The Top 20 Craziest Comeback Stories In Sports History
Published on Wednesday, November 17th, 2021, Updated on Monday, August 22nd, 2022
The sporting world has been providing us with consistent entertainment daily for decades. Players are always leaving everything on the field when competing for the biggest prizes in their particular sports. That’s why the show is always guaranteed, and we can easily turn on the TV every day and enjoy a thriller as the different sports provide us with numerous events.
During the years, we have seen some teams, and individual players do the impossible by exceeding their limits for the sake of their team and the grand prize they have been chasing their whole lives. This creates a thrilling experience for us, the sports fans, and for everyone who appreciates the human struggle and what we can accomplish when we focus all of our time and energy on a specific activity.
We had seen numerous events that have been marked by some stunning plays from specific individuals or whole teams that had made us believe the impossible is just a mere word for describing something irrelevant.
That being said, we will go through some of the most unbelievable comebacks that the sports world has ever seen. But before that, we need to understand how something extraordinary like miracle comebacks happens quite often when teams are playing with the highest possible stakes.
What Enables Teams and Players to Defy All Odds?
Suppose you are a sports betting enthusiast, and you had seen one of the amazing comebacks we will go through in the following lines (at least the most recent ones). In that case, you probably have an idea of the probability of them happening, based on a bookmakers’ odds.
Like we already mentioned, we frequently see fantastic comebacks, and they tend to happen more often than not, despite the odds not being in their favor. But what is the reason behind that?
When looking deep into the most famous comebacks, we can connect the dots and conclude what usually leads to them happening, defying all odds on the surface. There is something in common between all of these comebacks. This seems to be these respective teams’ nonstop belief and determination to emerge victoriously, no matter the deep hole they found themselves in.
It seems that the more challenging the situation for a particular team, the higher the chance is for a comeback. However, it would be best to mention that we are talking about elite teams, or at least, teams and players that had integrated an elite, winning mentality. And that hunger for success makes them go through the worst possible situations.
It’s safe to say these players can tap into a whole new world of sports performance as they are playing not only for themselves but also for the traditions and pride of their cities, countries, and respective teams.
All of that is possible due to years of hard work and dedication that most of us probably won’t envision correct. We can only imagine what happens behind the scenes, but these incredible comebacks we see over and over again are the required evidence that these players leave their lives on the line for a moment of glory.
That being said, to fully understand what we are talking about here, we will go through the craziest comebacks in sports history, where teams had done the impossible to perceive a dream worth catching.
Reggie Miller’s 9 Seconds Masterclass
When talking about a comeback in any sport, usually the trailing team comes from behind steadily and step-by-step. But this was not the case in 1995 for the match-up between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. This was a critical playoff game, where the Knicks found themselves winning 105-99 with almost 19 seconds left on the clock.
Everything was going to be an excellent win for the Knicks. Little did everyone know that the next 9 seconds would turn the game on its head. Reggie Miller scored two three-pointers in a few seconds before putting the finishing blow that won the game for Pacers. As a result of some incredible shooting and a few crucial mistakes by the Knicks, this has been marked as one of the most iconic moments in NBA history.
Indiana Pacers’ Lighting Comeback
As another lighting comeback, we can’t help but remember the Indiana Pacers’ incredible comeback after trailing 6 points in the final 25 seconds of the game vs. the New Orleans Pelicans. This astonishing comeback was possible after the Pacers knocked down a three-pointer and immediately sank another one behind the arc after a steal to put the games into overtime.
Without a doubt, the momentum was on the Pacers’ side as they clinched the win after a score of 118-116. To put that into perspective, the Pelicans became only the third team in NBA history to lose a game after leading with six or more points with 25 seconds left on the clock.
Philadelphia Flyers Come Back From A 3-Game Deficit
One of the most shocking comebacks in NHL history was a deed from the Philadelphia Flyers. After trailing 3-0 in games from the Boston Bruins, there wasn’t much hope of the Flyers turning the series around. However, they managed to make a fantastic comeback to tie the series to 3-3. However, it seemed that the luck of the Flyers had run out after the Bruins scored the first three goals in the crucial game 7.
But with a mountain to climb, the Flyers managed to turn the game around and win the series. Maybe this incredible comeback was a byproduct of many mistakes by the Bruins and the unshakable mental toughness of the Flyers, who were able to come back after sinking into such a deep hole.
With that disaster class from the Bruins, they became only the third team to lose the series, leading 3-0 after the first three match-ups.
Derrick Rose’s Redemption
If you are a fan of the NBA, you probably know how special a player is Derrick Rose. However, his career was marked by the numerous injuries and challenging periods he went through. Most specialists predicted that his days in the NBA are counted much sooner, considering all of the career-ending injuries that Rose went through.
