Top 250 games of all time - 1 to 10

1. Milton Keynes Pioneers 20-26 London O's (OT), BIG C Final, 10th August 1997

According to First Down this was "the greatest game ever played in the UK". The final of the 1997 BIG C was well advertised, shown live on cable TV and a beautiful day to boot in a great stadium (Milton Keynes National Hockey Stadium) which drew in a crowd of 2,500. The lead see-sawed between these two dominant teams of the 1997 season, and with the O's leading 20-14 late in the fourth quarter the Pioneers tied the game up on Ken Barnett's 14 yard run. Ken Biggs blocked Gavin Hart's PAT to send the national championship game to overtime in the first and so far only time in it's history. London won the coin toss and marched straight down the field capped off by Justin Oke's 11 yard winning TD run. Match report

2. Leicester Panthers 21-23 Birmingham Bulls, Budweiser National League, 12th June 1988

Those who attended say this was one of the greatest ever games to be played in the UK. 18 points scored in the last 2 minutes, the lead changing hands twice in the final minute and the Bulls winning it with a TD on the last play of the game. The Bulls led 17-9 with 2 minutes to go, but their 4th down punt was blocked and recovered by the Panthers who scored on the next play on Sean Payton’s pass to Curt Sanders to cut the lead to 17-15. The Panthers then recovered the onside kick, and 4 plays later took the lead on Payton’s run. Trevor Carthy returned the resulting kickoff to the Panthers 40, and then Russ Jensen combined with Gregg Harris to take the Bulls down to the Panthers 10 yard line. Jensen then ploughed in from the 2 yard line as time expired. Match report

3. PA Knights 22-26 London O’s, BAFL regular season, 21st July 2003This had all the makings of a classic encounter with the PA Knights looking like real challengers to the reigning champion O’s. The Knights were at home in boiling conditions, and the O’s with a win would break the London Ravens long standing record for most consecutive domestic victories. The Knights stormed out to an early lead with TD’s from Jon Wyse and Anthony Stitt led them to a 16-0 half-time advantage. The teams traded scores in the 3rd quarter, and going into the final period the Knights still held a seemingly unassailable 22-6 lead. The Os’ led by QB Stuart Franklin took to the air and scored on two long range passing scores to Andy Boyle as the O's pulled to 22-20, and took over again with less than 2 minutes to go. The O's faced a 4th and 9 with 20 seconds to go on the half-way line. However, Boyle caught a slant pass for 10 yards to keep the drive going. With just 9 seconds on the clock, Franklin lofted a perfect pass down the left hand touch-line, and Clive Palumbo ran onto the pass and raced into the endzone for a 36 yard score. There was no way back for the Knights, and the O's were left to celebrate a historic win. Match report

4. Glasgow Lions 26-20 Nottingham Hoods, Budweiser National League, 5th May 1991

One of the most infamous incidents in Britball history happened at Helenvale, Glasgow in this - the "1/4-second game". The Nottingham Hoods had travelled to play the Lions in a regular season game and had built a lead of 20-14 with only a few seconds left in the game. Hoods QB Mike Grossner 'took a knee' on 4th down to end the game but the timekeeper ruled that a quarter of a second remained in the game. Glasgow took over on downs and scored on the last play of the game, missed the extra point and the game went into overtime. The Lions won the toss and received the ball, marched 65 yards in 7 plays where Lions QB Darren Trainer hit Andy McGowen in the end zone to win the game 26-20. No match report

5. Birmingham Bulls 39-38 Olympians, NDMA Coke Bowl Final, 4th August 1991

The culmination of the 1991 NDMA season saw the Birmingham Bulls triumph over the London Olympians 39-38 in a thrilling see-saw game at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. In front of 4,000 fans, trailing by 36-14 as the final quarter began the O's scored 24 unanswered points to lead the game 38-36 with only a minute to go. Bulls QB Dave Kramme engineered a six play, 62 yard drive enabling the Bulls to snatch victory with a 23-yard field goal from Mark Webb with 17 seconds left to break the hearts of the London side. Match report

6. Thames Valley Chargers 28-23 Chelmsford Cherokee, Budweiser National League, 10th June 1989

Chelmsford took an early 10-0 lead, but were pegged back by the Chargers who took the lead 14-10 by half-time. The teams traded scores in the second half and with 19 seconds left, the Chargers led 22-16. Cherokee TE Robin Kiddie caught Phil Charron’s 60 yard hail mary pass to and with the PAT sensationally took a 23-22 lead. Chelmsford’s subsequent kickoff went out the back of the endzone with 1 second left giving the Chargers one last play with 1 second left. Ez Charles then rumbled 70 yards to secure an astonishing win for the Chargers. Match report

7. Luton Flyers 37-39 CMK Bucks, 28th June 1987

The Flyers stormed out to a 34-7 half-time with RB Dave Munn accounting for 32 points of them. The Bucks fought back in the second half with QB Milan Zuzek, who flew in from Ohio earlier that day, scoring a TD and completing TD passes to John Price and Ian Colledge to close the gap and when Zuzek completed a 2nd TD strike to Price with minutes left on the clock the Bucks had completed the biggest turnaround in Budwesier League history. Match report

8. Leicester Panthers 37-35 Glasgow Lions, NDMA, 23rd June 1990        

Leicester scored 25 4th quarter points snatching victory with just 27 seconds left on the clock with John Jeub’s 11 yard catch from Mike Fanger. Earlier two scores from John Braff had given the Scots a 28-12 lead going into the final 15 minutes. However, the Panthers rallied on two TD catches from Simon Dore to tie the scores at 28-28, and took the lead on Rex Harrison’s field goal. The Lions retook the lead on Sean Airlie’s 62 yard TD catch before Jeub’s late heroics. Match report.

9. London Olympians 24-23 Birmingham Bulls, BAFA Division One Final, 14th August 1994

Bulls kicker Andy Raffo fluffed his lines by missing a PAT and two field goals – the last one a 42 yarder with 30 seconds left. Allann Tait hit 3 PAT’s and what turned out to be the winning points with a 20 yard field goal midway through the final quarter. The Bulls mounted a long late drive late in the 4th quarter which culminated in Raffo’s miss as the Olympians held on to win a third straight title. Match report 

10. London Ravens 45-7 Streatham Olympians, Summerbowl, 1985    

Not that this was a close game, but more of a historic game for British American Football. The Ravens won the first ever British final in Summerbowl I at Villa Park with a 45-7 hammering over the Streatham Olympians. Joe St Louis ran for over 108 yards, and the Ravens outgained the Olympians 456 yards to just 182. Match report


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