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Seeing is believing. Hearing, however, is understanding.
The most inspirational and climactic moments in sports history would be unemotional, statistical bookmarks if not for the rhythmic vocals firing on all cylinders in the background.
Commentators are the wind beneath the wings of the greatest moments the sports world has ever witnessed. What would we do without them?
Let's enjoy the most iconic calls in sports, with hearts and vocal chords tested along the way.
Date: October 14, 1985
Moment: Ozzie Smith's walk-off home run off Tom Niedenfuer of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. We're still going crazy.
Announcer: Jack Buck
The Call: "Go crazy, folks! Go crazy! It's a home run! And the Cardinals have won the game, by the score of 3-2, on a home run by The Wizard!"
Date: January 22, 1973
Moment: At 29-0, Joe Frazier was the favorite against the up-and-coming George Foreman. But when he was knocked down for a sixth time in Round 2, the fight was stopped and Frazier lost his title to Foreman.
Announcer: Howard Cosell
The Call: "I think he hurt Joe Frazier. I think Joe is hurt. Angee Dundee, Ali's trainer right next to me is saying it. You may hear him. Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! The heavyweight champion is taking the mandatory eight-count and Foreman is as poised as can be in a neutral corner!"
Date: May 27, 1994
Moment: After already ending Game 3 with a goal in the second overtime in New Jersey to give the Rangers a 3–2 victory and a 2–1 series lead, winger Stephane Matteau scored in second overtime of Game 7 at MSG to send the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they would secure the trophy.
Announcer: Howie Rose
The Call: "Fetisov for the Devils plays it cross-ice into the far corner...Matteau swoops in to intercept, Matteau behind the net, swings it in front he scores! Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Stephane Matteau! And the Rangers have one more hill to climb baby and it's Mount Vancouver! The Rangers are headed to the finals!"
Date: September 10, 1978
Moment: With 10 seconds left in the game, the Raiders were marching at the Chargers' 14-yard line, trailing 20-14, before Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler was sacked by Chargers linebacker Woodrow Lowe on the 24-yard line. His fumble miraculously rolled into the hands of tight end Dave Casper for the score.
Announcer: Billy King
The Call: "The ball, flipped forward, is loose! A wild scramble, two seconds on the clock...Casper grabbing the ball...it is ruled a fumble...Casper has recovered in the end zone! The Oakland Raiders have scored on the most zany, unbelievable, absolutely impossible dream of a play! Madden is on the field. He wants to know if it's real. They said yes, get your big butt out of here! He does! There's nothing real in the world anymore! The Raiders have won the football game! The Chargers....they don't believe it. Fifty-two thousand people minus a few lonely Raider fans are stunned. This one will be relived forever!"
Date: June 9, 2001
Moment: After 21 seasons as Bruins captain, Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was traded to the Avalanche due to Boston general manager Harry Sinden's hope for Bourque to close out his career with a Cup win. A consummate professional and true gentleman, Bourque would lift the trophy after Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup, his last NHL game.
Announcer: Gary Thorne
The Call: “The Colorado Avalanche have won the Stanley Cup! Raymond Bourque! A dream has come true!...Joe Sakic will come out to receive it as captain, the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche, and after 22 years…RAYMOND BOURQUE!”
Date: October 3, 1951
Moment: Bobby Thompson's shot heard 'round the world, a walk-off home run off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds that won the National League pennant.
Announcer: Russ Hodges
The Call: "There's a long drive... it's gonna be, I believe...THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they're goin' crazy, they're goin' crazy! HEEEY-OH!!!''
Date: January 8, 2000
Moment: Greatest end to a wild-card playoff game, as the Titans came back from a 16-15 deficit on the lateral-happy kickoff.
Announcer: Mike Keith and Pat Ryan
The Call: "...10, 5, endzone...touchdown, Titans! There are no flags on the field! It's a miracle! Tennessee has pulled a miracle! A miracle for the Titans!"
Date: April 15, 1965
Moment: The Celtics held a 110-109 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers with five seconds left in Game 7 of the 1965 Eastern Conference Championship, needing only an inbound pass to advance to the NBA Finals. But Bill Russell's pass hit a wire that supported the basket, the turnover giving the 76ers a chance to win the game. As Hal Greer inbounded the ball, Havlicek jumped in front of Chet Walker, stole the ball and iced the game.
Announcer: Johnny Most
The Call: "Greer is putting the ball in play. He gets it out deep and Havlicek steals it! Over to Sam Jones! Havlicek stole the ball! It's all over...It's all over! Johnny Havlicek is being mobbed by the fans! It's all over! Johnny Havlicek stole the ball!"
