America's Greatest Sports Moments by State
The task is simple. Find the defining sports moment from all 50 states. That moment can come from a team, at any level, based in the state, or an individual from the state competing in an individual sport.
Some of the picks are obvious. You'll know those when you see them. Some are much, much more difficult to determine. Some moments might make you nostalgic. Others might make you downright mad.
These are the greatest sports moments in the history of every state.
50. South Dakota: Jackrabbits Advance to Sweet 16
When: March 25, 2019
Where: Moda Center (Portland, Oregon)
Team: South Dakota State University
Sport: Women's basketball
Key figures: Head coach Aaron Johnston, guard Macy Miller, guard Madison Guebert
What happened: South Dakota State defeated Syracuse 75-64 in the NCAA tournament to make the Sweet 16 for the first time.
South Dakota: Bottom Line
The breakthrough for the South Dakota State women's basketball team came in coach Aaron Johnston's 21st season and was a long time coming.
Johnston led SDSU to the NCAA Division II national title in 2003 before the team made the move to Division I, and they'd made the NCAA tournament nine out of 12 seasons since becoming full-time Division I members in 2007.
But the Jackrabbits never advanced past the second round before the 2019 upset of Syracuse in the Carrier Dome put them in the Sweet 16.
South Dakota: What Happened Next?
South Dakota State lost to Oregon and All-American guard Sabrina Ionescu, 63-53, in the next round in Portland, but finished ranked No. 22 in the final Associated Press poll.
Star guard Macy Miller was selected by the Seattle Storm in the 2019 WNBA draft but ended up signing a contract to play professionally in Spain.
49. Alaska: Seawolves Make History With NCAA Hockey Victory
When: March 16, 1991
Where: Conte Forum (Boston, Massachusetts)
Team: University of Alaska-Anchorage
Sport: Men's hockey
Key figures: Head coach Brush Christiansen, right wing Rob Conn, goalie Paul Krake, Boston College right wing David Emma
What happened: UAA men's hockey sweeps Boston College in three-game series and advances to NCAA tournament quarterfinals.
Alaska: Bottom Line
The signature college sports program in Alaska for the last 40 years has been the University of Alaska-Anchorage men's hockey team, which was started by head coach Brush Christiansen in 1979.
In its history, UAA has made it to just three NCAA tournaments, all from 1990 to 1992. The Seawolves' only win in those tournaments was an improbable upset of Boston College, which had Hobey Baker Award winner and future NHL player David Emma.
Alaska: What Happened Next?
UAA's win over Boston College shocked college hockey and cemented itself into Alaskan sports history.
The Seawolves lost in the NCAA quarterfinals to eventual national champion Northern Michigan, but star right winger Rob Conn went on to play six seasons in the NHL, and head coach Brush Christiansen retired after the 1996 season.
The 1990-91 UAA team was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in 2020.
48. Montana: Grizzlies Shock Marshall for NCAA Title
When: Dec. 16, 1995
Where: Marshall University Stadium (Huntington, West Virginia)
Team: University of Montana
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach Don Read, quarterback Dave Dickenson, safety Blaine McElmurry, kicker Andy Larson
What happened: The University of Montana won its first national title with a 22-20 win over Marshall University in the NCAA Division I-AA championship game.
Montana: Bottom Line
The University of Montana stepped into the lion's den at Marshall University with the national championship on the line and walked away victorious thanks to a 25-yard field goal by Andy Larson with 29 seconds left.
The game was a battle of two great quarterbacks, with Dave Dickenson leading the way for Montana and future NFL starter Chad Pennington behind center for Marshall.
The Grizzlies' defense ended up being the star of the championship game by holding All-American running back Chris Parker to 94 yards on 23 carries.
Montana: What Happened Next?
Montana head coach Don Read's career was a study in perseverance. he retired after the 1995 national title, his 10th season at Montana and 26th season as a head coach.
Montana quarterback Dave Dickenson, just 5-foot-11, played 12 seasons in the NFL and CFL and led the British Columbia Lions to the 2006 Grey Cup.
He's now the head coach for the CFL's Calgary Stampeders.
47. Delaware: Keeler, Hens Claw Way to College Football Mountaintop
When: Dec. 19, 2003
Where: Finley Stadium (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
Team: University of Delaware
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach K.C. Keeler, quarterback Andy Hall, wide receiver David Boler
What happened: Delaware won its first national title since 1979 and first in NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS), dominating Colgate 40-0 in the championship game.
Delaware: Bottom Line
Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler was a linebacker on the Hens' 1979 NCAA Division II championship team, then returned as head coach in 2002 after nine seasons at Rowan, including five losses in the NCAA Division III championship game.