However, the prolific guard never gave up. Little did he know that the beginning of his 2018-18 season would prove to be the time of his redemption. This came in a game vs. the powerful opposition of Utah Jazz. However, they were stunned by Derrick Rose’s performance as he went off to bag 50 points, basically winning the game for his team 128-125.
After the end of the game, Rose could barely hold his tears as he and the whole arena saw how his hard work, determination, and dedication paid off in a single game. Before that night, he had only 24 games with 20 points or more. That’s why the mark of 50 points is so significant and impressive, even ignoring the fact he won the game that night.
On top of that, he became only the fifth Timberwolves player to reach the mark of 50 points in a single game. To make things even more impressive, the last 40+ point game of Derrick Rose came more than seven years before that memorable night in 2018.
Michael Jordan Doing What He Does Best
There probably isn’t a sports fan who doesn’t know the game of Michael Jordan. After all, he is an absolute icon in the basketball world and the player who is the idol of most NBA stars. But Jordan was a different beast.
Aside from his jaw-dropping performances over and over again, it’s clear to see his elite mentality and how he loves the sports as he came back from retirement not once but twice.
After his second retirement in 1999, he claimed he is almost sure he won’t be making a comeback again. Well, his claim didn’t age too well as only two years later, the Washington Wizards announced Jordan would join their team, for everyone’s absolute shock. Standing at 38 years old, no one knew what to expect from Jordan.
However, he proved his class and unparalleled skills once again as Jordan averaged more than 20 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds per game across the 2001-02 season. A not bad feat for a 38-year-old who just came back from retirement twice, even if we are talking about Michael Jordan.
In that season, he even manages to explode with 51 points against the Charlotte Hornets, becoming the oldest player in NBA history to reach the 50-point mark in a game.
Indianapolis Colts 21-Point Deficit Comeback
One of the remarkable comebacks in NFL history came in a regular-season game. The Indianapolis Colts had a nightmare of a day, as they were trailing 35-14 at the end of the match vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But this was not for long, as in the last 4 minutes, the Colts managed to hit an incredible streak and take the game to overtime.
With the momentum on their side, they managed to bang a winning field goal through Mike Vanderjagt, completing their unreal comeback. According to their star quarterback Peyton Manning, no one of the players was taking a nap on the way back to Indianapolis, as everyone was still under the influence of thrilling emotions and adrenaline.
Watford F.C. Goes To The Wembley Final After A Stoppage Time Goal
One of the most memorable matches in football history came in 2013 when Watford and Leicester were fighting for a final spot at Wembley Stadium for the playoff final for reaching the Premier League of England. Before the playoff final, teams play two games, home and away, considering an aggregate score to see which team will go forward.
After their first match, Watford had a goal passive after losing their away game to Leicester 1-0. The second game started very well for Watford that was winning through most of the game. However, Leicester was not that passive, so they were trailing only one goal. The critical moment came into the game’s stoppage time when Leicester was awarded a penalty for a chance to tie the game and go to Wembley.
Fortunately for the home fans, the player behind the ball missed the penalty, and Watford immediately went on the attacking. In the same attack, the forward of the Hornets, Troy Deeney, slammed the ball past the keeper of Leicester to throw fans into a complete meltdown. This goal happened in the 90+7 minute, and it remains one of the most dramatic pieces of play in football history ever.
Cleveland Indians Overcome A 12-Run Trailing For The Win
In 2001, we were spectators of one of the most extraordinary MLB games. That day, Cleveland Indians were having a nightmare game vs. the Mariners, as they found themselves 14-2 down, halfway through the game. As it seemed the match was decided, both teams started to sub off their starter players to give them some rest.
However, the Indians started to score some runs little by little, and by the end of the game, the score was tied in 14-14. After going to extra innings, the Indians scored and clung to the game 15-14, completing one of the most incredible MLB comebacks ever.
Manchester City Clinches The Title In The Final Seconds Of The Season
The English football Premier League has been widely labeled as the best football competition in the world. And this is not an exaggeration as the best teams in the world compete for the title every season. However, the way Manchester City won the title in 2012 was something that happens once in a lifetime.
Through the whole season, City was battling with their rivals Manchester United, and no one seemed to slow down. Before the last match of the season, City was ahead of United only because of their better goal difference. Their points were tied. A won for City meant they would win their first Premier League title in 44 years. As a nightmare for all City fans, the final match vs. the QPR was not going according to plan.
