Sports is a great medium of hope and nostalgia is one hell of a medicine. You combine sports with nostalgia and we are left with magic.
I have been on this planet long enough to remember more than two decades of sports watching. I am almanac-ish when it comes to extraordinary games and sport moment, given that is all I have obsessed over for as long as I can remember. March of 2020 has been dark for humanity because of the international pandemic situation looming above our head. The sports world has come to a complete halt from NBA, European soccer leagues, Formula 1, NFL as well as the upcoming Olympics and the golf season. COVID didn't even leave golf alone!
The only way to appease the sports fix in the coming days would be by reverting back to documentaries (separate list) & old games of note. I have compiled a list of 20 games from the global inventory of games to binge on during the lack of live action.
Greatest Comeback By The Greatest Quarterback
Super Bowl LI, 2017: Patriots V Falcons
Tom Brady got suspended first 4 games of the season because of the deflategate saga but he came back and did what Brady does best, lead the Patriots to another Super Bowl.
The talk of the town in Houston was that Patriots have never scored in the 1st quarter of the Super Bowl and they wanted to change it badly. Spoiler Alert: It didn't change. To make it worse, Patriots went down by 25 points with 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Soon after, a pure carnage of the highest order ensued from the shoulders of the Comeback Kid - Tom Brady.
I watched the game at my new apartment in Dallas with Dhanvi and Rajeev (my best friends). We were sitting on the floor and losing our mind as the score kept creeping up (yes, no furniture situation was baffling). In the moment, we knew this was special and everyone else did too. The game cemented Tom Brady as the greatest of all time. I have watched this game few more times in various formats because of it's unbelievable coverage by the sports media of our era and the aura around it will never be lost. This game will give everyone hope in these unprecedented times (except Falcons fan) and that counts for something.
Klaytheism is Clutchism
2016 Western Conference Finals, Game 6 -
Golden State Warriors V Oklahoma City Thunders
I was watching this game and it didn't look good for Golden State Warriors. This game changed the landscape of Basketball forever. Kevin Durant was close to reaching the Finals and getting over the newly minted dynasty in Golden State but Klay Thompson had other plans. Klay Thompson's heat check moment are a gift from the heaven and this game was no different. I remember having a religious experience as Klay drained 11 three pointers in route to a play off record. It was a one man show but the tension of the moment could be felt 5 years later. The Warriors kept inching closer to the Thunders and the crowd felt the fear of the dynamic defending champions. The game 6 will forever be etched as the most consequential game in shaping the NBA as we know today because of all the free agency movements snowballing from Klay's performance of a lifetime.
The Headline Has Been Written; Torres, Ughhhhhhhh, Unbelievable
UEFA Champions League Semi Finals - 2011/12
Chelsea V Barcelona
I remember exactly where I was and what I was wearing when I watched this game at 2 AM in the morning inside a small TV room of my college dorm. The game was a complete roller coaster from the get go. The game had everything from injuries, red cards, amazing goals, penalty misses and goalgasm from Gary Neville to top it off! The communal scream from around the world when Torres went past Victor Valdes is what classic sport moments are made of.
The Montreal Classic
2011 Canadian Grand Prix
I had stopped indulging into Formula 1 regularly by 2010 but Jenson Button was one of my favorite and the overtaking Vettel on the final lap was just too special to sneak out of my memory palace. The race started behind a safety car. The race was stopped for hours because of thunderstorm and heavy rainfall. While Button retiring Hamilton intrigued many, the constant chess of switching between intermediate and rain tires was fascinating. Button's wet condition driving on a wet June afternoon was a racing clinic for the ages.
Offense Is The New Defense
November 2018 - Kansas City Chiefs V Los Angeles Rams
This game is widely considered as the greatest regular season game of all time by many. That should be reason enough to rewatch this Monday Night classic. The two quarterbacks were at the peak of their throwing prowess and the offensive weapons for both the teams were as good as any. The game had everything including 1,001 yards of offense, 56 first downs and seven turnovers to name a few. The jersey match up was also easy on the eye. Everyone at work the following day talked about how the game might have changed the NFL forever, it was that special.
108 Years In The Making
2016 World Series, GAME 7 - Chicago Cubs V Cleveland Indians
The Cubs were facing the Indians in the game 7 of 2016 World Series. The Cubs hadn't won the fall classic since 1908 and Indians were trying to win it for the first time since 1948. It all came down to the final game of the 2016 season. There was extra innings, rain delays, heartbreaks, resounding joy and hysteria. As the last out of the 10th inning approaches, you could start feeling the warm fuzzy feeling inside your soul while the camera pans through thousands of longtime Chicago fanatics. I was never a baseball guy but this game reaffirms that somethings are bigger than sports.
