Awesome / Sports

  • Secretariat, a big chestnut Thoroughbred colt who rose from the ashes of a fallen-from-grace racing stable to take home the Triple Crown for the first time in twenty-five years. He came from behind to win in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Then he went to Belmont Park, where he broke first out of the gate and thoroughly dominated the rest of the field. How majestically did he dominate the race? He took home the Belmont, and with it the Triple Crown, with a thirty-one-length lead, and was still accelerating when he crossed the wire. He also set the record for the fastest running of the Belmont Stakes, a record that has yet to even be approached, and went on to set a track record for the mile and five-eighths as he was coasting out from under the wire. Did we mention that he ran not only the fastest Belmont in history, but the fastest mile-and-a-half on dirt run anywhere in the world? And that that record hasn't been broken yet, either? During his Triple Crown campaign, he ground every relevant race and track record to dust under his neatly polished hooves. He was named Eclipse Horse of the Year in 1972 and 1973, Sports Illustrated's Athlete of the Year in 1973, and one of the 25 greatest athletes of the 20th century in 2000, and to this day is widely considered the greatest racehorse to ever live.
    • For years, Secretariat didn't own the official track record at Pimlico (the Preakness track) because the timing clock malfunctioned, but around time of the 2012 Preakness Stakes, they re-evaluated footage of the Secretariat race with modern technology and concluded that the official clocks were slow. Secretariat's time was proven the fastest Pimlico run even to this day.
    • Bear in mind that the Belmont Stakes, where Secretariat dominated, is usually the race where Triple Crown contenders fall short — since Citation's Triple Crown win twenty-five years before, seven horses had taken both the Derby and the Preakness, but couldn't win the Belmont. Being both the last race and the longest one, the fastest horses at the Derby and Preakness are often in less than peak condition by the time of Belmont, leading to a horse that didn't contend (or often, didn't even run) at the earlier races to win. But Secretariat? No way was he going to let some other horse outrun him just because they were better-rested.
  • With 13 challengers falling by the wayside in the past years (including one the year before with the same jockey, no less), Victor Espinoza jockeyed American Pharoah to win the Belmont Stakes by more than two lengths to seal the first Triple Crown in thirty-seven years. (And at a point when people were seriously wondering if there would ever be a Triple Crown winner again, no less.)
    "And here it is! The 37 year wait is over! American Pharoah is finally the one! American Pharoah! Has won! The Triple Crown!"
    • Which would be given its exclamation point on Oct. 31, 2015, when AP won the Breeders' Cup Classic, becoming the first ever 'Grand Slam' horse in U.S. Thoroughbred Racing history.
    "A Triple Crown winner! A Breeders' Cup winner! A horse of a lifetime! American Pharoah has won the Breeders' Cup Classic over Effinex and Honor Code in a final time of 2:00.07 — he went out in style!"
  • In a similar vein, turn-of-the-20th-century quarter horse Dan Patch never lost a race, and was so successful that the city his trainer, Marion Willis Savage, lived in (Hamilton, Minnesota) was renamed in honor of the trainer. One of the primary streets on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds is named Dan Patch Avenue.
  • Hello, Ruffian, Queen of the Fillies, winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two-Year-Old Filly, with an average winning margin of 8.5 lengths, running the fastest 6 furlongs by any two-year-old colt or filly, which remains untouched! Did we mention that she only lost the last race she'd ever run? Seriously, the filly wouldn't stop running, even if it killed her. Though it borders Tear Jerker, she was one awesome horse.
  • Charismatic in the 1999 Triple Crown. He started out as a 31-1 longshot who came out of nowhere, then took the Preakness. It was looking like he'd take the Belmont and be the first Triple Crown winner in quite some time, when he injured himself running. He still took third and would not stop running until after the race. If he hadn't injured himself, there's a good chance he would have won the Triple Crown.
  • The whole Sherpa tribe. They start out as obscure peasants living up in the mountains, and they all of a sudden decide that climbing to the top of Mount Everest was a handy way to make a living. As a result they carry tons of cargo up high cliffs, thousands of feet on their backs through atmosphere that is so thin that people have to wear oxygen tanks. Today they are famed throughout the world and on at least one expedition it was Europeans who actually competed for the honor of just getting to be the porter for a famous Sherpa climber, thus reversing traditional roles.
    • Tenzing Norgay. Started as a porter, then earned the respect of his employers until he and Hillary were the first two that got to the top - neither of them saying who was first because it would strain the team.
  • The 1972 Miami Dolphins are, to this day, the only team to finish an entire NFL season without ever losing a game. They went a perfect 17-0, capped by a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.
  • Laird Hamilton riding "The Wave" at Teahupo'o reef, regarded by many as the heaviest, most dangerous wave ever ridden.
  • English Football team Arsenal going an entire league campaign without losing back in 2004. When you consider an average season in England for a top club is 38 league games, with two domestic cups and European competition as well as players going on international duty, that's no mean feat. They had another moment of awesome 15 years prior in 1989 when they scored a goal in the last seconds of the last match to win the title. Though with the caveat that they did lose games in the aforementioned domestic cups and European competition.
  • Snooker is low-key enough that it doesn't seem to be a natural source of awesome moments, but it has still provided its fair share of them over the years.
    • Perhaps the most fondly remembered final of the World Snooker Championship came in 1985. England's Steve Davis, the game's most dominant player in the 1980s, had won three of the previous four championships, and had made short work of previous champions Cliff Thorburn and Ray Reardon on his way to the final to face Northern Ireland's Dennis Taylor, who had only reached the final once before (losing to Terry Griffiths in 1979). Davis dominated the first session of the best-of-35 frames final, racing to an 8-0 lead, but Taylor fought back to 9-7, then a seesaw battle saw them level at 17-17 just after 11pm on 27 April. Both played defensively in the deciding frame, but after nearly an hour, Davis opened up a 57-44 lead after the final red had been cleared, and went on to pot the yellow and the green to extend his lead to 62-44. However, Taylor then potted the brown, blue, and pink to cut Davis' lead to 62-59, meaning whoever potted the black ball, the last ball on the table, would be the winner, earning the final the nickname "The Black Ball Final". Taylor missed his first two attempts, but each time left Davis with such awkward shots that Davis chose instead to leave Taylor difficult shots instead of potting the black himself. Taylor then missed his third attempt, leaving Davis with what looked like a routine pot into the lower left pocket, but Davis over-cut the shot, and Taylor finally potted the black at the fourth attempt to win his first and only World Championship.note  The final was watched by 18.5 million people, a BBC2 record and the UK's largest audience for a post-midnight broadcast.
    • The 2010 UK Championship. Earlier that year, John Higgins was suspended from the sport, over match-fixing allegations of which he was ultimately cleared. Everyone assumed he would have difficulty getting back into the game due to being out of practice, but he made it to the final and then faced Mark Williams, one of the all-time greats. Williams at one point led the first-to-10 match 9-5, but Higgins fought back to 9-9, including one frame in which he came back from the "snookers required" stage. In the deciding frame, Higgins made a strong break that meant he would win if he potted one more ball, but he missed a red and then Williams made a strong comeback but could not pot the brown. The skirmish over the brown ended when Higgins doubled it into the far corner pocket, a shot that the commentators had not seen was possible until he played it. Now that is how to return to a sport in style.
  • The 2004 MLB ALCS. The Red Sox were down three games to none after a soul-crushing 19-8 loss to their hated rivals, the New York Yankees. Down by one run and facing Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4, they rallied to force extras and won it in the twelfth. Then, they took Game 5 (in 14 innings), and six, and finally pulled off the Miracle Rally in Game Seven, becoming the first team in MLB history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit in the process and creating indisputably the single greatest series comeback in the history of the sport. They went on to sweep the World Series in four straight games - and brought the title home to Boston for the first time since 1918. Considered by most the greatest moment in baseball history, and surely the greatest eight-game run by any baseball team.
    • It should also be noted that, at the time, only two teams in American professional sports history had ever come back from three games down in a seven-game playoff series (in 1942 and 1975, both in the NHL). It had never been done in over a century of American baseball (and as of 2012, has been accomplished only once more, in the 2010 NHL Eastern Conference Finals, with the Philadelphia Flyers defeating the Boston Bruins).
      • To further illustrate how monumental this comeback was, only two teams in the history of baseball had even forced a Game 6 after going down 3-0. And the Sox became the only team to even make it to Game 7.
    • One specific moment of awesomeness was Game 6 - Curt Schilling pitched 7 innings with a torn tendon sheath stapled to his ankle bone.
    • Better still, the Red Sox winning the World Series was sandwiched between two back-to-back Super Bowl victories by the New England Patriots (only two/three years after their first-ever Super Bowl victory), and later followed up by both the Boston Celtics (2008) and Boston Bruins (2011) taking home their respective championship trophies, for the first time in over 20 years and nearly 40 years, respectively. The eleven-year period between 2001-2011 saw all four Boston teams banish a collective 192 years of drought with seven championship wins.
      • Seven victories in eleven years across all four major leagues. The closest range of the three (non-NFL) Boston teams winning it before that? 32 years. (Bruins in 1972, Celtics five times from 1974-1986, and the Sox championship of 2004).
  • New York got its own back three years later in football, when the New York Giants produced a late come-from-behind victory in Super Bowl XLII over the New England Patriots, who were en-route to cap off the above achievement list with a perfect season (which, as stated above, was only accomplished by the 1972 Dolphins), providing an even greater cherry on top of the list of accomplishments above. The Patriots were favored by 12 points. Their fanbase felt the team was absolutely invincible. Tom Brady was considered the best quarterback in the league at that point, with some people putting him on the same pedestal as Joe Montana. It was the perfect underdog story, with a team people had declared dead in September knocking off a team that hadn't lost a game up to that point. And then the Giants repeated the feat four years later to prove it was no fluke.
    • The crowning moment was the Giants' game-winning drive in Super Bowl XLII in which they came in trailing by four points. Giants running back Brandon Jacobs converted a 4th and 1 on the Giants' 37. Three plays later, Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel dropped an interception that could have sealed New England's perfect season and the Giants faced 3rd and 5 on their own 44 with 1:15 left in the game. On the very next play, Eli Manning scrambled around Patriots defenders (one of whom had him by the jersey) and threw downfield to David Tyree who pinned the ball against his helmet. Plaxico Burress then caught the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left in the game.
