Here we are. Down to 8 teams. The winners will advance out of their regions and into the final 4. We had 4 good matchups in this round, so let’s take a look at the results:
DETROIT REGIONAL FINAL
(1) 1985 Bears vs. (3) 1975 Steelers
The Bears completely dominated the Steelers in this one. In a matchup of two of the best defenses in NFL history, Chicago showed why theirs is considered the top one. Walter Payton accounted for most of the offense for the Bears in a 23-0 shutout.
PHILADELPHIA REGIONAL FINAL
(3) 1996 Packers vs. (9) 1969 Chiefs
The Cinderella team of the tournament, the 9th seeded 1969 Chiefs, fell a game short of the final 4 here. The Packers jumped out to a 16-0 lead and led by 23-3 early in the 3rd quarter, but the Chiefs made a furious comeback attempt to climb within 6 at the 5 minute point in the game. With under 2 minutes, the Packers sealed it with a FG making it a 2 possession game.
NEW ORLEANS REGIONAL FINAL
(2) 1991 Redskins vs. (4) 2004 Patriots
This was a great matchup between 2 powerhouse title contenders, and it came right down to the final seconds. The Redskins took a 14-10 lead with around 8 minutes left in the game, but Adam Vinatieri would nail 2 field goals (1 with 5:57 to go and one with 57 seconds left). Mark Rypien came right back, leading a 5 play 49 yard drive in 50 seconds to set up the game winning field goal attempt. Chip Lohmiller nailed the 40 yard field goal as time expired, and the Redskins advanced to the final 4.
ARIZONA REGIONAL FINAL
(3) 1999 Rams vs. (4) 1998 Vikings
This game played out exactly as we expected, as two of the greatest offenses in NFL history squared off. The largest lead for either team was 7, as the two offenses kept exchanging points. Minnesota led 28-21 at the half, and after a surprisingly scoreless 3rd quarter, led by the same score going into the 4th. The Rams took a 31-28 lead with 8:11 to go, but Minnesota came back with a 41 yard TD run to take a 35-31 lead with 3:47. St. Louis marched right down the field with a 65 yard TD run to take a 38-35 lead, but they left 1:39 on the clock for Minnesota’s offense. Randall Cunningham led the Vikings down the field to set up a 45 yard FG from Gary Anderson for the tie, and Anderson nailed the kick. The Rams won the toss in OT and, in a game that it seemed like the last team with the ball would win, that’s exactly how it played out. A Marshall Faulk 16 yard TD run ended it and sent the Rams to the final 4.
We had some fantastic games in this round, and now we’re down to 4 teams. The final 4! These games will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium. Let’s take a look at the updated bracket: