5 Insanely Intense Game-Winning Moments That Made Us Cheer
Will they go down in history as heroes, or choke when it matters most? Many of the most rewarding moments in professional sports are borne from last-second heroics. These accomplishments also tend to lead to some pretty entertaining celebrations. Take a step into the time machine and relive these incredible game winners:
It's impossible not to like Doug Flutie. The real-life Rudy first came into the national consciousness during a remarkable college career at Boston College, punctuated in 1984 by this outrageous Hail Mary. Flutie’s Eagles trailed the defending champion Miami Hurricanes, 45-41, with 28 seconds on the clock, forcing them to attempt a desperation heave into the end zone. The five-foot-nine quarterback rolled to his right, took a giant stride, and threw a spiral nearly 65 yards into a strong wind and the waiting hands of a BC receiver. The “Hail Flutie” earned Doug a Heisman Trophy and college football immortality.
Joe Carter Goes Deep
Toronto Blue Jays slugger Joe Carter was considered one of the great home run hitters of his era, but will undoubtedly be remembered for his walk-off blast in the 1993 World Series. The Jays trailed the Phillies and were one out away from a loss when he stepped up to the plate to face feared closer Mitch Williams. Carter rose to the occasion, sending a Williams offering over the leftfield wall to secure the Blue Jays’ second straight championship. It was the first time a home run had ended a World Series since Bill Mazeroski’s famous 1960 blast.
Montana CEments His Legacy
By the time he played in his third Super Bowl, Joe Montana had already established his reputation as a late-game hero. Still, this last minute drive against the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII catapulted the Notre Dame alum to immortal status. Facing a 16-13 deficit with about three minutes remaining, the Niners had to cover 92 yards against a solid Cincinnati defense. Montana employed the same West Coast Offense techniques that had served him all season, systematically picking his opponent apart even though he was hyperventilating. John Taylor’s TD catch with 34 seconds on the clock ensured a 49ers victory and a Montana Hall of Fame induction.
"Trees Will Tap Dance"
Coach Jim Valvano is renowned for his emotional “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” speech at the 1993 ESPYs, and his 1983 NC State squad embodied that sentiment. The Wolfpack were heavy underdogs against a Houston team that featured future NBA stars Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. The matchup was considered so lopsided that one analyst stated that “trees will tap dance” before NC State would win. Miraculously, the scrappy Valvano-led Wolfpack pulled off the upset when forward Lorenzo Charles dunked a last-second air ball. The image of Jimmy V wildly rushing the court is one of the most memorable moments the sports world has ever seen.
Chastain For The Win
File this incredible performance under “pure adrenaline.” The United States women’s national team had battled China to a scoreless draw during the 1999 World Cup Final. When the team lined up for penalty kicks, American Brandi Chastain, a defenseman, was one of the last people expected to produce a game-winning goal. With the fifth and final penalty kick, Chastain drilled the winner past China’s sprawling goalie and sparked a wild celebration. In a fit of “momentary insanity,” she ripped off her jersey and fell to her knees in sheer exhilaration. The “Sports Bra Incident” was featured on several magazine covers and has become an iconic moment in American sports history.