  • The following season, the Chicago White Sox ended their own curse, winning the World Series for the first time since 1917 (meaning their wait was actually two years longer than the Red Sox) and did it in particularly dominant fashion. From Opening Day until the end of the regular season, they maintained first place in their division, though late in the season their play began to lag and they nearly dropped from first. In the playoffs, they first proceeded to sweep the defending champion Red Sox 3-0 in the divisional series, and then went on to beat the Angels 4-1 in the championship series. In the World Series, they swept the Astros 4-0. With 11 wins and 1 loss in the playoffs, the White Sox tied for the second-best playoff percentage in MLB history (the 1976 Cincinnati Reds are the only team to post a perfect playoff record, though they only had to play seven games to win). Their entire run, from Opening Day until the final out of the World Series, was one of the most dominant seasons in MLB history.
  • As they went into Game Seven of the 1960 World Series, the underdog Pittsburgh Pirates trailed the mighty New York Yankees in every offensive category except for games won: the series was tied three-all. Game Seven seesawed back and forth between the two teams, and was tied as the Pirates came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning. Leading off was the Pirates' number-eight batter, the great-fielding but weak-batting Bill Mazeroski. On the second pitch, he cracked a home run, and became the first batter in World Series history ever to win the series with a game-ending homer.
  • While TCU's victory over Wisconsin in the 2011 Rose Bowl was pretty cool in its own right, the true Moment of Awesome came off the field, with an epic Take That to E. Gordon Gee, president of the Badgers' conference rival Ohio State, in reference to some disparaging remarks he made about the quality of opponents faced by non-AQ schools such as TCU and Boise State.
  • The 2000 Indianapolis 500. Juan Pablo Montoya was criticized by other drivers for not treating the track as it is. What did he do? He led over 80% of the race and won. On his first try.
  • Don Larsen was nothing more than a so-so journeyman pitcher for his Major League career. Except for Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, where he went out and tossed a 27-up, 27-down perfect game. In Yankee Stadium. Against the Yankees' hated cross-town rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers. As the lead in the New York Daily News put it "The imperfect man pitched the perfect game."
    • Also consider that, for 54 years, it was the only postseason no-hitter ever pitched in MLB.
    • And while we're on that subject, Roy Halladay deserves a double-helping of awesome, for that second postseason no-hitter...and his first earlier in the 2010 season. Only four other pitchers in history have pitched more than one no-hitter in the same season: Johnny Van der Meer (who is extra awesome for pitching them in consecutive starts), Allie Reynolds, Virgil Trucks, and Nolan Ryan (who is extra awesome for pitching seven no-hitters total).
  • The 2010 Green Bay Packers, especially when you read about their season leading up to their Super Bowl win. Defines The Determinator, indeed.
  • The San Francisco Giants winning the 2010 World Series. No one thought they would win. Polls showed only California had hopes for the Giants. All the newscasters scoffed and said the Giants would never win. Still, the Giants pushed on and ended up winning the World series. Definitely a moment of awesome, especially considering the Giants hadn't won a World Series since they moved from New York to San Francisco in 1957.
    • While they lost that Series to the Giants, 2010 was just as much a CMOA for the Texas Rangers. They entered that season as the oldest MLB franchise to never reach the World Series; their postseason record to that point: Three eliminations in the Division Series (all to the New York Yankees) with only one game won in that span. The franchise also started the season in bankruptcy court thanks to owner Tom Hicks having frivolously spent money he didn't have. The club ended up being put up for public auction in July before the group led by Nolan Ryan finally put in a bid that satisfied Hicks' creditors. They won the American League West and then finally advance in the postseason by beating Tampa in the ALDS - and then made just about every Rangers' fan's dreams come true by not only finally reaching the World Series, not only beating the Yankees in the ALCS to get there, but by ending the ALCS in the absolute best way imaginable, with former Ranger Alex Rodriguez looking at strike three.
  • The Minnesota Twins winning the 1991 World Series, which 20 years on is still remembered as one of the greatest of all time. Both teams had been last in their division on the last day of the 1990 season, and through some very astute offseason moves, a certain amount of good fortune in avoiding injuries on the field and simply winning a lot (the Twins put together a 15-game winning streak from late May to mid June, essentially putting the lights out in the AL West before the All Star Break). The series was already awesome when it returned to Minneapolis with the Twins staring down elimination after Game 5. In the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 6, Kirby Puckett hit a walk-off home run, etching Jack Buck's call of "We'll see you... tomorrow night!" in the memories of everyone watching. In the decisive game 7, Jack Morris pitched a 10-inning shutout for the Twins, before Gene Larkin hit a soft fly ball over the infield's heads to score Dan Gladden for the only run of the game. This World Series was rated by ESPN as the greatest of all time.
  • Steven Bradbury winning gold for speed skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
    • Or perhaps even competing after being sliced by a competitor's skate and losing four liters of blood.
  • How about some tennis love? Wimbledon 2011, Men's Quarter finals, Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer takes the opening two sets and breaks Tsonga's serve in the third. Tsonga then plays some stunning tennis, breaks back and breaks Federer's serve, winning the set. He goes on to win the next two sets 6-4. To repeat, Tsonga, seeded twelve (Roger was 3, but considered a favourite for the title), beat one of the best tennis players of all time from 2-0 and a break down. This is also the first time in Federer's entire career that he has lost from 2-0. That sort of awesome deserves a medal all of its own.
  • Another Wimbledon 2011 example in Bernard Tomic. An 18 year old Australian, he had to fight in the qualifiers to even get to Wimbledon. In the first round, he beats the 29th seed Davydenko, in round 2 comes back from 2-0 to beat Andreev, in round 3 beats 5th seed Robin Söderling in straight sets, then does the same to Malisse in the 4th round, reaching the quarter-finals. That makes him the youngest player since Boris Becker in 1986 to reach the Quarters, and not only that, but he went on to take a set from Novak Djokovic, the world number two, pushing him right up until the end of the 4th set, which Djokovic won 7-5. He came out of nowhere to become Australia's number one. AWESOME.
    • Speaking of Boris Becker, let's mention him. Youngest Wimbledon champion ever at seventeen in 1985, coming out of nowhere to win that year's Queen's tournament and then go on to take the Wimbledon title. He took the title again the next year, 1986. In short, Tennis is full of awesome!
    • And speaking of Robin Söderling, one must not forget his pulling off one of the biggest upsets in history at the 2009 French Open, handing Rafael Nadal the only loss he experienced at that tournament between 2005 and 2014, only weeks after Nadal has massacred him at another tournament, and even followed it up with a run to the final (in which Roger Federer made history, but Söderling the "yoker" still stole the victory ceremony). And as if that wasn't enough, the next year he came back and shocked Federer too.
  • Hugo de León lifting the trophy from Copa Libertadores 1983 for Grêmio Football Porto Alegrense. Blood dropping from his forehead, in a spartan look after beating Peñarol with a 2x1 score.
  • Johnny Hoogerland. In stage 9 of the 2011 Tour de France, a five-man breakaway including Hoogerland and Juan Antonio Fletcha had a sizeable lead on the rest of the race. Due to his performance in the breakaway, Hoogerland had reclaimed the King of the Mountains (best climber) jersey, and it waited for him at the finish. Then, disaster - a TV car, trying to pass them and avoid a tree at the same time, sideswiped Flecha. Flecha met the pavement... and turned out to be the lucky one. His bike slammed into Hoogerland, sending Hoogerland flying through the air and into a barbed wire fence. The fence destroyed his shorts and left him with deep lacerations on his legs and bottom. And what did he do? He disentangled himself from the wire, got a new pair of shorts, got back on his bike, and kept riding while the medics patched him up with every bandage they could find. He finished 15 minutes behind everyone else and was in visible pain as he stood on the podium to accept his jersey and "most aggressive ride" prize (poor consolation for what had happened, but the best the organizers could do). Only then did he go to the hospital, and he ended up needing 33 stitches to close the cuts on his legs. He stayed in the Tour in spite of his injuries, and finished 102nd. The man is badass.
  • For Virginians, the VCUnote  Rams moving on to the NCAA Final Four in 2011 for the first time in the school's history is an awesome moment of itself. More? This was the first season that the NCAA tournament had expanded to 68 teams, with eight having to play in the new "First Four" round to get into the main 64-team bracket—and VCU was one of those eight. In other words, they had to win five tournament games to reach the Final Four, while the other three Final Four teams that season needed only to win four. Still more? The coach that brought them therenote  had been in the school's basketball program for not even two years. That a young and inexperienced coach had done something that no one in the program's history says something. They may not have won, but for one week, everyone was a Ram.
    • It gets better when one remembers that VCU's crosstown rival, the University of Richmond, also made it to the Sweet Sixteen and happened to be in the same regional, both playing in San Antonio. After Richmond was defeated by Kansas, the entire city rallied around the Rams, who avenged their rival and solidified that Richmond, VA was indeed Hoopstown, USA.
  • The UEFA European Championships of 1992 was a huge Moment of Awesome for Denmark. Although they finished second to Yugoslavia in their qualifying groupnote , United Nations sanctions caused by the civil war in Yugoslavia meant that Denmark was given a place in the finals just two weeks before they began (some of the players were literally recalled from the beaches on which they were spending their holidays, while manager Richard Møller Nielsen was in the middle of renovating his kitchen). After drawing against England and losing to hosts and eternal rivals Sweden, Denmark beat France to advance to the semi finals. They beat the Netherlands on penalties to reach the final against Germany, which they won 2-0. They hadn't qualified, hadn't trained for the tournament, and were without their biggest star, and still won it all.
  • Queensland's rugby union team The Reds had its Moment of Awesome in 2011 when it won its first Super Rugby title of the professional era, despite the state itself producing more Wallabies in that period than any other. Despite being a dominant force in the Super 12 Rugby competition in the mid to late 90s, the Reds never won a game in the knockout section of the competition. Between 2003 and 2009, the team did not once win more than 5 games in season, with their highest overall finish at 8th (of 12). In 2009, at the darkest point in the club's history, management began proceedings for filing for bankruptcy, the team was to be without a major sponsor for the next season and was coachless. The next season, a desperate team rallied, beating both teams that would end up in the Grand Final, and only missed out on the finals themselves by one team. The next year, The Reds were the Champions of the world's premier provincial Rugby competition, winning 13 of their 16 games, and setting a new Super Rugby attendance record for the final game of the season. After their performance, many long-time Reds supporters switched from the typical "We are Red" chant to saying "We are Redeemed".
  • "And after twenty-two years... RAYMOND BOURQUE!" Those were the words of ESPN's Gary Thorne as Canadian hockey legend Ray Bourque, who in 1998 had been named the greatest player never to have won The Stanley Cup, finally got his chance to lift the Cup as part of the victorious Colorado Avalanche in 2001, at the end of the twenty-second and last season of his professional career.
