Helping our clients finish year-end content and media projects reminded me of some of my favorite last-minute sports finishes. Of course there are many incredible moments, but these are five of my favorites—including one I witnessed in person.
But here’s a cautionary note: Don’t wait until the last minute to start your year-end projects. It’s amazing what collaborative teamwork can accomplish, but the process works best with a cushion of a couple of months. Or, as we’re saying this year, it’s amazing how many types of content projects you can accomplish by January 1 if you begin on November 1.
2000 AFC Playoff Wild Card Game
Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans
Trailing 16–15 in the final seconds of an AFC Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans fullback Lorenzo Neal caught the short kickoff and handed it to tight end Frank Wycheck, who then threw a cross-field lateral (yes, it was a lateral) to wide receiver Kevin Dyson. Instead of merely getting the Titans in field-goal range, Dyson made it to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown and into the book of legends under the title, “The Music City Miracle.”
1972 NFL Playoffs
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders
In the closing minute of the game, Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass to wide receiver “Frenchy” Fuqua, but the ball was deflected as Raiders safety Jack Tatum put a vicious hit on Fuqua. Steelers running back Franco Harris caught the deflection and took it in for the game-winning touchdown. It’s been known by every NFL fan since that moment as the “Immaculate Reception.”
2005 Masters Golf Tournament
Tiger Wood’s Chip-in Putt on the 16th Hole
A bad tee shot appeared to leave Tiger Woods in a position for no better than a par attempt. He then chipped in a shot from 20 feet out for one of the most spectacular birdies ever—and his fourth green jacket.
2006 Rose Bowl
Texas Longhorns vs. USC Trojans
The season’s only two undefeated teams had a thrilling back-and-forth game that ended with a Vince Young game-winning touchdown run with 19 seconds remaining, giving Texas a 41–38 victory and the 2006 BCS National Championship.
1998 NBA Finals (Game 6)
Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz
With the Chicago Bulls trailing the Utah Jazz 86–85 in the closing seconds of Game 6, Michael Jordan stripped the ball from Utah forward Karl Malone. Jordan then walked the ball up the court and head-faked Jazz forward Bryon Russell before hitting the series-winning jump shot with 5.2 seconds left.
Bonus: 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Round 2, Game 4)
Nashville Predators vs. San Jose Sharks
Hammock editor (and hockey superfan) Megan Hamby thinks Rex left out something important! As Nashvillians, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Mike Fisher’s game-winning goal during Round 2, Game 4 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fisher, then alternate captain of the Nashville Predators, took a rebound and deftly skated around goalie Martin Jones, scoring a goal that ended the game in triple overtime. Fisher’s goal tied the series 2–2.