->''"One minute left, and the scores are tied. Why does that always happen?"''
-->-- '''Frank Shackleford''', ''WesternAnimation/ChillyBeach''

[[caption-width-right:350:[[UsefulNotes/SuperBowl Super Bowl XXXIV]]. Where the Tennessee Titans lost, because they were one yard short.]]

Almost invariably, sports games on TV and in the movies are extremely close, go down to the wire, and are decided by a crucial, unbelievable, MillionToOneChance play at the last second. Usually, the game in which this occurs is the [[BigGame grand finale]]; the championship or playoff game pitting the [[UnderdogsNeverLose ragtag underdogs]] against the seemingly unbeatable OpposingSportsTeam.

* Every baseball game ends either with (A) a dramatic walk-off home run, (B) a clutch strikeout or incredible defensive play while the tying and/or winning runs are on base, or (C) a super-close play at home plate. Full counts are terribly common.
* Every hockey game ends with TheHero getting a breakaway and going one-on-one against the goalie--or, of course, a shootout, which is a series of forced one-player-vs.-goalie breakaways.
* Every UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball game ends with a Hail Mary, or some bizarre, convoluted ace-in-the-hole offensive play that the team thought of in practice. Or, if the protagonist team is in the lead (which never happens because people like comeback stories), a goal line stand.
** The score usually puts one team up by at least four points, so you can forget about those last-second winning field goals (worth only three points) from 15 yards out. Writers seem to think this sort of thing isn't dramatic, when any sports fan can tell you otherwise.
* Every basketball game ends with free throws with no time left or a three-pointer made in desperation. Often from across the court.
** Alternately, having to dunk on TheRival / the nastiest player from the other team.
** Buzzer beaters are also mandatory.
* Every race ends with a (sometimes literal) photo finish.
* Every golf tournament comes down to making a long putt, or to getting out from a trap or some other nasty place.
* Every UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball match ends with a spectacular last-minute goal, usually from a free kick. Or sometimes a last-minute penalty, or a penalty shootout.
* Every bowling game comes down to either striking out or converting an extremely tough split.
* [[TheMagicPokerEquation Every poker game comes down to a high-ranking hand being beaten by an even higher-ranking hand.]]
* Every boxing match ends with a knockout, usually after the scrappy underdog has taken a beating that would certainly put him behind on points, and been knocked to the mat the maximum number of times possible without losing by TKO.
* A sudden-death overtime, in which any play that results in a score is by definition the last play.
* And so on.

Of course, this is not to say that [[TheHero the hero team]] will necessarily be successful and win the game in this final play. It's become a trope itself to have the final shot miss, the closing field goal go wide right, or that last deep fly ball to die at the warning track in order to present a DownerEnding and teach an {{Aesop}} that you can't always win and that it's okay to lose sometimes. (And also note that it ''doesn't'' make the example an aversion or subversion of this trope; the game is still decided on the final play, even if not in the protagonists' favor.) In Real Life examples this is even more prominent; close games that come DownToTheLastPlay are often contested by two evenly-matched teams, both of which are deserving of the win, and thus there isn't a clear protagonist if one is not in either team's fanbase.

This happens, because there are very few circumstances in which it is interesting to see a routine pop fly with a four run lead or a second string quarterback sit on the ball for three downs.

Often preceded by the MiracleRally, and the one player who is involved in the dramatic final play is often the one [[PutMeInCoach underdog player]] who finally gets the chance to prove himself.

A SuperTrope to WhoNeedsOvertime. Contrast with CurbStompBattle.

See JustInTime for the non-sport variation of this trope. In politics, this trope is called DecidedByOneVote; contrast with LandslideElection. See also UnderdogsNeverLose and MisfitMobilizationMoment. When a game itself is structured so that almost ''every'' match comes DownToTheLastPlay, the system enabling this is a GoldenSnitch. Very distantly related to CriticalExistenceFailure, which is about video games where only the last hit point counts as far as staying alive or uninjured.

In RealLife this is much rarer than in fiction, but it does happen (see examples below).

%%% Zero Context Example entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out.
%%% Add explanations to the entries before uncommenting them.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' does this a number of times, such as with Sena's first game against Koigahama and most of the Devil Bats' games during the Fall Tournament. It often doesn't end up so fine and dandy though.
* Subverted in a wildly over-the-top fashion in ''SonicX'' - the speed-obsessed character Sam Speed had demanded a rematch against the titular hedgehog, who had humiliated him at the start of the series. Sam has procured an experimental rocket-jet-car-thing from somewhere, and the race is on! It comes down to a photo finish... until playback reveals that [[spoiler: Sonic had reached the finish line WELL ahead of his opponent, hopped over it so as not to break the tape, mugged for the camera briefly, then run back to resume the race for the 'photo finish'.]]
* Used at least ''twice'' in ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis'', with Ryoma having to play an extra match when one of the normal games is declared a draw or forfeited by both teams. [[spoiler: In the Hyotei arc, he plays Hiyoshi after Kawamura and Kabaji have to draw since they're * both* too injured to continue and both teams. In the anime-only American arc, Sengoku and Bobby Marx pull something similar and Akaya Kirihara is hurt during his game with Kevin Smith, so it's up to Ryoma to finish the last one * and* his feud with Kevin]]
* In one episode of ''Anime/LuckyStar'', there's a relay race in which Miyuki is the final leg runner for her team (it wouldn't do to have a main character somewhere in the middle), and the race is of course decided by a photo finish: [[spoiler:her ''larger-than-average chest breaks the ribbon'' before the other runner crosses, granting her team the victory.]]
* ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}'' wins so many matches in this fashion that he's been nicknamed the "Miraculous Comeback Fighter."
* Parodied in ''Anime/ExcelSaga'' with one of the sports show episodes. Excel's team loses by a ludicrously huge margin (several million runs) in the last inning. Apparently the DownerEnding version of this trope is popular in Japan.
* ''Every. Single. Lacrosse match'' in ''Anime/FutariWaPrettyCure'' is won by Nagisa scoring at the last second. '''Every. One.''' This is not an exaggeration. And there are about 6-7 across two seasons. Originality is not the writers' friend when it comes to Lacrosse games, it seems.
* In Chapter 58 of the ''[[Manga/AhMyGoddess Oh My Goddess!]]'' manga, Megumi's four-member softball club forms a team with Keiichi, Belldandy, Urd, Skuld, and Sora to play against N.I.T.'s baseball team, comprised entirely of {{Jerkass}}es. During the bottom of the ninth, Megumi's team is ahead by one run when [[spoiler: it looks like it's going to be a DownerEnding when the opposing team scores two runs in the ninth inning, but the first runner failed to actually touch home plate, meaning he's out, and Megumi's softball club wins by one run.]]
* Young [[FootyRules football]] star Aizawa Suguru ''starts off the opening chapter'' of the manga ''Manga/AreaNoKishi'' by making what the announcers describe as a "magical pass" in the final moments of an international youth football game against Brazil. His teammates shot is easily blocked by the Brazilian goal-keeper, however since the deflected ball ''just so happens'' to land at Suguru's feet, he is able to make the last second shot that ends the game in a tie between Japan and the reigning champions.
* ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula''
** In EP 3, Hayato took third place at the qualifying round of the Fujioka Grand Prix by 0.002 seconds by a photo-finish line.
** Episode 26 is even more blunt. His Super Asurada is having a problem, yet he beats Shinjyo out of determination in the last stretch in the English GP. In fact, Hayato is always seems to be this case up until SAGA Arc.
* This almost always happens in every duel in every ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' franchise, with [[VillainsActHeroesReact the opponents getting in the lead by having the more favorable card/field presence first and cornering the protagonist]], setting things up for the latter to win at the last possible moment. Often results in accusations of AssPull on the part of the protagonist.
%%%* Played straight with a basketball and baseball match in ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}''
* The anime adaption of ''VideoGame/InazumaEleven'' plays this straight in most of the matches, except the second season, in which TheWorfEffect takes places to show how badass the bad guys are when they debut.
* Very common in the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime. Trainers can use anywhere from one to six Pokemon to battle each other, but matches will almost always end with a one-on-one fight.
** Adding a layer to that, many of those final one-on-one fights will end with both combatants being so exhausted that whoever can land the next successful attack will win. The last play of the last play. One major exception is in the Hoenn region when Ash faces Wattson. His Pikachu had absorbed a lot of electricity by mistake, and proceeds to KO all 3 of Wattson's Pokemon with only Pikachu.
* Almost all the matches shown in the anime version of ''Ro-Kyu-Bu!'' comes down to this.
** The Girls vs. Guys match was won by the girls through a game-winning shot from [[LongRangeFighter Maho]] via an [[DidntSeeThatComing unexpected]] assist from [[TheHero Tomoka]].
** [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass Hinata]] made a game-winner against Class D.
** The match against [[OpposingSportsTeam Suzuridani]] was supposed to be a come-from-behind victory for Keishin, if only [[TheSmartGuy Saki]] did not miss the game-winning shot.
** In their rematch in the prefectural tournament, however, she made the game-tying shot to send it to overtime. Tomoka almost won it for Keishin this time, but only if she made the game-winning shot in time.
* {{Downplayed}} in ''Manga/HidamariSketch''. Arts A's victory in the medley brought them victory... over Arts B. School-wise, they're still second last.
* In ''Manga/SilverSpoon'', the BigGame that will decide whether the Yezo High baseball team goes on to the finals comes down to this. Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, our heroes are ahead by one and pitching, and talented freshman Komaba is on the pitcher's mound versus the local champion's best batter. [[spoiler: Heartbreakingly, RealityEnsues and the more experienced batter hits Komaba's pitch, winning the game for the champs.]]
* Played with in ''Manga/DragonBall''. Goku's performance in the final round of each Budokai Tournament is always this case, except that it's his ''opponents'' who barely win. Goku wins only once in the show's finale.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/RealityIsFluid'' Eleya is watching a springball[[labelnote:*]]a Bajoran sport best described as full-contact handball[[/labelnote]] quarter-final match that goes down to the wire because the referee screwed up. It ends in a sudden-death tiebreaker, which her guy wins.

* ''Series/TheRottenTomatoesShow'' [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this phenomenon in a song performed by Brett called Last Second Plays.
%%%* ''Film/TheNatural''
* In the Remake of ''Film/TheLongestYard'', the Cons manage to score on a last second trick play after mounting a miracle comeback to put them one point behind the guards. They have the choice of either kicking the extra point to send the game into overtime, or to go for two and the win. They choose the latter, setting up another trick play that results in them scoring and winning the game.
* In ''Film/AngelsInTheOutfield'', Mel Clark has pitched an entire game, and his last batter is the other team's heavy hitter. With two outs, and a foul ball that was nearly a home run, it comes down to one last pitch. The batter hits a line drive up the middle, but Mel manages to make a diving catch for the final out, the win, and the pennant for the Angels. And he did it all with no angel help whatsoever.
* ''Film/HappyGilmore'', because of the [[BizarreAndImprobableGolfGame play it as it lies rule]], Happy is forced to putt for a victory with a collapsed TV Tower fallen on the green. Refusing to putt around it to take the tie and play for the tiebreaker, Happy instead plays it through the tower like it's a putt-putt course, and sinks the winning putt to win the Tournament, and more importantly, to beat Shooter McGavin and win his grandmother's house back.
* ''Film/TheBadNewsBears'' was the first film to have the protagonist team NOT win.
* In ''Film/TheBadNewsBears in Breaking Training'', the game comes down to the last runner trying to stretch a lucky hit and a fielding error into an inside-the-park home run. He slides into home plate just as the catcher tags him with the ball. It took a few suspenseful seconds for the home plate umpire to call it.
* The ''Franchise/{{Rocky}}'' series often has the boxing matches go down to the final round -- and possibly by decision. Averted in ''Film/RockyIII'', when the final fight ends in only three rounds.
* ''Film/MajorLeague'' movies:
** In ''Major League'', the final play in the BigGame comes with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but is otherwise a unique twist. The beat-up, has-been catcher "calls his shot" to the bleachers [[spoiler:in order to draw the infield out, and then bunts for a base hit, allowing the winning run to score from second]]. Also, if this play had failed, they would have gone to extra innings rather than losing, as the game was tied.
** ''Major League 2'', however, plays the trope traditionally. With his team clinging to a one-run lead, in a move that would be unheard of in real baseball, [[spoiler:Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn intentionally walks the guy he's pitted against, which results in the bases being loaded, in order to set up a confrontation with Parkman, the opposing team's big power hitter and the movie's central antagonist. Vaughn, of course, strikes Parkman out and wins the game.]][[note]]This may be a nod to [[spoiler:Satchel Paige, who was said to have done the same thing to get to Josh Gibson]] in RealLife.[[/note]]
** ''Major League Back to the Minors'' [[spoiler:ends on a home run by the big-hitting prospect, despite the fact that there were no outs in the game and it was an exhibition.]]
* ''Film/{{Mr 3000}}'' and ''Film/MrBaseball'' not only both have "Mr." in their title, but both also [[spoiler:end on a game-winning run scored by a bunt. Both bunts also prevent the titular character from making it into the record books (it leaves Bernie Mac stranded on 2,999 hits in the former, and it breaks Tom Selleck's home-run streak in the latter).]]
* DownerEnding example: In the Pete Maravich biopic ''Film/ThePistol'', Maravich makes an apparent buzzer beating shot and starts celebrating...before realizing that the shot came a split second too late.
* Averted in ''Film/{{Rudy}}'': Rudy gets to play at the end of the climactic game only ''because'' Notre Dame already has a huge lead over their opponent.
* The movie ''Film/{{Hoosiers}}'' is based off the real story of tiny Milan's victory over giant Muncie Central. The game was won by a shot at the last second.
* ''Film/TheMightyDucks'' series of movies always ended in some dramatic fashion, though never in overtime. The first movie ended on a penalty shot, the second in shootouts; the third movie again used the trope by having a scoreless tie all the way to the last seconds of the third period, and the Ducks being content with a tie against the varsity team. Then, a brilliant defensive play allows the Ducks a goal-scoring opportunity--from Goldberg, who had been the goalie in the previous two movies and was still a mostly defensive player.
* ''Film/CoolRunnings'', [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory based on the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team]], uses the trope, though not in the way the viewer expects. The team has a chance for a medal, but crashes in their final run. The inspiration is there when they carry their bobsled across the finish line to finish the race.
* In the ''Film/RememberTheTitans''. movie, the Titans overcame a 7-3 deficit by using a trick play (ironic in that, before the season began, Coach Boon looked down his nose at trick plays, as it were) for a 75-yard touchdown run in the final seconds of the game to win the state championship. Averted by the real-life 1971 T.C. Williams Titans; in the championship game, the opposing team was not only shut out, but ended up with negative rushing yardage.
* In ''Film/EscapeFromLA'', Cuervo Jones forces Snake Plissken to play a deadly game of solitaire basketball for the amusement of him and the crowd.
--> '''Cuervo Jones:''' "Two hoops, full court, ten-second shot clock. Miss a shot, you get shot. Shot clock buzzer goes off before you shoot, you get shot. Two points for a basket, no three-point bullshit. All you gotta do is get ten points. That's it." ''*dramatic pause*'' "By the way, nobody's ever walked off that court alive. Nobody."
** Snake does indeed win, by way of making a lay-up, a jump shot from free throw distance, a jump shot from three-point distance, a half-court shot, and a full-court shot. After a few seconds of stunned silence, Cuervo prepares to [[ILied kill Snake anyway]], but Snake is saved when an earthquake happens, giving him the opportunity to escape the caged basketball court, and then the stadium itself. For bonus points, Creator/KurtRussell actually ''made'' all those shots (including the full-court shot) during filming, although the number of takes it required is unknown.
* ''Film/MysteryAlaska''; with seconds on the clock, the underdog hockey team facing off against the New York Rangers needs a single goal to tie and therefore take the match into overtime. In agonizing slow motion, their captain makes a buzzer-beating shot... that strikes off the goalpost, producing the loud, piercing clink that is one of most heartbreaking sounds in sport.
* Happens in the opening game of ''Film/HighSchoolMusical 3'', where with 16 minutes to go the Wildcats are losing horribly, but with upbeat inspirational music in their ears manages to even the score, and manages to score a basket just as the clock ticks from 1 to 0.
* Played with in the Kevin Costner movie ''Tin Cup'', where the has-been pro (played by Costner) makes an impressive comeback in the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. It's down to the final hole, and he needs a par to tie and a birdie to win. The hole was a par 5 with a green guarded in front by a lake and he would have to murder his 3 wood to get it onto the green. Any sane golfer would lay up, he doesn't. [[spoiler: He hits it into the lake, refuses to drop near the green, hits from where he hit his second shot, going for it again, hits it into the lake again, rinse and repeat until he holes the shot with his last ball in the bag for a 12 (had he dunked that one, he would've been disqualified).]] More than a few critics found this broke their WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief, arguing such would ''never'' happen in a "real" golf tournament. Until it did, more or less, see the RealLife section below.
* In the final moments of the last game of ''Film/ShaolinSoccer'', the score is tied at 0 - 0 (because the enemy team decided they would rather win by injuring enough players on the good team to force them to forfeit). Naturally, the LoveInterest shows up when they reach the point where they are one player short, and she and the main character combine their Kung Fu to make the ultimate shot and win the game.
* In ''Film/NorthDallasForty'', the professional (US) football team of the main characters was predicted to win their championship game and move on to the SuperBowl, but were down by a touchdown near the end of the game. They scored the touchdown, and only needed the extra point to tie and move into overtime. Unfortunately, they fumbled the snap and didn't make the extra point, and so lost the game to the underdog.
* In the movie ''Film/AceVenturaPetDetective,'' the backstory of Ray Finkle, the primary villain, involves the disastrous loss of that year's Super Bowl by one point due to Finkle missing the 26-yard field goal that would have won the game for the Miami Dolphins. Finkle lost his mind as a result and was committed to a mental hospital, and blames the whole thing on Dan Marino, who according to Finkle didn't hold the ball "laces out" like he was supposed to. His vendetta against Marino and the Dolphins would lead to the plot of the movie.
* ''Film/ALeagueOfTheirOwn'', where the comeback comes from the OpposingSportsTeam, with [[spoiler:Kit Keller getting the big hit and then plowing over her sister to score the winning run.]]
* ''When Saturday Comes'' in which Sean Bean plays a football player named Jimmy Muir. He spends all the movie trying to become a member of Sheffield United. Of course, his very first match with them ends with him shooting a penalty at the 89th minute.
* In ''Didier'', the team needs one more point to win against the PSG. Of course, Didier marks. After turning back into a dog.
* In ''Film/{{Caddyshack}}'', Danny's final putt decides both a substantial bet and his own prospects for the future.
* Beautifully averted in ''Blood of Heroes'' when [[spoiler:the climactic three-period game is decided in the middle of the second inning]].
* In the 2006 film InspiredBy Vince Papale, ''Invincible'', the movie ends with the first home game of the Philadelphia Eagles -- one which they win without going into overtime because Papale [[spoiler:calls an audible and then forces a fumble on the resulting punt, which he picks up and runs in for a touchdown.]]
* Creator/HaroldLloyd silent film ''Film/TheFreshman'' features Harold picking up a loose football and running it all the way down the field for a touchdown as time expires.
* Creator/SteveMcQueen's ''Film/LeMans'' ends with the 24 hour race as a three car shootout on the last lap, and that is after the previous lead car retires on the penultimate lap. This was nearly TruthInTelevision though since the movie was made in 1970 and the 1969 race was a two car last lap shootout (see RealLife examples below).
* In ''Film/AnyGivenSunday'', Quarterback Willie Beaman, wins the crucial playoff game by diving into the Endzone during the final play of the game.
* ''Film/{{Thunderstruck}}'' has the final game for Brian's team feature the home team down two points, ten seconds left on the clock, and possession of the ball by the klutzy protagonist. [[spoiler:He passes to a more competent player, who shoots a 3-pointer, but is blocked, leading to Brian making his only 3-pointer in the film other than when he had Durant's "talent"]].
* In ''Film/{{Rush|2013}}'', James Hunt needs to finish third or better in the last F1 race of the season to be world champion. He finishes third on the last lap of the race to beat Lauda by a single point and becomes world champion.
* The championship match at the climax of ''Film/BendItLikeBeckham'' comes down to a 1-1 tie, broken by Jess's penalty kick with mere seconds left on the clock.
* In ''Film/{{Saratoga}}'', the climactic horse race, which will either leave bookmaker Duke Bradley penniless or allow him to retire from bookmaking to run a ranch, comes down to a photo finish that has to be reviewed via a film reel.
* Parodied in the obscure 1989 B-horror-movie / teen sex comedy ''Monster High'' (no relation to the toy line from TheNewTens). Not only does the fate of the world come down to [[ItMakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext a basketball game]], and not only does the outcome of that game come down to one final free-throw, but that free throw spends a ''[[UpToEleven ridiculous]]'' amount of time bouncing around before settling ''perfectly'' on the rim. The world is saved when one of the protagonists gets the bright idea to ''blow on it'', tipping it into the basket and saving the world.
* ''Film/TheFencer'': In the finals of the fencing tournament, the score is tied, the Moscow team has priority (meaning they win if it's a tie), and the team's best fencer is injured. Little Marta is their last hope. [[spoiler: She manages to score a touch with a second to spare, winning the whole tournament]].
* In ''Film/SpaceJam'', the [=TuneSquad=] is in a pinch - 10 seconds to go in the final quarter, down by one and they're a man down. Sports/MichaelJordan has just learned that, in Looney Tune land, he can use the cartoon-y physics to his advantage, but without the extra man, they forfeit and Swackhammer gets him and the Tunes. Creator/BillMurray (as in, ''the actor'', not a character ''played'' by Murray; it's [[NoFourthWall that kind of movie]]) [[BigDamnHeroes arrives just in time]] and Jordan's able to pull off a half-court slam dunk to win the game.
* ''Film/TeenWolf'': Scott (Creator/MichaelJFox) starts using his newfound [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolf powers]] to win basketball games for his high school, at the expense of alienating his teammates who see him hogging the ball, and the glory, for himself. Eventually Scott decides to [[IJustWantToBeNormal retire the wolf]], right before the BigGame against the rival Dragons, and that game ends up coming down to Scott being fouled by the JerkJock just as time expires with the Beavers down by 1, and Scott has to make the free throws - something that wouldn't be a problem for him in [[VoluntaryTransformation his wolf form]], but in human form he usually [[ParalysisByAnalysis misses them by overthinking about them]]. [[spoiler:[[BookEnds This time around]], he sinks them, securing the win for the Beavers]].

