10 Greatest Games in the History of Sports
Who doesn't like a great game? A weirdo doesn't like a great game. Usually games are close, but they are not exciting.
Blowouts are great if your team is the one blowing the other team out, but don't you feel more proud of your team when they win a close, suspenseful team.
Some of you readers weren't alive or some of these games, but I sure was. I am counting down the 10 greatest games of all time in the four major sports (football, baseball, basketball, and hockey).
Enjoy the lost.
No. 10: 2007 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State Broncoes vs. Oklahoma Sooners
The 2007 Fiesta Bowl was the craziest football game of all time.
It was the greatest bowl game of all time and I was actually at that game. When Paul Thompson threw a five-yard touchdown pass for Oklahoma it took three two-point conversion attempts to finally get it (the first two had penalities and had to be done again).
Then, Boise State QB Jared Zabransky threw an interception returned for a touchdown. There was just 1:02 left in the game and everybody was thinking that Oklahoma had this game.
However, the second best play of the game occured. Boise State QB Jared Zabransky completed a pass to Drisan James. James quickly lateraled the ball to Jerard Rabb and Rabb ran along the sidelines for a 35-yard touchdown.
The game then went to overtime. Oklahoma got the ball first in overtime and running back Adrian Peterson scored on a 25-yard touchdown run. The score was 42-35. Boise State had the ball on Oklahoma's five on 4th-and-2.
QB Jared Zabransky ran the option and threw a touchdown pass to Tight End Derek Schouman.
Boise State surprisingly went for two and converted it on the famous Statue of Liberty Play, which was scored by running back Ian Johnson. After Johnson scored he ran over to his girlfriend (who was a Boise State Cheerleader) and proposed.
She said yes.
Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42.
No. 9: 1991 World Series Game Six: Minnesota Twins vs. Atlanta Braves
It was one of the most memorable images in sports. Kirby Puckett hitting the game winning Home Run of Game Six of the 1991 World Series. Kirby Puckett is holding his first up in the air and the expression on his face just shows you how happy and pumped up he is.
However, before that moment it was a hell of a game. I wasn't fortunate to attend this game, but I did watch it. It's Game Six of the World Series and Atlanta has a 3-2 series lead.
The series was already a classic, having three games decided by just one run. Minnesota scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth. No team scored until the top of the fifth inning.
Terry Pendleton hit a two run home run to the tie the game at two. In the bottom of the fifth Kirby Puckett hit a fly ball to deep center, which produced one run for Minnesota. In the top of the seventh the Braves had the bases loaded.
The Braves had a massive opportunity, but scored only one run. The score remained tied at three until one of the greatest home runs of all time occurred.
The count was 2-1 when Kirby Puckett hit the game winning Home Run in the bottom of the 11th inning. This moment also produced one of the most memorable quotes in baseball history. After the Home Run Commentator Jack Buck screamed "And we'll se you tomorrow night."
The Twins would win the next game 1-0 in another classic game.
R.I.P.: Kirby Puckett (Mar. 14, 1960-Mar. 6, 2006)
No. 8: 1981 AFC Divisional Playoff: San Diego vs. Miami
I like to call this game "The Humid Bowl." You know, because it was humid and it made the players really sweaty. Anyways, the San Diego Chargers were taking on the Miami Dolphins.
Dan Fouts and the San Diego Chargers had a 24-0 lead over the Dolphins at the end of the first quarter. Miami looked done and I was about to turn the game off, but I'm glad I didn't. The Dolphins scored 17 in the second quarter and I told myself, "We have a game."
The game was tied at 31 at the end of the third quarter. With the game tied at 38 going into overtime, the players wanted the game to end as early as possible. That seemed like the case at first.
Dan Fouts led the Chargers all the way to Miami's nine-yard line. It seemed like Rolf Benirschke would make the easy 27 yard field goal, but a bad snap and a poor throw extended the game.
Miami drove down the field and attempted a 34-yard field goal. The kick was low and San Diego blocked the kick. On San Diego's drive, Wide Receiver Charlie Joiner caught two passes for 49 yards. Rolf Benirschke attempted a 29-yard field goal and this time he made the field goal.
