we last saw the scoreboard operator he was battered, bruised, and bloody. A game you have to see to believe.

OK let us proceed with the list…

1972 Wk2 New York Jets at Baltimore Colts (G.O.Week only)
Unfortunately there is no known copy of the television broadcast of this legendary game. All we have is the NFL Game Of The Week show. It’s “The Rematch”, Joe Namath versus Johnny Unitas, Weeb Ewbank vs. Don Shula. Johnny U has a great day, but Joe Willie has one of his best days ever, 496 yards and 6 TD passes! The end result is another Jets win over the Colts in a wild 44-34 old school dogfight.

Super Bowl XIII Pittsburgh vs. Dallas, on 3 DVDs
The quality of this recording is excellent, and it includes halftime, postgame & commercials.

On the game’s biggest stage both Roger Staubach & Terry Bradshaw came up big. They combined for 7 TD passes in this 35-31 barn burner. When TE Jackie Smith dropped that famous pass, that touchdown would have made the score 28-21 in the 3rd quarter. Instead the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal.
Might those extra 4 points have made a difference? We will never know. Staubach rallied his troops on a furious comeback that came up just 4 point short. A great game between two legends.

2009 NFC Wild Card Green Bay at Arizona, on 2 DVDs
This is one of my favorite playoff games of all-time just because it was so damn exciting. You have the old veteran Kurt Warner vs. the kid Aaron Rodgers. You would have to be a complete curmudgeon, or a defensive coordinator, to not like a game that is at one point tied 45-45 headed to overtime. Then just to demonstrate that anything is possible, the game ends on a defensive turnover.

Warner hits Larry Fitzgerald on a 33 yard TD pass and their 3rd quarter lead looks good. However we are all about to learn a valuable lesson about the kid Aaron Rodgers, never count him out. Four quick touchdown drives later and, just like that, this game is tied 38-38. There is still almost 11 minutes left, how the hell did he do that?

As if to say “hey Kid this is my town”, the Old Veteran tosses another TD pass. As he walks off the field he glances over at The Kid and says “That’s how it’s done”. The Kid however is brash, “You may be wise old man but I have something that you don’t, youth!”, and he fires a TD pass of his own. The Old Vet smiles and knows The Kid may have come of age today, but he still has one more lesson to learn. And so it was that just a short time later that valuable lesson was revealed to The Kid, revealed rather rudely by a southern gentleman named Dansby.

Final Score: Cardinals 51, Packers 45

And now, without further ado…

1986 Wk3 Miami at New York Jets, on 3 DVDs
I have a newly upgraded beautiful quality copy of this great game, it includes halftime, postgame & commercials.

A conflict of epic proportion waged between two grand warriors, the Jets and the Dolphins. These bitter rivals square off in a game that will be remembered forever. Dan Marino and Ken O’Brien scored more often than the guy who took Linda Lovelace to the prom. After 7 TD’s were scored in the 1st Half, this game would go on to be tied at 31-31, 38-38-, and 45-45 before it went into overtime. The Football Gods would never allow this herculean struggle to be decided by the foot of a kicker, and so it was to be on this seventh day of the second week of the 1986 season.

An avalanche of scoring, both combatants combining for 1066 total yards, 10 TD passes, 5 players had more than 100 yards including Wesley Walker, who caught only 6 passes but had 194 yards & 4 TD’s. After watching this game even the spectators need a Gatorade bath.

Well what do you think? A tremendous list of spectacular games, no doubt, but how does a list like this not include these games:

-1981 AFC Divisional San Diego at Miami, on 2 DVDs
I have acquired a beautiful new 2 disc version of this game that is the best quality version I’ve ever seen.

Dan Fouts & Kellen Winslow blow up the Dolphins early, only to have the “Super Sub” Don Strock lead the Fish back in one of the most incredible playoff games in NFL history.

-1992 AFC Wild Card Houston at Buffalo, on 2 DVDs
How do you not include the great comeback game? For almost three quarters Warren Moon was as hot as a fox in a forest fire. Like a light switch this game turned, and Frank Reich orchestrated the greatest comeback in playoff history.