  • The 2002 Super Bowl. The Patriots were tied with the heavily-favored Rams at 17-17 after the Rams had scored on a touchdown drive with 1:30 left on the clock in the fourth quarter. The Patriots had no time-outs remaining, and John Madden was recommending they run out the clock and win in overtime. After returning the kickoff, Tom Brady threw three passes to get to the Patriots 41-yard line with a mere 33 seconds remaining. An incomplete pass, a short post pass to the tight end, and a 6 yard rush put the Patriots on the Rams 30 yard line, where Brady spiked the ball to stop the clock. There was time for literally one more play (3 seconds left on the clock), and the Patriots call in Adam Vinatieri, the kicker, who boots it as the clock runs out. The ball just barely splits the uprights, and the Patriots win the game at the latest possible moment, beating the 14-point spread against them for the biggest upset in football history, and making the New England Patriots a force to be reckoned with in American Football for the next decade.
  • Saints vs. Seahawks, 2011 playoffs. The first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing record against the reigning Super Bowl champions. After falling behind early 10-0, the Seahawks fight back and take a 34-20 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Saints cut the lead down to 34-30 and seem poised to retake the lead - until Marshawn Lynch uncorks one of the greatest plays in franchise history, a 67-yeard touchdown where Lynch sheds eight tackles on the way to the end zone. Seahawks go on to win the game 41-36. And if you still don't think that run was Moment of Awesome-worthy, consider this: the fans in the stands went so crazy during the play that they caused a friggin' earthquake.
    • For that matter, the 2014 Super Bowl. After an ugly conference-deciding match against rival San Francisco, and a 30+ year history of being the Butt Monkey and punchline of American pro sports, they're up against the Denver Broncos. The Hawks proceed to murder the Broncos in an embarrassing blowout.
  • Vince Young in the 2006 Rose Bowl. After a month solid of hearing how great USC was, the entire state of Texas was ready to knock some Cali heads in the National Championship Game. Late in the game, down 12 points, Young puts the team on his back and scores a touchdown to pull within 5, the defense held tight and forced a turnover on downs, Young drives the offense down the field, and on fourth and five, less than thirty seconds left with literally everything on the line, Young takes the ball himself and runs across the goal line untouched for the game winning touchdown, sending the entire state (with the possible exception of College Station) into a frenzy, then to put the icing on the cake, scores the two point conversion himself. Regardless of college affiliation, a great moment for the state of Texas.
  • On August 25th, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals were 10 and a half games back in the NL Wild Card race. In just a month's time, they managed to go 22-8 and, thanks to a 9-17 September collapse by the Atlanta Braves (and a good luck necklace given to manager Tony LaRussa by Carlos Santana), they drew even with the Braves with one game to play.
    At the same time, the Tampa Bay Rays, who were 9 games back of the then Division leading Boston Red Sox on September 1st, won 6 out of 7 games against the Red Sox that month (they went 10-9 otherwise) which, along with the Red Sox's 7-19 (Tampa Bay games included) collapse, also brought the AL East rivals even heading in to the final day.
    September 28th itself had two games with Miracle Rallies, plus one inversion:
    • The inversion was the aforementioned Braves, leading 3-1 after 6 innings. At that point, the Philadelphia Phillies showed why they got 100+ wins by cobbling together single runs in the 7th and 9th innings, and another with two outs in the 13th. The 3-6-3 double play in the bottom of that inning capped off the Cards' Miracle Month (having won their game almost an hour earlier).
      • This was win #102 for the Phillies, breaking the previous franchise record of 101(-61) set in 1976 (and also in 1977).
    • As for Boston, they led the Last-Place Baltimore Orioles 3-2 after 6 and a half innings and about one-and-a-quarter hours of Rain Delay. After nothing doing on Baltimore's part for two innings, the Red Sox were 1 out away from at least living another day. But then, the Orioles hit two consecutive doubles (one of them Ground-Rule) and then an outfield single, for two runs, and the win, on that last out.
    • Which wouldn't have mattered seeing as how the AL-leading New York Yankees were up on the Rays 7-0 after 7. Then, in the 8th: Single, Double, Hit-By-Pitch, Walk (1), Hit-By-Pitch (2), strikeout, sac Fly (3), Evan Longoria Home Run (4-6).
      In the 9th, however, the first 2 Rays got out, leaving them down to, at the time, their last out of the season (Baltimore was still in Rain Delay at this point). Cue Pinch Hitter Dan Johnson, who hit a solo shot, forcing extra innings.
      12:02 AM EDT: Baltimore polishes off its 2-run Rally, putting Boston on the canvas.
      12:04 AM EDT: The Baltimore Rally Win shows up on the Tampa Bay scoreboard.
      12:05 AM EDT: Longoria strikes gold again in the 12th inning; capping both a Miracle game and a miracle month.
    • While calling September 28th "the day of the Miracle Rally" is a bit of a stretch , the Awesomeness of this date is acknowledged even by Braves Fans. ESPN assembled the timeline of events here Who Needs Day 163
    • What makes this all Hilarious in Hindsight is that starting the following year, the top two wild card teams from each league would make the playoffs, playing each other in a one-game playoff for the right to advance to the Division Series. So this was the last possible year that something amazing like this could happen, because in any subsequent year, both teams would make the playoffs!
    • First afterthought: The races for 2nd place (and Home Field) in both Leagues also came down to this last day, with Texas and Milwaukee ahead of Detroit and Arizona respectively by 1 game each going in. With Milwaukee taking care of business, Arizona attempted (and failed) 9th inning rally would not have mattered. As for the AL race (and the right to put off the Yankees for 3 games): Detroit traded blows with Cleveland but still won with a solo-shot in the bottom of the 8th which Cleveland couldn't answer. However, it was for naught as Mike Napoli of the Rangers broke a 1-1 tie against the Angels in the Top of the 9th with a two-run shot that the Angels could not answer.
  • As a postscript to the above, the St. Louis Cardinals, after getting to the 2011 World Series (and beating the favored Phillies and Brewers to do so), twice were one strike away from losing in Game Six in the ninth and tenth, and both times managed to tie it. And then Homegrown Hero David Freese, who had tied it, manages to win it with a walk-off homer in the eleventh to tie the Series. Busch Stadium practically EXPLODED after that win. Then Freese, in Game Seven, managed to tie it after the Rangers took the lead in the game, made a foul catch at the rail in the crowd to deny Josh Hamilton another pitch, and the Cardinals go on to win the World Series, their eleventh win.
  • David Freese also gets one for winning both the World Series MVP and the League Championship Series MVP in the same season.
  • Doubling as a Heartwarming Moment: Cienciano from Cusco (Peru) winning the 2003 Copa Sudamericananote  against Argentinian giants River Plate (considered the favorite of the tournament and having the best team by far), making them the very first Peruvian Club team ever to win an international club tournament. They held River Plate to a 3-3 draw in Buenos Aires, and won the second leg in Arequipa 1-0 despite having two players sent off. Just imagine that you were playing against better opponents and giving even more effort to keep them up... this is a good example of determination on how to reach to their goals.
  • 11th July 2010. Johannesburg. It's the final match of the South Africa 2010 World Cup. The contenders: Spain and Netherlands. Neither have won yet a World Cup title. It's Spain's first World Cup final, and Netherlands' third. Both teams play very well, but Netherlands employs very aggressive tactics against the Spanish players (the most notorious one was Nigel de Jong's kick on Xabi Alonso's chest, which is the image for Unnecessary Roughness) that throw off Spain's game. Casillas and Stekelenburg, the keepers for Spain and Netherlands, are showing how good they are in stopping the opposite team's attacks. The ninety minutes of normal game pass, and it has to go to extra time. Netherlands has one of its players expelled after a rough kick. Time reaches minute 115, five remaining till it has to be decided on a penalty shootout. And then... Jesús Navas sprints with the ball into Netherland's half-field, and initiates a series of passes. The ball ends up reaching Cesc Fàbregas, and he makes a long pass to Andrés Iniesta, who is in the Dutch area. He controls with his chest, lets the ball fall to the floor, and shoots towards the goal, in such a way that Stekelenburg is unable to reach the ball. Four minutes later, the Spanish squad becomes the World Champion of FIFA 2010 World Cup.
  • The United States' run in the 2009 Confederations Cup. After losing to both Italy and Brazil, it seemed that the Americans were going home after a match against Egypt. It would have been easy for them to give up and focus on the following year's World Cup, but they didn't and crushed Egypt 3-0. That victory, combined with Brazil's 3-0 win over Italy, somehow allowed them to get through the semifinals, where they were drawn against Spain on June 24, 2009 in Bloemfontein. Having won Euro 2008, Spain were already drawn to be the favorites in the competition and everyone expected them to win the tournament. The US however had none of it as Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey help the United States pull a massive upset to reach their first ever FIFA tournament final, snapping Spain's 35 game winning streak in the process. And then in the final against Brazil, United States scores two (one of which was again from Dempsey) to lead in the half. Even though the United States sadly blew the lead in the second half to end up as the runners-up, their success in what was considered to be a minor tournament helped football (soccer in the US) reach an all-time high in popularity in a country where baseball, golf and American Football are more popular.
  • One of the most memorable events in the history of American sport: Babe Ruth calling his shot in the 1932 World Series. There may be some question of where he was pointing (he may have simply been pointing mockingly at the Chicago Cubs' bench), and it was in only the fifth inning in only the third game of the Series, but it remains one of the most indelible images in baseball history from one of the sport's greatest players.
  • Often considered one of the most memorable goals in hockey, Paul Henderson scores the game winner in the final match of a series that an entire country practically shut down to watch. It's one of the most frequently viewed goals and one of an extremely limited number of goals considered more influential on the sport than Crosby's overtime winner. To anyone unfamiliar with the series in question; the 1972 Summit Series was the first series of games played between the Soviets and Canada. It consisted of 8 games, 4 in each country, starting in Canada and ending in Russia. In the last game the teams ended up tied at 5-5. The goal above was referred to as "the goal heard around the world" by Foster Hewitt.
  • In 1903, a hockey team called the Kenora Thistles, from a town no one had heard of, in a part of Ontario that no one cared about challenged the Ottawa Silver Seven, the world's best hockey team, for the Stanley Cup. They lost. They challenged again in 1905, and lost. By this time, they had gained a reputation for fair play and brave tactics. Still, no one thought seven teenagers from a frozen wasteland like Northwestern Ontario would ever win the cup. Cue 1907, when Kenora beats Montreal, 4-2 and 8-6. Little kids from the Northwest can still see the cup the Thistles brought back to the boonies in the Hockey Hall of Fame, complete with "Kenora Thistles, 1907" engraved in the side. Kenora remains the smallest town to ever win the Cup.
  • Alex Zanardi's return to the Eurospeedway Lausitz in 2003 to complete the 13 laps he missed after a serious crash almost two years prior. Zanardi lost both his legs in the crash and was forced to drive with the throttle, clutch, and gear shifter on the steering wheel and controlling the brakes with his prosthetic leg. He not only completed the laps, he later returned to professional motorsport in the World Touring Car Championship and actually won races.