They found themselves trailing 2-0 early in the game, and the blue team of Manchester needed something special to turn the tides around. As the game progressed, City got a goal back, but a few minutes before the end of the regular 90, United were already top of the table by winning their last fixture 1-0 at Newcastle.
The fans of Manchester City were starting to lose hope, but their team managed to tie the game in stoppage time, probably with a minute left on the clock.
With the result 2-2, City was making their last attacking action for the season. After a fantastic piece of play by Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero scored literally in the last second of the game to win the title for Manchester City.
Buffalo Bills Come Back From The Dead After A Score Of 35-3
The NFL games are always dramatic, but what happened in 1993 between the Buffalo Bills and Houston Oilers still needs explaining. As the playoff games are usually more challenging, it seemed everything is decided after the Oilers were winning 35-3 in the third quarter.
Buffalo Bills started to rack up points slowly but little did everyone in the stadium expect that they would come on top 41-38 after a game-winning field goal. In 2022, this remains the biggest comeback in NFL history.
Chicago Cubs Come Back To End More Than 100 Years Of Title Drought
One of the most motivating things may be to enter a world series final after your team had the last one the series a century ago. However, this is certainly not the case after you find yourself trailing 3-0, with only one game until you lose your chance to win the series. That’s what happened to Chicago Cubs, as they found themselves with a mountain to climb after going 3-0 vs. Cleveland.
But after trying the series at 3-3, Chicago had the momentum, and they could start dreaming. However, their dreams and desires were again put to the test. After game 7, they were trailing a few runs again.
But by putting their all on the line, the Cubs managed to tie the game and go to extra innings. After quite a few dramatic plays and many emotions, the Cubs were able to snatch the game 8-7, winning their first world series in more than 100 years.
Tiger Woods’ 2019 Masters’ Redemption
Tiger Woods has always been the first man everyone thinks about when it comes to golf. He is the player that has set up the highest standards in the golf world by breaking numerous records and winning the most significant masters. But the personal life of the professional golfer also often made the major headlines, and not with good.
After long years of addiction to prescription painkillers, problems with his personal life, and a shattered image because of different accusations up to his name, Tiger Woods said a few times that he thinks his career is probably over. That was also evident as Woods just couldn’t show his best game, unable to win a major from his last 28 attempts.
After returning for the 2019 masters, no one believed that Woods would leave a mark on the tournament at all. However, the one who never stopped believing in himself was precisely him. After showing off his best game in years, Tiger Woods was able to cruise through the holes and win his 15th masters, to the disbelief of everyone watching.
Boston Celtics Grab The Win After Crashing At 35-14 In The 1Q
The NBA finals always provide us with a thrilling spectacle. However, what the Boston Celtics managed to do in the 2008 final vs. Lakers was just something else. The Celtics were ahead 2-1 in the games, but the match seven wasn’t going according to their plan. They were trailing 35-14, which was the most significant first-quarter margin in NBA history. After the end of this quarter, it looked almost sure that the Lakers would tie the games.
However, the Celtics had other plans. Even after the Lakers managed to extend their lead to 24 points, Boston managed to run 21-3 in the third quarter, eventually closing the game. After using the momentum from this fantastic comeback, they even went on to win the series in seven games.
Boston Red Sox Win The World Series After Trailing 0-3
One of the most remarkable comebacks in MLB history came in 2004 in the series final between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Everything seemed to go in favor of the strong Yankees, who went to have an advantage of three games to zero, needing one more to clinch the series. It was almost sure that the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” would continue to stay over the broken team of the Red Sox.
However, this marked the beginning of one of the most unbelievable comebacks. By showing fantastic plays, teamwork, and an unwavering mental toughness, the Red Sox could tie the series to 3-3, and eventually even win the seventh game to become the first team that successfully comes back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series.
Manchester United Win The Champions League With 2 Goals In Stoppage Time
If you are a fan of English football, you probably know that one of the nicknames of Manchester United is the comeback kings. That’s because they always seem to find a way to win, even in the most challenging situations possible. Without a doubt, one of these situations was the 1999 Champions League final between them and Bayern Munich.
United had already won two domestic cups in the season, and we’re looking to become the first English team to achieve a treble in one season (win two domestic cups and the Champions League). However, it seemed that Bayern was too strong for them, controlling the game and reaching stoppage time with a crucial 1-0 lead. However, United got back into the game after scoring from a corner, and everything looked like the match will go to extra time.
But United made another attack and was rewarded with another corner in the last seconds of the game. Unbelievably for everyone in the stadium and all the spectators, Manchester United managed to use this opportunity too by scoring the winning goal for 2-1 and completing their comeback in less than a few minutes.
