Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans Play Longest Game in NFL History

By Michael Vesci
Sep. 10, 2018

When the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans took the field on Sunday afternoon, they probably thought they were getting ready for the start of the 2018 National Football League season. Instead, along with the fans, they were treated to the longest game since the AFL-NFL merger way back in 1970.

The game kicked off at 1:00 PM and ended up lasting into the early evening hours after multiple lightning delays forced the teams to leave the field. It all started in the second quarter with 1:11 left in the half and the Dolphins leading the game 7-3. Lightning was detected within a mile of the stadium which meant both teams had to clear the field and the delay was underway. If a lightning strike occurred near the stadium, the two teams would have to wait at least 30 minutes to retake the field and begin play. All in all, the delay lasted one hour and 57 minutes before the teams came out to play out the final 1:11 in the half.

Due to the lengthy delay, the teams were given a three and a half minute halftime in which they both remained on the field. But following a Ryan Tannehill interception in the end zone just over halfway through the third quarter, lightning was detected in the area again which led to another delay. This one lasted a whopping two hours and two minutes before the teams were able to resume play at 6:55 PM. At that point, all the 1:00 games were obviously finished and most of the late-afternoon games were headed towards their conclusion or had already concluded.

When the two teams resumed play for the second time, linebacker Kiko Alonso picked off Titans' quarterback Marcus Mariota which led to a field goal that gave the Dolphins a 10-3 lead. It was at that point more lightning strikes occurred, but these were not by Mother Nature. After the Titans tied the game at 10, Jakeem Grant returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown and put the Dolphins back on top. A short while later, Ryan Tannehill connected with receiver Kenny Stills for a 75-yard touchdown pass to put Miami up 24-10.

But the lightning this game produced was still not finished as Darius Jennings took the Miami kickoff to the house for a 94-yard return to pull the Titans back within seven. That would be the closest they would get as both teams traded an interception each as well as a field goal and the Dolphins got the 27-20 victory. When it was all set and done, the game lasted an NFL record seven hours and eight minutes. The next closest game before that was the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens in a five hour, 16-minute affair back in 2013. It is pretty safe to say we may never see a game like this again, but it certainly was an exciting one to watch.

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