    • The kicker on his accident is that the Lausitz race was the first sporting event held anywhere in the world post-9/11.
    • And then he went on to win Paralympic gold medals in handcycling. And won one of them on a racetrack where he had driven both before and after losing his legs.
  • Superbowl XLIV. The most-watched event in television history, where the New Orleans Saints, still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, pulled off a stunning upset to win their first championship.
  • Shawn White getting the first perfect score (100) in the 2012 Winter X Super Pipe.
  • The Miracle at the New Meadowlands. The Philadelphia Eagles, after trailing the New York Giants 31-10 with 8:17 remaining in the 4th quarter, orchestrated a Miracle Rally to tie the game 31-31 with 1:16 remaining. The Eagles defense then forces a 3-and-out by the Giants, who drain the clock down to 0:14 before calling time out. On the ensuing punt the ball is snapped high to rookie punter Matt Dodge. This forces him to rush the punt and is unable to direct the ball away from returner DeSean Jackson, who takes the punt 65 yards for the game winning touchdown with no time remaining. Final score: Eagles 38 Giants 31. Jackson's touchdown was also the first of its kind in the history of the NFL (game-winning punt return TD with :00 remaining in regulation).
  • In the last moments of the 1982 NFC Championship game, the San Francisco 49ers trailed the favored Dallas Cowboys by 6 points. After leading a drive close to the end zone, the 49ers had two downs left. Quarterback Joe Montana took the ball, and, under pressure from the Cowboys' defense, threw into the end zone... where wide receiver Dwight Clark jumped as high as he could and caught the ball with fingertips, landing for a touchdown. The 49ers won the game, and proceeded to their first Super Bowl, which they won. The moment is known in NFL lore simply as "The Catch". Adding to the awesomeness, as the crowd went wild, Cowboys defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones said to Montana "You just beat America's Team." Montana replied "Well, you can sit at home with the rest of America and watch the Super Bowl."
  • The 2011-2012 English Premier League came down to simultaneous final-day games for Manchester City and Manchester United - going in, the teams were tied on points, but City held the tiebreaker (goal differential). If City won, it would just be its first championship in 44 years. City's match with Queen's Park Rangers entered second-half injury time with QPR leading 2-1 while down a man. Meanwhile, United had already won their match at Sunderland, and were starting to organize an informal victory celebration. Two minutes into injury time, Edin Džeko scored the tying goal, but that wouldn't have been enough for City to take the title back... until Sergio "Kun" Agüero scored the winning goal (and the final Premier League goal of the season, as it turned out) to cap off a beautiful team play in the dying seconds. All of this with United, and their fans that had traveled with them to Sunderland, in shock as the results filtered into the Stadium of Light. The frantic finish helped make the 2011-12 season the best of the Premier League's first 20, according to a fan poll.
    Premier League Productions commentator Peter Drury: [Džeko's match-tying goal] "Džeko scores! FOUR MINUTES to save themselves! FOUR MINUTES to find their crown! 2-2 in stoppage time. The most thrilling Premier League finale of all-time! Edin Džeko - hope, a vestige of hope."
    [Agüero's winner] "Balotelli...AGUERO! Staggering! Just staggering! He's won the League with 90 seconds of stoppage time to play! United's game was over! They had it! They've had it stolen back! It's just the most extraordinary scenario you could have dreamt up! Where does football go from here? Drama of the ultimate type! Tears of distress turn to tears of unbridled joy!"
    Sky Sports 1 commentator Martin Tyler: "It's finished at Sunderlandnote . Manchester United has done all they can. That Rooney goal was enough for the three points. Manchester City is still alive here. [Balotelli kicks the ball to Agüero] Balotelli...[Agüero scored the game winner] AGÜEROOOOOOOOO!!!! I swear you'll never see anything like this ever again! So watch it! Drink it in! Theynote  just got the news from Stadium of Light! Two goals in added time, from Manchester City, to snatch the title away from Manchester United!"
  • The Denver Broncos had by 1997 developed a reputation for playing well and often getting to the championship, but always being humiliated in the Super Bowl. This was exacerbated by the fact that they had a superstar quarterback in John Elway who, despite having a reputation for being one of the better quarterbacks in the game and for pulling off comeback wins, always seemed to be stifled in the Super Bowl. That year, the Broncos were facing off against the defending champion Green Bay Packers, and before the game the spread was at 12 points for the Packers. However, the Broncos had something they hadn't had in years past–a running game. Running back Terrell Davis chewed up the Packer defense for 157 yards and three touchdowns rushing, and ended up being named the MVP for his impressive performance in a 31-24 Denver victory.
    • The play often considered as the defining moment of the game comes from John Elway, however. Termed "The Helicopter," it refers to an 8-yard run by the quarterback. On 3rd and 6 at the Green Bay 12, with the score tied at 17-all, Denver needed a first down to keep the drive alive. After finding nobody open, the 37-year-old quarterback decided to tuck the ball in and run. He managed to make a first down, but got hit so hard on the play by three defenders that he spun around in midair. After this, he immediately got up and headed back to the huddle, ready to continue playing.
  • The 2005 Gibsonburg High School baseball team went 6-17 during the regular season. In Ohio, all baseball teams went to the playoffs, however, and Gibsonburg pulled off the miracle, winning eight straight games to win the Ohio state championship. To date, they are the only high school team in any state in any sport to win a state championship with a losing record. And yes, someone did buy the movie rights.
  • The 2012 Stanley Cup run of the Los Angeles Kings. One of the six 1967 expansion franchises, the Kings had been consistently sideshowed by more famous, talented teams throughout their 45 years in the NHL, and even getting Wayne Gretzky in 1988 couldn't seal the deal (their closest approach to the Stanley Cup was the 1993 final series, where the Gretzky-led Kings lost in five games to the Montreal Canadiens). For decades, they had been derisively dubbed "The Kings Without a Ring".

    Though regarded as championship contenders at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, an unsettled first few months (which ended with the appointment of Darryl Sutter as coach) meant that they only qualified for the postseason in the last week of the regular season, and back-to-back losses in their final two games against the San Jose Sharks meant that they had to settle for eighth seed in the NHL West and a conference quarter-final against the President's Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks, who were among the favourites to win the Stanley Cup.

    Then the postseason began. The Kings beat the Canucks in five games, followed by a sweep of the second seed St. Louis Blues, a five-game win over the third seed Phoenix Coyotes (making the Kings the first eighth seed to beat the top three seeds in their conference), and a six-game win over the New Jersey Devils to claim the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They became the first eighth seed to win a national championship in any of the four major North American team sports. As eighth seed, they never had home advantage for a series, yet they managed to win ten road games in a row, tying the NHL record for most road wins in a postseason and breaking the records for both consecutive road wins in a postseason and consecutive road wins across multiple postseasons (with a total of 12). They also became the first team to win their first three games in all four rounds since the playoffs went to an all best-of-seven format in 1987.
    • Special mention should go to Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who recorded a save percentage of 0.946 and a Goals Against Average of just 1.41 across the Kings' twenty playoff games, both records for goaltenders starting in more than ten games in a single postseason. To give you an idea just how remarkable these numbers are, even the best goaltenders that many people know of, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, and even Dominik Hašeknote  couldn't come close to matching those numbers even during their prime. That shows how scarily efficient Quick's goaltending was in the Finals. For his efforts, he became only the third American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for the Stanley Cup playoffs MVP.
    • On CBC's coverage of the final game, for the last few minutes the commentators sat mostly silent and allowed the pure joy coming from the fans to be the only comment needed.
  • Thirty years before their Stanley Cup win, the Los Angeles Kings qualified for the 1982 playoffs as fourth seed in the Smythe division and faced the heavily-favoured Edmonton Oilers, led by such rising stars as Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr, and the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky. After splitting the first two games in Edmonton, the two teams headed to the Los Angeles Forum for Game 3. The Oilers stormed to a 5-0 lead in the first forty minutes, and all seemed lost for the Kings. Then, in the final twenty minutes, the Kings scored five goals of their own, including three in the last five minutes and one in the last five seconds. In overtime, Mark Messier almost scored an immediate winner for the Oilers, but it was the Kings' Daryl Evans who broke the deadlock after just under three minutes to complete the improbable comeback, dubbed "The Miracle on Manchester". The Kings went on to win the series 3-2.
  • Despite arguably misinformed talk over a weakened field, whether his team-mate Chris Froome was a better climber or even rider and defensive tactics stifling the Tour, Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France General Classification victory in 2012 must surely count. The first Brit ever to win the Yellow Jersey, leading out a Brit-heavy team at Sky with Froome coming second, though in the end not that close, behind him. A man who was a Gold Medal winning specialist in far shorter Pursuit track disciplines lost 10% of his body weight to be competitive at the Tour. In previous years he managed to come 4th, but also disappointed with 23rd place in his first season as team leader, then crashed out and broke his collar-bone after a good start in 2011. Finally he came good, cracking the defending champion in the mountains, riding an untouchable minute and a quarter faster than anyone in the penultimate individual time trial phase, showing sportsmanship all the way and selflessly leading his team members to individual stage victories on more than one occasion. He finished with panache, leading out Sprinting World Champion Mark Cavendish to a win on the Champs-Élysées. His team, brilliantly marshalled by Dave Brailsford, also had the second place cyclist Froome and a multistage winner in Cavendish and when Brailsford claimed it would lead a British cyclist to the Yellow Jersey within 5 years when he formed it in 2009, he was seen as a laughing stock. Three years later, it was done, comfortably and just 5 days before many of the team would go to the Olympics, where Wiggins and Froome promptly took gold and bronze in the time trial.note 
  • The 2007 Fiesta Bowl. The Boise State Broncos went into the game as huge underdogs to the Oklahoma Sooners, one of the most storied programs in college football. After blowing an 18-point lead, the Broncos found themselves down by a touchdown late in the game. On 4th and 18, with 18 seconds to go in the game, Boise State threw a 15 yard pass, and then the receiver lateraled the ball to another receiver who not only got the first down, but ran all the way to the end zone to tie the game and force overtime. Oklahoma got possession first in OT and scored on their very first play. On their ensuing possession, Boise State needed a touchdown to stay alive. On 4th down, from the 5 yard line, Boise State ran a trick play, and had a receiver throw a pass which was caught in the end zone for a touchdown. The Broncos elected to go for a two-point conversion for the win rather than an extra point to tie. They would use another trick play, a variation of the Statue of Liberty play, to win the game and finish the season as the only undefeated team in Division I FBS football.