This game produced a memorable scene. San Diego Tight End Kellen Winslow, who had one of the greatest games in playoff history, was carried off the field by his teammates because he was dehydrated and had cramps.
No. 7: 1975 World Series Game 6: Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox
You know what's weird, almost every classic game in sports history has a memorable photo. The two previous slides have classic pictures and for the third slide in a row there is another one.
The date was Oct. 21, 1975 and the location was Fenway Park, Boston. It was the Cincinnati Reds vs. the Boston Red Sox. This game turned the 1975 World Series into the greatest World Series of all time.
Boston struck first in this game as Fred Lynn hit a three run home run in the bottom of the first. Cincinnati finally struck in the top of the fifth inning, when Ken Griffey Sr. drove in two runs.
Johnny Bench then drove in Griffey to tie the game at three. In the top of the seventh George Foster's two run double gave Cincinnati a 5-3 lead.
In the top of the eighth, Cesar Geronimo hit a solo home run to give Cincinnati the 6-3 lead. In the bottom of the eighth Bernie Carbo hit a three-run home run for Boston to tie the game at six.
The Reds threatend to score in extra innings a couple of times, but never did. In the bottom of the twelth Carlton Fisk hit a ball up in the air down the left field line.
The camera got Fisk waiving his arms, as if he was trying to waive the ball fair. Maybe Fisk had the force. Anyways, the ball hit Pesky's Pole and was called fair. However, the Reds would win the series in Game Seven by the score of 4-3.
No. 6: 1986 World Series Game Six: New York Mets vs. Boston Red Sox
Every once in a while there is a player who has accomplished much in his career that makes a blunder and is only remembered for that. You know, Jackie Smith, Chris Webber, and much more.
Bill Buckner is one of those guys.
He had a solid career, but he will always be remembered for one play in his career and it occurred in this game. It was Game Six of the 1986 World Series and Boston needed just one more win to win their first World Series in 68 years. This was a very memorable game for me.
My grandpa was a long time Mets fan and he died a couple of weeks before the World Series. I was rooting for the Mets all the way. The Red Sox had a 3-2 series lead going into Game Six (don't you see a pattern).
The Red Sox were playing great in the series. After two innings, the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead, courtesy of Dwight Evans and Marty Barrett. The Mets tied the score in the fifth inning on a single from Ray Knight and a run-scoring double play by Danny Heep. An error by Knight led to Barrett scoring in the 7th to give Boston a 3–2 lead.
In the top of the eighth, the Red Sox had Dave Henderson on second with one out. Manager John McNamara sent rookie Mike Greenwell to pinch hit for Roger Clemens in an effort to match Greenwell, a left-handed batter, against the Mets' dominant short-relief man Roger McDowell even as righty slugger Don Baylor sat on the bench; Greenwell struck out and the Sox scored no runs that inning. The Mets tied the game on a Gary Carter sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning. The score remained tied through the ninth inning, forcing the game to go into extras.
In the top of the 10th inning, Dave Henderson homered to give the Sox a lead, and Barrett singled in Wade Boggs to make it 5-3. When Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez were retired to start the bottom of the 10th, the Red Sox were one out away from the series victory.
Down to their final out and down by two runs, the Mets would go on to stage a historic comeback. Gary Carter started the rally with a single to left. Darryl Strawberry's spot would have come up next, however Mets manager Davey Johnson had removed the slugger earlier in the game through a double switch. Instead, Johnson sent Kevin Mitchell to the plate to pinch hit for pitcher Rick Aguilera. Mitchell singled to center field.
Mitchell was followed by Knight, who went down in the count 0-2 leaving the Mets a strike away from elimination. Knight hit the next pitch into center field for a single that scored Carter and advanced Mitchell to third base bringing the score to 5-4 and leaving the tying run only 90 feet (27 m) away.
The Red Sox replaced pitcher Calvin Schiraldi with the veteran Bob Stanley to face left fielder Mookie Wilson. On the seventh pitch of the at bat, with a 2-2 count, Stanley's pitch was too far inside and slipped past catcher Rich Gedman for a wild pitch, sending Wilson to the ground and allowing Mitchell to score from third base with the tying run. Knight moved up to second base on the wild pitch.