* OlderThanRadio: In the 1888 Ernest Thayer poem ''Literature/CaseyAtTheBat'', the great Casey, after deliberately getting two strikes to build even more dramatic tension, strikes out to end the game.
* Justified in the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series: Quidditch matches end only when the GoldenSnitch is caught; catching the Snitch is also worth 150 points, usually resulting in a win for the team whose Seeker catches it. Thus, most matches end with the Seekers in a mad race for the Snitch. However, large portion of matches still end up by a winning team winning by 10 points.
** The number of Harry Potter parodies that have pointed out how senseless this rule is are too numerous to list. ("This game is very complicated, but none of the rules actually matter, because once you catch this little golden thing [[GameBreaker everything else becomes irrelevant and your team automatically wins]].") Fans have pointed out that this may be because Hogwarts-level Quidditch isn't really very "good" Quidditch -- the Quidditch World Cup scene shows scoring happening at a much faster rate, thus making the 150 points from the Snitch less impressive and increasing the probability that grabbing the Snitch too early might lose you the game (as was done deliberately in the Quidditch World Cup). Further, in the Hogwarts Quidditch tournaments, the exact score can matter for a team's placing, meaning even a team that would win when the Snitch is caught will wait if getting it too soon would win the game but lose the championship. (As happened with Gryffindor in ''Prisoner of Azkaban'', ''Order of the Phoenix'', and ''Half-Blood Prince''.)
** It also bears noting that J.K. Rowling's "Literature/QuidditchThroughTheAges" book characterizes Quidditch's rules as primarily being a senseless, thrown-together mess of traditions kept for tradition's sake. (A lot like some real sports, come to think of it.) The Snitch itself only exists because of a riot that once broke up a Quidditch game when the players stopped playing to catch a bird intentionally released by [[{{Jerkass}} the chief of the Wizard's Council]] so that the players would hunt the bird for his own amusement rather than play Quidditch for his own amusement. The 150 number is how many gold coins he offered as an incentive, and we're told that it would be worth [[RidiculousFutureInflation quite a bit more today]], so it's probably lucky that it's only 150.
** The [[FilmOfTheBook film version]] of ''The Philosopher's Stone'' emphasises this element of it further, although the likelihood is far more that this is a case of sloppy research than deliberately [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] this trope - Wood explains to Harry, ''directly after explaining scoring rules with the Quaffles'', that "you catch [the snitch], Potter, and we win."
* The Creator/JohnGrisham novel ''Playing for Pizza'' opens with the main character, a journeyman 3rd string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, blowing a colossal lead in the AFC Championship Game and being knocked unconscious-costing his team a chance at the Super Bowl. He's so disgraced he has to play in Italy.
* Deliberately invoked in ''[[Literature/MythAdventures Little Myth Marker]]'', where Skeeve bets a huge fortune on a ''single hand'' of Dragon Poker, [[spoiler: because he doesn't have a clue how to play and figures an (incorrectly assumed) 50% chance is better than any odds he could get if he tried]].
** Also played with - Skeeve's stated logic is this: He claims luck got him to the match. His opponent is highly skilled. In the long run his opponent's skill will defeat his luck. However all the skill in the world cannot affect the outcome of a single hand. His opponent plays along because of the prestige of the biggest bet in the history of the game being made on the outcome of one hand.
* Happens in a golf game in the ''Literature/McAuslan'' series, which hinges on the final hole, the final game of a five-game series, and the next-to-final desperate shot from the depths of a sand trap. This is, of course [[TheKlutz [=McAuslan=]'s]] fault.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/FullHouse'' did this thrice, with hockey in "Nice Guys Finish First", boxcar racing in "Michelle a la Cart," and with baseball and a twist in "Stephanie Plays the Field".
* ''Series/FamilyMatters'':
** "Making the Team," from the fall of 1991, sees the normally clumsy Urkel lead an amazing second-half comeback for his team. Down 20 points late in the third quarter, Urkel connects on a shot just before the buzzer for the go-ahead points and help the team win the game.
** A couple of weeks later, in "A Pair of Ladies," Urkel gets revenge on Carl's big-talking, thinks-he's-macho, hustling superior officer Lt. Murtgauh in a poker game when the nerd one-ups Murtgauh's would-be-winning hand with "two pairs of tens".
* ''Series/HappyDays'': The 1977 episode "A Shot in the Dark," where Richie becomes a basketball hero for Jefferson High when his last-second shot wins a big sectional game. In the next round, he's fouled at the buzzer with Jefferson trailing by two points; he makes the first shot to pull Jefferson to within one, but on the shot that would send the game into overtime ... he deliberately misses.
* Averted in the ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine DS9]]'' baseball episode, "Take Me Out To The Holosuite". The main characters lose the game 10-1 (with their single run being scored on an accidental bunt).
* ''Series/{{Glee}}''. In two seperate games, at the start of the Superbowl Shuffle episode, they lose a game by making a moronic play call in a situation where all they need to do is have Finn just take a knee. Then at the end of the episode they win another game when the other team ignores the same basic game ending strategy and and do the exact same error as Finn did in the first. There is a lengthy analysis of this at the Glee JBM for season 2 page.
** Though the first was the result of the center being a dick with an intentionally low snap and the second was the result of the opposing center being frightened by their zombie makeup and snapping it high.
* In one episode of The ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'', Will is shown to be a very good basketball player, making all sorts of trick shots throughout the game. With his team down at the end, however, he's about to take a shot... when his cousin Carlton, wanting some glory himself, starts grappling with him for the ball, takes it, shoots, [[spoiler:and misses horribly.]]
* This comes up a couple of times in ''Series/MurdochMysteries'':
** The police games in the episode "The Great Wall" is said to be a tie between Station 4 and Station 5 going into the final event (a tug-of-war between both teams). One of the men on the Station House 5 team loses his footing, giving Station House 4 a brief shot at winning, but Murdoch is distracted by seeing a clue that solves the murder case he's been investigating and Station House 5 wins the event.
** The baseball game at the end of "Stroll on the Wild Side" is tied 8-8 when Murdoch comes to bat with Inspector Brackenreid on base. Despite the distracting presence of a member of the Black Hand, Murdoch hits the home run that brings both of them home to win the game.
* In the made for TV movie Film/SecondString every playoff game the Buffalo Bills play comes down to the last play with just seconds on the clock.
* Challenges on ''Series/TopGear''. The presenters sometimes lampshade the ridiculousness of this, and sometimes insist it really ''was'' that close.
** Inverted in the race across London. [[spoiler: Richard]] takes the lead instantly at the start and never relinquishes it.
* Many of the challenges on ''SeriesTopShot'' ended this way, with sometimes as little as a few hundredths of a second separating who stayed from who went home.\\
The show also subverts this as often as not, with one particular contestant dominating a given challenge. Kelly's first elimination challenge and J.J.'s performance shooting steel in the finale are standout examples of almost comically one-sided matches.
* Several individual legs of ''Series/TheAmazingRace'' have been decided by footrace, with the eliminated team in sight of the mat when the second-to-last team checks in. Season 7 had three legs decided this way. However, the only finale to be decided this way was in Season 2, with a footrace from the cabs to the Finish Line. Tara and Wil were in the lead when they jumped out of the cabs, but Tara was asthmatic and could not keep up, allowing more physically fit Chris and Alex to race past her and win the million dollars.
* In ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'', Malcolm, Dewey and Reese are playing a basketball game with the foul-happy Hal, with the game tied, one move left and Hal on the offense. The boys realize they have no choice but to use "The Play". [[GroinAttack It does not go well for Hal.]]
* Game show examples:
** ''Series/FamilyFeud'' has seen countless Fast Money rounds come down to the final question, with the score in the 180-199 range and the final answer being ''just'' enough to win the grand prize (200 is needed to win). Made even more dramatic if there is a string of zero- or low-scoring answers with the second player. Made heartbreaking if the final answer's score is zero or falls just short of the winning 200 score. In either case, the moment will be made more dramatic.
** ''Series/TheHollywoodSquares'': A five-square win, only after each of the contestants have filled in four boxes (none of which leads to tic-tac-toe).
** ''Series/PressYourLuck'' (and even its precursor, ''Series/SecondChance'' and revival ''Series/{{Whammy}}!'') will often have its outcome determined based on a contestant's final spin.
** ''Series/WheelOfFortune'': When a contestant solves the bonus round puzzle (or begins the correct answer) a split second before the buzzer. Sometimes, it's been so close that they've had to stop and check the tape, and not declare the contestant a winner until returning from commercial.
** A few times, the Winner's Circle on ''Series/{{Pyramid}}'' was cleared only at the last second.
** ''Series/{{Jeopardy}}'': While there were numerous close games through the years, one of the best "down to the last play" games came in the midst of Ken Jennings' incredible 74-game run in 2004. The game where he became champion was decided on Final Jeopardy! (he had the lead and bet liberally). On his 49th day, he had a mere $5,000 ($19,700 to $14,800) lead over the second place contestant and had to have the right answer (his opponent was incorrect) to win, which he did. Another of his games saw one of his opponents wager everything on a Daily Double late in Double Jeopardy! and guess correctly, and that opponent briefly took the lead before Jennings reclaimed the lead just before the end of the round; with Jennings leading by less than $2,000, both he and his opponent engaged in a truly dramatic Final Jeopardy! ... with Jennings winning. Finally, Jennings last game saw him hold a slim lead over the woman that finally beat him (thanks to Jennings giving a wrong answer).
** ''Series/TicTacDough'': The use of the special "red" categories frequently led to a showdown for a box that could give either contestant the win upon a correct answer. (In other words, both contestants have two of their mark in a line, and the box both are going for could give either one a tic-tac-toe.)
** This happens a lot on ''Series/TheChase'', usually with the Final Chase ending at a ridiculously low time or the main chase ending with a 'one question shootout' (aka one right answer and the contestant goes through, one wrong one and they get caught and lose everything). Indeed, some of the winning/losing times in the Final Chase are just insane, with players having won/lost games with anything from ten seconds remaining, to two seconds remaining... to even ZERO seconds remaining (as in, they get caught and lose or win right '''as''' the clock hits zero at the end).
* ''Series/TheDukesOfHazzard'' episode "The Boar's Nest Bears" had such a match with a young prodigy player that was kept out from part of the match by machinations from the OpposingSportsTeam's sponsor.
* Arino the ''Series/RetroGameMaster'' often conquers games on his last few lives, when he's run out of time to play. They even named a song "Last Continue" because of this.
* ''Series/FatherBrown'': In "The Last Man", Kembleford is playing a vital cricket for ownership of the local cricket ground. With three balls left and six runs needed to win, the opposing team engages in some UnnecessaryRoughness to knock out Kembleford's star player with a cricket ball to the head. Kenbleford already being a man down, Lady Felecia goes in as last man, and hits a six on the final ball.
* On Hell's Kitchen they usually have some kind of preliminary competition between the two teams. The winners are rewarded, the losers are punished. Many of these contests are extremely subjective and they usually go back and forth until they end with a one point victory.
* In the ''Series/EnemyAtTheDoor'' episode "War Game", the format for the chess championship final match is for two games (with players alternating colours), with provision for a third tie-breaking game if one is required. Naturally, it is.