  • October 3, 2012, the last day of the main season, ended up being one massive one for the Yankees, Nationals, and Miguel Cabrera. The Yankees played against the Boston Red Sox in a game that would help determine whether or not the Yankees clinch the AL East. Not only did they defeat the Red Sox 14-2, the Orioles, the main threat to their chances, were defeated during the game. Miguel Cabrera became the first man to win the Triple Crown in over 40 years. And the Nationals clinched the NL East and entered the post season for the first time since the Washington Senators did so in the 30's. Not only that, but the Running Gag of Teddy Roosevelt always losing a race that is used for mid-inning entertainment was broken and Teddy finally won after receiving support from both John McCain AND one of Barack Obama's spokespeople, a Republican and Democrat, respectively. It was a DAY of awesome. Except for Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, who all lost in some way.
    • Not even the best part of the day. The Oakland Athletics, predicted at the beginning of the year to lose 100 games, were 93-68 and facing the mighty Texas Rangers, who were... 93-68. Two teams, the high-spending juggernaut and the thrifty, Moneyballing underdog, tied for first with the division title coming down to this last game. This was after the A's had been 13 games out and 9 below .500 in June, and 5 games behind Texas with only 9 to play. Coming into this three-game series with Texas, they were two games out, so needed to sweep to win the West. They won the first two, so the stage was set for one final winner-take-all game. Oakland jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but the Texas bats showed their power by scoring 5 runs in the top of the third. The A's should have rolled over now; after all, weren't they facing a vastly superior team? Hell no! They came roaring back in the fourth by scoring six runs to pull back ahead of the Rangers. The final two runs in that inning came when Texas' highest-paid player, superstar Josh Hamilton, dropped a routine fly ball to allow Oakland to take the lead. The reinvigorated Athletics didn't take their foot off the Rangers' throat for the rest of the game, routing Texas 12-5.
    • They followed this up with a terrific effort against the Tigers in the ALDS, coming back from an early 2-0 deficit and forcing a Game 5 before finally bowing to Detroit's star-studded roster. The A's received a ten-minute standing ovation following their final defeat at the hands of the Tigers, in recognition of the group of hitherto-unknown underdogs who managed to defy the logic of the sport.
  • Jackie Robinson's first Minor League game with the Montreal Royals, when everything was riding on him to prove that black players play with white ones on a professional level. In his five trips to the plate against the Jersey City Giants, Robinson had four hits, including a three-run home run. He also scored four runs, drove in three, and stole two bases in the Royals' 14–1. In short, when it really counted, Robinson had a spectacular first game that topped the fictional game in The Natural!
  • The FA Cup, the oldest and most prestigious association football knockout cup in England and Wales, has seen many awesome moments over the years, but in a special category are "giant killers", non-league clubs who have knocked out a top-flight club. note  Since World War I, this has happened just ten times:
    • On 10 January 1920, Southern League club Cardiff City defeated First Division side Oldham Athletic 2-0 in the First Round (at the time, the round of 64, to which all Football League sides were given a bye). They followed this with a 2-1 win at Second Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Second Round before going down 2-1 to Second Division side Bristol City in the Third Round. note 
    • On 19 January 1920, having fought out a goalless draw at home in their First Round tie, North East League side Darlington defeated their First Division hosts Sheffield Wednesday by a score of 2-0. They were defeated 4-0 in the Second Round by Birmingham FC (now Birmingham City). note 
    • On 12 January 1924, Corinthian FC, an amateur side with no league affiliation, defeated First Division club Blackburn Rovers 1-0 in their First Round match. They were beaten 5-0 in their Second Round tie at West Bromwich Albion. note 
    • On 10 January 1948, Southern League side Colchester United defeated First Division high-flyers Huddersfield Town 1-0 in the Third Round (the round of 64 as of 1925, to which all clubs in the top two divisions receive a bye). Two weeks later, they knocked out Second Division side Bradford Park Avenue 3-2 to advance to the Fifth Round, where they lost 5-0 to Blackpool. note 
    • On 21 January 1949, Southern League club Yeovil Town, having already knocked out Second Division side Bury in the Third Round, became the first non-league side since World War I to knock out a First Division side in the Fourth Round with a 2-1 win over Sunderland. They were ultimately beaten 8-0 in the Fifth Round by Manchester United. note 
    • On 5 February 1972, Southern League club Hereford United hosted First Division side Newcastle United in a replay of their Third Round tie, having fought out a 2-2 draw in the original match at Newcastle. Though Newcastle opened the scoring in the 82nd minute with a goal from Malcolm "Supermac" Macdonald, Hereford equalised three minutes later with a 30-yard strike from Ronnie Radford, sparking a pitch invasion by jubilant Hereford fans. Thirteen minutes into extra time, substitute Ricky George scored the winning goal for Hereford, sparking a second pitch invasion by the ecstatic home fans. The match has, on multiple occasions, been voted the biggest shock in FA Cup history, helped by its status as the first "giant killing" to be televised and the commentary by a young John Motson, later one of the BBC's most recognisable sport broadcasters. In the Fourth Round, Hereford held First Division side West Ham United to a goalless draw at home before losing the replay 3-1 thanks to a hat trick from 1966 World Cup Final hero Geoff Hurst. note 
    • On 4 January 1975, Southern League club Wimbledon became the first non-league side since 1920 to defeat First Division opponents away from home with a 1-0 win at Burnley in the Third Round. They went on to hold Leeds United to a goalless draw in the Fourth Round before losing the replay 1-0. note 
    • On 14 January 1986, Football Conference side Altrincham followed in Wimbledon's footsteps with a 2-1 defeat of their Third Round hosts, First Division side Birmingham City. In the Fourth Round, they were beaten 2-0 at York City, then in the Third Division. note 
    • On 7 January 1989, Football Conference side Sutton United defeated First Division side Coventry City (who had won the Cup in 1987) by a score of 2-1 to advance to the Fourth Round, where they lost 8-0 at Norwich City, another First Division side. note 
    • On 26 January 2013, Football Conference side Luton Town (a former top-flight side who had fallen on hard times financially and been relegated out of the League in 2009), who had already beaten Championship note  side Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in the Third Round, became not only the first "giant killers" of the Premier League era, but also the first non-league side since 1949 to defeat top-flight opponents in the Fourth Round (and the first to do so away from home since World War I) with a 1-0 victory at Norwich City. They were ultimately defeated 3-0 in the Fifth Round by Millwall. note 
  • The FA Cup final has also seen its fair share of heroics and other awesome moments since the first tournament in 1872, but, again, underdog victories are in a special category of awesomeness.
    • The 1973 final saw Leeds United, one of the dominant sides in English football in the early 1970s (if controversial for their brutally physical style), playing against Sunderland, at the time in the Second Division. The final was marked by two particularly awesome moments: Ian Porterfield's goal for Sunderland in the 31st minute, and an improbably acrobatic double save by Sunderland goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomerynote  from Leeds forwards Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer. Sunderland held on to win 1-0.note 
    • In 1976, the final once again pitted a giant of the sport against a Second Division club as Manchester United met Southampton. In a parallel with the 1973 final, Saints goalkeeper Ian Turner made a series of impressive saves, and Bobby Stokes' goal seven minutes from time won it for Southampton.
    • The final of 1978 saw Arsenal, who had won the League and FA Cup double just seven years before, playing Ipswich Town, who were appearing in their first ever FA Cup final and had been demolished 6-1 by Aston Villa in their final League fixture of the season. However, to the surprise of all who saw the final, Ipswich proceeded to dominate the match and claim a 1-0 win with a 77th minute goal from Roger Osborne (who was so overwhelmed by the emotions of the experience that he fainted and had to be substituted and revived with smelling salts).
    • Arsenal exorcised the ghosts of their 1978 loss with an awesome (if non-underdog) 3-2 win against Manchester United in the 1979 final,note  and made a third consecutive final appearance in 1980. Their opponents were Second Division West Ham United, who were expected to pose no threat to Arsenal's quest to retain the FA Cup. However, England international Trevor Brooking headed the only goal of the match in the 13th minute, and a solid performance by Phil Parkes and the West Ham back four preserved the 1-0 scoreline to hand the Hammers the Cup.
    • In 1987, Tottenham Hotspur, who had won seven out of seven FA Cup finals in their history, faced Coventry City, who were appearing in their first ever FA Cup final. Clive Allen opened the scoring for Spurs after just two minutes, only for Dave Bennett to equalise six minutes later. Gary Mabbutt put Spurs in front again just before half-time, but Keith Houchen equalised for Coventry just past the hour mark. The score was still 2-2 at 90 minutes, and six minutes into extra time, Gary Mabbutt scored again... unfortunately, this time he scored against his own goalkeeper, Ray Clemence, and Coventry held on for a 3-2 win.note 
    • The 1988 final set runaway League champions Liverpool, seeking a second League and FA Cup double in three seasons, against "the Crazy Gang" of Wimbledon FC, who had only joined the Football League in 1977. Following the same pattern as the 1973 and 1976 finals, goalkeeping heroics from Dave Beasant (including saving a penalty from Liverpool's Irish striker John Aldridge, the first penalty save in an FA Cup final) and a goal from Lawrie Sanchez gave Wimbledon the astonishing 1-0 win.
    • In 2013, the final saw Manchester City, the previous season's Premiership winners, taking on perennial relegation battlers Wigan Athletic, who had only joined the Football League in 1978. Once again, although Manchester City had more shots on target, Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles kept a clean sheet, and Ben Watson's 91st-minute header gave Wigan a shock 1-0 victory.
  • In 2006, Liverpool were 3-2 down against West Ham in stoppage time, having gone 2-0 down, clawed their way back to 2-2, then conceded another goal. Just as they were announcing the amount of stoppage time, the ball dropped to Steven Gerrard, the captain, 35 yards out, who'd already scored one goal and responded by rocketing a shot into the bottom corner. Liverpool went on to win on penalties, one of which was also scored by Gerrard.
  • In 2014, heavily-favored Arsenal were up against Hull City in what should have been an easy win for the Gunners, who had beaten Hull by a combined score of 5-0 in the Premier League season. In the first ten minutes, Hull scored twice, leading Arsenal fans to lose their confidence, believing this would be another collapse in a big game that mattered. In the 17th minute, Santi Cazorla rocketed home a free kick to put Arsenal a goal behind, and in the 71st, Laurent Koscielny put in an equalizer. The game went to extra time where Aaron Ramsey, the man of the year for Arsenal, put in a beautiful goal in the 110th minute, which would prove to be the game-winner for Arsenal, who not only ended their nine-year trophy drought, but also became the first team to come back from 0-2 down to win the FA Cup Final since 1966.
