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NFL: Greatest NFL Championship Performances of All-Time

This Sunday the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles lock horns at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona in the NFL's most storied occasion. 

Will the quarterbacks shine on NFL Championship Sunday when the +105 Chiefs take on the -125 Eagles?

Patrick Mahomes, +125 to win NFL Championship MVP, and +130 Jalen Hurts are the favourites to land the MVP honour, but there have been plenty of impactful displays from non-QBs as well as we round up some of the greatest individual NFL Championship performances.

WhatKansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles
WhereState Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
When6.30 ET, Sunday 12th February, 2023
How to watchFox Sports & NFL+ app
OddsKC Chiefs +105, PHI Eagles -125

QBs that put in virtuoso performances

Both Mahomes and Hurts will be eager to follow in the footsteps of other QBs that have left an indelible mark on the NFL Championship game, the biggest occasion in the sport. 

Doug Williams threw a record-equalling four touchdowns and earned MVP honours for his display at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego when the Washington Redskins beat the Denver Broncos 42-10.

Williams, who had entered the 1987 strike-shortened regular season as the team's backup QB, became the first player in NFL Championship history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half.

A year before that, Phil Simms put in an almost perfect display of quarterbacking for the victorious New York Giants against the unfortunate Broncos once more.

Simms completed 22 of his 25 pass attempts to set new NFL Championship and postseason records for completion percentage (88%).

As well as the 268 passing yards and three touchdowns, he also had 25 rushing yards on three carries and set the gold standard for passer rating (150.92) on the greatest stage of all.

Another Giants QB to earn MVP honours, Eli Manning made several clutch throws, including a game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, to lead New York to a historic upset victory over the undefeated New England Patriots in 2008.

And who could forget Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, another backup who stepped up big-time when it mattered most.

He threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns while also catching a touchdown pass in the Eagles' 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in 2018. 

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Offensive stars who shone on the big stage

Jerry Rice had an unbelievable career in the NFL and his four appearances in championship games were no exception.

The wide receiver hauled in 11 receptions for a record-setting 215 yards and a touchdown in the San Francisco 49ers' 1989 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Rice scored a grand total of 48 points in his four NFL Championship game appearances, a record that no one has come close to breaking since he retired in 2005.

Washington wideout Gary Clark totalled eight receptions for an NFL Championship record-tying 123 yards and two TDs in 1988 while Julian Edelman's nine catches for 109 yards and a touchdown were impressive enough to land him the big game's MVP award in 2019.

Arguably the best performance by a running back in an NFL Championship game came from James White.

The Patriots' change-of-pace back posted an unbelievable 14 receptions for 110 yards and crossed for three TDs (two rushing, one receiving).

His performance set a record for the most individual points scored in any championship game (20) that still stands today after he also hauled in a two-point conversion.

Honourable mentions must also go to Broncos running back Terrell Davis, who scampered for 157 yards and three touchdowns in 1998 and Patriots rusher Sony Michel, who posted 94 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in New England's last title-winning effort four years ago.

Defensive masterclasses from men of steel

When Pittsburgh's "Mean Joe" Greene was sidelined with a back injury, Steelers linebacker Jack Lambert stepped up to carry the load against the Dallas Cowboys in the 10th NFL Championship game back in 1976.

Nicknamed 'Dracula in cleats' because of his missing front teeth, Lambert waded through blockers until he found the ball-carrier 14 times in Pittsburgh's 21-17 win in which the Steelers stonewalled Dallas' offense to the tune of four punts and an interception in five straight second-half possessions.

Among some of the more modern-day defensive monsters were Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent, who recorded 1.5 sacks and forced two fumbles in his team's 46-10 victory over the Patriots and Michael Strahan, whose two sacks and forced a fumble helped the Giants upset the previously undefeated Patriots in 2008.

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews went one better with three sacks and a forced fumble in his team's 31-25 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers three years later.

Richard Sherman, arguably among the best cover cornerbacks of his generation, also had a big day in helping the Seahawks secure a 43-8 victory over the Broncos and their first NFL championship as he finished with a record four passes defenced.

Special teams superstars

Jacoby Jones, a former NFL wide receiver and kick returner, had a memorable day in the Baltimore Ravens' 2013 success against the 49ers.

He ripped off a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and also had a 56-yard touchdown reception, although he lost out to Ravens QB Joe Flacco for the MVP award.

And let's hear it for the kickers too and one of the best ever - the Patriots' Adam Vinatieri. He made two clutch field goals, including the game-winning 48-yard kick as time expired, to give his team a nail-biting 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers in 2016.

The Giants' Scottish-born placekicker Lawrence Tynes made two huge field goals, including the game-winner from 47 yards in New York's epic 2011 success story.

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