* This happens in the first [[spoiler:and only]] school championship water polo match in ''My Heart is Beating''. The team [[spoiler:does score and win, but they're disqualified for other reasons]].

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Averted most of the time in ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', where Charlie Brown's team losing a baseball game 216–0 is a regular occurrence. One 1959 episode had his team losing '''600–0!''' Another series had him substituting for Peppermint Patty; her team was winning 50–0, but then when Chuck pitched, she got knocked out and later learned (while in bed receiving therapy from Marcie) that the opponents made a 51-run comeback. Patty, understandably, went completely batshit.\\
In fact, probably the only time that Charlie Brown's team actually ''wins'' a game[[note]]Apart from an incident where every team in the league other than Charlie Brown's was hit with a bug, resulting in them winning several games in a row by forfeit due to player illness[[/note]] is when [[ButtMonkey Charlie]] is not playing.

* At the end of a game in Creator/{{Stern}}'s ''Pinball/IronMaiden'', the player is given one last chance to play until the Bonus Time he accumulated earlier runs out.
* ''Pinball/{{Joust}}'' gives both players a 30-second scoring frenzy at the end of each game.
* Many of the games from Italian pinball maker Zaccaria have a feature called "Game Time Bonus." During the player's last ball, a timer is incremented as the player keeps playing. After the ball drains, the player can keep playing until the time counts down to zero.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* It's extremely rare for a 2-out-of-3 falls match to end at 2 falls. Similarly, an [[GimmickMatches Iron Man match]] is usually tied, or the score is one fall apart, up until the closing moments. When it does end with only two falls, it is usually the heel in the match, and walk out of the match after losing one of the falls.
* In Wrestling/RingOfHonor, the Briscoes developed a [[InvincibleHero reputation]] for winning such matches in [[AvertedTrope two straight falls.]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/BloodBowl'', the UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball meets ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' miniatures game, tends to have this when a [[FragileSpeedster fast team]] like Wood Elves plays against a [[MightyGlacier tough one]] like Dwarves, with the fast team often scoring a few goals while the tough one is busy whittling them down (and "whittling them down" here means "curbstomp them until they leave the field on a stretcher"). Many games thus end with the tough team frantically trying to get the goals they previously lacked while the fast ones mount a LastStand with the few remaining players not in the K.O. or Injured & Dead box.
* The [[TabletopGame Board Game]] ''TabletopGame/RicochetRobots'' has a rule designed to cause this. The game consists of a series of randomly generated puzzles, with the goal being to come up with the shortest solutions. If two players get the same answer within one minute of each other, it's counted as a tie and goes to whoever was currently losing, [[RubberBandAI rubber band style]]. This, and the fact that there are 17 rounds, means that even with mismatched players, games generally come down to an all-way tie decided by the last point.
** Then again, since the puzzles are generated randomly, there's no guarantee that "last point" can't be [[AnticlimaxBoss solved in two moves]].

* In ''Theatre/ThatChampionshipSeason'', the 1952 Pennsylvania State High School Basketball Championship game was decided in the final seven seconds when Fillmore High scored a basket just before the buzzer to go from being one point behind to one point ahead. Four of the five players in the game and their coach have been [[GloryDays re-living those seven seconds almost constantly ever since.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* One stage of ''VideoGame/TinyToonAdventuresBusterBustsLoose'' is the last few minutes of a football game, in which the player must score a touchdown to win.
* ''Mario Superstar Baseball'''s intro movie shows a game between Mario and Wario which ends in a walk-off home run by Mario. [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] in that the game was already tied, and the home run causes them to win by 2 runs, but a walk-off is a walk-off.
* In some versions of Madden, if your team is lining up for a game winning field goal with a few seconds left on the clock. The camera has a more dramatic angle, the sound will quiet down except for an audible heart beat (complete with a slight rumble in your controller with each beat), and time slows down as the ball sails towards the uprights.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* This happens with just about ''every'' competition in ''VisualNovel/MajiDeWatashiNiKoiShinasai''. The [[BaseballEpisode Kawakami Ball]] game, Yamato's duel with Chris, Yamato's {{mahjong}} match with Fushikawa, the two-girl relay sprint, and more.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{PHD}}'' [[http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1225 it's a college staff game]] so it's nerds v. nerds. The game can be won on the final swing because [[http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1233 no one else has scored once in the entire game.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In a ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' flashback scene, David Jackson (a baseballer, the pitcher for Barry Coleson's team) remembers a triple play the team made at the eleventh hour to seal the championship - perfectly exhibiting this trope, though whether David got lucky with the first part of the play and rolled from there or he was just that good is left ambiguous.
* Related to the Pokémon example above, users of Website/{{Smogon}} typically write "war stories" which are glorified logs of their battles. The logs are often extremely close matches where both fighters get down to their last Pokémon. You can find the best ones in a "Warstory Archive" [[http://www.smogon.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=57 here]].
* Many of ''Creator/RoosterTeeth'''s "Achievement Hunter" videos, especially "LetsPlay ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}''" and "Vs." will easily come down to this, especially if it's a game where two players are incredibly close.
* In the ''[[WebVideo/GameGrumps Steam]] [[WebVideo/SteamTrain Rolled]]'' playthrough of VideoGame/MarioParty 4, [[BornLucky Ross]] and [[TheAce Barry]] end up with a perfect tie at the end of the game, triggering the rare minigame where they simply roll dice to determine who wins.
* In the ''WebAnimation/{{brewstew}}'' episode "Little League", the narrator's team is down 2 runs on two outs, and Josh is up at bat. He hits the ball fall enough to score a Triple. Instead of staying at third as everyone the team told him, Josh tries to convert it into an Inside-the-Park Home Run. Unfortunately, his team loses, causing everyone to hate him for the rest of his life. The End.
* Parodied in the official ''ComicStrip/RoyOfTheRovers'' [[CharacterBlog Twitter]], when Roy [[https://twitter.com/OfficialRoyRace/status/596369820418973697 comments on the 2015 UK General Election]]:
-->'''[=@OfficialRoyRace=]''': Melchester often confounds the pollsters, though. Result here frequently seems decided, only for there to be a huge last-minute turn-around.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Homer at the Bat". In the final inning of the softball game, Homer comes up to the plate with the bases loaded, and is hit by the pitch while he's distracted by Mr. Burns's needlessly complicated HandSignals, forcing in the winning run.
* ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'':
** Averted in the short, "Bleacher Bummer" from the episode, "The Wacko World of Sports". Said short had a baseball game that didn't come down to the final play... but only because there ''was'' no climactic final play to speak of, as the other team, Perfecto Prep, was [[DisqualificationInducedVictory forced to forfeit (with a big lead) over illegal equipment]].
** In the episode, "The Acme Bowl", the show did do a football game which does come down to the final play. Again, Acme Looniversity faced off against Perfecto Prep.
** The short, "Buster at the Bat" from the episode, "Son of the Wacko World of Sports" was a direct parody of "Casey at the Bat". Buster, however, hits a home run, to the surprise of the narrator.
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'': The race at the start of the film results in a three-way tie. However, in the tiebreaker race, [[spoiler:Lightning [=McQueen=] is well ahead of the competition as he approaches the finish line, but [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming stops short of the finish line to go help the King after he crashes, forfeiting the win.]]]]
* Lampshaded so much in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Stanleys Cup"; the subversion at the end could be seen a mile away.
** This was actually inverted in "The Losing Edge", when the team was ''this close'' to winning the state championships, which they did not want, since they only played Little League because their parents wanted them to. They got out of it [[TakeAThirdOption instead by getting Stan's dad to continue a fight against another parent and get them disqualified]].
** Played Straight and subverted in "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride." Stan, elementary star quarterback [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse (for an episode)]] shows up just in time to make a [[MiracleRally last second touchdown]]... and lose the game. Played straight again in that the score came out slightly less than the expected point spread, so the townsfolk's bets with the bookie paid off.
* A [[HorseOfADifferentColor horse]] race in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' takes the photo finish concept one step further and ends with a ''quantum finish''. "[[GeniusBonus No fair, you changed the outcome by measuring it!]]"
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' episode "Night Game," Winston hits the winning home run in a baseball game between teams of good and evil ghosts. This trope is [[JustifiedTrope justified]] because [[spoiler:there was a SecretTestOfCharacter to see if the Ghostbusters would cheat, and, presumably, the temptation was greatest with this situation.]] Also, the teams were so evenly matched that they were still tied zero-to-zero for the first eight innings.
* Disney Studios adapted ''Casey at the Bat'' in 1946, as part of ''Disney/MakeMineMusic'', and did a sequel in 1954 ("Casey Bats Again") where he ends up having enough daughters to field a very good baseball team.
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'':
** The show originally subverted this with Hank Hill's team getting blown out in the state championship. However, this was later retconned to have been a close game that Hank lost for his team.
** They played it straight when Hank and Bobby entered a father and son target shooting competition. It all came down to Hank's last shot, where he needed a bullseye to win-- and he missed the whole target. This didn't lead to the expected DownerEnding, though, because Bobby was more than happy with second place.
* ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' - season 2's first episode opens with this trope, as the only goal we're shown in the soccer match is the winning one, scored by Jean, of course.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', Timmy wishes to be the best basketball player ever in order to help a basketball team. He does great until the last play, in which Wanda explains that "Everybody knows that the last two minutes are the real competitive part of any professional basketball game!" and they can't help Timmy win a competition.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' episode "The Unnatural" has B.J.'s New Yuck Prankees in a grudge baseball game against Scuzzo the Clown's Jokeland Laugh-letics, with the losing team relegated to a hell hole called "The Loser's Circle." With the score tied, the final inning comes down to a play at the plate with B.J. waiting to tag out Scuzzo, obscured by a cloud of dust. When the dust clears, the two opponents are demanding the umpire call it, but Lydia interrupts and [[ShamingTheMob brings everyone to tears]] with an impassioned treatise on sportsmanship and the simple joys of baseball. The crowd watching the game cries so hard, in fact, that the game is called off on account of rain.
* WesternAnimation/BugsBunny takes on the Gas House Gorillas in "WesternAnimation/BaseballBugs." With the score 96-95 in Bugs' favor and two out in the bottom of the ninth, the Gorillas have a runner on base and the batter uses a freshly chopped-down tree as a bat. He wallops Bugs' pitch so far that Bugs has to traverse the top of the [[IncrediblyLamePun Umpire State Building]] to catch it. The Gorillas batter is called out by the umpire ''and'' the Statue of Liberty.
** Earlier and similarly, "Boulevardier From The Bronx" had the Giants leading 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth. With two out, Giants pitcher Dizzy Dan deliberately loads the bases via walks so he could get to the other team's hick Claude and strike him out. On an 0-2 pitch, Claude hits a grand slam, winning the game for his team and getting the last laugh on Dizzy Dan.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MonstersUniversity'', the Scare Games score is all tied up before the last duel between Mike and Johnny Worthington.
* WesternAnimation/TheBeatles enter a donkey in a Madrid horse race as it runs very fast in panic when it hears loud music (episode "Tell Me Why"). It comes down to a photo finish between the donkey and another horse. The donkey appears to have won by a nose, but he didn't...he won by the jockey's (Ringo) nose.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In the episode "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS5E9SliceOfLife Slice of Life]]", the Doctor gets roped into a bowling game. Distracted by Derpy, he fumbles a game-deciding throw against a 7-10 split in the final frame. Nevertheless, the slowly-moving ball nudges one of the pins, causing it to [[HopeSpot dramatically wobble toward the other]]. After a few tense moments, it simply falls over, leaving a lone pin standing, much to his team's frustration.
* In ''WesternAnimation/DragonsRidersOfBerk'' special "Dawn of the Dragon Races", there are three races in which the dragonriders compete to catch the most sheep. ''Every'' race has them get the same number of sheep and all go after the black sheep as a tiebreaker. (Although, since the black sheep is worth 25 points once the rules get formalised, it's a GoldenSnitch anyway.)

!!Real Life Examples:


