On Sunday, the Eagles and the 49ers will face off in Philadelphia to determine which squad will earn the right to represent the NFC at Super Bowl LVII.
The home team will be hoping to advance to The Big Game for the first time since 2018, a contest where Nick Foles ensured he’d never have to pay for a drink in The City of Brotherly Love for the rest of his life with a little bit of help from the iconic “Philly Special.”
The 49ers, on the other hand, are still in search of some redemption thanks to what unfolded the following year, as San Francisco is still haunted by the brutal fourth-quarter collapse that saw the Chiefs score 21 unanswered points to erase a 10-point deficit en route to walking away with the 31-20 victory in Super Bowl LIV.
The Eagles head into the showdown as 2.5-point favorites, and the game will likely hinge on whether or not the incredibly formidable 49ers defense will be able to stop Jalen Hurts from doing everything that’s allowed the quarterback to cement himself as one of the more versatile offensive threats in the NFL.
As a result, it seems like there’s a very good chance this could become just the latest NFC Championship Game to produce a batch of the drama that has come out of these conference showdowns over the decades (like the controversial pass interference no-call that likely cost the Saints the chance to play in Super Bowl LIII).
The 49ers were also unable to ward off a late-game comeback when they faced off against the Rams in last year’s NFC Championship, although they could take a little bit of solace in knowing that 10-point collapse had nothing on the worst implosion in the history of the game—one which may have also permanently shifted the trajectory of Aaron Rodgers’ NFL career.
Speaking of which…
Let’s look back at the time the Seahawks staged the biggest comeback in NFC Championship Game history against the Packers
It was hard not to be excited to watch Seattle and Green Bay face off on January 18, 2015. The Seahawks were on a quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions after absolutely whipping the Broncos the previous year, while Aaron Rodgers was hoping to keep his MVP season going and prove the championship he won with the Packers in 2011 wasn’t a fluke.
At first, it looked like Rodgers and Co. were well on their way to doing exactly that. Green Bay put on a defensive clinic in the first half and headed into the locker room sport a 16-0 lead on the back of three Mason Crosby field goals and the touchdown pass Randall Cobb snagged to cap off the first quarter.
However, the Seahawks weren’t going down without a fight.
Seattle was held scoreless for the first ten minutes of the third quarter, and it appeared they were going to settle for a 38-yard field goal during their second drive of the half. However, Pete Carroll reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out a fake that saw holder Jon Ryan scramble before flicking the ball to Garry Gilliam for a wide-open touchdown to help bring the score to 16-7.
The Packers were able to answer with yet another field goal with around 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks would just not go away.
Seattle had plenty of work to do after getting possession with 3:52 remaining in regulation, but they managed to stage a very nice 69-yard drive that resulted in Russell Wilson punching a QB sneak into the end zone with the two-minute warming looming.
The Seahawks still needed a touchdown to keep their hopes alive and were all but forced to attempt an onside kick. The Packers knew it was coming, but they were still unable to prevent Chris Matthews from grabbing the veritable jump ball at midfield to set up some late-game dramatics.
The last two minutes featured basically everything you could ask for in an NFL game. Seattle capitalized on the short field to score a touchdown and the two-point conversion that gave them a 22-19 lead, but that was more than enough time for Rodgers to answer with a drive that ended with Mason Crosby forcing overtime with the 48-yard field goal that split the uprights with just 14 seconds left.
The Seahawks won the coin toss to take possession at the start of the extra period, and they never looked back. The home team staged a six-play drive that saw Wilson seal the comeback with a gorgeous 35-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse, and just like that, they were headed to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row.
Of course, you could argue some Seahawks fans would’ve preferred to have simply lost that game instead of being subject to the heartbreak that came with watching what unfolded when Wilson threw a game-clinching interception into the arms of Malcolm Butler two weeks later.
With that said, they can still take the tiniest bit of solace in knowing that was only possible thanks to the biggest comeback in NFC Championship history.
Rodgers, on the other hand, probably still has nightmares about this game that no amount of ayahuasca can adequately treat.
The aging quarterback has still failed in his quest to return to the Super Bowl a second time, and that loss marked the first of three Ls he’s taken in the NFC Championship Game since raising the Lombardi Trophy (including two back-to-back campaigns) over the course of six ultimately unsuccessful playoff appearances stretching back to the comeback he ended up on the wrong side of.