Date: October 25, 1986
Moment: One out away from their first title since 1918, the Red Sox eventually fell victim to the comeback Mets, who thrilled the baseball world with their late-game magic.
Announcer: Vin Scully
The Call: "So the winning run is at second base, with two outs, three and two to Mookie Wilson. Little roller up along first... behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!"
Date: November 23, 1984
Moment: Doug Flutie's famous Hail Mary to wide receiver Gerard Phelan at the Miami Orange Bowl, giving Boston College the upset win over the defending champions Hurricanes, 47-45.
Announcer: Brent Musburger
The Call: "Flutie flushed.........throws it down.........CAUGHT BY BOSTON COLLEGE! I don't believe it! It's a touchdown! The Eagles win it!"
Date: October 23, 1993
Moment: Game 6 of the '93 World Series, Blue Jays leading three games to two, Joe Carter up to bat with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Blue Jays trailing 6–5 with Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor on base.
Announcer: Tom Cheek
The Call: "Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!"
Date: March 23, 2006
Moment: No. 2 UCLA holds off No. 3 Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 of 2006 March Madness, after exiting halftime with a 17-point deficit. Gus Johnson with the verbal seizure.
Announcer: Gus Johnson
The Call: "Oh, what a game! What a game!!"
Date: November 26, 1994
Moment: High school football playoff game in Texas between John Tyler and Piano East, the latter down 41-17 with three minutes to go. Turns out, five touchdowns were scored in the last two and a half minutes (and seven in the last four and a half minutes), as John Tyler holds on.
Announcer: Eddy Clinton and Denny Garver
The Call: "Oh, no...I don't believe it. God bless those kids, I am sick, I want to throw up."
Date: June 9, 1973
Moment: In 1973, Secretariat became the first U.S. Triple Crown Winner in 25 years, setting race records in all three events in the Series like no thoroughbred before him.
Announcer: Chic Anderson
The Call: "Secretariat is widening now! He is moving like a tremendous machine! Secretariat by 12! Secretariat by 14 lengths on the turn!”
Date: June 22, 1986
Moment: Moments after scoring the "Hand of God" goal 51 minutes into the quarter-final of the '86 World Cup against England, Argentina's Diego Maradona scored the "Goal of the Century," gliding past numerous baffled defenders.
Announcer: Victor Hugo Morales
The Call (translated): "Maradona on the ball now. Two closing him down. Maradona rolls his foot over the ball and breaks away down the right, the genius of world football. He goes past a third, looks for Burruchaga. Maradona forever! Genius! Genius! Genius! He’s still going… Gooooal! Sorry, I want to cry! Good God! Long live football! What a goal! A memorable run from Maradona. The greatest solo goal of all time. Cosmic Kite, which planet did you come from?”
Date: October, 1964
Moment: Billy Mills became the only American ever to win the Olympic gold in the 10,000-meter run with his come-from-behind victory at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Announcer: Dick Bank
The Call: "Look at Mills, look at Mills!!"
Date: November 20, 1982
Moment: After Stanford took a 20-19 lead with four seconds left in the 1982 Big Game, Cal lateraled the ensuing kickoff five times before trampling the band and achieving the impossible.
Announcer: Joe Starkey
The Call: "We've heard no decision yet. Everybody is milling around on the FIELD! AND THE BEARS!! THE BEARS HAVE WON! The Bears have won! Oh, my God! The most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heart-rending...exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football! California has won the Big Game over Stanford! Oh, excuse me for my voice, but I have never, never seen anything like it in the history of I have ever seen any game in my life! The Bears have won it! There will be no extra point!"
Date: May 26, 1987
Moment: Leading the Celtics 107-106 with five seconds left in Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons needed only a successful inbound to secure victory and take a 3-2 series lead. Larry Bird would have none of it.
Announcer: Johnny Most
The Call: "And......now there's a steal by Bird! Underneath to DJ who lays it in!!...Right at one second left!! What a play by Bird! Bird stole the inbounding pass, laid it up to DJ, and DJ laid it up and in, and Boston has a one-point lead with one second left! OH, MY, THIS PLACE IS GOING CRAZY!!!"
Date: April 10, 2005
Moment: Dramatic chip-in birdie on No. 16 at the 2005 Masters Tournament by Tiger Woods, capping a riveting playoff with Chris DiMarco.
Announcer: Verne Lundquist
The Call: "Here it comes ... Oh, my goodness! ... OH, MY! IN YOUR LIFE, have you seen anything like that?!"
Date: February 22, 1980
Moment: The 1980 United States hockey team, stacked with amateur and collegiate players, miraculously upset the Soviet team, which had won nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament since 1954, forcing us to believe in the impossible.
Announcer: Al Michaels
The Call: "11 seconds, you've got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?! YES!"