With Shea Stadium literally rocking, Wilson stepped back in with a full count and the winning run in scoring position. On the tenth pitch of the at-bat, Wilson hit a slow ground ball up the first base line that appeared to be an easy play for Boston first baseman Bill Buckner. As the speedy Wilson busted out of the box, the ball snuck between the legs of Buckner who was playing on two bad ankles. The ball slipped under his glove, and rolled slowly into right field. Knight grabbed his helmet as he jumped on home plate to win the game in an iconic image of one of the most famous comebacks in World Series history.
It was kind of shocking that the Red Sox were leading the series because the Mets were the better team. Going into Game Six I thought that the Mets were going to lose.
No. 5: 1992 Elite Eight: Duke Blue Devils vs. Kentucky Wildcats
It was the greatest college basketball game of all time and I was able to attend. The East Regional Final in the 1992 NCAA Tournament. Two heavy-weights going at it. It was the Duke Blue Devils vs. the Kentucky Wildcats.
It was so exciting and Christian Laettner was basically perfect. Duke's Christian Laettner shows he's not perfect when, with eight minutes left in the second half of the East Regional final, he stomps on the chest of a fallen Kentucky player, drawing a technical.
But when it comes to shooting in the game, Laettner is perfect. The shot that will be remembered as long as the game is replayed is Laettner's last one, the one that just beats the overtime buzzer in Philadelphia.
Kentucky had just taken a one-point lead on Sean Woods' bank shot with two seconds left. After a timeout, Duke's Grant Hill is left unguarded (Kentucky coach Rick Pitino's decision) and he flings the inbounds pass some 80 feet to a leaping Laettner, who's near the foul line with his back to the basket.
The 6'11" senior takes one dribble, fakes right, turns to his left and hits a 17-foot jumper to give Duke a 104-103 victory and its fifth consecutive trip to the Final Four.
Laettner, who makes two field goals and four foul shots in the final two minutes, finishes with 31 points on 10-for-10 shooting from both the field (including one three-pointer) and the foul line.
No. 4. 1960 World Series Game Seven: New York Yankees vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
It was the end of the Yankee dynasty. The New York Yankees were always favored when they went into a World Series so going into the Series the feeling was that the Yankees were going to win. Going into Game Seven the series was okay, but this game turned the World Series into a classic.
The Pirates took an early 4-1 lead, only to give up four runs in the sixth inning. By the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees were ahead 7-4. Dick Goraot drove in a run. Next to bat was Roberto Clemente, who also drove in a run.
With two men on base, Hal Smith hit a Home Run to give Pittsburgh a 9-7 lead. If you have been counting, there have been two comebacks in just one game. The third comeback was by the New York Yankees.
The Yankees tied the game at nine going into the bottom of the ninth. The Pirates had a chance to actually win the World Series. Ralph Terry, who had gotten the final out of the eighth inning, returned to the mound in the bottom of the ninth. The first batter to face him was Bill Mazeroski.
With a count of one ball and no strikes, the Pirates' second baseman smashed a historic long drive over the left wall, ending the contest and crowning the National League as champions.
As the Pirates erupted, the Yankees stood across the field in disbelief. The improbable champions were outscored, outhit, and outplayed, but had managed to pull out a victory anyhow.
Years later, Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying that losing the 1960 series was the biggest disappointment of his career. For Bill Mazeroski, it was the highlight.
No. 3. 1980 Winter Olympics Ice Hockey Semifinals: UUSR vs. USA
The home crowd, energized by the U.S. team's improbable run during group play and the Cold War "showdown" mentality, were in a patriotic fervor throughout the match, waving U.S. flags and singing patriotic songs such as "God Bless America."
The rest of the United States (except those who watched the game live on Canadian television) would have to wait to see the game, as ABC decided to broadcast the late-afternoon game on tape delay in prime time.
As in several previous games, the U.S. team fell behind early. Vladimir Krutov deflected a slap shot by Aleksei Kasatonov past U.S. netminder Jim Craig to give the Soviets a 1–0 lead, and after Buzz Schneider scored for the United States to tie the game, the Soviets struck again with a Sergei Makarov goal.
