Denver Strikes Gold Again: Recapping Three Lucky Calls in Denver Sports

KyleCorrespondent IMay 10, 2009

DALLAS - MAY 09:  Forward Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball past Antoine Wright #21 of the Dallas Mavericks during the final seconds in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 9, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After watching the NuggetsMavericks game yesterday, and seeing the call that shouldn't have been, I had to do a write up.

This will be an article in chronological order of the three controversial calls that Denver sports fans have received in the last two and a half years.  Each covering the three "main" sports, except for hockey.

10/01/07, Colorado Rockies—If you live in Denver, you know the significance of this date. The first date in Rocktober for Rockies' fans, and the first NL Wild Card Tiebreaker since 1999.

The Rockies, who at the time had won 13 of their last 14 games, would be up against the 2007 Cy Young winner Jake Peavy. On the mound for the Rockies was the "Dragon Slayer" Josh Fogg.  

How would Fogg earn such a nickname?  

When you beat the likes of Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Brandon Webb, Mike Mussina, and Roy Oswalt all in one year, that's how you get such a nickname.  

The game, which was held in Denver by way of a coin toss, was the greatest game ever played at Coors Field, hands down. The Rockies would score three runs in the first and second innings, only to have the Padres explode in the third, with an Adrian Gonzalez grand slam.  

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The Padres scored five runs in the third. The Rockies would go on scoring runs in every inning through the sixth, excluding the fourth inning.  

With the Rockies up 6-5 going into the eighth inning, Matt Holliday misjudged a linedrive to left, and with the ball soaring over his head, Brian Giles would drive in a run.

The game would go into the 13th inning.  

Thanks to a Scott Hairston two-run home run, the Padres were up by two, and Rockies' fans were disheartened. With one of baseball's best closers Trevor Hoffman on the mound for the Padres, the season looked to be over as the future Hall of Famer would look to end the Rockies' season.

However, the Rockies didn't get the memo that they were supposed to lose.  

Stringing off three consecutive extra base hits by Kaz Matsui, Troy Tulowitzki, and a triple by Matt Holliday, the Rockies had tied the game up. With no outs, the Padres intentionally walked slugger Todd Helton.  

It was up to Jamey Carroll.

Striking a line drive to right fielder Brian Giles, the Rockies' Holliday looked to tag up. Hustling as fast as he could to home plate, there was a play at the plate which would decide the season for the Rockies. After hesitation, umpire Tim McClelland slowly ruled Holliday safe.  

The Rockies instantly gathered around Carroll as the game's hero, but Holliday was on the ground, with a nasty road rash on his chin. Hoffman would earn his fifth loss of the season, and the Rockies would be playing more games in October.

However, this call didn't come without controversy. Coming into home, did Holliday touch the plate?  

Sliding to the right of the plate, Holliday extended his left hand and appeared to swipe the plate. However, no cameras could clearly overturn the call, and still today it remains a mystery as to whether or not Holliday touched home plate or not. As a Rockies' fan, I obviously believe McClelland made the right call, but to anyone who's a Padres' fan, it would be tough to base a decision around such disputable evidence that could go either way.

9/14/08, Denver Broncos—It's time for the Broncos' turn.

The infamous Ed Hochuli call.

Coming off a division win against the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers headed into Denver to play their week two game.  

Scoring 31 points in the first half, and 24 in the second quarter, the Broncos looked well into starting the season off 2-0. However, the Chargers would surge, scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half.

Down by seven points, the Broncos capped off an, at the time, 79 yard drive. With 1:17 left in the game, quarterback Jay Cutler looked to have fumbled the ball. Chargers linebacker Tim Dobbins recovered the fumble, and it looked as if the Bronco's would lose the game.  

However, referee Ed Hochuli blew the whistle dead as the ball came out of Cutler's grasp. Hochuli thought Cutler's fumble was an incompletion. The game, which should've been over, due to San Diego's recovered fumble, would still be in reach for the Broncos as they received their luckiest break of the season. After a third down draw play, Jay Cutler threw a strike to wide receiver Eddie Royal, to put the Broncos down by one on fourth down.

Not satisfied with the call either, Broncos' coach Mike Shanahan went for a two-point conversion. He felt like if the Broncos were to get such a call, they should deserve the win by going for two, instead of taking it into a potential overtime.  

With the same call that the Broncos used to score the touchdown, Denver used that same play on the conversion. An exact replica, Eddie Royal caught the ball in the end zone, and the Broncos would take the game, 39-38. As you can imagine, San Diego Chargers' head coach Norv Turner was unhappy.

"Affecting the outcome of a game is a devastating feeling. Officials strive for perfection – I failed miserably," Ed Hochuli said.

Official Ed Hochuli admitted his wrong doing on the play, but couldn't turn possession over to San Diego, since he blew the play dead. Hochuli received criticism from everyone around the league, and Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones was fined $25 thousand dollars for criticism given to Hochuli.

5/09/09, Denver Nuggets—This is the most recent of the calls. The Denver Nuggets were up 2-0 in their series against the Dallas Mavericks.

Game 3 was a tough, physical game where 61 fouls were called against both of the teams. There were more free throws made than field goals. There was an average of 1.5 free throws made per minute.

So, it was a non-call that would make this list.

Fast forward to five seconds left in the fourth quarter. Up by two, the Mavericks had a foul to give. They knew what was going to come if they didn't foul, a three pointer. Carmelo Anthony, who was being guarded by Antoine Wright, received the inbound pass. Wright appeared to bump Anthony twice, but no foul was called. Anthony pulled up a three pointer, and sunk it with one second left in the game.  

Down by one the Mavericks had a desperation three by Dirk Nowitzki that fell short, and the Nuggets' bench would storm the court as if they had won the NBA Championship.

The Mavericks, who fell to 0-7 against the Nuggets this season, were displeased. Owner Mark Cuban was instantly on the court, whining to the officials about how there should've been an intentional foul, which would've sent Anthony to the free throw line for two shots.

Dirk Nowitzki said it was one of the toughest losses he's ever played in in his entire 11 year NBA career.

Antoine Wright made comments toward the officiating that would normally get him either fined, or suspended, but the NBA agreed with him.

Just two hours after the game ended, the NBA issued a statement that said that there should've been an intentional foul called on Wright on the second to last play of the game.

Jason Kidd was quoted saying, "The game didn't come down to the last play, you've got to make plays down the stretch, and we just didn't do that."

The Nuggets, who have won two games on the road in the playoffs this year, had won just two games on the road in the playoffs in the last five years before this, a very encouraging stat. 

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