  • In the 2008/09 English League Two, AFC Bournemouth began with -17 points due to financial problems. They got promoted to League 1. They got better and better in League 1, before finally winning promotion in 2013 to the Championship. 7 years after their -17 point start, in the 2014/15 English Championship campaign, they clinched Premiership status for the first time in their 116-year history by winning the league. If you think seven years isn't really that long a time in sports years, keep in mind that teams in football typically stay right where they are for decades due to money awards per place in the final standings. Bournemouth was able to buck that trend and command their destiny.
  • The weekend of May 4-5, 2013 was a pretty awesome weekend if you were an auto racer going for your second career win in your respective series:
    • NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Regan Smith initiated the madness, charging from 7th to 1st in the final lap of the series' race at Talladega with a three-lane wide sweep to steal the lead from moonlighters Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne. A wreck happened behind them as they came through the trioval; Kahne nipped Smith and Logano three wide at the line which led many to think he won, but NASCAR ruled the caution came out and froze the field with Smith barely in front.
    • The Indy Car Series took the second leg at Sao Paulo, Brazil. Takuma Sato, fresh off his maiden victory at Long Beach, had to hold off fellow 2013 first-time winner James Hinchcliffe on worn tires. Hinchcliffe faked Sato out down the long backstraight and cut under him in the last turn hairpin to steal the win and regain momentum after contact in the previous two races.
    • While Hinchcliffe was pulling his magic, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega was mired in a rain delay lasting nearly four hours. They were well past the half distance required to make the race official, but the workers dried the track off to finish the race. What resulted was the Front Row Motorsports tag team of the Davids, Ragan and Gilliland, shocking everyone by storming through the pack on the final two-lap dash. Ragan pulled a block on Carl Edwards out of turn 4 to thwart a return pass, and Gilliland kept him at bay through the trioval to let Ragan pick up his second Cup Series win unchallenged. And yes, Gilliland finished 2nd to complete the biggest two-teammate upset in modern NASCAR history.
  • Kim Yu-Na, the reigning Olympic figure skating ladies champion, comes back from taking an entire season off and easily defeats her opponents with a near flawless free skate, becoming the World Champion the year before the Olympics.
  • 2013 NHL Quarterfinals Game 7, Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto took a 4-1 lead before Boston scored to bring it within two with half a period left in the game. The Bruins then scored 2 goals in the last minute and a half of regulation and scored to win the series 6 minutes into overtime. They're the only team to come back from a 3-goal deficit in the 3rd period of a Game 7 in history.
  • FC Bayern Munich had an entire season of awesome in the 2012-13 Bundesliga (Germany's top tier domestic league), finishing 25 points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund, only losing one match (a 2-1 home defeat against Bayer Leverkusen) and drawing four, and tying or breaking a staggering thirty league records.note  They followed this utter dominance of the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions' League final and a 3-2 defeat of VfB Stuttgart in the final of the DFB-Pokal (Germany's premier domestic knockout tournament) to become the first treble winners in German football history.
  • The 2012 Scottish Cup Final: The two teams from the capital, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian FC, meet in the final for the first time since 1896. A hungry Hibs haven't lifted the great trophy since 1902. A packed Hampden awaits a fiercely fought clash and a possible chance for Hibs to unseat their rivals as Edinburgh's top team. Lifting the trophy would be a fitting end to Hibs' "narrative arc" in the 2012/13 season. Unfortunately, reality ensues: A rampant Hearts smash a ten-man Hibs 5-1, with club legend Rudi Skacel scoring two fantastic goals and Hearts writing a new page in the history of Edinburgh derby hammerings.
  • Raja Casablanca's FIFA World Club Cup run in 2013 may have ended in defeat in the final, but that they managed to reach the final at all is a moment of awesome for the club, and for Moroccan football in general. The FIFA World Club Cup is contested for by the champions of the six continental knockout tournaments and the league champions of the host country; as the 2013 tournament was held in Morocco, Raja were the only participants not to have won a continental tournament (the previous season's CAF Champions League having been won by Egypt's Al-Ahly, widely regarded as Africa's most successful football club), and were the lowest-ranked club at the World Club Cup. However, they proceeded to defeat New Zealand's Auckland Citynote  in a preliminary playoff, followed by a 2-1 quarter-final win over Mexico's Monterreynote  and a 3-1 semi-final win over Brazil's Atletico Mineironote , whose squad included international superstar Ronaldinho. Raja may not have won the tournament, but they were certainly the most extraordinary team there.note 
  • The Chicago Blackhawks' 2013 Stanley Cup triumph had two noteworthy awesome moments:
    • Winning game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final at home in triple overtime. But one of the more awesome parts of a moment already awesome? The music guy at the United Center ended up playing Iron Maiden's song "2 Minutes to Midnight" at, well, 11:58 PM local time. which unexpectedly became their Near Victory Fanfare when they scored the game-winner at midnight.
    • Despite having a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks were trailing the Boston Bruins 2-1 with time running out in the game, and it appeared that Boston was going to force a climactic Game 7. Cue Chicago player Bryan Bickell tying it up at about 1:16 left in the game, as the Blackhawks pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. 17 seconds later, David Bolland picks up the go-ahead goal (and eventual game-winner) to help the Blackhawks pull off a similar comeback feat that the Bruins themselves managed in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals versus Toronto. Moreover, the Game 6 win gave Chicago its second Stanley Cup in four years, and provided the perfect capstone to a season where they managed a record of 24 games with at least a point to start the lockout-shortened season.
  • During Game 3 of the 2013 NBA Finals (San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat at the AT&T Center), an 11 year-old Mexican American singer (also known from America's Got Talent) named Sebastian De La Cruz sang the National Anthem at the beginning of the game. However, some people made a bunch of racist comments about it. A lot of people shunned the racist people and everyone praised Sebastian for singing the National Anthem. He was positive about it (and responded to these negative comments) and people liked his performance so much, the Spurs invited the kid for an encore at Game 4 at the AT&T Center.
  • The 2011 NBA Finals. Not just because the Dallas Mavericks, after contending for so long but falling short, finally won their first long-awaited NBA Championship, but they did so against the Miami Heat, who had beaten them during their previous Finals appearance in 2006. Highlights include Dirk Nowitzki's rampage during the second half of Game 2, clinching the game on a left-handed layup with two broken fingers on said hand, longtime Dallas man Jason Terry stepping up in a big way during Games 5 and 6 (after Nowitzki went down with a fever that severely hampered his performance after Game 4, though he still turned in a great 4th quarter in 5 that drew comparisons to the famous "Flu Game" of Michael Jordan), and JJ Barea, a 6'0" Point Guard, taking the legendary LeBron James(a 6'8" monster who dwarfed most of Dallas' roster) to the paint time and time again, scoring layups repeatedly against one of the best men to ever play basketball. Really, Dallas' "Miracle Run" in the 2011 playoffs was laden with these: They were the underdog all throughout the playoffs due to them not making it past the first round since 2006. After being taken to 6 games by the Portland Trailblazers, Dallas went into the Semifinals the complete underdog against the Lakers and their ambition for a three-peat as champs. The Dallas Mavericks then proceeded to sweep the defending NBA Champions out of the playoffs 4-0, catching just about everybody off-guard in the process. They then went into the Conference Finals against the OKC Thunder, who were regarded as the best young team in basketball while Dallas' lineup was stacked with aging but experienced veterans. Again, Dallas was the underdog, and again it pulled up some shocking comebacks on their path to the Finals including an overtime win in Game 4 that gave them a 3-1 series lead. Then came the Finals, where Dallas was again the underdog against the Miami Heat, who had just acquired LeBron James to round out their Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh that many saw as the "Team of Destiny" (perfectly encapsulated by LeBron's infamous "Not four, not five, not six, not seven" promise of Heat championships during his televised introduction when coming to Miami). And again, Dallas pulled it off despite the odds. While the Mavericks haven't been back to the Finals since, with some rather stupid moves by upper management in addition to Nowitzki's age starting to catch up to him, the 2011 NBA Finals remain a very special moment for the fanbase.
  • 2013 NBA Finals. Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs. After holding a 1-0, a 2-1 and a 3-2 series lead at different points, the Spurs held a five point lead with 30 seconds remaining in Game 6. Some of the fans left the building. Officials were actually bringing in the yellow tape and the championship trophy in anticipation for the Spurs' impending win. After LeBron missed a three pointer, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen battled the ball around the air, with Mike Miller coming up with it and throwing an over the shoulder pass to LeBron. He launched another three, and this time, it made it through the net, cutting the lead to two. To keep the Spurs from winding down the clock, Kawhi Leonard was fouled and went to the line. He missed the first free throw (and damn-near had a Heroic B.S.O.D. ), but hit the second, bringing the lead back up to three for the Spurs. LeBron threw up another three, but it missed. Chris Bosh corralled the rebound and threw it over to Allen, who ran to the three point line, fired a jump shot and tied the game with five seconds remaining, without ever looking down. Parker missed a chance to win it for the Spurs and the game was sent into overtime, where the Heat prevailed. Seen by many as one of the greatest games in the history of the NBA Finals (although a train wreck for the Spurs. Miami would go on to win the championship in Game 7.
  • On the other side, the following year, the Spurs (who had a Game 7 with the Dallas Mavericks and had an overtime with the Oklahoma City Thunder) and Miami Heat (beating the Indiana Pacers yet again in the Playoffs) eventually joined again for a rematch. The first game had the Spurs winning in their home arena, but the following game had the Miami Heat win in the Spurs' arena. However, the following two games in Miami were not only won by the Spurs (with the help of Kawhi Leonard, who was eventually named the Finals MVP), but in Game 3, the Spurs were ahead by 21 points at halftime, which broke a record of the greatest halftime lead in a Finals game by a road team since 1996. Additionally, the victories in Games 3 and 4 broke a record itself as the Spurs were the first team to win two consecutive games on the road by 15+ points in the Finals. In Game 5, the Spurs looked like they were significantly behind in the first quarter, but in the second quarter, they got back up and eventually beat the Miami Heat by 104-87.
  • Andy Murray winning the men's singles at Wimbledon in 2013, making him the first British men's singles champion since Fred Perry won three tournaments in a row between 1934 and 1936. Though many British tennis fans are old enough to remember Virginia Wade winning the women's singles tournament in 1977 (an awesome moment in itself), far fewer are old enough to remember Perry's victories, and after so many near misses by first Tim Henman in the 1990s and early 2000s and then Murray himself in the early 2010s (including a four-set loss to Roger Federer in the 2012 final), the 77 years of heartbreak finally ended with a straight sets win over Novak Djokovic.
