The playoffs have delivered "The Guarantee," "The Drive," "Wide Right," "The Immaculate Reception" and so many other moments. Even the nameless plays — Adam Vinatieri's winning field goals, Tom Brady's game-winning drives, the birth and death of dynasties — can be engrained into any football fan's mind.
FOXBORO, Mass. — Now is the time when any given play can turn into one of the NFL's most iconic, everlasting images.
They don't even have to involve the game's greatest players, as Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch proved last year when his bulldozing run helped the worst playoff team in history knock off the defending Super Bowl champions.
The players within the game are no exception. Some of the Patriots — who open the postseason Saturday night against the Broncos, the owners of this postseason's finest play to date — have some terrific postseason memories. Others can recall some horror stories. Each memory, just like every play, is different.
Left guard Brian Waters
Waters, who grew up in Texas a Cowboys fan, on watching the Super Bowls: "Everybody where I was from, they sat around, watched the game with the doors open so everybody could hear the screaming from next door. And then it'd be funny because somebody would score a touchdown, or it would be halftime, and you'd see people standing outside talking about the game and then go in and watch the rest of it. It was kind of like a neighborhood thing where people were just joining in on it without being in the same room."
Waters' greatest postseason memory: "I remember Doug Williams, the Super Bowl with the Redskins, that was a big deal in my neighborhood. Just being the first African-American quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl was a big deal. It was a huge deal at the time."
Tight end Rob Gronkowski
The Bills fan can't shake the memories of the Music City Miracle: "The one I remember is the loss to the Tennessee Titans, and they threw it behind the line of scrimmage. That was pretty funny. I was a Bills fan. Everyone in Buffalo hated that. That was wild. It still hurts."
Special teams captain Matthew Slater
Slater, the son of Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater, attended two Super Bowls: "Big Rams fan, so I remember the '99 Super Bowl and the chance to go to that (the Rams beat the Titans, 23-16). That was pretty fun. The Denver-Green Bay Super Bowl (XXXII), when [John] Elway was quarterback, I went to that game. That was a lot of fun. I was a big John Elway fan, so seeing him get a chance to win there in his later years was pretty cool."
Did he remember his father's playoff games: "He played in 18 of them, but I don't remember too many of them, to be honest with you. By the time I was old enough to remember, they weren't going too often."
Quarterback Brian Hoyer
Does he have any playoff memories: "Not really, when the Browns moved, I really didn't watch much NFL football. It was just kind of bitter that they left. It was tough. Being a little kid and watching your favorite team move, it was tough."
Running back Stevan Ridley
"The biggest playoff memories I have, my birthday was always around Super Bowl time. So at a young age, I always had my birthday party during the Super Bowl. That was really when I started watching it. That would have to be my biggest memory, just looking to see who I would be watching to see play on my birthday about a week or two after. My birthday is Jan. 27, so that's my biggest memory, looking forward to that."
Safety James Ihedigbo
"San Francisco beating Green Bay, final-second touchdown from Steve Young to Terrell Owens in the NFC Championship. That was definitely [memorable]. … Big memories of Ty Law against Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship with three interceptions."
Cornerback Devin McCourty
"My second or third year in college, just watching all the guys I played with, watching Ray [Rice] play, all those guys, Eric Foster, play in the NFL was probably the coolest experience. They were guys you played with then came back and you worked out with them in the offseason. Actually seeing them play in the playoffs in the NFL was kind of cool."