[[folder:Association Football]]
* In the English First Division (now [[UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague Premier League]]), Liverpool vs Arsenal at Anfield in 1989 is considered the most iconic example of this in football. By sheer coincidence, this match had been postponed due to the Hillsborough Disaster, and so took place on the last day of the league season. Having thrown away a significant lead they'd had earlier in the season, Arsenal were now three points behind Liverpool at the top of the table, with slightly inferior goal difference but having scored more goals. If they wanted the title, they'd have to beat Liverpool, at their home ground, by two goals or more, something no team had done in three years, and something Arsenal hadn't managed in ''fifteen''. Furthermore, Liverpool had never previously been defeated when playing forwards John Aldridge and Ian Rush together. Arsenal had it all to do. Yet they went 1-0 up early in the second half thanks to an Alan Smith header. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Then with 25 seconds left]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYeIlI3gutk this happened.]]
** This goal was [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/mar/29/arsenal-liverpool-1989-football credited not so long back]] (along with Hillsborough and the launch of Sky TV) with saving the institution of British football, which, at the time, had a (admittedly not undeserved) reputation as being filled with FootballHooligans, ''especially'' Liverpool. The Liverpool fans, who by rights should've been livid with having the title snatched from under their noses in the last ten seconds of the league (the celebratory champagne was even on its way to the Liverpool dressing room), [[GracefulLoser instead chose to]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming applaud Arsenal's well-deserved victory.]]
* The Turkish national team was nicknamed "The Comeback Kings" in Euro 2008 for doing this ''repeatedly'':
** Won against home country Switzerland by a last minute goal outside the box in the group stages.
** Pulled back from 0-2 to 3-2 against the Czech Republic in 15 minutes, with the third goal scored in the last minute, also in the group stages.
** In the quarter finals, held off the much stronger Croatia for some 119 minutes after going to extra time, when, ''one minute before the end'', Croatia scored. Since it's virtually impossible to score a goal with only a few seconds on the clock in soccer, Croatia's fans and management were already celebrating. Yet Turkey went on to score out of nowhere in the last minute and then win easily on penalties, having totally crushed Croatia's spirit with that incredibly unlikely comeback.
** Karma finally intervened in the semifinals, where [[GermanicEfficiency Germany]] scored the winning goal (3-2) in the 90th minute, denying the Turks an extra time they were already counting on. This match was infamous for the international TV coverage failing during the second half due to adverse weather conditions in the TV broadcast centre in Switzerland - many worldwide viewers saw little of the second half, while broadcasters in the UK and France switched to delivering their RADIO commentary through the TV for a time.
* The 2006 MLS Cup. The New England Revolution scored 8 minutes into the second overtime to go up 1-0, but since it was not sudden death like many sports, the Houston Dynamo had time to score the tying goal - and did, just over a minute later. The Dynamo eventually won on penalty kicks.
* Likely the most famous example is the 1999 UsefulNotes/UEFAChampionsLeague Final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich. With Bayern leading 1-0 going into stoppage time, United tied it up on an absolutely wild goal and then scored the winning goal two minutes later on virtually the final kick of the game. The ending was so unexpected that they had to take the Bayern Munich ribbons off the Cup before presenting it. Not only did United win in the most dramatic fashion but the victory made them the only English team to win The Treble, being the UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and the Premier League in the same year.
** And everybody forgets that this wasn't exactly novel for them - they did basically the same thing to overhaul Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup earlier that season.
*** In fact, Manchester United did this ''so often'' under Alex Ferguson (later Sir Alex) that the phenomenon was dubbed "Fergie Time". Indeed, moments before the equalizing goal in the aforementioned UEFA Champions League Final, English commentator Clive Tyldesley lampshaded it, remarking, "Can Manchester United score? They always score!"
* Newcastle United had dropped a 2 goal lead at Feyenoord in the last round of group matches 2002-03 Champions League first group stage, having led 2-0 at one point. With Dynamo Kyiv trailing 1-2 to Juventus in the other match, the winner between Newcastle and Feyenoord would progress to the second group stage; if it was a draw Dynamo Kyiv would progress instead. In the first minute of injury time, Craig Bellamy scored the winner to send Newcastle through to the next round. Newcastle United is to date the only team in UEFA Champions League/European Cup history to lose their first three matches in a group stage and still progress to the next round.
* The 2004 Copa America Final between Brazil and Argentina. The score was 2-1, but Brazil managed to score a goal at the ''last second''. This is made even more dramatic, because Brazil and Argentina are the biggest rivals in the history of football. Brazil then won the penalty shoot out.
* Liverpool were 3-0 down against AC Milan at half-time in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final. Milan were considered to be possibly the best team on the planet at the time, while Liverpool had lost their star striker to Real Madrid the previous summer and wriggled into the final via luck, [[{{Determinator}} a never-say-die attitude]] and a few moments of magic from their [[TheCaptain Steven]] [[TheAce Gerrard]]. Fifteen minutes into the second half, after three goals in six minutes, the score was 3-3. However, the actual last play was a double save from Liverpool's goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek against Andriy Shevchenko (then one of the best players on the planet) near the end of extra time that was voted the greatest UEFA Champions League moment of all time which took it all the way to penalties, which Liverpool won.
--> When Andriy Shevchenko misses this with less than 3 minutes to go, you might as well start carving Liverpool's name on this trophy.
** Earlier in the campaign, they needed to beat Olympiakos 1-0 or by 2 goals to progress to the knockout stage. Problem was, Olympiakos were the ones leading 1-0 at half time, which meant they needed to score at least three goals to progress. With three and a half minutes left, with the score at 2-1, [[TheCaptain Gerrard]] responded with [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9-P2UF9JIg this goal]] and the commentator promptly went berserk.
--> OOOOH YA BEAUTY! What a hit, son! What a hit!
** The following year, they did the exact same thing in the FA Cup final, even being 3-2 down, except that they only had seconds left. The ball was lobbed into the box, knocked out and fell to [[TheCaptain Gerrard.]] The man could barely walk. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uVF74OqZDY So he did this.]] Once again, they won on penalties.
** Really, they're prone to this. In April 2016, Liverpool were in transition. Having nearly won the title less than two years before under manager Brendan Rodgers, a disastrous decline the following season and a lacklustre start to the one after that saw Rodgers fired. He was replaced by charismatic German Jurgen Klopp, who managed to whip the team into something approximating shape, took them to a cup final and pulled off famous wins in which they [[CurbstompBattle thrashed]] their rivals. However, they were still on course to finish 8th (albeit only six points of the top 4) and had lost that cup final. In the quarter-finals of the Europa League, they were drawn against competition favourites Borussia Dortmund, who were in the process of challenging the near-unstoppable Bayern Munich for the German title. They would finish second in the Bundesliga and were one of the most feared teams in Europe, while Liverpool were generally seen as a fallen giant, once great but brought low. The only advantages Liverpool had were their manager, who had previously managed Dortmund and knew the team and the players inside out, and [[{{Determinator}} stubbornness]]. In the first leg, at Dortmund, they executed a perfect containment strategy, getting a 1-1 draw and thereby a valuable away goal[[note]]In European club competitions, there's something called the away goals rule. If the two teams are tied on aggregate after the second match has ended, then the team that has scored more goals at the opponent's stadium goes through, with extra time only taking place if they have scored the same number of away goals.[[/note]]. Dortmund responded by coming to Anfield and scoring two goals in the first eight minutes, putting them 2-0 up on the night and 3-1 up on aggregate, meaning that Liverpool had to win outright. Liverpool duly pulled one back, making it 2-1 (3-2). Dortmund promptly scored again, making it 3-1 (4-2). There were less than 25 minutes to go, but Liverpool steadily hauled down their technically-superior opponents, making it 3-3 (4-4). At this point, Dortmund were still going through on the away goals rule. Then, in stoppage time, Liverpool scored a 4th, making it 4-3 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate. In the words of the commentator, "Liverpool have come back from the dead!" Afterwards, #[=ComeBackKings=] was trending on Twitter, and most appropriate it was too.
* Speaking of FA Cup Finals, the 1993 FA Cup Final was won by Arsenal in the dying seconds after defender Andy Linighan outjumped Sheffield Wednesday's Mark Bright to head home from close range. Even sweeter for Arsenal? Linighan was playing with a broken nose, having earlier been elbowed in the face... [[LaserGuidedKarma by Mark Bright]].
* FC Barcelona needed to either win 0-1 or tie 1-1 to advance to the final round of the 2009 UEFA Champions League final. After Chelsea scored first 10 minutes in, the result didn't change until minute 92, when the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIrg7CFy2T4 "Iniestazo"]] happened.
* Jimmy Glass. The fate of Carlisle's attempts to avoid relegation out of the Football League (and probable folding due to the subsequent finances) has come down to the fourth minute of injury time in the last game of the season, when Glass, [[DesperationAttack their (on loan) goalkeeper, comes up for a corner]]. Via a couple of rebounds and deflections, it comes to him in the six-yard box, and he duly pokes home. The result is the world's fastest pitch invasion, as 7000 Carlisle fans immediately mob him in celebration, and one of the most iconic moments in Football League history.
* The Manchester Derby in September 2009 (voted the best match of the first 20 years of the Premier League) featured bad blood, great play, blunders, irony, and this trope. Already a heated match due to it being a local derby, tensions were even higher because of Carlos Tevez, who had left Manchester United and joined Manchester City in the previous offseason[[note]]There had been much commotion from United fans to keep Tevez, but the United front office refused to do so, giving Tevez added incentive as well[[/note]]. Three times, United scored; each time, City equalized, with the third equalizer coming in the 90th minute after a horrific mistake from normally-solid United defender Rio Ferdinand. With five minutes of added time given, a desperate long ball by United landed at the feet of Ryan Giggs, who found Michael Owen[[note]]Who ironically was famous for his time at Liverpool, another fierce rival of Manchester United[[/note]] unmarked. Owen duly scored with the last kick of the game, and United won 4-3. City complained that the added time was more than five minutes, with United fans firing back that the celebration for City's third goal was the reason more time was added on. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV1d4lwhVm8 See the highlights here]].
* Qualifying for the 2010 World Cup between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, with Bahrain advancing on a draw, 1-1 as they head to stoppage time. Saudi Arabia scores one minute into stoppage time, breaking Bahrain's hearts [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1nMBPPum-M until they score with seconds to play]]. As the commentator says, "Bahrain were down and out and dead and buried and now they're back in."
** Unfortunately they were then beaten by New Zealand in the final World Cup play-off.
* During the 2010 World Cup round-robin match between the United States and Algeria, the United States needed a win to advance. The score was tied at 0-0 going into stoppage time in the second half. Landon Donovan scored the winning goal for the United States during stoppage time, causing [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbn3rOPmR9w very emotional reactions all over the United States]].
** They did it again in World Cup qualifying action against Jamaica. They scored early to go up 1-0, but at 89', Jamaica equalized. At 90'+3', Michael Bradley passed to Bradley Evans, who slotted it in and won the match 2-1. The US went on to win all three June qualification games and take the lead in the Hex.[[note]]Short for "Hexagonal", referring to the fact that the final group of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying has involved six teams since the 1998 qualifying cycle.[[/note]]
* A-League, 2006-07 Major Semi-Final. The first leg had ended goalless, and the second saw away team Adelaide United take an early lead, and even though home team Melbourne Victory equalised, Adelaide looked set to go through to, and host, the Grand Final on away goals. Two minutes into second half injury time, a substitute, who had never scored for Melbourne, and never did again, loops a header over the keeper and sends Melbourne into the Grand Final. Melbourne ended up crushing Adelaide 6-0 in the decider.
** The 2010-11 Grand Final. Brisbane Roar, the red hot favourites, against the Central Coast Mariners, who have never won the Grand Final. The match goes into Extra Time at 0-0, when a substitution turns the game in the favour of the Mariners. They score in the 96th and 103rd minutes, leaving Brisbane 15 minutes to come back in the 2nd half of extra time. Time slowly ticks away, until the 117th minute comes and Brisbane score. The final kick of the game is a corner kick in the 120th minute, which one of their defensive midfielders jumps up and scores with. They then win the Grand Final 4-2 in a penalty shootout.
** The year after in the 2011-12 Grand Final, Brisbane came up against Perth Glory. Perth were massive outsiders, but fought and harassed the free flowing Brisbane team and scored through a Brisbane own goal in the 54th minute. Brisbane managed to push and force an equaliser in the 84th minute, then in the 4th minute of injury time Brisbane were awarded a penalty after their striker was tripped when about to shoot, he scored and won the game for Brisbane.
* Happened not once, but arguably twice in the 1970 WorldCup semi-final between Germany and Italy. Italy led 1-0 for all of regular time, until Germany equalized in the 90th minute, leading to extra time and a total of 5 goals, the final, decisive goal happening in the 111th minute. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome CMoA]] doesn't begin to describe this match.
** This game was dubbed "Match of the Century" for a reason, and there's still a plaque at the stadium remembering it.
** The two got to it again in 2006, where Italy won in extra time with goals in the 119' and 121' minutes - even more painful for Germany as they were hosts that year. The second goal broke a record that had stood since 1990, when England scored over Belgium at the 119th minute of their round of 16 game.
* Arsenal v Liverpool in the 2010-11 Premier League; after an injury to Jamie Carragher, and other delays, the referee calls for ''eight minutes'' of stoppage time. Arsenal finally manage to work their possession and pretty play into an opening, they win a penalty in the 97th minute, Van Persie converts it in the 98th, 1-0 Arsenal, TheyThinkItsAllOver. It's not. The referee adds on time for the remonstrations and penalty, Liverpool win a free kick at the other end, it breaks towards Leiva, he's fouled, and Liverpool have a penalty of their own. Dirk Kuyt steps up and scores; the '''102nd''' minute goal really ''is'' the last play.
* The 2010 Europa League Final between Atletico Madrid and Fulham was decided by a last minute goal in extra time from Atletico's Diego Forlán.
** A final they were playing thanks to another extra-time goal by Forlán in the semi-final against Liverpool.
* The 1995/1996 season of the Danish Superliga, saw Brøndby IF (''the'' top dog of the league) and Aarhus GF (fielding perhaps their best squad of the past 25 years) locked in a hard-fought duel for the title. In round 30 (of 33) the two faced each other on Aarhus' homefield, Brøndby leading the table by 1 point. In the dying moments of the first half Peter Møller pulled Brøndby ahead 0-1. After 75 minutes, however, Aarhus had pulled together an extraordinary comeback to lead 3-1. A late goal brought Brøndby some hope, and with about 2 minutes to go, Brøndby got a corner kick. On a whim, Brøndby's goalie, Mogens Krogh, decided to move into Aarhus' penalty area [[DeseprationAttack in a desperate attempt to disrupt Aarhus' defence]] (Krogh later admitted he didn't had the approval of coach Skovdahl to make this move). In a frantic play, Krogh managed to score the equalizer with 90 seconds to go. The match ended 3-3. At the season end, Brøndby secured the title with 67 points against Aarhus' 66.
** Years later, Brøndby was fighting a battle to avoid relegation (it would have been their first ever, since reaching top flight football in 1982). As it happened, in the last round of matches, they would be playing away against AC Horsens, their main contender in the relegation battle. Thanks to a curious win the week before, Brøndby only needed a draw to stay up. However, the match was incredibly dirty, with the referee quickly losing control of the match, refusing to penalise very hard tackles made by AC Horsens players, while penalising Brøndby players at random. One tackle injured Brøndby's main striker, and when a Brøndby player complained to the referee, he recieved his second yellow card and was sent off. With Brøndby down to 10 men, AC Horsens came closer and closer to scoring. That is, until 3½ minutes into overtime, when [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U1Q9qQnAZs this happened]]
* In the first leg of the 2012 Copa del Rey Quarterfinal, 3rd Division Mirandés were leading 1st Division Espanyol 2-0 in the 85th minute, but Espanyol came back to win 3-2. Then, in the second leg, the score was 1-1 in injury time before a last-minute free kick saw Mirandés win 2-1 and reach the semi-finals on away goals.
* The 2012 English Premier League was won in the last match of the season by Manchester City over Manchester United with two goals in stoppage time. United needed to beat Sunderland to stand a chance of overcoming City in the final standings, while City faced Queens Park Rangers. Both matches were played simultaneously; United scored against Sunderland after twenty minutes, putting the pressure on City. City scored against QPR after 39 minutes, retaking the title provisionally. Then QPR equalised after half time and with sixteen minutes remaining sensationally went ahead, leaving City needing two goals to win the Premier League. They got the equaliser right on full time and had five minutes of stoppage time to get another. At the same time United vs. Sunderland finished 1-0 in United's favour, leaving United looking like the champions until City's Sergio Aguero fired in a winner right at the death.
* The 2012 UEFA Champions League Final. In the red corner, Bayern Munich, playing on home turf. In the blue corner, Chelsea, who had eliminated FC Barcelona, the reigning Champions, in the semifinals with virtually the last kick of the tie after being 2-0 down with ten men. With seven minutes remaining, Bayern breach the Chelsea defence to take the lead. However, with two minutes of normal time remaining, Chelsea equalise. The match goes to penalties, and with literally the last kick of the game, Didier Drogba scores with his penalty to win the final for Chelsea. He also scored the equaliser, and with his announced intention to leave Chelsea, his penalty was also the last kick for him as a Chelsea player.
* The United States women's national soccer team seems to have a habit of this in recent tournaments.
** In the 2011 Women's World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil, the USA were down 2-1 in extra time when Megan Rapinoe crossed a ball in to Abby Wambach, who headed it home to tie the game in the ''122nd minute''. The USA would later go on to win in the penalty shoot out. Wambach's goal is the latest in World Cup history, and the second-latest in women's soccer history, behind...
** In the semifinal of the 2012 Olympic tournament, the USA came from behind to equalize against Canada three times. Fast-forward to the 123rd minute and Alex Morgan slotted home a header to win the game for the USA.
*** Not to be outdone, the Canadian women who suffered that loss against the USA would get [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsVcTjFpy3M a last-minute victory of their own]] in the bronze medal game, courtesy of a Diana Matheson header.
* In the 2008-2009 La Liga, Real Madrid (who needed a win to continue challenging uber-rival Barcelona for the league) were drawing 2-2 against Getafe in the 87th minute when a Getafe striker, Casquero, was tripped in the penalty area by Real defender Pepe. Getafe were awarded a penalty kick and Pepe was sent off, leaving his team a man down. Casquero stepped in to take the penalty himself, and did [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton%C3%ADn_Panenka#Panenka_penalty a Panenka]], a type of kick that if scored is considered humiliating for the goalkeeper. Real's keeper Iker Casillas, however, caught the ball and immediately passed it to his team-mates, who went on to score before full-time. Casquero was the national punching bag for weeks after.
* Ghana were awarded a penalty kick in the very last moment of extra time against Uruguay in their 2010 World Cup quarter-final, after a clear goal for Ghana was punched away by a Uruguayan player. The penalty was missed, leading to a penalty shootout which Ghana lost, eliminating the last remaining African team in the South Africa WC[[note]]Had Ghana won, they would have been the first African team ever to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup[[/note]].
* After coming back from a 3-0 loss with a 5-0 second leg win in the 2013/14 Europa League Quarterfinals, Valencia lose 2-0 to Sevilla in the first leg of the semis. In the second leg, they pull it off again, coming back to 3-0. Come the 93rd minute, former Valencia player Albelda comments on the radio how it was a done deal by then and how he never saw their comeback in danger, since Sevilla [[TemptingFate clearly weren't going to score the away goal that would put them through in the few remaining seconds.]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YACIao80q1M You know where this is going]].
* Bundesliga season 2000/2001 saw an example of this. "Plucky Underdog" Schalke 04 was chasing "Eternal Champion" Bayern Munich every game of the season. They were level on points after 32 of 34 matches and both headed towards a draw on the penultimate day of the season, when in the third minute of stoppage time almost at the same time Bayern and Schalke's opponent Stuttgart both scored. Thus before the last day, Schalke were trailing by 3 points, and with Bayern playing at Hamburg, only just above the relegation zone, all seemed sealed against Schalke, especially since they went down by two goals themselves against unfancied Unterhaching, only to equalize and immediately fall behind again. In the end, Schalke was able to turn the match around to a "comfortable" 5-3 victory. Then, unexpectedly, 2 minutes from time Hamburg scored the 1-0 against Bayern, putting Schalke in pole position on goal difference. And Hamburg defended the lead until the 4th minute of stoppage time, when a controversial ruling for a handled back pass (and of course Hamburg's goalkeeper who did this was on loan from Schalke) gave Bayern a last shot at the title. At the same time, the whistle was reported in Schalke as the final whistle, so that they would be champions for the first time in half a century, and pitch invasion and celebration followed immediately - until the live scenes were shown on the stadium screen (the free kick was somewhat delayed due to many protests in Hamburg). Bayern converted the last kick, by now 12 minutes in stoppage time, drew and thus became champions (again). Schalke since then carries the moniker "Meister der Herzen" (champion of hearts) and the validity of the ruling is still heftily discussed, with fans and players from both Schalke and Hamburg insisting to this day that this wasn't an intentional pass and thus could be handled.
* After coming from Lima with a 2-2 result against Sporting Cristal, FBC Melgar was having a very hard time against Sporting Cristal, despite being the locals, and despite they were scoring, Cristal scores, until the point that they were 2-2 and with that leading to end into a penalty shootout, where Cristal were well known to win in most scenarios. However, just 2 minutes before the end of the match and on the injury time, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSqzb5id71c this]] happened.
* The 2014 UEFA Champions League 2014 final. Minute 93. Atlético de Madrid are winning 1-0 against Real Madrid. Atlético fans are already savouring the title (which they have never won). Then, Real gets a corner kick... and Sergio Ramos heads it into Atlético's goal, literally tying the game in the last minute. The morale shock was so high that Real proceeded to curb-stomp Atlético in extra time to win 4-1.
* The 2016-17 UEFA Champions League Round of 16. FC Barcelona had lost to Paris St Germain in the first leg by 4-0, which meant they had to win by 5 goals at least. They manage to score three goals in 50 minutes, but then Cavani scores again in minute 68 - which means they need three more goals. Neymar manages to score a free kick on minute 88, and then a penalty on 90. [=PSG=] tries to fortify itself... but in the last minute, Neymar kicks the ball into the box and Sergi Roberto kicks it in, scoring the 6-1 Barça needed to offset their previous loss and go on to quarter-finals. This is the first time in UEFA Champions League/European Cup history that a team has overcome a 4-goal deficit from the first leg to progress to the next round.

