On December 25, 1971, the Miami Dolphins took a 27-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the longest game ever played in the National Football League.
Both teams came into the game with a record of 10-3-1. Dolphins Kicker Garo Yepremian scored a field goal on a 37 yard field goal to win the game 22 minutes and 40 seconds into the second sudden-death overtime. It game totaled 82 minutes and 40 seconds. While many families were sitting around the table enjoying their Christmas dinner, the players were lining up time and time again for the AFC Divisional Playoff Game. The winning quarterback was Bob Griese.
The game is known to many as one of the greatest ever played in the NFL. It was the last game ever played at Kansas City Municipal Stadium.
The longest game in the NFL before Christmas of ’71 was the 2962 AFL title game. It lasted 77:55 and it ended with the he Dallas Texans taking a 20-17 over the Houston Oilers. The losing quarterback from the game in ’71, Len Dawson, came out victorious with the Texans.
“Everyone I knew in Miami told me they had to shut off their ovens to avoid ruining their Christmas Turkeys.” -Dolphins Linebacker Nick Buoniconti
Related links: sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/don_banks/12/22/longest.game.ever/ (First hand account of a television viewer) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/sports/football/dolphins-and-chiefs-look-back-on-a-muddy-little-christmas-in-1971.html?_r=0 (The New York Times recap from 2012)