  • First Test of the 2013 Ashes series. Ashton Agar is 19 years old, on debut, the last man in, has just watched his team implode, and has only a struggling, out of form batsman for support. What does he do? Plays like a seasoned pro and drags his team back into the game by scoring 98 of the best, breaking half a dozen world records in the process.note 
  • Jordan Spieth becoming the first teenager in over 80 years to win on the PGA Tour: first he holes a surprise bunker shot on the 72nd hole, then after all three members of the playoff find tee shot trouble on the fifth hole of sudden death, Spieth hits a clutch shot from the trees to set up a par that would be good enough for the win.
  • Phil Mickelson overcomes a 5-shot deficit after 54 holes to win the Open at Muirfield, less than a month after another heartbreaking runner-up finish at the US Open. He birdied 4 of the last 6 holes and shot a 66 (on a day where the scoring average was about 73). And now the US Open is the last major left for Lefty to achieve.
  • Tiger Woods vs Chris Di Marco in the Final Round of the 2005 Masters. Both players started tied at in the final pairing, and the duel swung back and forth all day. Di Marco bogeyed the famous 12th hole par 3 on Amen Corner leaving him two back from Tiger, but an amazing approach shot on 15 netted a birdie, leaving Woods and Di Marco separated by just one stroke with three to play.
    • On the 16th hole par 3, Di Marco's shot was solidly within birdie distance. Woods hit an uncharacteristic draw, pulling the ball wide to the left, and not just missing the green entirely but also leaving the ball collared against the rough - a difficult rescue shot now even harder. Given the next two holes are some of the hardest on the course, any damage here would give Di Marco a chance to beat the then-unstoppable young Tiger Woods.
    • And then this happened. The fans went ape. Di Marco would choke and miss his birdie. Two back.
      • In short, Tiger's bogey on 17 brought Di Marco back into the game, but both players were short of the 18th green. Di Marco hit the pin but got a ricochet instead of a chip-in. Tiger bogeyed from the sand to tie the game. In the playoff, Woods would snipe a birdie putt on 18 to finally beat Di Marco.
      • What's important was the shot on 16 - everything was perfect, from the shot down to the ball briefly sporting the Nike logo as it dropped. This literally established Nike Golf as a brand, as it would be watched and used over and over. Today, it still stands as one of the best chips of all time, and one of the most exciting finishes in Masters history.
    "Here it comes ... Oh, my goodness! ... OH, WOW! IN YOUR LIFE, have you seen anything like that?!" Verne Lundquist's famous call
    "I went out and shot 68 around here on Sunday, which is a very good round, and 12-under is usually good enough to win. It was just that I was playing against Tiger Woods." Chris Di Marco
  • The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates finally ended 20 consecutive years of miserable losing in winning fashion and have made people proud of the team again. In the Wild Card game against rival Cincinnati Reds, the ebullient and raucous crowd at PNC Park so unnerved Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto that he ended up dropping the baseball on the mound and the Reds never recovered from it. It was a well deserved season for Pirates fans.
  • The 2013 Boston Red Sox. After an epic collapse out of playoff contention in 2011, to a brutal 2012 season that found them in last place, the Sox rebounded in a big way, first winning their division, then having the best record in the American League, and culminating in their third World Series Title in 10 years - and the first Series clincher at Fenway Park since 1918. Boston Strong, indeed.
  • Adam Scott's (no relation to the Parks and Recreation actor) 2013 season will go down as one of the greatest in the history of Australian golf. He starts off by breaking his country's curse in the Masters with one of the most clutch 72nd hole birdies ever to force a sudden death playoff he'd win in two holes. He follows it up with a T3 at the Open Championship, a T5 in the PGA Championship, and then wins a FedEx Cup playoff event holding off the likes of Justin Rose and Tiger Woods for good measure.
    • And then things get insane once he returns to Australia in November. He wins two of the country's biggest tournaments, and the week after his second, represents Australia in the World Cup on the same course. Scott suffers a quintuple bogey 9 in his first round and rallies back to finish third in the individual standings. Had that 9 been a par it would have been enough to win the individual title. But that 9 might have been better off, because the individual winner is his teammate Jason Day, putting together one of the biggest performances of his career after losing eight relatives to Typhoon Hainan , and helping the Australians demolish the team competition. Scott's quest for the Australian Triple Crown ended one stroke shy of a resurgent Rory McIlroy but a solo second was still a fine end to an excellent run.
  • Jason Brown's amazing Riverdance-inspired free skate earned him a place on the U.S. Olympic Squad for the Sochi Olympics and went viral, having more than two million views at the time of posting. He shattered his own personal best score for the routine by more than 20 points, and reduced the NBC commentators (Scott Hamilton especially) to giddy laughter. He actually beat Jeremy Abbott's free skate score, and only finished second to Abbott because of his third place placement after the short program.
  • The 2013 Alabama–Auburn Iron Bowl when Chris Davis caught a missed Alabama field goal nine yards deep in his own end zone in a 28–28 game with 7 seconds left, and running it all the way for the 34-28 win.
  • Cincinnati Bengals head coach Sam Wyche only needed five words to deliver a devastating TRYSS to unruly Bengals fans who threw debris on the field.
  • On the 6th stage of the 2013 Vuelta a España, Tony Martin attacked from the beginning, with nobody going with him. He spent the entire day riding solo, only to be caught within the last 20 meters and finish seventh. His attack was essentially a 175 km individual time trial which he managed to complete as well as an entire peloton, going with the average speed of 44.8 km/h. A Moment of Awesome for the big German, even if he didn't win.
  • The 1967 Grand National, the biggest event on the British horse racing calendar, was held on a very soggy racetrack, with two horses falling and one, Popham Down, throwing his rider at the very first fence. However, Popham Down continued to run without his jockey, as did April Rose when his jockey was thrown at the third fence. Just as commentator Michael O'Hehir was observing that the riderless Popham Down didn't seem to be interfering with the other racers, both riderless horses suddenly ran to the inside of the track just before the twenty-third fence, causing a massive pile-up in which at least nine other horses either fell, threw their jockeys, or turned around and refused to jump, while almost every other horse was caught in the mayhem and had to wait for a chance to jump... all except 100-1 outsider Foinavon,note  who had been lagging so far behind that he was able to run around the pile-up and jump the fence uninhibited, opening a lead of over thirty lengths. Though a number of horses did finally jump the fence, Foinavon was too far ahead to be caught, and became one of the most improbable yet awesome Grand National winners in the race's history. The fence at which the pile-up occurred is now known as the Foinavon Fence.
  • April 6, 1996: The finals of the Flagship Open in (ten-pin) bowling's PBA Tour, held in Erie, Pennsylvania on lanes set up in the city's main indoor arena, now known as Erie Insurance Arena. The first match of the five-player stepladder finalsnote , nationally televised on ESPN, featured Erie's own Bob Learn, Jr. In front of a loud hometown crowd of 4,500, Learn began the finals by bowling a perfect game (12 strikes), earning a $100,000 bonus. It got even crazier from there—Learn went on to win the tournament, setting a new PBA record for a four-game series at 1,129. Taking the craziness Up to Eleven: the combined scores of his four opponents (1,083) were higher than the series record that Learn had just broken (1,070).
  • 2010 Wimbledon: John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut after 11 hours and 5 minutes of play. The match took three days to finish, with a final score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 for a total of 183 games.
  • Martin Kaymer's record-breaking performance at the 2014 U.S. Open. He shot 65 in each of his first two rounds to record the best 36-hole total in the tournament's history (10-under-par 130). No one else in the field was able to get close, and he cruised to his second major title.
  • In 2006, Western reiner Stacy Westfall won the All-American Quarter Horse Congress reining title with her horse Wizards Baby Doll, to the song "Live Like You Were Dying". But that wasn't the awesome part. The awesome part was that she did it with no saddle, no bridle, and no reins. It's one of the most virtuoso displays of horsemanship ever.
  • The Miracle Mets. Established in 1962 to fill in the void the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants created by moving to Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively, the New York Mets consisted of castoffs from other teams and rookies. After seven losing seasons in which they finished in either ninth or tenth place in the National League, the Mets shocked the baseball world in 1969. They overtook the National League East-leading Chicago Cubs with just under a month left in the season and never looked back, finishing with a 100-62 record (39-11 in their final 50 games). After sweeping the Atlanta Braves in the inaugural National League Championship series, they faced a heavily favored Baltimore Orioles team who had won 109 games in the regular season and easily dispatched the Minnesota Twins in the first American League championship series. The Mets lost the first game but won the next four, finishing off an improbable year with their first World Series victory.
    • The Mets' 1986 run was equally impressive. They won their division handily with a 108-54 record but their dramatic postseason display made up for it. Game 5 of the NLCS against the Houston Astros ended with the then 1-for-21 Gary Carter hitting a game-winning RBI single in the 12th inning, giving the Mets a 3-2 edge. In the top of the ninth inning of Game 6, the Mets rallied to tie the score and won it in the sixteenth inning. Jesse Orosco, despite giving up a game-tying home run in the fourteenth inning, became the first reliever to win three postseason games. The Mets then faced the Boston Red Sox in the World Series which they won in seven games after losing the first two at home. The fabled Game 6 comeback with two outs in the tenth inning began with three consecutive singles to Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight. A wild pitch tied the score, followed by Mookie Wilson hitting a ground ball through the legs of Bill Buckner, sending Knight home with the winning run. The Mets also rallied from three down to win Game 7 and the series.
    • The Red Sox deserve a special mention in 1986. They faced a 3-1 series deficit against the California Angels entering Game 5 of the American League Championship series. It all began in the top of the ninth with a single and a home run to cut their deficit to one run. With two outs, a runner on and the Red Sox down to their last strike, Dave Henderson crushed a home run to left field that put the Red Sox on top by one run. After the Angels rallied to force extras, Henderson came through again with a go ahead sacrifice fly. The Angels never recovered, losing Games 6 and 7 by a large margin and the Red Sox won the pennant. And who started the rally in the ninth inning of Game 5 that brought the Red Sox to the World Series? Bill Buckner!
  • The Wham Line from the University of Virginia play-by-play announcer says it all:
    Dave Koehn: For the first time in thirty-eight years, the Cavaliers are ACC Tournament Champions in 2014!
  • The greatest winning streak in sports; In 1851, the schooner America won the "R.Y.S. Cup". It's known as America's Cup now, and the 1851 victory started the longest winning streak in sports, with the United States defending the cup successfully for one hundred and twenty nine YEARS.
  • Two performances at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating National Championships, by best friends and training mates, Ashley Wagner and Adam Rippon. Wagner brought the house down after her Moulin Rouge! themed long program, including two triple-triple combinations. Rippon attempted one of the absolute hardest jumps anyone can perform: a quad lutz, a jump that begins with a counter-rotation and includes four revolutions in the air. He landed the rest of his jumps with ease, including two triple axels, a jump he has historically struggled with. Both performances smashed the old U.S. record in their respective disciplines for the long program. Wagner easily won her third National title, and Rippon stood on the podium for the first time since 2012, with a silver medal. In addition, both skaters are considered to be "older" by skating standards, and they had a major Take That to their detractors.
