My contribution to the meme (view others at Poliblog, Kevin Drum's Political Animal, Daniel W. Drezner, the key monk, Overtaken By Events, The Bemusement Park, Unqualified Offerings, ). From reading everyone else's posts and comments, it seems that Kirk Gibson is the winner. Anyway, in no particular order, sorry I couldn't keep the list to 10:
- The Miracle on Ice. Just about everyone thinks they saw this live, but it wasn't shown live in the U.S. Those of us who lived close to the border saw it live on Canadian TV. I skipped my last two classes to get home early enough to see it.
- Rich Stadium, December 7, 1980. The Bills had been lousy for 15 years, and in 1980 Chuck Knox put together a winner. The Bills clinched their first division championship since 1966 by beating the previous year's NFC Super Bowl representative and Knox's old team (the Rams) in overtime (and also knocking them out of first place and the NFC playoff chase). The amazing thing was the fans refused to leave the stadium after the win. An hour after the game was over there were still 30K people in there. Some of the players (Dobler, Villipiano, Mike-Mayer, Haslett, Smerlas, McKenzie and others) even came out and did a curtain call, and danced to the team song blaring over the P.A. system.
- I don't watch golf, but my Mom does, and with her I saw Larry Mize's 140 foot sand wedge birdie to win the 1987 Master's in sudden death.
- Dolphins vs. Chargers, 1982. Let's face it, the hook-and-lateral by the Dolphins may be the intentional play in NFL history.
- Jazz vs. Bulls, 1997-8. The 1997-8 Jazz may be the best team to never win the NBA championship. Four words: Michael Jordan - the flu.
- 1986 World Series. I was a lifelong Mets fan, and I couldn't believe when that 98 pound weakling hit went through Buckner's legs.
- World Series, 1993, Joe Carter against "Wild Thing" Williams, Phillies down 3-2 in the series, but up 6-5 in game 6 (with game 7 back in Philly) and Joe Carter homers to left in the bottom of the ninth on a 2-2 pitch with 2 men on. Game, set, and match.
- 1999 Stanley Cup. Buffalo vs. Dallas, Game 6, in Buffalo. One of the longest games in NHL history. Dallas dominated the final period (and almost surely would have won the series, so this is not sour grapes). Brett Hull scored the Stanley Cup winning goal illegally (with one foot in the goal crease). An ESPN overhead camera caught the violation clearly, although the goal judge initially suggested goal. Instant replay correction of bad decisions was allowed that year in the NHL, but Commissioner Bettman overruled everyone and awarded the cup to Dallas. The players were in the locker rooms certain they would be called back to finish the game, and ESPN stayed on live almost all night with discussion of how the end of the game would have to be replayed the next day. (Here's a neutral analysis, and here is an editorial from the Edmonton Sun from the morning after).
- Chris Webber, 1993, Wow. This one was mindboggling. Would you believe I had free tickets and didn't go because our dog was sick?
- World Series, 1988, Orel Hershisher, - the streak. Kirk Gibson - the homer.
- Gretzky. I don't remember the game or the year or the wingers, but it was a 3 on 2 breakaway with Gretzky in the center. Gretzky passed left to a winger who passed back to Gretzky who pass to his right winger who passed back across the ice to the left winger who passed back across the ice to the right side - where Gretzky had crossed over with the right winger and one timed it home. All of this between the Edmonton blue line and the top of the penalty circle.
- Steve Young, MNF, Minnesota, 1993 or 1994. Overtime. Young can't make the pass, and winds through all eleven Vikings for a 49 yard touchdown run.
- Any end to end rush by Yvan Cournoyer or Gilbert Perrault in the early 1970s. They made the other teams look like high school kids every few games.
- Denver vs. Cleveland, 1987, 1988, and 1990. The Catch the Drive, and the Fumble. The NFC had a much higher variance of quality back then, so the good games were always in the AFC. I hated both of these teams, but gosh the games were good.
- Don Beebe catches Deion Sanders from behind. 1989. I saw it in Fulton County stadium. Deion Sanders broke free on a kickoff and after about 70 yards Don Beebe ran him down from behind. In Deion's defense, he also ran Beebe down from behind on an even longer kickoff return that day.
- World Series, 1989. The earthquake. Saw it live while putting away laundry in our bedroom. Of course, I really didn't see it - there was a little snow and then the game was gone for a few minutes. Al Michaels knew what it was, if no one else did.
