The 2007 NFC Championship at Lambeau Field was the best game in Giants history aside from the Super Bowls.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - I’ve said repeatedly this is my favorite game since I started working on Giants radio broadcasts back in 2004. It had everything. The game was at a historic venue: Lambeau Field. It was played in sub-zero temperatures. It was against a Hall of Fame quarterback: Brett Favre (who was playing his final game for the Packers). It had drama with Lawrence Tynes’ missed field goal attempts in regulation and his game-winner in overtime. It had a dominant offensive performance from Plaxico Burress. There were great individual defensive plays like Antonio Pierce beating a double team to tackle Brandon Jackson on a screen pass and Corey Webster’s game-altering interception. Brandon Jacobs’ powerful run over Charles Woodson to set the tone for the game is one for the highlight reels, too. I loved that game and was privileged to be in attendance.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - It was a decade before the Super Bowl era. It was an ugly affair. It wasn’t even a win. But it was the greatest game ever played. The 1958 NFL Championship between the Giants and Colts, which just hit its 60th anniversary last month, was a terrible game technically and artistically, as the late Frank Gifford described it, but the people were extraordinary. So much so that the 17 Hall of Famers who had a role in the contest attracted a national television audience, many of them newcomers to the league, and the game became known in football lore as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” The Colts won 23-17 in the first sudden-death overtime game in league history. “I think everything building to 1958 was the rebirth of pro football,” Gifford said. “Television made pro football. It was perfect for television. It was almost made for television as opposed to other sports, and it was emerging. And we were emerging with it. And it just captivated the country, particularly New York. We just walked around the town like we owned it.” https://www.giants.com/greatestgame
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - The 1990 and 2011 NFC Championship Games, both in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, are also strong candidates. Both those games were won on field goals (the ’11 game, like the ’07 game, in overtime), but I don’t think either one of them tops the 2007 Championships Game in Green Bay. You had a little bit of everything in 2007: frigid temperatures, six lead changes, big pass plays, takeaways, and special teams highlights and mishaps. There was no shortage of drama in 2007.
The 41-0 victory over the Vikings in the 2000 NFC Championship was the most dominant playoff game in Giants history.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - You can easily argue the 1986 Giants 49-3 over the 49ers in the Divisional Playoffs was more dominant (Joe Montana had 98 passing yards), but the game against the Vikings was the NFC Championship Game at Giants Stadium. The Vikings were heavy favorites and had one of the most explosive passing attacks I have ever seen with Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss and Cris Carter. Culpepper had only 78 passing yards, threw three interceptions and was sacked four times. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The Giants offense dominated, too, with 381 passing yards and five touchdowns for Kerry Collins. The Giants had the ball for 42:22. The game was over at halftime.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - The 49-3 victory over the 49ers in the 1986 Divisional Round was the most lopsided postseason game in Giants history and tied for the fifth overall. That’s out of 1,370 games, including 49 in the playoffs. And they did it against Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig and Dwight Clark. Case closed.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Two other candidates would be the 1986 Divisional Round 49-3 victory over the Niners and the 1990 Divisional Round 31-3 win over the Bears, but against San Fran, Joe Montana was knocked out of the game, and not to take anything away from Giants, but the ’86 Bears were not the 1985 Bears. Despite those final scores, both of those contests were close statistically with respect to team totals. That wasn’t the case in 2000. The Giants absolutely dominated the Vikings. They outgained Minnesota in total yards (518-114), in net passing yards (380-60), in rushing yardage (138-54), and the Giants held the ball for over 42 minutes compared to just over 17:30 for the Vikings. What made the victory even more impressive was that it was a matchup between the top seeds in the NFC and the Vikings showcased an offense that featured Daunte Culpepper, Robert Smith, Cris Carter and Randy Moss.
The NFC Championship Game will produce more points than the AFC on Sunday.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Without even talking about the teams involved, the weather makes this an easy answer. The Chiefs and Patriots will be playing in sub-zero outdoor temperatures, while the Saints and Rams will be playing in comfy environs of a dome in New Orleans. Throw in the fact that the Chiefs defense at home has actually been pretty good and that the Patriots have an underrated defense, this answer becomes even easier.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - This should be a great day of football. What makes this year particularly interesting is that both of the conference championships are rematches of two of the best games from the regular season. The Saints and Rams combined for 80 points (New Orleans won, 45-35), and the Patriots and Chiefs combined for 83 (New England won, 43-40). I’m going with the NFC here for two reasons. First, it’s at the Superdome. As the Giants know from their last trip there (a 52-49 loss), things can get crazy. Drew Brees is now 6-0 there in the postseason and averaging 33 points per game. Secondly, I think Bill Belichick, who once upon a time designed a scheme that shut down the Bills and their K-Gun offense in Super Bowl XXV, can cook something up for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, especially after already seeing them this season.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Both conference championship games are rematches from the regular season. In Week 6, the Patriots and Chiefs combined for 83 points and in Week 9, the Saints and Rams combined for 80 points. Keep in mind, the rematch typically turns out very differently than the first meeting. You can’t overlook the fact these were the top four scoring teams during the regular season, but the New England and New Orleans defenses aren’t too shabby. I don’t think either game will be as high scoring as the regular season meeting, but bad weather is expected in Kansas City and the NFC Conference Championship Game will be played in the comfort of a dome. I think the Saints and Rams will combine to score more points.
Conference Championship Sunday is the best sports day of the year.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - SLAM!!! As a single day, nothing beats Championship Sunday. NOTHING. This Sunday, you are getting the four best teams in the NFL playing on one day with the winners advancing to the biggest game in all of sports. You are getting two surefire Hall of Famers in Tom Brady and Drew Brees, the likely league MVP in Patrick Mahomes and the top pick in the draft three years ago in Jared Goff. The teams are coached by four of the most highly-regarded head coaches in the league: Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Sean Payton and Sean McVay. It’s going to be a great day of football! No other sport gives you two such important games on the same day.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - The timeless majesty of Sunday at Augusta is – wait, no, I’m not that guy. It’s the Super Bowl. Beer, food, friends, family, commercials, halftime entertainment and, oh yeah, football. There’s something for everybody. Hundreds of millions of people come together for it. What other event does that these days? The Monday after should be a national holiday.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - How can you rank Conference Championship Sunday ahead of Super Bowl Sunday? That’s like saying the participation trophy is much more valuable than the actual championship. Yes, I know you get an additional game on Conference Championship Sunday, but I’d rather watch a game that decides the actual championship as opposed to the games deciding who advances to the biggest stage.