[[folder:Auto Racing]]
* UsefulNotes/FormulaOne. Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 championship from Felipe Massa on the last corner of the last lap of the last race. Massa won the race and Hamilton had to finish fifth or better to win the championship. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VsLX2Uen2dc#t=160s On the last lap]] Hamilton was sixth when Timo Glock's Toyota slowed dramatically because it was still running on worn out dry-weather tyres as a heavy rain shower hit. Hamilton passed the slithering Glock in the last corner finished fifth and won the championship. To put this in perspective, Hamilton was still sixth when Massa crossed the line first and Massa thought he was champion.
** He wasn't the only one. Tragically, the cameras caught Massa's family and mechanics [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlJWwuV9eBw celebrating prematurely]]. [[TrashTheSet One of the mechanics got quite angry]].
* The 2012 Canadian Grand Prix was the longest race in F1 history, as various stoppages for poor weather stretched its duration out to 4 hours, 4 minutes. Jenson Button, who had been last when the final stoppage occurred, put in an astonishing performance after the restart to climb his way up to second by the start of the final lap. With a few corners to go, and Button closing in, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel made an uncharacteristic error and span wide, allowing Button through to win and seal one of the greatest performances of his entire career.
* The Indianapolis 500 lead has changed hands on the last lap on two occasions (shown below). Seven other races (1982, 1992, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2014, and 2015) were won by margins of less than a second (not counting victories under yellow).
** 2006: Sam Hornish was in second behind Marco Andretti with two laps to go. On lap 199, Hornish tried to squeeze past Andretti in turn 3, but had to back off and lost nearly a full second. On the final lap, Hornish caught up (considering the laps take barely 40 seconds, a heck of a piece of driving by itself), then passed Andretti on the final straightaway about '''one second''' before crossing the finish line. Watch the clip [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT9R8xwu6rY here]], and count the number of times the announcers say "Marco's gonna win this thing!". Marco Andretti's comment? "Second's nothing."
** 2011: Rookie driver JR Hildebrand inherited the lead on fuel strategy three laps from the end when cars ahead had to pit. He made it all the way to the last corner when he misjudged a pass on a slow lapped car, drifted wide into the wall and wiped the right side wheels off his car. As he slithered agonisingly towards the finish line he was passed by Dan Wheldon in the final few hundred metres. By tragic irony Hildebrand and Wheldon would be involved in a massive crash in the last race of the year; Hildebrand walked away unscathed but Wheldon died from head injuries. A further irony is that Wheldon only rand a part-time schedule that year, having lost his drive with the Panther Racing team - to Hildebrand.
* The 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans was the first time that the loophole-abusing Porsche 917 was entered, and throughout most of the race, the sheer speed of the Porsches was difficult to compete with. However, the untested cars were unreliable and attrition set in. The race was eventually contested between a fast prototype Porsche with failing brakes and the then-overweight and underpowered Ford GT 40 driven by the rookie, Jacky Ickx. The last hour of the race had the two cars swapping places constantly, and ended up with Ickx's GT 40 winning by a scant 120 metres after 24 hours of racing.
** Le Mans final laps are usually parade laps as the winning car is often laps ahead by the finish. Other close finishes at Le Mans that have taken place at full speed include in 1983 when the two Rothmans Porsches were 17 seconds apart at the line. The lead car had a broken engine and it seized practically as it crossed the line to win. In 2011 the gap between the winning Audi R18 and 2nd placed Peugeot was 13.8 seconds, or about the length of the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apb49DI4Xs4 last few corners]].
** The 2016 race was all set to be Toyota's first victory... until their lead car broke down just after starting what would have been its final lap, and the second-placed Porsche 919 came screaming past with three minutes left on the race clock. The Toyota began to slow halfway round it's penultimate lap with a turbocharger problem so unexpected that the driver of the other Toyota thought it was slowing up for a team photo-op at the finish. With a minute's lead over the Porsche the Toyota still made it to the line first so had the problem risen only a lap later they would have still won.
* The 1976 Daytona 500 went into the last lap with Richard Petty and David Pearson running 1st and 2nd respectively. Pearson passed Petty for the lead on the backstretch, but as the two entered the 4th and final turn, Petty passed Pearson back. Approaching the finish line, the two cars made contact and both hit the retaining wall before spinning out onto the infield grass. Petty's damaged car ended up stalling a mere 150 feet from the finish line. As members of Petty's pit crew ran over to try and get him re-started, Pearson limped his equally-wrecked car past Petty and over the line for the victory. Both drivers had been so far ahead of the rest of the field that Petty was able to eventually re-start his car and, despite the delay, cross the finish ahead of the 3rd place driver for second place.
* Tony Stewart won the 2011 UsefulNotes/{{NASCAR}} Sprint Cup championship by 1.3 seconds in the last race of the year. Stewart won the race ahead of Carl Edwards second, tying the two on points with Stewart winning by virtue of having more wins in the year.
* Talladega Superspeedway is known for this in NASCAR, because the finish line is past the exit to pit road, unlike Daytona where the finish line is in the tri-oval. Numerous races there have been decided by a last lap pass in the tri-oval area.
* The 2011 British Superbike Championship came down to the last corner of the last lap between riders Tommy Hill and John Hopkins. The two riders battled nose-to-tail for the last two laps, the lead changed hands ''six times'' on the last lap and Hill beat Hopkins to the line and the title by 000.6 seconds. Needless to say it was [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjePvNcu8n4 quite a finish]].
* Professional drag racing is all about this, particularly in the top tiers of high-powered nitro-fueled cars. Winning margins measured in hundreths or even ''thousandths of seconds'' are not uncommon.

* In baseball, since the teams take turns with the visitors batting in the top of the inning and the home team batting in the bottom, a Down To The Last Play moment can really only happen to the home team. This is often referred to as a "walkoff" - originally to signify the losing pitcher having to "walk off" the mound alone and (for the moment) unloved, but now the term is more focused on the home team (and their fans) walking off the field in celebration once the winning run scores.
* Ten World Series have ended in this way, with the home team winning the last game on a walkoff. However, four of those occurred before Game 7, so those Series would have continued if the road team had won that game. Six World Series have been won in true Down To The Last Play fashion, with the home team winning in the last at-bat of a winner-take-all final game:
** In 1912, the Red Sox beat the New York Giants[[hottip:*: now in San Francisco]] on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game '''8'''. Game 2 was called on account of darkness with the game tied.
** In 1924 the Washington Senators[[hottip:*: the first Senators, now the Minnesota Twins]] beat the New York Giants on an RBI double which bounced over the New York third baseman's head in the bottom of the 12th inning.
** Possibly the most famous example is the 1960 World Series, which was the first World Series to end with a true Down To The Last Play home run. Bill Mazeroski's homer on the second pitch in the bottom of the 9th gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a victory over the New York Yankees.
** In 1991 Gene Larkin's single in the 10th won the Series for the Minnesota Twins over the Atlanta Braves.
** In 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays won their second straight World Series championship, as Joe Carter hit a walk-off home run off of Mitch Williams in the bottom of the 9th of Game 6. To date, this is the last World Series to end on a home run.
** In 1997 Edgar Rentería's single in the 11th won the Series for the Florida Marlins[[note]]now Miami Marlins[[/note]] over the Cleveland Indians.
** In 2001 the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th when Luis Gonzalez floated a pop fly over Derek Jeter's head and into short left field.
* However, all six of the World Series victories listed above came with the game tied before the last play, so in each of them the game would have continued if the batter had made an out. In fact, in the history of baseball's postseason dating back to 1903, only one postseason series has truly come Down To The Last Play—a hit by the home team, in the bottom of the last inning of the decisive game, with the home team trailing with two outs, which turned defeat into victory. That was the 1992 National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates, in which Francisco Cabrera of the Braves drove a single to left in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7, scoring two runs, winning the game 3–2 and winning the series 4–3. It still came down to a play at home plate, as the throw from Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds was just off enough toward the first-base line that it gave Atlanta's Sid Bream the chance to slide in under the tag, and had he been called out at the plate, the game would've continued tied.
* If you expand Down To The Last Play to include games where the comeback ''fails'', where the home team has a chance to win at the end but does not, this section would be longer. One famous example is the 1962 World Series. The Yankees were clinging to a 1–0 lead over the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 when Matty Alou led off with a single. Next came two outs and then Willie Mays' double into the right field corner, giving the Giants runners at second and third. The next batter, Willie [=McCovey=], hit a screaming line drive—right to Yankee Bobby Richardson at second, who caught it to win the game and the Series.
** This was [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] for the next several months in ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' where Charlie Brown would shout "Why couldn't [=McCovey=] have hit the ball 3 feet higher?" (or even One foot)
* Many individual games, of course, have been won in Down To The Last Play moments. Some notable examples are listed below.
* The only World Series besides 1960 to end on a home run was the 1993 Series. Toronto won four games to two when Joe Carter's three-run homer in the bottom of the 9th won Game 6 8–6.
--> '''Blue Jays radio announcer Tom Cheek:''' Touch 'em all, Joe! You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!
* In the 1986 World Series the Boston Red Sox, leading the Series three games to two, led 5–3 going to the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6, and were three outs from a championship. The first two New York Met batters made quick outs. The Shea Stadium scoreboard operator prematurely flashed the message [[AssumedWin "Congratulations World Champion Boston Red Sox"]]. Then ''everything'' fell apart. Three straight singles cut it to a one-run game and put the tying run at third. A new reliever was brought in, and a [[strike:passed ball]] wild pitch allowed the tying run to score and the winning run to advance to second. Then, an infamous error, as veteran Boston first baseman Bill Buckner allowed the ball to get past him, allowing the winning run to score. The Mets then won Game 7[[note]]the Mets fell behind 3–0, then came back after the scoreboard operator replayed Buckner's Game 6 error[[/note]] and the championship.
** However, even in that game, the error came after the game had already been tied. The only time in postseason history that an error ''directly'' led to a team losing a game that they would have won right then and there if the play had been made came in 2009, when with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in game 2 of the NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cardinals ahead 2–1, Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday dropped a line drive off the bat of James Loney, allowing the inning to continue. The Dodgers went on to score twice in the inning and won the game, eventually sweeping the series.
*** This was not the first time that Holliday had been involved in such a moment. In 2007, he was a member of the Colorado Rockies, who had been buried deep in the NL wild card standings when they went on an 11-game winning streak, but when that streak was snapped in the third-to-last game of the season, they found themselves two games back with two left to play, needing to win both of their last two games and have San Diego lose both of their last two just to have a chance at a one-game playoff. (The New York Mets were also tied with the Rockies and were just one game back in ''their'' division, so the tiebreakers had the potential to get even ''more'' complicated.) San Diego entered the ninth inning of their penultimate game ahead 3–2, but with two outs and two strikes, Tony Gwynn Jr.[[note]]whose father played his entire ''Hall of Fame'' career as a member of the Padres, making this even more painful for San Diego fans[[/note]] hit a game-tying triple for the Milwaukee Brewers, who won the game in 11 innings (a walk-off) to give the Rockies life. The Rockies would end up winning their last two and the Brewers beat the Padres again the next day, setting up a one-game playoff in Colorado that was tied at 6 at the end of nine innings. San Diego scored two runs in the top of the 13th, but Colorado led off with two straight doubles, followed by Holliday hitting a game-tying triple and then scoring on a sacrifice fly in which he may not have ever actually touched home plate. Just to add to the madness, statistics compiled in one-game playoffs are counted as regular season statistics. Holliday's game-tying hit was his second RBI of Game 163, giving him a total of 137 on the season--one more than Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, whose 136 led the National League through 162 games.
* Kirk Gibson of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who was dealing with injuries to both legs that caused him to limp visibly as he walked to the plate, hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series to beat the Oakland A's 5–4. The victory propelled the underdog Dodgers to a shocking five-game victory over the heavily favored Athletics.
-->'''Vin Scully, announcing the game for [=NBC=]:''' High fly ball into right field, she is ''GONE''! (after a two-minute pause, Scully continues) In a year that has been so improbable, the ''impossible'' has happened!
-->'''CBS Radio announcer Jack Buck:''' I don't believe...what I just saw! I don't believe what I just saw!
--> '''Don Drysdale, announcing the game for the Dodgers' radio broadcast:''' [Dennis] Eckersley working out of the stretch. Here comes the 3-2 pitch. And a drive hit to right field. WAY BACK! THIS BALL... IS GONE! (after a nearly two-minute pause) This crowd will not stop! They can't believe the ending! And, this time, [[Literature/CaseyAtTheBat Mighty Casey did ''not'' strike out!]]
* The New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers played a special three-game tiebreaker for the 1951 National League championship after finishing the season with identical 96–58 records. In the bottom of the ninth of the third game, trailing 4–2, Bobby Thomson hit a three-run homer off of Ralph Branca to win the NL pennant. Thomson's homer is remembered to this day as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_Heard_%27Round_the_World_%28baseball%29 The Shot Heard 'Round the World]].
** Fifty-three years later, in the 2014 National League Championship Series, Travis Ishikawa hit a 3-run walk-off home run to lift the Giants (now in San Francisco) over the St. Louis Cardinals and send the Giants to their third World Series in five years.
* One of the weirdest Down to the Last Play moments in history was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkle%27s_Boner Merkle's Boner]] ([[HaveAGayOldTime ha ha ha, stop laughing]]), which happened on September 23, 1908. The Giants should have beaten the Cubs on a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Fred Merkle, who was on first base, failed to advance to second. The Cubs retrieved the ball, which may or may not have gone into the stands, and threw to second base for a force out of Merkle. The game was called on account of darkness immediately after. Naturally, this proved crucial, as the Cubs and Giants wound up tied for first place and the game had to be replayed. The Cubs beat the Giants in the makeup game and won the pennant.
** The entire story of that play was that the rule that the Cubs enforced was traditionally ''not'' enforced at the end of games back in those days, due to fans normally storming the field after such a walkoff. The Cubs themselves tried the same trick a few weeks before, only to have the umpire say that he did not recall whether the runner had touched second and thus the walkoff stood. The ump promised the Cubs he'd watch and call it the next time he saw it...which happened to be the Merkle game.
* Game 6 of the 2011 World Series provided several remarkable moments.
** The Texas Rangers, seeking their first championship in forty years of existence (fifty if you count their previous 10 years as the Washington Senators), led the St. Louis Cardinals three games to two, and led 7–5 in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs and two runners on base, David Freese fell behind the count 1–2, leaving the Rangers one strike away from victory and a championship. Freese hit the ball over Nelson Cruz's head and off the right-field wall for a two-run triple to tie the game at 7.
** After Yadier Molina flied out to end the ninth, the Rangers proceeded to take a 9–7 lead in the top of the 10th on a homer by Josh Hamilton. The Cardinals came up in the bottom of the 10th and went single, single, sac bunt to advance the runners, and RBI groundout to make the score 9–8 with two outs. Lance Berkman batted next and fell behind the count 1–2, leaving the Rangers '''again''' one strike away from victory and a championship. After the next pitch was a ball, Berkman lined a single to center field, again tying the game, this time at 9.
** Finally, after the Rangers failed to score in the top of the 11th, David Freese had his second hero moment in three innings, leading off the bottom of the 11th with a home run to center that won the game 10-9. The Cardinals won Game 7 and the championship the next day.
* June 23, 1984: Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, The Chicago Cubs were trailing their hated rivals 9–8 and Bruce Sutter, the best closer in the game at the time, was on the mound. Up walks Ryne Sandberg, who proceeded to drive a home run off Sutter to tie it at 9. In the 10th, the Cardinals would score twice to make it 11–9; the Cubs were able to get a runner on base, but were once again down to their final out when up walked Sandberg again, again to face Sutter...and again he saved the Cubs by driving a two-run homer into the bleachers. The Cubs won the game in 11 and cement their claim to be contenders in 1984 after being known as "Lovabale Losers" for decades beforehand.
* The 2016 World Series not only went to Game 7, it went to extra innings, along with a rain delay right after the ninth inning ended, just to add to the drama. However, it also averted EveryYearTheyFizzleOut for the Chicago Cubs, who won the game 8-7 in the 10th inning, ending a 108-year-long drought between World Series titles.