Michigan State Spartans Football Emerge Victorious After Trailing 35 Points
College Football is a place where we are spectators of comeback more frequently. But what Michigan State Spartans did in 2006 was simply out of this world.
After trailing 38-3 with only ten minutes to go vs. the Northwestern Wildcats, Michigan managed to turn the game around and finish with a score of 41-38, completing the biggest comeback in NCAA football’s history.
Lebron James and the Cavaliers Defy All Odds After Taking Down The Invincible Warriors
In 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by Lebron James, had an incredible season. James had promised to deliver the NBA title back to Cleveland after the team hadn’t won it in 52 years. But it wasn’t a simple task. In the final, they faced the unbeatable team of Golden State Warriors, who had gone on an incredible run in 2016, with a record of 73-9.
And when the Warriors went on to establish a 3-1 game lead, with its next game coming at home, most specialists were almost sure that Cavaliers were done for, and a significant amount of criticism was directed to Lebron James. The warriors were 39-2 the whole season at home, and the Cavaliers needed a miracle to stay in the series, let alone win them. But after two excellent games, the Cavaliers managed to tie the series.
However, there was another mountain to climb for Cleveland. Even though they had the momentum, the final game seven would still be in the Oracle Arena, the Warriors’ fortress. That particular game was incredibly tight. After phenomenal defending from the Cavaliers and Lebron James’ heroics, they were able to snatch the game 93-89, winning their first NBA title in 52 years.
Liverpool F.C. Does The Impossible In The Champions League Final
It’s always tough when you trail one or two goals in a football game, especially if this is the Champions League final. But trailing 3-0 after the first half versus one of the strongest teams in the world is a whole different story. Liverpool found themselves in the most bottomless hole possible after precisely that happened in the 2005 Champions League final vs. Milan.
After the first half and total domination from the Italian team, it seemed that they would be the new team crowned to be champions of Europe. But in the second half, Liverpool went out as a whole different team, managing to score three spectacular goals and send the game to extra time. There wasn’t too much of an action in the extra time, and it came to the point where the Champions League title will be decided by penalty shootout.
However, after a fantastic comeback like this, it seemed that the pressure was on the Italian team’s shoulders. Eventually, they couldn’t hold up as Liverpool came on top in the penalties. This completed the most incredible comeback in Champions League history, putting Liverpool into the textbooks forever.
Tom Brady Leads The Patriots To The Super Bowl Title After Losing 28-3
Tom Brady’s New England Patriots finished the regular season with the best record in the NFL in 2017. Thus, they were confident in their chances vs. the Atlanta Falcons in the Superbowl. However, all of this confidence was left in the dust after the second quarter of the game between the two teams as the Patriots were down 21-3.
However, Tom Brady led the Patriots to redemption as they played a more decisive third quarter, before smashing the Falcons 19-0 in the fourth one, before ending the game 6-0 in the last quarter for a 34-28. This was one of the most significant comebacks in NFL history because it won the title for the Patriots and because of how it was executed.
Leicester City F.C. Win The Premier League After Almost Getting Relegated The Previous Season
We have been talking about single games up until now for the most significant comebacks in sports history. However, the fairy tale of Leicester extends in two different seasons. As we already mentioned, the English Premier League has been widely considered the best football competition globally. With that being said, the best teams worldwide compete for the Premier League crown every year.
In season 2014/15, Leicester was in the relegation zone for most of the season, managing to cling to a safe spot because of a fantastic run at the end of the campaign. They had appointed a new experienced manager and signed a few players, but their main goal was to stay in the Premier League for the upcoming season.
But how did these goals age out? Before the beginning of the 2015/16 season, Leicester City was standing at odds of 5000/1 to win the title which was significant for every online gambling lover. But the team transitioned their incredible form into the new season, quickly picking up even on the best teams in the league. They started to get impressive results, and not before long did they were started to be recognized as surprise title challengers.
After picking up on fantastic results, beating the best teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea throughout the season, they managed to win the title a few fixtures before the end of the campaign. With this, they had written their names in the competition’s history and were widely known as the most extraordinary underdog story of all time.
Elaborating On These Amazing Moments (Summary)
All of these incredible games and moments were possible because of the players who have been giving their all through devotion and passion for the sports and teams they represent. As pure spectators, we can only imagine all of the sacrifices that had to be made for these players to reach such a high level of competence, so they can make these underdog stories a reality.
As teams and players continue to get better, we can only expect that comebacks like these and the incredible performances from players and whole teams will continue. We can only appreciate these moments and have genuine respect for what all sports teams, players do and the organizations that make it possible for these events to reach us.