- Joe Theismann. Perhaps the only time I didn't finish my dime chicken wings at the Centre House.
Honorable mention for one I saw on replay:
- New Mexico, circa 1992. OK, this is the only one I did see only on replay. It was hilarious. An extra point or field goal was being kicked, and I think New Mexico was on defense. A linebacker timed his jump to block poorly, and sailed right over the still crouched defensive and offensive lines. But, the center didn't snap the ball! The linebacker looked around, and jumped back over both lines. He was out of the play when the ball was snapped, but there was no penalty (remember, defensive players are allowed to false start and even cross the line of scrimmage as long as they don't touch anyone on the offense and get back across the line before the snap).
I am a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan, and the team that held together from 1988 through 1993 had so many amazing memories. Forget about the four Super Bowl losses and click the link to hear about some of the other amazing stuff they did.
- Super Bowl XXV, 1991, Bills vs. Giants. The Bills were 7 point
favorites, and most people forget that they led for most of the game.
At the end they lined up on the right hash mark because Norwood had
been hooking kicks left all day, and he punched it a few feet to the
right of the post to leave the lead in the Giants hands at the end. Norwood (an All Pro the previous year) - who was known as an accurate kicker without a lot of distance - just missed with plenty of leg to spare.
- Bills vs 49ers, 1992, The only "perfect" offensive game in NFL history. Perfect in the sense that neither team punted (although they had 3 turnovers each). The two teams scored on 8 straight possessions through the middle of the game. Buffalo scored 6 out of 9 times with the ball, and San Francisco scored 5 out of 9 times (missing a tying field goal in the final minute), for a 34-31 final score (also 4th highest offensive yard total at the time, and 3rd time with both quarterbacks over 400 yards - the other two were Miami - San Diego and Miami - Jets).
- Bruce Smith vs. Oilers, MNF, 1990. Bruce Smith made the most athletic play I have ever seen. His patented move was to drive off the snap to one side of an offensive lineman and then do a standing logroll back across the front of the lineman to come free in the backfield. In this game, Smith went to the outside first and rolled to the inside where Lorenzo White was sweeping left. Smith paralleled him to the outside to cut White off for a big loss. White "let" Smith overpursue and then cut inside. Smith came to a complete stop and dove backwards to make the tackle. Four good moves - by a lineman - on one play.
- Bills vs. Oilers, 1992. Even my wife lost faith on this one - I won dinner off of her. Most people forget that it took the Oilers 2 quarters and into the third to build their 32 point lead, and less than 13 minutes for the Bills to score 5 straight touchdowns on them.
- Bills vs. Raiders, 1991. This was the AFC Championship game. The Raiders were a popular favorite with a lot of history and a good defense. The Bills scored 41 points on them in the first half.
- Bills vs. Eagles, 1990. Buddy Ryan's Eagles had the dominant defense in the league, and made light of the Bills new no-huddle offense (only a few weeks old at that point). The Bills scored on their first four possessions, and were up 24-0 before the end of the first quarter.
- Bills vs. Giants, 1990 (Mark I). The Giants were 11-2 and were at home. The Giants drove under Phil Sims for an opening touchdown. Against the vaunted Giants defense, Kelly led the Bills back for a touchdown on the first drive. The Giants went 3 and out, the Bills got the ball back, and Kelly led the no huddle offense for a touchdown on the second drive too. Then Kelly and Sims were both hurt, Hostetler came in, and played lousy the first time against the Bills and mighty well the second time.
- Bills vs. Raiders, 1992, Scott Norwood may have failed to win Super Bowl XXV when given the opportunity, but this was the game that the Bills really overcame his weaknesses. Down 27-14 in the third quarter the Bills scored two touchdowns to tie the game in regulation, and then got a field goal on their first possession of overtime. In that span Norwood missed three field goals and an extra point (that would have won the game). Kelly also threw an interception deep in Raider territory. Put it all together and the Bill got 16 points on 7 straight drives that should have scored over 25 minutes or so of game time.
- Bills vs. Cleveland, 1990. Cleveland dominates the game, but couldn't put Buffalo away. Buffalo had a first and goal with time on the clock at the end. Kelly hit Ronnie Harmon wide open in the end zone on second down, and Harmon celebrated too early and dropped the ball. Kelly threw an interception on the next play, and Harmon spent the next 4 Super Bowls at home on his couch.