Eruzione tees up the go-ahead goal.Down 2–1, Craig improved his play, turning away many Soviet shots before the U.S. team had another shot on goal (the Soviet team had 39 shots on goal in the game, the Americans only 16).
In the waning seconds of the first period, Dave Christian fired a slap shot on Tretiak. The Soviet goalie saved the shot but misplayed the rebound, and Mark Johnson scooped it past the goaltender to tie the score with one second left in the period.
The Soviet team played the final second of the period with just three players on the ice, as the rest of the team had retired to their dressing room for the first intermission.
Tikhonov replaced Tretiak with backup goaltender Vladimir Myshkin to start the second period, a move which shocked many players on both teams.
Fetisov later identified this as the "turning point of the game. Myshkin allowed no goals in the second period. Aleksandr Maltsev scored on a power play to make the score 3–2 for the Soviets, but Craig made numerous saves to keep the U.S. in the game.
Johnson scored again for the U.S., 8:39 into the final period, firing a loose puck past Myshkin to tie the score just as a power play was ending. Only a couple shifts later, Mark Pavelich passed to U.S. captain Mike Eruzione, who was left undefended in the high slot.
Eruzione fired a shot past Myshkin, who was screened by his own defenseman. This goal gave the U.S. a 4–3 lead with exactly 10 minutes to play in the contest.
Craig withstood another series of Soviet shots to finish the match, though the Soviets did not remove their goalkeeper for an extra attacker.
As the U.S. team tried to clear the zone (move the puck over the blue line, which they did with seven seconds remaining), the crowd began to count down the seconds left.
No. 2: 1951 NL Pennant: New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers
It was the greatest pennant race of all time. The Giants vs. the Dodgers was probably the best rivalry in sports for a while. The 1951 NL Pennent Race was epic. On Aug. 11 the Dodgers had a 13.5 game lead on the Giants.
The Giants would then take first place and Brooklyn would end up tying New York, forcing a three game playoff. Brooklyn won the coin toss to decide home-field advantage in the series.
Controversially, manager Charlie Dressen opted to play only the first game at home, rather than the last two; he reasoned that if the Dodgers won their only home game, they would need to win only one out of two on the road.
The Giants won the first game 3-1 at Ebbets Field, with Thomson spearheading the New York offense with a two-run home run off Branca.
When the series moved to the Polo Grounds, the Dodgers won the second game 10-0 on a complete-game shutout by the rookie hurler Clem Labine. For the third game, the Giants' 23-game winner Sal Maglie would face Brooklyn's Don Newcombe in a battle of aces.
In the first inning, Jackie Robinson singled home Pee Wee Reese for the first run of the game. In the bottom of the seventh, Thomson tied the game with a sacrifice fly, scoring Monte Irvin.
In the eighth, the Dodgers touched the exhausted Maglie for three runs and headed to the bottom of the ninth with an apparently secure 4-1 lead. Newcombe, however, was showing the effects of overuse in the season's final days.
He had pitched a complete game the previous Saturday, then thrown five-and-two-thirds innings in relief the next day in the season finale. Pitching on only two days' rest and tiring badly, he attempted to take himself out of the game, only to have Robinson talk him into trying to finish the inning.
The Giants shortstop Alvin Dark singled to start the rally. As Bud Greenspan pointed out in Play It Again the Dodgers may have made a crucial strategic mistake.
First baseman Gil Hodges was playing close to the base. But with a three-run lead, the normal strategy would have been to position for a possible double play.
With a large gap in the right side of the infield, Don Mueller placed a single through that gap, past the diving Gil Hodges, and Dark ran from first to third base. Instead of a possible rally-killing double play, the Dodgers found themselves facing the potential tying run with no outs.
But with a chance to drive in a run, Irvin, who led the National League that year with 121 RBI, chased the first pitch and popped out (Greenspan argued that could have been the season-ending third out).
However, Whitey Lockman followed with a double down the left-field line, scoring Dark and advancing Mueller to third.
Mueller slid awkwardly into the bag and broke his ankle, forcing the Giants to send in Clint Hartung to pinch-run for him. Dressen, the Brooklyn manager, finally pulled the spent Newcombe and sent Ralph Branca into the game.
