Friday, December 31
The greatest game of the century
 
ESPN.com

 OK, the first round of voting narrowed the field to 10 finalists for the greatest game of the century. Read about these memorable games and contests and then place your vote for the greatest one of all.

Muhammed Ali-Joe Frazier III
September 30, 1975, Quezon, Phillippines: Ali wins, TKO 14
As Larry Merchant put it, "They fought for the heavyweight championship of each other." This was the rubber match, so this decided it, although both were past their primes. But the fight was probably the most brutal, bruising spectacle in heavyweight history. Frazier finally had to quit after the 14th round, unable to see. Ali collapsed onto the floor after the TKO, unable to stand. Afterwards, Ali said, "Joe is the greatest of all time next to me."

1975 World Series, Game 6
Oct. 21, 1975: Boston Red Sox 7, Cincinnati Reds 6
This game had it all. Fred Lynn's three-run homer staked Boston to a first-inning lead. The Reds led 6-3 in the eighth, but Bernie Carbo tied it up with a pinch-hit three-run homer. The Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, when Lynn flied to George Foster in left, who nailed Denny Doyle at the plate for a double play. In the 11th, Dwight Evans made a spectacular play in right off Joe Morgan's shot and doubled Ken Griffey off first. At one point, Pete Rose stepped up to bat and told Carlton Fisk, "This is one of the greatest games ever. And we're playing in it!" Finally, Fisk led off the bottom of the 12th and lofted a fly ball toward the Green Monster. Fisk stood at home plate, waving the ball fair, coaxing it with body language ... and it hit the foul pole for the game-winning home run.

1980: Miracle on Ice
Feb. 22, 1980: United States 4, Soviet Union 3
The U.S. hockey team consisted of a bunch of amateur college players. Nobody expected them to play with the powerful Soviets, who regularly beat NHL teams and had many of the best players in the world. In an exhibition game two weeks before the Olympics, the Soviets won 10-3. In a semifinal game in Lake Placid, N.Y., the Soviets led 3-2 entering the final period. But Mark Johnson tied the game with 11½ minutes left and two minutes later team captain Mike Eruzione scored for a 4-3 lead. With the crowd wildly cheering them on, the U.S. held on for the stunning upset. Goalie Jim Craig finished with 36 saves and in the locker room, the U.S. players sing "God Bless America." Two days later, they beat Finland 4-2 to capture the gold medal.

1981 AFC playoff game
Jan. 2, 1982: San Diego Chargers 41, Miami Dolphins 38 (OT)
The Orange Bowl has hosted many memorable games, including this classic. Dan Fouts and the high-powered San Diego offense led 24-0 after one quarter. The Dolphins fought back, scoring right before the half on a hook-and-lateral play to Tony Nathan to make it 24-17. It goes back and forth and ends up 38-38 after regulation. Kellen Winslow, who delivered one of the most inspirational individual performances in history with 13 catches for 166 yards, blocked a potential game-winning field goal before Rolf Benirschke's 29-yarder 13:52 into OT finally won it for the Chargers. Winslow, towels draped over him, has to be helped off the field, unable to walk.

1984 Orange Bowl
Jan. 1, 1984: Miami 31, Nebraska 30
The top-ranked Cornhuskers were 12-point favorites to beat No. 4 Miami. It's easy to understand why -- Nebraska had scored 624 points while going 12-0, the highest-scoring team in college football history (Heisman winner Mike Rozier scored 29 TDs). But Nebraska had played only one ranked team all season and it showed as the 'Huskers fell behind 17-0 as Bernie Koser picked apart the secondary. Nebraska guard Dean Steinkuhler scored on a "fumblerooski" play, but Miami still led 31-17 entering the fourth quarter. Rozier was injured in the third quarter, but backup Jeff Smith scored with 6:55 left to make it 31-24. Later, on a fourth-and-8 from the Miami 24, Smith took an option and scored with 48 seconds left. Tom Osborne went for two. The pass was broken up and Miami won the national championship.

1992 NCAA Tournament East regional finals
March 28, 1992: Duke 104, Kentucky 103 (OT)
After an exciting, fast-paced regulation between two powerhouses, the action heated up in overtime. The two teams scored on the final five possessions of the game, trading the lead back and forth. Kentucky took a 103-102 lead with 2.9 seconds left on Sean Woods' crazy, 10-foot bankshot. That set up the final play. Grant Hill threw the ball all the way down court to Christian Laettner at the foul line. Laettner faked one way, took one dribble and hit the miracle turnaround jumper at the buzzer, completing a perfect day shooting: he scored 31 points on 10-for-10 from the field and 10-for-10 at the foul line. Duke went on to win the national title.

1994 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 7
June 14, 1994: New York Rangers 3, Vancouver Canucks 2
One of only two seven-game finals since 1971, the Rangers were seeking their first Stanley Cup championship since 1940. The Rangers led the series 3-1 but the Canucks won twice to force Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Vancouver cut it to 2-1 in the second. Mark Messier tallied late in the second period for 3-1 lead, while the Canucks once again cut it to a one-goal deficit. But in a tight third period before a screaming home crowd, the Rangers held on to win the elusive Cup.

1998 Daytona 500
Dale Earnhardt finally wins the big one
The winner of seven Winston Cup championships, Earnhardt had gone 0-for-19 at the Daytona 500. Before 185,000 screaming fans, Earnhardt led five times for 107 of the 200 laps, but the victory wasn't assured until John Andretti and Lake Speed tangled on lap 199. Earnhardt then takes a slow drive to Victory Lane, shaking hands and slapping high fives with dozens of crewmen from competing teams who line pit road.

1998 NBA Finals, Game 6
June 14, 1998: Chicago Bulls 87, Utah Jazz 86
Michael Jordan had many memorable games in his illustrious career, but this was his final game, and naturally, he won it with a game-winning shot. Jordan scored 45 points on a night when teammate Scottie Pippen was hindered with a bad back. After making a steal in the closing seconds, he hit the game-winning jumper with 5.2 seconds left to play, leaving Utah's Bryon Russell helpless. Jordan stutter-stepped, used a cross-over dribble to get free and drained the shot from the top of the key. The Bulls had their sixth NBA title in eight years.

1999 Ryder Cup
Sept. 26, 1999: United States 14½, Europe 13½
The American team staged the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history, capped by Justin Leonard's 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to clinch the victory. The Americans won 8½ of 12 points in Sunday singles at The Country Club in Bookline, Mass. to reclaim the Cup they had lost at Valderrama two years earlier.
 




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