In honor of the wild and crazy finish to last Saturday’s Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn (on Bo Jackson’s birthday, no less), and because we love lists, we put together the 10 best finishes to a sporting event in my lifetime.
The rules are pretty simple:
- It had to be within my lifetime (1981-present), so plays like the Shot Heard ‘Round The World (aka “The Giants win the pennant!”) or the Immaculate Reception don’t count.
- The game had to be decided on the last play of the game. If the play after the crazy play that was a mere formality (i.e. a kneel down, an inbounds pass to run out the clock, etc.), it doesn’t count. That eliminates Larry Johnson’s 4-point play, the Helmet Catch or Ray Allen’s championship-saving 3-pointer.
With that said, here’s the list (in chronological order).
1. Cal vs. Stanford: The Play, 1982
Even the most casual football fan knows about the time the band was out on the field. Little-known fact: The Cal win prevented Stanford QB John Elway (yes, that John Elway) from ever playing in a bowl game.
2. Hail Flutie (Boston College vs. Miami, 1984)
You ever wonder why now every middle-tier school in America wants to play Division I football? The Flutie Effect
3. Bill Buckner (Red Sox vs. Mets, 1986 World Series, Game 6)
The loss wasn’t entirely Buckner’s fault, as the game was already tied thanks to a passed ball two pitches before, but everyone remembers the slow roller up the line.
4. Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run (Athletics vs. Dodgers, 1988 World Series, Game 1)
Kirk Gibson, with two injured legs and fighting a stomach virus, comes to bat against Dennis Eckersley in the bottom on the ninth, down a run. Jack Buck still hasn’t believed what he just saw.
5. The Shot (Duke vs. Kentucky, 1992 NCAA East Regional Final)
Grant Hill’s perfect pass sets up Christian Laettner’s shot that sends Duke to the Final Four. Moral of the story? ALWAYS guard the guy inbounding the ball.
6. Joe Carter’s walk-off home run (Phillies vs. Blue Jays, 1992 World Series, Game 6)
There have been 113 World Series played. Two have ended on home runs. Nuff said. Touch ’em all, Joe.
7. One Yard Short (Rams vs. Titans, Super Bowl XXXIV, 2000)
After pulling off the Music City Miracle in the Wild Card round, the Titans believed they were a team of destiny. Mike Jones (WHO!) had other ideas.
8. Big Shot Bob (Kings vs. Lakers, 2002 Western Conference Finals, Game 5)
He had hit big shots before, but Robert Horry earned the nickname with this shot. What if Vlade Divac doesn’t tap the ball toward halfcourt? BTW, the Kings haven’t been heard from since.
9. The Fish Swish aka 0.4 (Lakers vs. Spurs, 2004 NBA Western Conference Semifinals, Game 6)
After Tim Duncan hits a fadeaway at the top of the key to give the Spurs a one-point lead, Derek Fisher’s shot gives the Lakers the win. They go on to win the series in six and march to the conference finals.
10. Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers, 2012
Manchester City, needing a win to secure the Barclays Premier League title (and preventing their hated rivals Manchester United from winning it all), are down a goal with four minutes left. Sergio Aguero will never have to buy a drink in the blue half of Manchester ever again.
Blackhawks vs, Flyers, 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 6
Patrick Kane scores the Cup winner and UOENO.
Aaron F—— Boone, 2003 ALCS Game 7
Down to their last five outs, the Yankees tie it in the 8th and win it in the 11th.
NC State vs. Houston, 1983 NCAA National Championship
Jimmy V is still looking for someone to hug.
Boise State vs. Oklahoma, 2007 Fiesta Bowl
This game gives the Iron Bowl a run for its money in great college football games
Valparaiso vs Ole Miss, 1998 NCAA East Region 1st Round
Bryce Drew’s shot gives #13 seed Valpo the win over #4 Ole Miss in a play that surprisingly, I’ve never seen run since
Did I forget one? Let us know!