* Basketball lends itself to these moments quite often; it is common for a team to go from defeat to victory on the last shot.
* In what may be the most shining example, the 1983 N.C. State Wolfpack's improbable run that earned them the nickname "Cardiac Pack"[[note]]Because they put fans into cardiac arrest before finally winning[[/note]]. Ranked 5th in the ACC (which consisted of 9 teams at the time), they had to win the conference tournament to even ''qualify'' for the [=NCAAs=]. They proceeded to win against Duke 71–70 on free throws with time expired. Forced double overtime on last-second shots each time against North Carolina before finally winning 91–84, and again on a last second shot against Virginia 81–78. They then proceeded to the NCAA Championship game by winning 4 of their 5 games by 2 points or less. In the final game, they managed a 30-foot heave as time was running out, that was caught and dunked for a win as time ran out. This remains the only pre-64-team NCAA tournament image still shown as part of 'great moments' intros. Last second shots in 7 of 9 games to win a title!
* An infamous example is the basketball final at the 1972 Olympics. When the time expired, the USA had an 50–49 lead against the Soviets. However, the referees added three seconds back to the clock on the direct order of the head of FIBA, who had no authority to do so (the FIBA head claimed the Soviets had attempted to call time out prior to the last free throw). After the Soviet shot failed, the referees added three MORE seconds back to the clock due to an error in restarting the clock. In this three seconds--on their third chance to win the game--a Soviet player scored, winning the team the gold medal. The Americans refused to accept the silver and filed a protest, but it was denied. It was the first loss ''ever'' for the US Olympic basketball team. To this day, the American players from that game still refuse to accept the silver medals, and at least one has left it in his will that his family can never accept the medal after he dies.
* A 2004 playoff game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers, who had combined to win the last 5 titles and had each swept the other out of the way during that time, contained two improbable last-second shots. First the Spurs, trailing by a point with 5.4 seconds left, tried a handoff screen from Tim Duncan to Manu Ginóbili. Ginóbili was cut off from receiving the ball, so Duncan just had to just turn around, take a quick dribble, and throw the ball up from the top of the key. He was way off balance and actually fell on his back yet somehow the shot swished through. Now the Lakers had to score in 0.4 seconds or lose. Derek Fisher, who received the inbounds pass, had to grab it, spin around in mid-air, and shoot, all in one quick motion, because the clock starts the instant it touches any player. It also went right through the net, giving LA the game and a 3–2 series lead, cementing Fisher's reputation as one of the best clutch shooters ever, and leaving Duncan's shot as one of the best all-time clutch plays that didn't result in a win. As Shaq said, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSnAvhvfniw "One lucky shot deserves another."]] JawDrop.
* David Lee, New York Knicks. Tips it in with ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYa3LjbsZ54 0.1 seconds]]''.
* In Game 5 of the 1987 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons all Detroit had to do was inbound the ball to win. But Boston forward Larry Bird stole the pass and while falling out-of-bounds passed to guard Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup with one second left.
* The University of Virginia Cavaliers tend to do this a lot. There's a reason fans sometimes call them "Cardiac Cavs":
** vs. Duke, 2001: The Blue Devils tried to inbound with 00.9 seconds left to play this trope straight, but [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPf3sAtJfw8 a steal by Adam Hall subverted it.]]
** [[RunningGag vs. Duke]], 2007: Tied up with seconds left in OT, Sean Singletary made a jumper ''as he's falling down backwards''. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo4tgWYRpPg There's a reason the Cavaliers retired his number.]]
** at Wake Forest, 2016: Down 7 with 15 seconds left, Virginia goes on a 9–1 run to win 72–71, [[http://www.streakingthelawn.com/2016/1/26/10838258/virginia-basketball-buzzer-beater-wake-forest-darius-thompson a statistical impossibility]]. Capped off [[UpToEleven by banking in a three at the buzzer]]. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0UTfRLAoCE&t=7m24s As the play-by-play guy put it]]:
-->"Perrantes to inbound, Gill is fouled out. Inbound pass to Hall. Hall's into the frontcourt, feeds it up. Thompson, for the win, launches the three... '''''[[WhamLine IT'S GOOD!!! HE HITS IT OFF THE BACKBOARD!!!]]''''' And Virginia, with the miracle finish here in Winston-Salem! [[YouHaveGotToBeKiddingMe Are you kidding me?!]]
** [[RuleOfThree at Duke]], 2016: On the other end, Virginia looked prepared to win at Duke for the first time since 1995. The Cavalier's Brogdon made a basket with seconds left... enough seconds for Duke's Grayson Allen to make his own buzzer-beater. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsZstyQQ0Uw It may have been a travel]], but it counted, and Duke won.
* In a 2010 game between Georgia Tech and Maryland, Georgia Tech scores the go ahead basket with 3 seconds left on the clock. Maryland star PG Greivis Vasquez drives it down the court and makes what appears to be the game-winning basket from half-court, only for it to be called back because Maryland coach Gary Williams called a time-out with 1.5 seconds left. The game looks all-but squandered until the ball gets inbounded to Maryland's Cliff Tucker, who promptly hits the game-winning shot.
* Maccabi Tel-Aviv has more than one example of this, but probably the most memorable one is the "Žalgiris Miracle": Maccabi Tel-Aviv vs. Žalgiris Kaunas, the last game in group G of the 2003/4 Euroleague Top 16, which ended up being the game that decides which team wins the group and qualify to the Final 4. With Žalgiris leading by 5 points with only a few seconds left on the clock, it seemed to be all over for Maccabi. Maccabi scored a quick 2 pointer and made a desperate foul on one of Žalgiris players. Not only does the player miss both free throws, but one of Žalgiris players entered the key too early, stopping the clock and giving Maccabi the ball with 2 seconds remaining. Then [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxq41-rsEv0 this]] happens, sending the game into overtime and giving Maccabi a huge morale boost, with which they proceed to win the game and eventually, the Euroleague title.
* A ''high school'' basketball example that made [[http://www.kpho.com/sports/4307457/detail.html national news]] for its sheer improbability: 2005 Minnesota state championship game, Eastview vs. Hopkins. In overtime, Eastview scored with 2.5 seconds left to go up 2. Hopkins threw the ball the length of the court. One of their players, Blake Hoffarber, fell on the floor, the ball bounced his way, and he grabbed the ball and threw it at the basket, ''while sitting down on the floor''. It went in to tie the game. It [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJoxGpEswOI has to be seen to be believed]].
* A couple years later, in the 2008 Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, #6 Minnesota was leading #3 Indiana 57–55 at Conseco Fieldhouse with 3.4 seconds left. Eric Gordon was at the line with a chance to tie it. He missed the first and intentionally missed the second. Indiana got the rebound. D.J. White was fouled on the putback with 3.1 seconds left and had a chance to give Indiana the lead, but he missed the free throw. He then got fouled ''again'' on the rebound with 1.5 seconds left. He split the pair to make it 58–57 Indiana. After a timeout, Travis Busch [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u51znupszPw&t=35s threw a baseball pass]] almost the length of the court. It was caught by... Blake Hoffarber, who turned and tossed up a shot with his left hand, which went through as time expired.
* In the 2010 Big Ten basketball tournament, Michigan led Ohio State 68–66 with 2.2 seconds left and the Buckeyes needing to drive the length of the court. What [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz1sSkExw8M happened next]] proved beyond a shadow of a doubt who the National Player of the Year was.
* The Findlay Oilers won the 2009 Division II National College Basketball championship on a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ro7no6ecaI buzzer-beater]].
* Butler tried it against Duke in the 2010 NCAA men's championship game with a half-court shot, but it rimmed out and Duke won. Both teams' CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* The Chicago Bulls beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 in 1989. Michael Jordan hits the series winner at the buzzer. Famously known as ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g2z1dLzTcM&t=1m56s The Shot]]''.
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY-iq58_oz4 Hill to Laettner, turn, swish]].
* The last 40 seconds of the 2011 Unicaja-Real Madrid must be seen to be believed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi6jEaBj_qs
* Former [=UConn=] standout and current Seattle Storm star Sue Bird has a long list of last minute, clutch shots, from the 2001 Big East tournament championship game after Notre Dame had tied the game with 5 seconds left and she drives down the length of the court for the winning shot, to the 2010 WNBA Playoffs, where successive game winning baskets in the Western Conference Finals Game 2 and the WNBA Finals Game 1 gave her the media nickname of "Big Shot Bird".
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqG7eSRAyfg Watford for the win...]]
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tt1HkTSxxg Arizona vs. Cincinnati, February 10, 1996]]: The game is tied at 76 with just a couple seconds left and Arizona's Miles Simon gets his hands on the ball. Just before the buzzer, he throws up a desperation 3/4ths court shot that, by some miracle, goes in. Arizona wins 79–76, giving Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson his 500th career win.
* #1 Arizona vs. USC, March 6, 1998. Jason "The Jet" Terry hits a runner with 6.9 seconds left in OT to give #1 Arizona a 90–88 lead over 7–19 USC. But Adam Spanich gets the ball with 2.8 seconds left and promptly [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-nDklKD-BE&t=1m17s fires a 3...]]
* In the 1988 NCAA Tournament Round of 32, Vanderbilt faced heavily favored Pittsburgh. Vanderbilt's Barry Goheen [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl3t7HLZMZ4&t=27s hit a 3 with 5 seconds left]] to make it 67–66 after Pittsburgh's Jason Matthews hit two free throws with 12 seconds left. After Charles Smith hit two free throws with 4 seconds left, Goheen [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl3t7HLZMZ4&t=3m9s took the ball upcourt]], then hit a 3 at the buzzer to force OT. Vanderbilt won 80–74 to advance to the Sweet 16.
* In the 2013 New York state Section 1 Class AA high school championships, with Mount Vernon leading New Rochelle 60–58, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-rsGQ5JNqA Khalil Edney's in-bounds pass with 2.9 seconds left]] is intercepted by a Mount Vernon player, who heaves the ball up into the air to kill the clock--only it comes down in Edney's hands with enough time for him to toss up a half-court shot, which goes in and, after a lengthy video review, is ultimately counted, giving New Rochelle the 61–60 win.
* In 2014's NCAA Division III playoffs, The University of Texas at Dallas Comets hosted the regional for their division. The final of said regional pitted them up against Whitworth, a school from Washington state. The game went to overtime off of a Whitworth basket to close out regulation, and UTD fell behind by seven early in the overtime. They came roaring back thanks to good free throw shooting and poor free throws by Whitworth, making it 77–75 with 9.6 seconds left to play. UTD fouled the inbounder, stopping the clock with 7.1 left and forcing a one-and-one free throw, which was missed. With the final 7.1 seconds, UTD dribbled the ball upcourt, and then put off a shot at 0.4 seconds left. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVv_UMwGBNU The last 9.6 seconds plus stoppage time can be seen here.]]
* Colonial Athletic Association men's semifinals, William & Mary vs. Hofstra, March 8, 2015. The game went to double overtime, so [[UpToEleven there were three "last plays"]]. Eventually, W&M's Dixon hit a three-pointer to win. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShQq1WDgVGo The highlights are here.]]
* The Villanova Wildcats won the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's National Championship with a [[https://twitter.com/CauldronICYMI/status/717193050976419840 3-point buzzer beater]], marking the first time the March Madness tournament had ended in this fashion.