The Unforgettable Rally in Melbourne
2017 Australian Open Final - Roger Federer V Rafael Nadal
The whole archive of Roger Federer facing off against Rafael Nadal is a re-watchable gold mine. It is very easy to pick a game from the greatest rivalry in the history of sports. The 2017 match reminded everyone about the greatness of both Nadal and Federer. The high octane 5th set wasn't for the weak hearted with long rally's and infinite breaks. Federer winning it makes it even sweeter.
Aggies Never Give Up
2016 NCAA Tournament Round of 32
Texas A&M Aggies V Northern Iowa Panthers
I was a grad student back in College Station in 2016. I watched half the game in Memorial Student Center Basement Cafeteria and the game's final minutes unfolded in the greatness of Northgate! It will forever be in the top 5 sports moment shortlist of my life. There were 40 seconds left, people were leaving the bar and the Aggies were trailing by 12 points. The legend of Alex Caruso started back then and the double overtime comeback of improbability solidified it. March Madness got so mad, it felt psychotic.
This is Anfield
2019 UEFA Champions league Semi Finals
Liverpool V Barcelona
Liverpool were trailing by 3 goals and needed 4 goals to beat Messi's Barcelona. The players, the coaches, the city and the people all around the world came together in some mystical way to push the team across the line. Everytime you watch the game, it will resonate a pulse of inevitability & the power of meant to be. Liverpool's gameplan that night was will and desire. It is a strong message in today's world where hope is a little shaken but it isn't lost. It is arguably the greatest Liverpool performance under the famous Anfield lights and that's transcendental.
A Puncher's Chance
Canelo V Golovkin 1
The fight was an instant classic. Everyone who watched the fight knew in the moment that it will be talked about for years. The result wasn't reflective of the match up but it was more than scorecards. The fighters were fast, smooth and on the front foot at all times. The crowd got crazier and switched allegiances with every punch exchanged which added to the lure. The energy of the fight is therapeutic sometimes, even taped.
Loco El Classico
2014 La Liga - Real Madrid V Barcelona
7 goals in an El Classico is mostly unheard of but this Real- Barca match up wasn't like any other. Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Bale and Benzema were among the many superstars partaking in the game. The game was not short of fireworks with goals, suspensions and Benzema missing easy chances but so is life. Rivalry games are edgy but this game was back and forth direct football with Barca's ball control play complemented by Real's fast counter attack.
You Started The Superteam, Bro
2013 NBA Finals, Game 6 - San Antonio Spurs V Miami Heat
The game is a classic in its entirety but the last 8 seconds is a movie in it's own. Tim Duncan and Greg Popovich where seconds away from winning their 5th title by defeating the concept of super team. Miami fans started leaving the arena in disbelief and disgust before the game ended. Those people still live in horror of missing out on the greatest sequence of Basketball.
2011-12 Season Finale - Manchester City V Queens Park Rangers
It is one of the greatest game of sports I have ever seen. Manchester City goes through the full circle of being Manchester City of the last century. In a span of 90 minutes, they went from inevitable victory to 'this can't be happening to us again' and back to 'this is the greatest day of our life'. Manchester City were losing 2-1 in extra time and the game ended with Aguero cementing himself in premier league mount Rushmore by helping Citizens win the league for the first time in 44 years.
You'll Become A Believer
Europa League Semi Finals - Liverpool V Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund scored two goals within 10 minutes. Suddenly Liverpool needed 3 goals in 80 minutes to advance into the Europa League Finals. Anfield has extra terrestrial powers on European nights unlike any other stadium. That was the night when a newly appointed Jurgen Klopp felt the power of the Kop and Liverpool has not been the same since that game. The selling point of the game was its back and forth affair. Everytime Liverpool scored, Dortmund came back with an answer but something crazier would happen the very next moment.
Iron Sharpens the Iron Bowl
2013 Iron Bowl - Alabama V Auburn
The kick six game is more than the best college football game of last decade, it could very well be the greatest game of college football ever. The finish can be defined in one word as 'goosebumps'. The game had an early lead, a comeback, a game winning opportunity with expiring clock and an ultimate answering of the prayers for the Auburn Tigers. Who doesn't like to see Alabama's heart being broken on national television?