The move has bewildered baseball historians to this day (and, combined with the positioning of Hodges, was possibly at least the second questionable decision by Dressen that inning).
Branca had pitched and lost Game One of the tiebreaker on a Thomson home run (something Dodgers' fans were painfully aware of at the time) and had given up several home runs that year to Thomson, who had hit 31 during the season.
However, in Dressen's defense, he had few decently rested pitchers available; in the last regular-season game alone the Dodgers had sent seven men to the mound.
Branca's first pitch was a fastball down the middle for a strike. His second pitch was a fastball up and in to Thomson, intended as a setup for his planned next pitch, a breaking ball down and away.
But Thomson yanked the fastball down the left-field line and toward the invitingly close outfield fence, with a foul line a mere 279 feet from home plate (unmarked), and a roll-up door in the 17-foot wall with a 315 marker posted, some 30 or 40 feet out from the foul line.
Andy Pafko, the Dodgers' left fielder, rushed toward the fence, thinking the rapidly sinking line drive might bounce off the wall. Instead, the ball disappeared into the stands for a game-ending three-run homer, just above the 315 marker.
With one swing of Thomson's bat, the Giants had turned near-certain defeat into sudden victory and a pennant. Seeing the ball disappear over the fence, Thomson hopped crazily around the bases, then disappeared into the mob of jubilant teammates that had gathered at home plate.
The stunned Dodger players trudged off the field - all except Robinson, who watched to be sure Thomson touched every base before he, too, headed for the clubhouse.
No. 1: 1958 NFL Championship: Baltimore Colts vs. New York Giants
After the Giants scored first late in the first quarter with Pat Summerall's 36-yard field goal, a second quarter fumble by New York running back Frank Gifford set up a two-yard touchdown run by Colts running back Alan Ameche.
Gifford fumbled again later in the second quarter, and Baltimore converted that turnover into another touchdown with quarterback Johnny Unitas' 15-yard pass to end Raymond Berry to make the score 14-3 by halftime. Then early in the third quarter, Baltimore reached the New York one-yard line.
But on third down, Ameche was stopped for no gain, and the Colts turned it over on downs after Ameche was tackled trying to go wide at the five-yard line on a great play by linebacker Cliff Livingston, on a fourth down halfback option play. It was a huge reversal of momentum.
The Giants then went 95-yards in just four plays, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run by Mel Triplett to cut the score, 14-10.
The drive was highlighted by an unforgettable 86-yard pass play from deep within the Giants own territory at the closed end of the stadium: Conerly threw to Kyle Rote downfield left-to-right across the middle where Rote then broke an arm tackle at about mid-field.
Then Rote fumbled when hit from behind, but NY Giant running back Alex Webster who was trailing the play, picked up the ball and ran it all the way to the one-yard line where he was knocked out of bounds (although if challenged today, it probably would have been ruled a touchdown).
The Giants then went ahead early in the fourth quarter with Gifford's 15-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Charlie Conerly. But with about two minutes left in the game, the Colts took over at their own 14-yard line and Unitas engineered one of the most famous drives in football history—a "two-minute drill" before anyone called it that—moving the ball all the way to the Giants 13-yard line.
This set up a 20-yard tying field goal by kicker Steve Myhra with seven seconds left to send the game into overtime—the first overtime game in NFL history.
As Unitas later stated, the players had never heard of overtime before the game. “When the game ended in a tie, we were standing on the sidelines waiting to see what came next.
All of a sudden, the officials came over and said, ‘Send the captain out. We’re going to flip a coin to see who will receive.’ That was the first we heard of the overtime period. In overtime, New York received the opening kickoff but were forced to punt.
On their ensuing drive, Baltimore drove 80 yards in 13 plays on a tired NY defense, and scored on Ameche's one-yard touchdown run to win the game, 23-17.
During overtime, when the Colts were on the eight-yard line of the Giants, a fan ran out onto the field of Yankee Stadium, causing the game to be delayed. He was actually an NBC employee who was ordered to create a distraction because the national television feed had gone dead.
The difficulty was the result of a pulled plug, and the delay in the game bought NBC enough time to fix the problem before the next play.