The Best Sports Comebacks of All-Time
Last week, the New England Patriots — and our main man Julian Edelman — ferociously came from behind in the second half of their historic Super Bowl match-up against the Atlanta Falcons. When the dust settled, Tom Brady had pulled down one for the thumb and pushed the Patriots into the conversation as one of the best dynasties of all-time. Ultimately, through all the tears and shrieks of excitement, we were treated to not only one of the best Super Bowls in NFL history, but one of the best sports comebacks ever as well.
But where does it rank in terms of our other fondest sports memories? If you’re still hanging onto to your major upset (or crying over the terrible loss), take a trip down memory lane and revel in these intense, joyful, and jaw-dropping comebacks.
10. Arsenal complete wacky comeback against Reading, 7-5
October 30th, 2012
7-5 in a soccer game. I could stop right there and most soccer fans would be 100% into it. Blow after blow, both teams fought back in a twelve-goal effort that ended with extra time drama. It falls low on the list for its lack of playoff implications, but it’s hard to argue against late goals in a ridiculously fun soccer game.
9. Celtics wash away the Lakers in Game 6
June 17th, 2008
Does it get any better than an NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers? With Paul Pierce going toe-to-toe with Kobe Bryant, the Celtics’ borderline unstoppable Game 6 victory would put the NBA’s most historic franchises into a winner-take-all showdown. Thanks to the help of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Lakers would bow down and earn the Celtics another banner for the rafters of TD Garden.
8. AFC Wildcard Game, 1993 — the Bills live!
January 3, 1993
While the Buffalo Bills were nearing the end of their four-straight (although ultimately empty-handed) runs to the Super Bowl, this is a classic that everybody needs to watch. 10+ years before the Patriots’ recent miraculous comeback this year, the Bills showed that a second half resurgence is very possible. As we all know, football drama is some of the wildest, most intense action in any major sport, so when a comeback like this comes along, it’s tough to ignore.
7. Liverpool mounts unreal comeback in the Champions League Final
May 25th, 2005
After taking a 3-0 deficit into halftime, things looked increasingly dire for the Reds in the UCL Final against AC Millan in 2005 — but few knew what was about to come. Goals in the 54th, 56th, and 60th minutes helped Liverpool send things into extra time before an epic penalty kick shootout provided the English powerhouse with their third Champions League victory, soccer’s greatest club prize.
6. Flyers flip the script vs. the Bruins in Game 7
May 14th, 2010
Admittedly, New England sports franchises are often on the other side of these comebacks, but the Boston Bruin’s four-game collapse enters the list at no. 6. After taking a 3-0 lead against their bitter rivals from Philadelphia, they lost three straight games and, in the definitive Game 7, the Bruins even took a three goal advantage before promptly blowing that one as well.
Perhaps the best hockey comeback ever, the Flyers scraped back against the franchise they hate the most — while Boston fans may struggle with this one, they will enjoy two later on even better.
5. Reggie Miller’s 8 points in 9 seconds
May 7th, 1995
What an unbelievable, jaw-dropping moment this was, right? From John Starks to Spike Lee, watching Reggie Miller doom the New York Knicks will never, ever get old. Until Stephen Curry came around, there were few late-game shooters a head coach would rather have had than Miller. His dead-eye ruthlessness is something the NBA misses greatly, so if you haven’t seen ESPN’s 30 for 30 “Winning Time” on Netflix — run, don’t walk.
4. Cavaliers pull off 3-1 comeback against defending champion Warriors
June 19th, 2016
For us at CoachUp, this one stings, but you’ve still got to respect greatness. With their backs against the wall versus our Stephen Curry and the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers won three straight games, cemented LeBron James’ place in the pantheon of the game’s best ever, and ended the city’s epic title drought.
And as for individual moments in these amazing comebacks, it may not get any better than James’ chase down block on Andre Iguodala in Game 7… although Edelman’s miracle catch comes close… but more on that in a bit.
3. Cubs end 108-year drought, win three straight in World Series
November 2nd, 2016
We just finally witnessed the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series since 1908 and, of course, they had to do it in a nearly unbelievable fashion. Filled to the brim with clutch home runs, rain delays, and one city desperate for joy, the Cubs’ victory is something that may throughout the country had waited for their entire lives. There’s not much else to say about this one, but with Cubs up by three runs, the Cleveland Indians rattled off their own mini-comeback before forcing the game into extra innings — you likely know how this one ends.
But, if you somehow lived under a rock and missed this one, find five minutes to watch this montage — you’ll be happy you did.
2. Patriots’ epic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl 51
February 2nd, 2017
I mean, do I have to say more about this one? Between Tom Brady ascending to likely GOAT status, Bill Belichick regaining his GOAT coach status (Sorry, Pop), and finishing off their beyond epic comeback, it’s tough to argue that the Patriots aren’t one of the greatest dynasties ever now. Capped off by Edelman’s near physics-defying, an-inch-from-the-ground-catch, this will forever go down as one of our favorites.
If Rob Gronkowski returns from his season-ending injury, we wouldn’t be shocked if the Patriots have a few more signature wins up their sleeves before things are all said and done.
1. Red Sox reverse the curse and slay rival Yankees in 2004
October 20th, 2004
Yes, please! This is a memory we could watch every day for the rest of our lives. Over that one cold week in October, the Boston Red Sox mounted sports history’s greatest comeback ever. While many will lay claim to the Patriots’ comeback against the Falcons, we’re giving the Red Sox the nudge for a few reasons:
1. Four straight victories and walk-off hits galore? No problem.
2. The defeat of their arch-rival New York Yankees? Done.
3. Breaking the Curse of the Bambino? You know it!
No brainer — game, set, and match, there is no competition. If this sends chills down your spine still, that’s how you know you’ve got the best comeback of all-time. Now, excuse me, I’m going to go watch the entire series start to finish again, but I think I’ll be skipping to Game 4!