  • James "Buster" Douglas. Having been a middling heavyweight fighter with a 29-4-1 record and a reputation for never training seriously, he got a championship fight with the "baddest man on the planet" Mike Tyson in 1990 simply because there was no one else left to contend. The fight was held in Tokyo because no American venue was interested, and it was believed it would be such a one-sided fight that only about eight U.S. journalists went to Japan. Then Douglas' mother passed away mere days before the fight, causing suspicion that would just distract him even further. Instead, it motivated Douglas to train harder and be more focused than ever before, and the result was him just picking him apart the previously invincible Tyson for nine rounds before finally knocking him out in the 10th to take the World Heavyweight Championship. It it still considered the greatest upset in boxing history.
    "Buster Douglas was never that good before and never that good since. But on that one night in Tokyo, he was pretty near perfect." - sportscaster Charley Steiner
  • The rise of Roller Derby as a sport. After the crash and burn of the extremely gimmicky RollerJam (a heavily choreographed, purely Sports Entertainment version of the sport that featured a figure-8 track and an "alligator pit" (a water-filled pool that skaters could be knocked into), a DJ in Texas had the idea of a version of roller derby that combined punk rock and burlesque. After he skipped town before the first bout was even staged, the women of the TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls (the same league fictionalized in Whip It) put together a workable set of rules, pooled their funds to rent a practice space and hire a band for halftime and went and created a competitive sport out of what had previously been mere spectacle. The split of TXRD into the Lonestars (banked track) and the Texas Rollergirls (the inventors of Flat Track roller derby, which changed the face of the sport by eliminating the expensive and heavy wooden track and allowing leagues to practice anywhere they could rent space without needing to store and maintain a track) could have ended the sport but instead transformed it and brought it to the world. By the time the Women's Flat Track Derby Association was formed in 2005, roller derby had already spread nationwide and by the first WFTDA Championships in 2007, worldwide. By 2013 there was serious talk about roller derby being brought to the Olympic Games, which may happen for the 2020 games (as roller sports as a whole are being considered for the 2020 Games), which may be the fastest a sport has ever gone from ground-zero to an Olympic sport.
  • The 2015 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix. This race has a super tight battle at the front between 4 riders and 3 different bikes that lasted the entire race.
  • 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Glasgow, UK:
    • On home soil, the British women's gymnastics team accomplishes what they never have before and land on the podium in a Worlds team final competition, behind only the dominant United States and a rock-solid China. While it will take more than one Worlds to say that the Big Fournote  has truly been broken, it is definitely safe to say that the British women are on their way up in this sport. Claudia Fragapane, Ellie and Becky Downie, Amy Tinkler, Ruby Harrold, and Kelly Simm — welcome to the history books.
    • The women's all-around final was a cavalcade of awesome:
      • Simone Biles of the United States wins her third straight all-around title, making her indisputably one of the best American gymnasts ever. She's the first American gymnast to defend her All-Around title since 1994 and only the second to do so, and the first female gymnast ever to win three world AA titles back-to-back-to-backnote . She has the most World gold medals of any American gymnasts, at 10, and with 14 medals total, she has officially beaten the all-time American medal count record held by Alicia Sacramone, who has 10. The kicker? It took Sacramone 6 years to win 10 medals. It took Biles 3 years to win 14.
      • Larisa Iordache of Romania, the bronze medalist, had an absolute disaster of a qualification round, qualifying 16th into the final. But on the night it mattered, Larisa came out with all guns blazing and didn't slow down. It would prove to be Romania's only medal of the competition, as no Romanians qualified into any event finals.
      • Gabby Douglas of the United States, reigning Olympic all-around champion, returns to the World Championships after three years out of the sport — and wins the silver medal. As you do. Everyone who called her Olympic win a fluke can now officially shut their traps.
      • Despite finishing just off the podium, Shang Chunsong of China had an absolute corker of a competition, going for broke and nailing every single routine without one fall. For a member of the notoriously inconsistent Chinese squad, that is not a minor accomplishment.note 
  • The 2015 WFTDA International Championships:
    • The first day of competition ended with the host team Minnesota RollerGirls, struggling through a rebuilding season after losing two of their strongest jammers of the previous year to moves to other cities and expected to be blown away by a more than 200 point margin, actually leading at halftime and fighting to the very end, finishing the game with an epic 17-point jam by Shiver Me Kimbers that brought the team within 12 points. If the jam had been called off just three seconds earlier, Minnesota would have had the opportunity to take a time-out, stopping the clock and bringing up Rookie of the Year Jacked Pipes - potentially swinging the game the other way.
    • The second day closed with a bout between eventual bronze medalists Victorian Roller Derby League and the four-time reigning champions Gotham Girls Roller Derby, who had not lost a single game in three years (an exhibition match with Your Mom Men's Roller Derby) and hadn't lost a single ranking match in five years, which ended with VRDL finishing just two points shy of defeating the undefeated champions. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better...
    • IT DID. In the final jam of the tournament, the Rose City Rollers Wheels of Justice put up 23 year old Loren Mutch, an alumna of their junior league, the Rose City Rosebuds, to jam against Fisher Twice of Gotham Girls Roller Derby. Mutch drew a no-pass-no-penalty call on a track cut as she completed her initial pass, allowing Fisher to gain lead jammer. The two jammers circled the track, Mutch putting eight points on the board to Fisher's four as the jam expired, Rose City ending Gotham's five-year undefeated streak and four-year reign as the Champions of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, to the explosive cheers of the thousands watching in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, and those on ESPN watching the first roller derby championship to be televised in four decades.
  • 1982, University of California vs Stanford. With four seconds left in the game and Stanford up by one point, the Stanford marching band starts prepping to march out and play the Stanford anthem. Only problem: Stanford is about to lose this game. As soon as Stanford kicks the ball, Cal's receivers spring into action, catching the ball running and using five lateral passes to not only slip through Stanford's defensive linebackers, but dodge around the band members who've jumped the gun and started marching onto the field. Such an astounding finish to what was already a close game between rivals has gone down in history only as "The Play", and commonly makes top ten lists of awesome sports moments.
    Announcer Joe Starkey: "The band is out on the field!"
  • Anytime a sports team that relocated in the past returns to its home. Notable examples include the Winnipeg Jets and the Los Angeles Ramsnote . The passion of the fans of teams thought long gone make it awesome.
  • On August 14, 2015, Marco Huck from Germany and Krzysztof Glowacki from Poland were set for a boxing match for the WBO Cruiserweight Championship. By this point, Huck had defended his title 13 times in a row and needed only one more victory to set a new record for most successful title defenses. The match started very close, with both fighters matching each other blow-for-blow, but in the 6th round, Huck managed to knock Glowacki down. Pole somehow managed to stand up at 9-count, and everyone expected the match to be over soon... but instead, Glowacki went on the total offensive and completely caught Huck off guard, forcing him to stay defensive for the rest of the round. After four more rounds, Huck had advantage on all three scorecards, meaning the only way Glowacki could win was by knockout. And somehow, he pulled it off - first, he noticed German leaving himself open for a split second and knocked him down, and when Huck managed to - barely - get up, he followed up with flurry of blows so brutal he nearly knocked Huck through the ring ropes, breaking his streak and coming out with the title. The whole fight was named WBO Fight of the Year, and for a very good reason. Watch it in all its glory here.
  • No one can argue with the fact that Leicester City clinching the Premier League title in the 2015/16 season belongs here. As 5,000-1 underdogs and more likely to be tipped for relegation, they had the entire set up for a true underdog story. A first XI that cost less than just one of the star players in other more wealthy teams. A manager in perennial "nearly man" Claudio Ranieri, who had been lambasted in the media as never quite getting the job done for success. A proud goalkeeper in Kasper Schmeichel, constantly being compared to his extremely successful goalkeeping father. A fantastic midfielder in Riyad Mahrez that had cost only £350,000 compared to others being more around the multi million mark. A record breaking striker in Jamie Vardy, who four years before was playing non league football after being rejected by Sheffield Wednesday due to his height. And many others in the team, not to discredit their achievements. These men came together, battled, struggled and clawed their way to the top. Everyone who was anyone doubted them, constantly worn down by reality and saying that at any moment, the fairytale would be over. And come May 2nd, it did....with the happiest ending anyone could imagine.
    • Consider this timeline:
      • Start of play on 4 April 2015: Leicester City are nailed, bolted, and hard welded to the bottom of the Premier League table. The Foxes have been propping up the table since since November, have won only two matches since late September, and their last win was on 10 January.
      • 18 April: After three straight wins, the Foxes are off the bottom—but still sit in the drop zone in 18th.
      • 25 April: Another win finally gets Leicester City out of the drop zone.
      • 24 May: The 2014–15 season ends with Leicester safely in 14th, after seven wins and a draw from their last nine matches.
      • Preseason 2015–16: Bookmakers set the odds at Leicester winning the Premier League at 5,000—1.
      • 2 May 2016: Leicester are Premier League champions after second-placed Tottenham are held to a 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
    • For an awesome moment within the campaign, the Foxes' top striker, Jamie Vardy, broke the record for most consecutive Premier League matches with a goal scored, scoring in an 11th consecutive match against Manchester United on November 28, 2015. The record was previously held by former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who naturally congratulated Vardy on the feat. What really made this awesome, though, was the fact that Arlo White, Leicester native, and life-long Leicester City supporter, was calling the match for the U.S.'s Premier League broadcaster, NBC, and he couldn't hide his joy when Vardy's record-breaking goal came:
      "Jamie Vardy, is this the moment?!" [Vardy scores] "HISTORY IS MADE! Jamie Vardy has scored in ELEVEN! CONSECUTIVE! PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES!"
  • Ashley Wagner ends a 10-year American medal drought in ladies figure skating, with the two best performances of her career, winning the silver medal at age 24.
  • Though the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, led by former prodigal son LeBron James,note  went 12-2 throughout the Eastern Conference Playoffs, they faced the ultimate foe in the NBA Finals: The Golden State Warriors who not only vanquished them in the prior year's Finals, but went 73-9 in 2015-16, only losing twice at home in the regular season and once in the Western Conference Finals.note  With Cleveland losing Game 4 at home, it seemed like yet another year of coming-up-short for the mistake by the lake. But in part due to suspensions and injuries to the Warriors, and in part through sheer grit and determination by James, Kyrie Irving, and the rest of the squad, the Cavs overcame the 1-3 deficitnote  including a blowout in Game 5 and a hard-fought-to-the-end Game 7, both on the road, breaking the 52-year Championship drought for the city!
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