As citizens across the country take shelter and self-isolate in observance of social distancing, streaming services are more lucrative now than ever. Sports leagues across the board have either canceled or postponed entire seasons of play, with the 2020 Summer Olympics now being the latest event placed on the backburner.
The transition from daily live broadcasts has not been a seamless one.
With millions of individuals forced to bunker down in their homes, services such as Netflix are getting reports of outages caused by massive spikes in viewership and have been forced to switch to standard definition (as opposed to ‘HD’) in regions of Europe for 30 days.
In light of the total absence of sports, professional leagues are now offering free access to past games. The NBA is currently granting free access to classic games via their TV network, as well as on Twitter. The NFL is also contributing with free access to NFL GamePass until May 31.
While many sports aficionados may still yearn for real-time access to their favorite teams in action, free access to many great matchups in the past provide, at the very least, a temporary antidote.
Here are some of the most electric NFL matchups of the last few years:
2015 NFC Divisional Round: Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers
While this one didn’t have much going for it until the very end, some Rodgers theatrics and an overtime thriller will make this game worth your while.
After being down 13-7 in the third quarter, the Cardinals extended their lead to 20-13 thanks to a Chandler Cantanzaro field goal. What unfolded in the next 60 seconds was nothing short of pure spectacle. Aaron Rodgers would extend the play from within his own endzone and find WR Jeff Janis on a 60-yard bomb. Rodgers followed that up with his signature hail mary, slinging another 60-yard cannon that resulted in a game-tying TD. The Cardinals would take the game after Larry Fitzgerald caught the ball on the first play of OT, and took it all the way to the Packers’ 5-yard line, setting up the Cardinals for the game-clinching score. Arizona defeated the Packers, 26-20.
2017 Regular Season: Los Angeles Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Hailed as one of the greatest regular season games of all time, this match featured two teams at the peak of their powers, with each squad averaging at least 32 points per game. There were 14 combined touchdowns, several of which were defensive scores. After a back-and-forth affair and over five lead changes, the Rams wound up defeating the Chiefs 54-51 – a record breaking score for two teams in a single game – in an absolute thriller.
Super Bowl XLIX (2015): New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
“The Seahawks should’ve ran the ball!”
The birthplace of the infamous outcry – albeit, largely speculative and originating in hindsight – that still keeps Russell Wilson up at night.
The Seahawks went into this game looking for a two-peat, following a complete tear down of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos the year prior. For some chunks of the game, Seattle appeared to be in complete control of the game and came incredibly close to dethroning the seemingly impermeable dynasty. Malcolm Butler had other plans. After a pair of touchdowns, courtesy of Tom Brady to wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola late in the fourth quarter, Wilson marched his offense down to the 5-yard line with under two minutes left to play. What ensued was one of the most controversial game decisions in recent memory, as Seattle Head Coach Pete Caroll opted to throw the ball on the one-yard line. Butler came down with the ball, and the dynasty carried on.