Ready To Go Packages of QB Duels:

Russell Wilson vs. Tom Brady Battles
Over the past few years we have seen some great games featuring Russell Wilson versus Tom Brady. We all know the story, neither QB was highly regarded out of college. Since Wilson was selected with the 75th pick of the 2012 Draft, they have faced each other three times. All have been epic games.

Their first meeting back in 2012 gave us a glimpse of things to come. The rookie Wilson led his Seahawks to a dramatic come from behind win in what was considered at the time to be a huge upset. We will all remember Super Bowl XLIX, “just hand the ball to Beast Mode”. Their last battle came on a Sunday night last season in Foxboro, a fantastic game that featured 7 lead changes.

2012 Wk6 New England at Seattle on 2 DVDs
Super Bowl XLIX New England vs. Seattle on 4 DVDs
2016 Wk10 Seattle at New England SNF on 2 DVDs
Any 2 games for $16, or all 3 for $21

New England Super Bowl Collection
All five games went down to the wire, including the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. Close your eyes and hold your nose if you aren’t a Patriots fan, rejoice in the glory if you are…

Super Bowl XXXVI New England vs. St. Louis on 3 DVDs
Super Bowl XXXVIII New England vs. Carolina on 3 DVDs includes “Nip Slip”
Super Bowl XXXIX New England vs. Philadelphia on 2 DVDs
Super Bowl XLIX New England vs. Seattle on 4 DVDs
Super Bowl XLI New England vs. Atlanta on 5 DVDs
Any 2 for $23, or all 5 for $50

*** College Football 2 Packs *****

Michigan vs. Iowa Two Pack
When Iowa narrowly upset Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan team last fall it reminded many old Hawkeyes of the big upset of 1985. That game, referred to as “The Poll Bowl”; also took place in Iowa City, but the coaches back then were Haden Fry and Bo Schembechler. The Wolverines QB that day was none other than Jim Harbaugh, while Iowa was led by Chuck Long and Ronnie Harmon. Both of these games were thrillers that came down to the last seconds.

1985 #2 Michigan at #1 Iowa on 2 DVDs
2016 #2 Michigan at Iowa on 2 DVDs
Both games for only $14

USC vs. UCLA Two Pack
When I think of these two cross-town rivals I think of warm sunny afternoons, green grass, beautiful cheerleaders, and exciting football. I think of O.J., Marcus Allen, Lynn Swann, Freeman McNeil, Ronnie Lott, and Kenny Easley. Great coaches like John McKay, Tommy Prothro, Terry Donohue, and John Robinson. Here are 7 games to choose from from 5 different decades.

1967 #1 UCLA at #4 USC
1968 #1 USC at UCLA
1973 UCLA at USC on 4 DVDs A+ quality
1980 USC at UCLA on 2 DVDs
1981 UCLA at USC on 2 DVDs
1990 USC at UCLA *rebroadcast
2015 UCLA at USC on 2 DVDs
Amy 2 games for $15, or any 3 for $20

**If you want to receive my complete game list email me.
You can view a partial game list on this site, links to your right.
Don’t forget to subscribe to Holy Toledo to get free updates via email.
Email: holytoledo@sonic.net
Site: https://billkuhn.wordpress.com/



  1. Bill,

    *Note: To Raider FansYou will not find a single Raiders game on this list. I remind you that I did not choose these games, I am merely reporting them. Later this week I will release my own Top 10 Raiders QB Duels list. I would have included it in this article but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much chewy goodness.*

    This is what we want.

    In the email you sent, there was only one game from the 1970s–and that was the highlight reel.

    Let’s hope your Raider list is more substantive–and Snake-like.



    Comment by Craig Parker — March 21, 2017 @ 9:46 am

  2. One of the most painful for me—the theme of the 1982 49ers season—was Montana vs. Fouts. I forget all the details, but just remember the back and forth. The Niners had absolutely NO running game that year (Craig and Tyler came in 1983) so it was Montana, Clark, maybe some Solomon, and not much else. Trying to remember the name of the starting HB that year. I think his last name was Moore.


    Comment by Guy Lasky — March 21, 2017 @ 10:21 am

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