[[folder:North American Football]]
* Harvard scored 16 points in the last 42 seconds of their 1968 game against Yale to tie 29-29. The next day, the headline for their student newspaper Harvard Crimson was [[WeWinBecauseYouDidnt "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29"]].
* Hail Flutie, the 1984 BC-Miami game that ended with a Hail Mary pass from Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan, giving Boston College a 47–45 win.
** Two other famous game-winning college Hail Marys: 1980 Holiday Bowl, BYU's Jim [=McMahon=] to Clay Brown for a 46–45 win over SMU; 1994, Colorado at Michigan, Kordell Stewart to Michael Westbrook, Colorado wins 27–26.
* Real life is stranger than fiction example. Boise State University, a huge underdog to the perennial-powerhouse Oklahoma Sooners, won the 2007 Fiesta Bowl by scoring on three trick plays on the last play of the game and in overtime. The touchdown scoring ones (a hook and ladder, and a halfpack pass) and the final 2-point conversion to win in overtime (a statue of liberty) were all well-known trick plays that fail more often than they succeed. To add to the theatrical quality, the player who made the winning score popped the question to his cheerleader girlfriend after the game (on national TV). She said yes.
* American Football has had plenty over the years... but one stands head and shoulders above all others in terms of sheer insanity. It is known, even to Wikipedia, simply as "The Play". In 1982, college football teams representing arch-rivals California[[note]]the flagship campus in Berkeley, to be specific - nine of the ten undergraduate campuses of the University of California system run their own NCAA-affiliated programs (UC-Merced was founded in 2005 and is a part of the NAIA) [[/note]] and Stanford played their season-ending game. After a spectacular drive led by John Elway, Stanford took a 20–19 lead on a field goal with four seconds left, meaning Cal had to return the ensuing kickoff all the way or they'd lose (theoretically, they could down it promptly and try for a Hail Mary, but that's much more difficult). In the equivalent of a rugby play, Cal used five laterals to keep the play alive until they ran it into the end zone and scored a touchdown. Bonus points because the Stanford band and team thought they had ''already won'', and were filing onto the field – at one point, they were at least 20 yards downfield – for their victory tune – and got clobbered in the process. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fZCCAqoSwY It has to be seen to be believed, really.]] - (One of the passes may have been thrown after the player was already down by contact, and so Stanford to this day refuses to acknowledge the game as a Cal win.)
* Also older, and a rare example of both sides of the trope showing up: 1994 Texas HS football: Plano East pulls off a near-impossible 24-point comeback with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. With only seconds on the clock and only the final kickoff to perform, John Tyler High takes the kickoff right back up the field, pulling off the Miracle Win[=/=]DownerEnding combo. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHkABO0VwCg The play-by-play is almost as entertaining, for different reasons.]]
* In October 2007, the [[UsefulNotes/CollegiateAmericanFootball Trinity University football team]] recovered from a two-point deficit with two seconds remaining in one play, to win the game 28–24. They moved the ball sixty yards to reach the end zone, and they only needed ''15'' laterals to pull it off.
* In UsefulNotes/SuperBowl XXXIV, the favored St. Louis Rams took a 23–16 lead just after the two minute warning in the fourth quarter. The underdog Tennessee Titans started their final drive of regulation at their own 10 yard line in an attempt to tie the game and force the first ever Super Bowl overtime. The Titans manage to move the ball 80 yards in 1:48. On the Rams' 10 yard line with time for one last play, Titans QB Steve [=McNair=] completed a pass to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, who was wide open and set to make the game-tying touchdown. At the last moment, Rams linebacker Mike Jones ran towards Dyson, grabbed him by the legs and dragged Dyson to the ground. Dyson stretched the ball out in an attempt to reach the goal line (the rule states that only the ball has to cross the plane of the goal line for a touchdown), but the ball stopped only a few inches shy of the goal line and time expired. So, after an 80 yard, 1:48 rally, the Titans fell inches shy of tying the game and the Rams won the Super Bowl 23–16.
* In the 2009 Grey Cup (final of the UsefulNotes/CanadianFootballLeague) game, the Montreal Alouettes were down 27–25, 43 yards from the Saskatchewan Roughriders' goal when time ran out (and this was, indeed, after a comeback from 27–11 early in the fourth quarter). Their attempt at the field goal actually ''missed''. There was a moment where most everyone was actually convinced the game was over and Saskatchewan had just won the Grey Cup. Then it began to filter to people that a 10-yard penalty had just been called against Saskatchewan (for having one too many players on the field), and Montreal got to try again. They won 28–27.
** Actually, it's even more clever. The Alouettes knew the Roughriders had one too many players, and they went in as fast as possible and rushed their kick before the other team realised they were in fault. It was a XanatosGambit: Either they scored and won, or they missed, called the penalty, and got to try again much closer.
* The 2010 Music City Bowl between North Carolina and Tennessee had a similar last-second gambit that was even ''more'' awkward. Trailing 20–17 in the 4th, a North Carolina field goal would send the game to overtime. In the dying seconds, the Tar Heels sloppily rushed a field goal unit with ''way'' too many players onto the field, and T.J. Yates spiked the ball with only one second left. The point of the play was to stop the clock on the ensuing penalty (as Yates had spiked the ball before time ran out) -- giving the team a chance to make their field goal. Confusion ensued when time ran out: much like the Grey Cup incident described above, Volunteers fans were convinced that they had won the game, until the officials finally clicked in to what was going on, giving North Carolina a 10-yard penalty and putting a single second back on the clock. North Carolina got their field goal, and won the game 30–27 in double overtime. This led to an ObviousRulePatch by the NCAA in subsequent seasons, in which 10 seconds must run from the clock if a foul which stops it is assessed.
* The tendency to seemingly always ''lose'' in these types of situations tends to mark whole franchises as being cursed. The aforementioned Red Sox were the poster children here. As are the Buffalo Bills for things like Scott Norwood missing the potential game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXV for the Bills to lose 20–19, and losing by way of the infamous "Music City Miracle" against Tennessee. Cleveland also has been similarly victimized across the sports spectrum. The Browns' Ernest Byner fumbling at the 2-yard line on a potential game-tying score late in the 4th quarter against the Denver Broncos, the Cleveland Cavaliers being victimized by Michael Jordan with ''The Shot'' over Craig Ehlo, and the Bulls blocking Charles Smith's possible game-winning layups 4 straight times at the very end of Game 5 in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals against the Knicks, it can drive a fanbase insane. Especially with Norwood, who had been clutch all year, and Byner, who was having the game of his life, the moments are even more gut-wrenching because they were two guys expected to come up big when it counts. Just like Casey at the Bat.
* Another example in which the Buffalo Bills were a victim came near the end of the 1999 AFC wild-card game against the Tennessee Titans in what became known as the Music City Miracle. With seconds left, Steve Christie hit a 41-yard field goal to put Buffalo up 16–15. Then came the kickoff, which was a squib kick first fielded by fullback Lorenzo Neal, who handed the ball to tight end Frank Wycheck. Wycheck then threw a controversial lateral to receiver Kevin Dyson, who took the ball 75 yards for a touchdown (which was confirmed after instant replay showed that Wycheck had not thrown an illegal forward pass), resulting in a 22–16 win that led to the Titans march to SuperBowl XXXIV (as well as providing a measure of revenge for several older players who were members of the team when they were known as the Houston Oilers and lost the 1992 wild-card 41–38 to Buffalo after leading '''''35–3'''''). The Bills have not appeared in the postseason since then, and with the [[UsefulNotes/MLBTeams Toronto Blue Jays]] making it to the [=ALCS=] in 2015, the Bills now have [[MedalOfDishonor the longest current playoff drought of any team in the "big four" North American sports leagues]].
* In the 1998 NFC Championship Game between the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons. Late in the game, Vikings ahead by 7, they bring out Gary Anderson, the only kicker to make every field goal and extra point during the regular season. But he missed a routine 38-yard field goal wide left, allowing the Falcons to get a touchdown to tie the game in the final 2:07. Atlanta promptly won in overtime.
* In week 15 of the 2009 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers trailed the Green Bay Packers 36–30 and faced a 3rd-&-10 at the Green Bay 19-yard line with three seconds remaining. Ben Roethlisberger dropped back and fired a pass toward the sideline, and Mike Wallace made a falling catch in the endzone to tie the game as time expired. The play stood as a touchdown after an official review, and Jeff Reed kicked the extra point to give the Steelers a 37–36 win.
* In week 15 of the 2010 NFL season, the Giants were leading the Philadelphia Eagles 31–10 midway through the 4th quarter. The winner of the game would gain a lead in the division race with two games to go. When all hope seemed lost for Philadelphia, QB Michael Vick, himself on a RedemptionQuest like many fictional protagonists in sports stories, led the team to three TDs in under 9 minutes to tie the game at 31. With less than 10 seconds left, the Eagles forced a Giants 3-and-out. All the Giants had to do was punt it out of bounds and the game would have all but certainly gone into overtime. But rookie kicker Matt Dodge apparently missed the memo, and kicked it straight to dangerous return man [=DeSean=] Jackson, who took it 67 yards to the house for a walk-off punt-return TD, the first in NFL history, to win 38–31. The Eagles would win the division by one game over the Giants.
* 2007 Arena Football playoff game between the Chicago Rush and Colorado Crush. (Apparently the Arena League had never heard of the OneSteveLimit, as these two teams were even in the same division.) Colorado (the home team) had a three-point lead, but was forced to make a goal-line stand against Chicago on the final play. Colorado made an apparent game-winning interception, the confetti was dropped from the rafters...only to discover that a penalty had been called on the play (for holding the intended receiver of the pass), forcing a do-over. Chicago then went for a game-tying field goal, made it, and forced overtime...the start of which was delayed by over ''15 minutes'' to clear all of the confetti from the field. Fortunately for the Crush, they won in OT anyway.
* In Super Bowl XLVI (2012), the New England Patriots were down by 4 points with 5 seconds left on the clock. Tom Brady attempted to throw a Hail Mary pass in the end zone, but it was broken up.
** Relatedly, the Patriots got into the Super Bowl when the Baltimore Ravens missed a fairly easy 32-yard field goal on the final play, a field goal that would have otherwise tied the game.
* Say what you will about Tim Couch of the Cleveland Browns; he was able to have two awesome moments in his otherwise lackluster career, both on Hail Marys. On October 31, 1999, he hit Kevin Johnson on a 56-yard bomb to beat the New Orleans Saints for the expansion Browns' first win. Then, on December 8, 2002, he found Quincy Morgan on a 50-yard catch to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars (nearly a year after the infamous "Bottlegate" game against the Jags). To date, Couch is the only quarterback to win more than one NFL game on the final play of regulation with passes of 50 or more yards.
* In a regular season game in 2003, the New Orleans Saints trailed the Jacksonville Jaguars 20–13 with 7 seconds left, but in a play involving multiple spur-of-the-moment laterals, scored a TD with no time remaining. But the game didn't go to overtime because the Saints missed the extra point somehow - making this one of the most anticlimactic last-second finishes of all time.
* The infamous "Fail Mary" at the end of the 2012 Monday Night tilt between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. With the game being officiated by replacements due to the regular officials being locked out by the league, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson launched a desperation pass into the end zone that was grabbed by both Seahawks reciever Golden Tate and Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings. Although Jennings appeared to have control of the ball as the two men fell to the ground, the play was ruled a touchback by one official, but a touchdown by another. The play was reviewed, but was unable to be overturned due to having been incorrectely ruled a case of simultaneous posession in which the receiver is awarded the catch. And to make it even worse, Tate shoved another Packers player, Sam Shields, to the ground before the ball was caught, which should have been called as offensive pass interference and made whether or not he possessed the ball at the same time as Jennings irrelevant. The ensuing controversy caused so many fans to call the NFL commissioner's office that the line was disconnected, and the regular officials were brought back the following week.
* The Minnesota Vikings went into the last week of the 2003 season needing a victory over the 3–12 Arizona Cardinals to win their division. They were up 17–12 with two minutes left, but the Cardinals recovered an onside kick. QB Josh [=McCown=] drove down the field and completed a miraculous 27-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Poole. With no time left. On ''4th and 24''. The upset loss knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs.
* In the 2013 [[UsefulNotes/CollegiateAmericanFootball Iron Bowl]], the Alabama Crimson Tide were ranked #1 in the nation, and they were playing their rivals, #4 Auburn, for the first winner-to-the-SEC-Championship Iron Bowl in history. Following an Auburn drive that scored a touchdown, tying the game at 28 with only 34 seconds left, Bama took over in their territory. Auburn stopped them from scoring and even forced a player out of bounds just as time expired, which stopped the clock. The play was reviewed, and one second was put back on the clock. Alabama attempted a 57-yard field goal. If it missed, the game would just go to overtime. Their starter had missed three earlier that game, so they put in the backup. He kicked the ball well, but it fell short, where Auburn returner Chris Davis waited. Davis then [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR7s2m5Z5GA returned it all the way back to Alabama's end zone for a touchdown]] to win the game 34–28.
* Super Bowl XLIX (2015) ended with the Seattle Seahawks trailing the New England Patriots 28–24 during the final two minutes of the game, needing a touchdown in order to win the game. Quarterback Russell Wilson started the drive by completing a 33-yard pass to Marshawn Lynch. Then after another 11-yard first down, Wilson threw a long pass that was tipped by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, but ended up in the hands of wide receiver Jermaine Kearse who was lying on his back; Kearse somehow managed to keep the ball from hitting the ground, placing the Seahawks at the Patriots' 5 yard line with a real shot at winning the game. But after a Lynch 4-yard run put the ball on the 1, Wilson's pass to Ricardo Lockette with 20 seconds left was intercepted by Butler, deflating Seattle's hopes of winning. However, the game [[HopeSpot wasn't over just yet]], as the Pats were backed up in their own end zone, and Tom Brady didn't have enough room to take a knee without risking giving up a safety, which would've given the Hawks one more shot. However, Seattle's defense lost its discipline, incurring consecutive penalties which gave Brady more than enough room to run out the clock.
* A Monday Night Football game in 2000 between the Vikings and Packers ended in overtime in crazy fashion: Brett Favre heaved a 3rd down pass to Antonio Freeman, which appeared to drop incomplete...and then Freeman got up and ran with the ball into the end zone. Turns out that while Freeman had fallen down, the ball hit him a couple of times and never hit the ground; he plucked it out of the air and, never being touched down, got up and ran it into the end zone for the game-winning score.
* Happened at the 2015 Michigan State vs. Michigan football game. Michigan was ahead 23–21 when they were set to punt the ball away with 10 seconds left on 4th and 2. Except the snap was fumbled and the ball went straight to MSU's Jalen Watts-Jackson, who ran it back for the game-winning touchdown as time expired. Not a bad way to beat your in-state rival for the 7th time in 8 years. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBlgN85wB6U Here it is.]]
* The "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_at_the_Meadowlands Miracle at the Meadowlands]]" involved the Philadelphia Eagles playing TheRival New York Giants. Down 17–12, the Eagles turned the ball over on downs deep in Giants territory, giving the Giants an apparent victory since all the Giants needed to do was [[InstantWinCondition run out the clock]]. However, to do this required running one more play.[[note]]The play clock ran for 30 seconds up through the 1987 season, not 40; that's why New York needed to run another play; because if they took a knee on third down, there still would have been one second left in the game once the play clock ran down, requiring a play to be run on fourth down.[[/note]] The Eagles [[DoNotGoGentle were not content to give up]] despite their seemingly hopeless situation. The Giants' offensive coordinator called a stock rush play to protect the QB from the Eagles, who ran a full-scale 11-man blitz to provoke a fumble. Instead, the play call [[HoistByHisOwnPetard resulted in a fumble]] that Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards promptly picked up and returned for the game winning touchdown. This result did two things; it immediately ended the career of that offensive coordinator, and it completely changed the way the final few plays of football are played with a special [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarterback_kneel#Defense victory formation]] designed to ''specifically avoid another such "miracle"''.
** 32 years later the Eagles and Giants [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_at_the_New_Meadowlands met again in the Giants' new stadium]]. Once again the Eagles appeared to be in a hopeless situation, down 31–10 with only 8:17 left. However a series of quick scores left the game tied with only 14 seconds remaining and the Giants forced to punt the ball on 4th down. The punter, Matt Dodge, was instructed to punt the ball out of bounds to prevent Eagles return man De Sean Jackson, any chance to run the ball back for a touchdown. Unfortunately the punt did not go out of bounds and after initially bobbling the ball[[note]]Which had the effect of distracting the punt defense team[[/note]], De Sean Jackson ran it back for a touchdown. Since time expired before Jackson entered the end zone, he because the first person in NFL history to score a walk-off punt return touchdown. Failure to kick the ball out of bounds ended the NFL career of Matt Dodge.
* The 2016 Detroit Lions have won a surprising number of games this way, sometimes literally at the last minute; one hopes that Lions fans aren't [[http://www.thedrawplay.com/comic/the-cardiac-cats-strike-again/ suffering from cardiac arrest as a result]].

