Without fail, the NFL always schedules games on Monday night that have the potential to turn into instant classics, but what are the best Monday Night Football games in NFL history?
There have been so many great games in primetime that it’s almost impossible to pick out the greatest MNF games and the best Monday Night Football performances. However, we decided that we were up to the challenge.
Best Monday Night Football games
We did the leg work, looking back at decades of Monday night games, hoping to find the best of the best. There were epic rivalry games, crazy endings, and games that were just impossible to forget. In the end, it was just as hard as we expected to limit our list to just 10 games. Nevertheless, here is our ranking of the 10 best Monday Night Football games ever played.
10. Bears 24, Cardinals 23 (2006)
It’s not always about what happens during a Monday night game but sometimes what comes after that makes it memorable. Of course, this game was memorable because the Cardinals led 20-0 at halftime but still found a way to lose the game despite Chicago turning it over six times.
That being said, the Bears scored two defensive touchdowns and one special teams touchdown while erasing a 23-3 deficit over the final 16 minutes of the game. After the game, Arizona coach Dennis Green went off on one of the NFL’s most famous rants, declaring that “the Bears are who we thought they were,” among other things.
9. Dolphins 38, Bears 24 (1985)
This is a memorable Monday night game because it’s the only game stopping the Bears from attaining a perfect season in 1985. Fittingly, it was the Dolphins who stood in their way of matching Miami’s perfect 1972 season.
As for the game, the Bears showed some fight after trailing 31-10 at halftime. But they fell short with Dan Marino throwing three touchdown passes.
8. Oilers 35, Dolphins 30 (1978)
A month before these teams met in the playoffs, they created a classic Monday night game. Earl Campbell put together one of the greatest performances in Monday Night Football history, rushing for 199 yards and four touchdowns, including an 81-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to help seal the game.
Miami quarterback Bob Griese was almost as good, throwing for 349 yards and a couple of touchdowns. But Campbell and the Oilers sized control of the game in the fourth quarter, overwhelming the Dolphins.
7. Cowboys 31, Washington 30 (1983)
It’s fitting that these old rivals played one of the best Monday Night Football games ever. Washington was sitting pretty with a 23-3 halftime lead. But the second half was all Cowboys with Dany White throwing 75-yard and 51-yard touchdown passes to Tony Hill as part of 28 unanswered points by Dallas.
Washington was able to answer late but still came one point short after blowing a big lead.
6. Packers 48, Washington 47 (1983)
Within the first five minutes of this game, the Packers returned a fumble for a touchdown and the Washington defense recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Things would get even crazier with both offenses lighting up the scoreboard.
Joe Theismann threw for 298 yards while Lynn Dickey threw for 387 yards. The fourth quarter included five lead changes with Washington’s Mark Moseley missing a 39-yard field goal in the closing seconds, allowing the Packers to hold on for the win.
5. Colts 38, Buccaneers 35 (2003)
There are still Indy fans who regret going to bed early after the Bucs led 21-0 at halftime on this Monday night. With Peyton Manning, the Colts always had a chance, which is what we saw in this comeback.
Of course, Manning threw a pick-six to make it 35-14 Tampa with less than seven minutes left. But Manning rallied the Colts, who scored 21 unanswered points in the final 4:15 to force overtime.
In overtime, Manning led a 15-play, 76-yard drive that ended with Mike Vanderjagt hitting a 29-yard field goal to complete one of the great comebacks in Monday night history.
4. Ravens 47, Browns 42 (2020)
Leave it to these bitter rivals to play one of the best Monday Night Football games ever. Lamar Jackson was undoubtedly the star of the show, finishing with 163 passing yards and 124 rushing yards with three total touchdowns. But despite Baltimore leading 34-20 after three quarters, the Browns fought back, leading 35-34 at one point.
The Ravens took the lead back with 1:51 left, only for the Browns to go 75 yards in four plays to tie the game at 42 with 1:04 left. However, the Ravens only needed to get close enough for Justin Tucker to kick a 55-yard field goal to recapture the lead. Throw in a safety on the final play and we got an 89-point thriller on a Monday in mid-December.
3. Jets 40, Dolphins 37 (2000)
Monday night games are supposed to be a little wild, and this one lived up to that.
The Dolphins struck early and appeared to be on cruise control with a 30-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. However, Vinny Testaverde threw four of his five touchdown passes in the fourth quarter with the game-tying score being a three-yard reception by offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott with 42 seconds left on the clock.
After the Jets outscored Miami 30-7 in the fourth quarter, there was no way they wouldn’t find a way to win, eventually getting the game-winning field goal from John Hall in overtime. Whether you consider this a great comeback by the Jets or an epic collapse by the Dolphins, this was one of the best Monday Night Football games ever played.
2. Chiefs 31, Broncos 28 (1994)
Not only was this an amazing rivalry game and a showdown between two Hall of Fame quarterbacks but it’s also one of the best Monday Night Football games ever played. After a scoreless first quarter, the rest of the game was John Elway and Joe Montana at their best.
When the Chiefs took a 24-21 lead with less than five minutes left, Elway orchestrated a go-ahead drive, scoring the go-ahead touchdown by himself, running it in from four yards out. But with 1:29 left on the clock, Elway left Montana with too much time.
In the twilight of his career, Montana led the game-winning drive that finished with a Willie Davis touchdown catch with eight seconds left. It was Montana’s third touchdown pass of the game, giving him 393 passing yards in a classic Monday night affair.
1. Rams 54, Chiefs 51 (2018)
It helps that this game is fresh in our minds, but even in the long history of Monday Night Football, it’s hard to find a more entertaining game.
Remember that this was the year that Patrick Mahomes had his coming-out party, throwing 50 touchdown passes, six of which came in this game. Jared Goff countered with four touchdown passes of his own.
Oddly enough, the two defenses also contributed to the shootout, as there were seven turnovers in the game and the Rams scored twice on defense.
Mahomes may have looked like the better quarterback for most of the game, but his three interceptions ultimately doomed the Chiefs. Los Angeles led this game 40-30 heading into the fourth quarter, and yet there were five touchdowns and four lead changes still to come. Even if you didn’t have a rooting interest in this game, it doesn’t get much better than this Monday night shootout.