* A real life example occurred in the 2005 Ashes, specifically in the second Test. Australia were just two runs away from victory when Harmison took the wicket of Mike Kasprowicz to level the series. It was almost universally hailed as the best Test match ever.
** Arguably just as exciting was the third Test a week later where Brett Lee and Glenn [=McGrath=] (at that time the worst Test batsman in the world) managed to cling on for a draw to keep the series level. The real hero was Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who defied the England bowlers for seven hours before getting out with only four overs to go.
*** 2009, and the shoe's on the other foot as Monty Panesar and James Anderson hold out for ''twelve'' overs - nearly an hour's play. Panesar is a strong rival for [=McGrath=]'s claim to be the world's worst batsman, and he held out much longer.
* The rules of fencing (in epee, saber, and foil) state that when the score is tied with one touch remaining, the fencers must salute each other (in other words, when this trope comes into play). When bouts go to five touches, it happens all the time, but it's considerably more epic when it happens in a bout to fifteen.
* In April 2009, Boston University's hockey team played against Miami (the one from Ohio, not Florida...)[[note]]The Ohio school gets its name from its location in the watershed of the Great Miami River, also locally called the Miami Valley.[[/note]] and were down 1-3 in the last period. Boston had won every game so far that season and was doing flawlessly until that game. They scored ''two goals in the last minute of the game'' and won in overtime.
* UsefulNotes/AustralianRulesFootball has had the Adelaide Crows failing to make it to the semi-finals by the opposing team scoring a goal in the last ten seconds of the last quarter. Twice.
** The ''true'' "down to the last play" situation, however, is when a player takes a mark or is awarded a free kick within scoring distance when the final siren goes - if this happens, the player is allowed to take their shot after the siren. North Melbourne's Malcolm Blight was the subject of two famous examples. The first was when he kicked a goal from around 80 metres out to defeat Carlton. In the second, Blight had kicked a behind (one point) to tie the score against Hawthorn, but was awarded a free kick as the siren went. He had the option of accepting the behind or taking another shot, chose to take the shot... and missed the goals completely, resulting in Hawthorn winning the game.
** Hell, [[TheOtherWiki Wikipedia]] has [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kicks_after_the_siren_in_Australian_rules_football a whole list of Aussie Rules examples]].
* The World's Strongest Man contest is almost always decided in this way, with the two final contenders going head-to-head in the final event (traditionally the Atlas Stones) to decide the winner. The 2014 final was a good example; for the first time, three men went into the final round with a shot at the title. Reigning champion Brian Shaw set a remarkable time on his run, but could only watch as Hafthor Bjornsson decimated it; Zydrunas Savickas, despite having been beaten by Bjornsson, managed to pip Shaw's time by four-tenths of a second and thus secured the points he needed to win his fourth world title, beating Bjornsson by ''half a point''.
* The 1999 US Open Golf Championship's final day was almost perfectly set up for this trope, especially in the final groupings, which contained three of the most popular golfers of the year.. The young prodigy Tiger Woods was hitting his stride as one of the best golfers of the decade, and fan favorite Payne Stewart was paired with another young gun, Phil Mickelson, who was attempting to gain his first major victory in his career. The fun part? All three were within a shot or two of each other, and the tournament was settled with Payne Stewart's 15-foot putt for par, ''barely'' breaking free of the tie between him and Mickelson.
* In the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey_at_the_2010_Winter_Olympics 2010 Winter Olympics men's hockey final]], Canada lead 2-1 against the USA. The Americans managed to tie the game by 2-2 in last period, with only 20 or so seconds left for the period, but Canadian Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal during overtime.
* A similar but much older match was the eight-game [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summit_Series Summit Series]] between Canada and the Soviet Union in 1972. [[ItsPersonal After going down a game after four games at home]], the Canadians went to the USSR [[HeroicResolve determined to beat the team of "supermen".]] The tournament was tied and came down to the last game, when Canadian Paul Henderson scored the winner goal with less than a minute left on the clock.
* Happened at the 2009 Women's Field Hockey Champions Trophy in Sydney, Australia. The Hockeyroos, the Australian women's team, were the only team to have attended each edition of the annual tournament since it's inception in 1987. The competition pits six of the best countries against each other in a week-long tournament. Due to the format of rules following an Olympic year, the Hockeyroos had to win to qualify for the tournament in 2010. They won all round games, except against Argentina, who they then faced in the finals. In the finals full time ended on a draw, and golden goal extra time ended with no goals, so the event went to penalty flicks to decide a winner. At the end of five flicks each, both teams had scored three goals. It then went to sudden death flicks, Australia missed and Argentina scored. The Hockeyroos now miss the Champions Trophy for 2010, even though they came second.
* The 1985 World Snooker Final, between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor fits the Trope ludicrously well. Davis (aged 27) has already won the title 3 times, is the best player in the world, and is hot favourite to win again. Taylor (aged 36) is a lovable Irishman, always joking with the crowd, in the world's top ten or so but apparently outclassed, despite having had a good season (coming back bravely after the death of his mother). In the first-to-18 final, Davis races to an 8-0 lead. Taylor fights back to 11-11, but can't get ahead. Davis takes a 17-15 lead, only for Taylor to pull back again to 17-17. The edgy final frame takes over an hour, and eventually Taylor pulls out a brilliant pot to take it to the final black. He then gets the first chance, but misses badly. Davis looks sure to be left a sitter, but it goes slightly awkward - still, he's left with a pot he'd get 9 times out of 10 to win. He misses too, leaving an easy chance. Taylor steadies himself, and pots it to win 18-17 after nearly 15 hours of play.
** That final was awesome, in fact Taylor says that the ninth frame was his turning point. Davis just barely missed a black pot which would have put him up 9-0. Taylor was able to pot the colors and win his first frame. Davis has said that he "lost the plot" after that, and Taylor began to make his comeback. The final 35th frame was an epic, it lasted SIXTY-EIGHT minutes, since each player played so many safety shots. Truly a sight to behold for any billiards fan
* Cycling: UsefulNotes/TourDeFrance 1989. After winning the Tour de France for the first time in 1986, in 1987, Greg [=LeMond=] was seriously injured in an hunting incident; his recovery took two years. The last stage of the 1989 Tour de France was a time-trail; Laurent Fignon was leading [=LeMond=] by 50 seconds, by many considered to be a decisive lead, considering the final time trail was a mere 25 km. Using (for the time) unorthodox equipment (flat aerobars; teardrop shaped helmet), [=LeMond=] beat Fignot by 58 seconds, winning the Tour de France by the smallest margin ever: 8 seconds. That's 8 seconds after 22 days, 3,285 km and 87h 38m 35s of cycling (a difference of 0.0025%). [=LeMond=] would win the Tour de France for a third and last time in 1990.
** Fignon later pushed an idea through to management, that the final stage wouldn't be an ITT, and that the general classification would be safe by the time they reached that final stage.
** In 2011, Andy Schleck had a 57 seconds lead on Cadel Evans before the final counting stage in the general classification that year. The thing is, that stage was an ITT, which is a discipline where Evans is far superior to the [[CripplingOverspecialization highly specialized climbers]] Andy and Frank Schleck. The 4-second lead Frank had, and the 57-second lead Andy had, was not enough, as Evans beat Andy by 2.31 and Frank by 2.34, leaving the brothers from Luxembourg in second and third.
** This trope can happen in individual stages as well. In stage 14 of the 2014 Tour, breakaway rider [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Bauer_(cyclist) Jack Bauer]] (no, not ''[[Series/TwentyFour that]]'' Jack Bauer) looked like he was going to hold off the charging peloton, but he was caught less than 50 meters from the finish line. [[DownerEnding Bauer finished 10th in a stage he looked like he would win]].
** Something almost identical happened to time trial specialist Tony Martin in the 2013 Vuelta a España. Martin, the world time trial champion, attacked at the start of the 175km 6th stage, led the entire stage, somehow kept the peloton back around 10 seconds behind in the final kilometers and was heart-breakingly caught with only 20-25 metres to go to the finish line. Happily however he did succeed with a similar breakaway in the 2014 Tour de France and won the stage.
* Dick Mackey won the 1978 running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 14 days, 18 hours, 52 minutes, and 24 seconds, beating Rick Swenson by ''one second.'' The thousand-mile race was literally decided by a nose, as Mackey's lead dog was mere inches ahead of Swenson's.
* A Rugby Union example came in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final between Australia and England in Australia. After a half-time score of 5-14 to England, Elton Flatley kicked penalty goals for Australia in the 47th, 61st and 80th minutes to tie the game at 14-14. English fly half Jonny Wilkinson kicked a penalty goal to put England ahead in the 2nd minute of overtime, which Flatley responded to in the 97th minute with 3 minutes remaining. Wilkinson kicked a drop goal with 27 seconds left on the clock to win the game 20-17 and the World Cup for England. The commentary was special.
--> There's 35 seconds to go, this is the one. It's coming back to Jonny Wilkinson, he drops for World Cup glory. It's up! It's over! He's done it! Jonny Wilkinson is England's hero - yet again! And there's no time for Australia to come back. England have just won the World Cup.
* Probably more common in Rugby than you'd think - Since after the 80 minutes passes, play doesn't end until the next stoppage (and even then not if it's a penalty), a well disciplined team trailing by a narrow margin always has time to launch a final attack. Case in point: trailing 29-32 to South Africa by the 79th minute of their opening pool game in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Japan twice rejected taking an easy 3 points with a penalty kick, instead going for the win. Two penalties, one rolling TMO (due to an inconclusive rolling maul) and a couple of reset scrums later (resulting in a total of one lineout and ''four'' 5 metre scrums), substitute Karne Hesketh touched down in the corner with his only touch of the game in the 84th minute to seal an improbable victory.
* While most poker games are decided by marginal decisions, high-ranking hands tend to provoke all-ins, often eliminating a player outright. A lot less contrived than sport examples, which require a close score and a well-timed window of opportunity.
* The 2012 NHL Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers came down to a penalty shot. The Rangers had a 3-2 lead with just under 20 seconds remaining in regulation when the Flyers were awarded a penalty shot because a Ranger other than the goalkeeper had covered the puck in the goal crease (similar to the FIFA rule, except that the defender is not ejected, and a missed shot or save is dead). The Rangers' goalie made the save, and the Rangers held on to win the game.
** The 2015 Winter Classic is up there, too. A well-contested matchup between the Blackhawks and Capitals was tied 2-2 in the second period and wasn't broken until 12.9 seconds to go in the game, when Troy Brouwer gets a rebound off a broken stick and fires home the game-winner for the Capitals.
* As of 2016, the Stanley Cup has been won on an overtime goal 17 times. The most famous image of such a feat is Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins, who fell over as he scored on the St. Louis Blues' Glenn Hall, and was immortalized celebrating with his arms up as he was flying in front of the crease.
** The 1999 Stanley Cup Finals ended on a highly controversial overtime goal scored by the Dallas Stars' Brett Hull on the Buffalo Sabres' Dominik Hasek. It's still a [[BerserkButton sore point]] for Buffalo fans, so [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment the less said, the better.]]
** As of 2016, only two Cup-clinching overtime goals have ever come in a deciding Game 7. Both of those goals were scored by the Detroit Red Wings: by Pete Babando in the 1950 Finals against the New York Rangers, and by Tony Leswick in the 1954 Finals against the Montreal Canadiens.
* Any UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}} game that goes to the final set[[note]] either the third or fifth depending on the tournament[[/note]] is like this. The score is completely even so effectively the last set is the only one that counts. In a both tiebreak and non-tiebreak final sets[[note]] again depending on the tournament[[/note]] this means a minimum of two points settle the winner.
** {{UsefulNotes/Wimbledon}} 2009 men's singles final (Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick) went 2 sets all 16-14 in the final set. After 76 games, two points in the 77th (it went to deuce) are what wins it.
** The very next year, {{UsefulNotes/Wimbledon}} saw a longer match in the first round, with American John Isner beating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut ''70-68'' in the final set. That's right, that's one hundred thirty-eight games of tennis ''in the final set alone''. It took 11 hours and 5 minutes, not counting the ''two'' times the match was suspended on account of darkness.
** The 2012 [[UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}} Australian Open]] -- Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic win two sets each, and the fifth goes to deuce before Djokovic wins the last two points in a [[BigGame nearly six-hour-long final]].
* This is a trope that could be applied to a match by the Danish handball team in every big tournament since the 2007 World Championships:
** 2007 World Championships -- Denmark vs Iceland (quarter final), In the end of first overtime of a very goal-rich match between the two arch rivals, the score is 41-41 before the final offensive play, then [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUWxZY5523Q this happens]]. Denmark finished 3rd in the tournament.
** 2008 European Championships -- Denmark vs Germany (semi final). After a very even match, Denmark gets a penalty in the last attacking sequence. The legendary winger Lars Christiansen scores. Denmark later beats Croatia in the final
** 2008 Olympics -- Denmark vs Russia (group stage). The game is a tie at 24-24, when the time runs out and Denmark has a free throw. Direct free throws are almost never scored on, but that doesn't stop the youngest player in the squad, Mikkel Hansen, from [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm4qDfFzoQU scoring a crazy goal]], getting very well known in Denmark. Denmark later got knocked out in the quarter finals, getting the worst result ever for SuperCoach Ulrik Wilbek in a big tournament - Mikkel Hansen is now regarded as one of the absolutely best handballers in the world
** 2009 World Championships - Denmark vs Serbia (group stage). A match which will probably be remembered for horrid defending and goalkeeping, it's a 36-36 tie in the final attack. With a five seconds to go, Lasse Boesen scores a goal, giving the victory to Denmark. Denmark lost the semi-finals and finished 4th
** 2010 European Championships - Denmark vs Norway (main round). Same as in the 2008 European championship, except the score being 23-23 before Anders Eggert took the penalty. Denmark finished 5th in that tournament.
** 2011 World Championships - Denmark vs France (final). Again it's the last attacking play, only this time, Denmark is one goal behind the defending champions at 30-31. It's being lined up for a shot, where everyone expects tournament top scorer Mikkel Hansen to take the shot. The ball is passed to Spellerberg instead, who scores and sends it to overtime. Denmark loses the final in overtime.
** 2012 European Championships - Denmark vs Macedonia (main round). Score is 32-32, 10 seconds left and the Macedonians are lining up for a shot which is to be taken by their star player, Kiril Lazarov. Lazarov shoots, save by Landin, rebound picked up by.. René Toft, pass to Hansen, pass to Lindberg, GOAL and with a second to spare. Video [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QD_mJIgBs9s here. Go to 0:50 to see the sequence)]]. Denmark went from (literally) zero to hero, the comeback starting with that win, ending with a 21-19 win against hosts Serbia in the final.
* All three races of the 1978 Triple Crown were won by 2 lengths or less, with all three with the same win and place: Affirmed and Alydar, respectively. The most exciting came at the Belmont: the pair remained neck-and-neck down the entire stretch, with Affirmed winning it (and the Triple Crown, the last one for 37 years until American Pharoah won it in 2015) by a nose.
* In the final match of the final event in the WEC promotion, Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson had split the first four rounds going into the fifth. With time running down, Pettis unleashed one of the craziest moves in MMA history, jumping off the fence and nailing Henderson in the face with the same foot. It somehow didn't knock Henderson out (though it did send him to the canvas), but did seal a decision win for Pettis and won him the promotion's lightweight championship.
* Australia's 1999 Cricket World Cup results were a lot like this in the later matches. Their final match in the Round Robin Super Six stage against South Africa was won with only two balls remaining. Their semi-final match, also against South Africa resulted in a tie after a mix-up on the final ball allowed one of the South African batsman to be run out, resulting in a tie and allowing Australia to advance to the final due to a higher net run-rate.
* [=ComedySportz=]. This is a popular improvisational theater "sport" [[http://www.comedysportz.com/find_us.html played around the world]]. It's played between two teams trying to get laughs from the audience. Because their goal is only to get laughs, they don't really care who wins or loses. As a result of this, they will do what the audience wants, and they know that the audience will like it when it is down to the last point. As such, a referee will always go out of his/her way in order to make the scores even, by being more strict or more lenient on the given teams. Players will do this as well, by trying to lose if they are winning by a landslide. The most frequent players even lampshade this, by commenting that it seems to happen a lot.
* The final of the netball competition at the 2010 Commonwealth Games between Australia and New Zealand ended up lasting nearly one-and-a-half times longer than a normal netball game. After 60 minutes, the scores were tied and the game went into extra time of seven minutes each way. After that didn't separate them, the game went into double extra time where the first team to be two goals ahead of the other wins. Ten minutes later, 84 minutes after the game started, New Zealand managed to get two goals ahead of Australia and win the game 66-64, and the gold medal.
* Giro d'Italia 2012 has the battle between Hesjedal and Rodriguez in the final time trial on the final stage. 28.2 km against the clock, where Rodriguez had a lead of 31 seconds before the stage. While Rodriguez put up one of the best time trials of his career, it wasn't enough to hold off the Canadian, leaving Hesjedal to win the Giro, the first Grand Tour by a Canadian.
* In a one day international cricket match in February 1981, when New Zealand was six runs behind Australia on the final ball, and New Zealand needed to score a six off the final ball to tie the game. This lead to the infamous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underarm_bowling_incident_of_1981 underarm bowling incident]] in which bowler Trevor Chappell bowled the ball slow underarm, not illegal but incredibly unsportsmanlike, so it was impossible for batsman Brian [=McKechnie=] to even score a single run off it. The incident was condemned by both Australian and New Zealand cricket fans, and even each country's respective Prime Ministers.
** Downplayed as it was unlikely that New Zealand would have scored a six off the last ball. [=McKechnie=] was a lower-order batsman (number 10 out of 11), facing his first ball, at a venue famous for its large boundary.
* When a volleyball tiebreaker surpasses the regular 15 points and is forced to the "team only clinches it after getting a two point advantage" rule it gets particularly nail-biting. If it reaches the 25 points of regular sets - or even ''surpasses'' it - both audience and players will be nervous beyond any description.
* Similarly, playoffs in ice hockey can get exciting when games go into overtime, because in the playoffs the game doesn't end until one team scores the tiebreaking goal. The excitement grows even more when the game can be a series-clincher (moreso if it's for the championship), and ''especially'' if it's the rubber game (the last in the series, usually game seven).
* In 1992 Olympics, gold medal favorite Midori Ito looked unlikely to win a medal at all, thanks to the disastrous short program she skated (she was crumbling under the intense pressure to win). Literally at the last minute of her long program, she threw in her signature triple Axel jump (she was the first woman to ever land one), resulting in her winning the silver medal.
* Many chess world championship matches were decided in the very last game, for instance, Lasker vs. Schlechter 1910 (Lasker had to win the last game to retain and won), Karpov vs. Korchnoi 1978 (the match went from 5-2 to 5-5, and then Karpov managed to win the last game and retain), Kasparov vs. Karpov 1985 (Karpov had to win the last game to retain, but lost), Kasparov vs. Karpov 1987 (Kasparov had to win the last game to retain and won), Kramnik vs. Leko 2004 (Kramnik had to win the last game to retain and won).
* In badminton, a match is decided by the best of three games. Each game requires one side to win by scoring 21 points, or two more points than the opponent, whichever is higher. To shorten match times however, a cap of 30 points was added, so if the score is 29-29, the one who scores the next point wins the game. As a result, this trope comes into play when this happens in the third and final game of the match.