Keeler's 2003 squad was rarely matched. The Fightin' Blue Hens beat Navy and had six straight wins over ranked opponents to close out the season.
In the championship game, Colgate, which was on a 21-game winning streak, didn't score a point.
Delaware: What Happened Next?
Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler was one of the most well-known football coaches in America for a hot minute following the 2003 national title — thanks in no small part to his habit of wearing sunglasses at all times during games, day or night.
He signed a 10-year contract with Delaware after the 2008 season, but was fired after going 5-6 in 2012.
He's been the head coach at Sam Houston State since 2014.
46. New Hampshire: Miller Finally Captures Olympic Gold
When: Feb. 21, 2010
Where: Whistler Creekside (Whistler, British Columbia)
Sport: Downhill skiing
Key figures: Bode Miller, Croatia's Ivica Kostelic, Switzerland's Silvan Zurbriggen
What happened: New Hampshire native Bode Miller won the gold medal in the super combined downhill skiing event at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
New Hampshire: Bottom Line
Bode Miller was Team USA's poster boy at the 2006 Winter Olympics following two silver medals in downhill skiing in 2002 and flamed out in spectacular fashion, partying on a "legendary" level, according to Miller himself, and not even winning a medal.
He bounced back in 2010 to become the first American to win three skiing medals at a single Olympics. Miller won the lone gold of his six Olympic medals in the super combined, edging Croatia's Ivica Kostelic by just over three-tenths of a second.
New Hampshire: What Happened Next?
Bode Miller wasn't done winning Olympic medals after 2010. He returned for one more go-round, winning a bronze medal in the Super-G at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Miller ended his career as the most successful American male downhill skier in history with two world championships and 33 World Cup trophies to go along with his Olympic medals.
45. North Dakota: So Many NDSU Titles to Pick From
When: Jan. 4, 2014
Where: Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas)
Team: North Dakota State University
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach Craig Bohl, quarterback Brock Jensen, offensive tackle Billy Turner, cornerback Marcus Williams
What happened: North Dakota State beat Towson 35-7 in the FCS championship game.
North Dakota: Bottom Line
With 16 national championships, it's tough to pick just one North Dakota State team to single out, but for our money, it's the 2013 team that went 15-0 and capped off the tenure of head coach Craig Bohl.
That's because this was the team that was paid $350,000 to play at Kansas State — and won — and brought ESPN's College GameDay to Fargo.
The Bison's defense held opponents to 14 points or less 11 times in 2013, and was at its best in the FCS playoffs, when they gave up just 42 points over four games, capped by a blowout win over Towson in the championship game.
North Dakota: What Happened Next?
Head coach Craig Bohl left North Dakota State after 2013 and his third consecutive FCS national title to become the head coach at the University of Wyoming.
Chris Klieman took over and won four national titles in five seasons before he left to become the head coach at Kansas State following an unbeaten season in 2018.
In 2019, head coach Matt Entz led the Bison to a 16-0 record and FCS national title, and quarterback Trey Lance became the first freshman to win the Walter Payton Award.
44. Maine: Black Bears Win Improbable NCAA Title
When: April 3, 1993
Where: Bradley Center (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Team: University of Maine
Sport: Men's hockey
Key figures: Head coach Shawn Walsh, left wing Paul Kariya, center Jim Montgomery
What happened: The University of Maine beat Lake Superior State 5-4 to win its first NCAA Division I national championship.
Maine: Bottom Line
It's not much of a stretch to say the 1992-93 University of Maine men's hockey team put together one of the greatest seasons in college sports history.
The Black Bears went an incredible 43-1-2 on the way to their first national title behind Hobey Baker Award winner and future NHL superstar Paul Kariya and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Jim Montgomery.
The only loss for Maine that season was to Boston University, 7-6 in overtime, and the Black Bears topped Boston one month later in the Hockey East Tournament championship game.
Maine: What Happened Next?
Maine head coach Shawn Walsh had a legitimate powerhouse on his hands after winning the 1993 national title and finishing as runner-up in 1995.
That was the same year the NCAA came down hard on Maine for eligibility violations, and they were banned from the tournament in 1996 and 1997, but the Black Bears returned to win another national championship in 1999.
Walsh was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2000 and died in 2001.
43. New Mexico: Al Unser Sr. Rides to Indy 500 Immortality
When: May 24, 1987
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Speedway, Indiana)
Team: Team Penske
Sport: Auto racing
Key figures: Al Unser Sr., Robert Guerrero, Mario Andretti
What happened: Al Unser Sr. won his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500.
New Mexico: Bottom Line
Albuquerque native Al Unser Sr. won the Indy 500 for the first time in 1970 when he was 31 years old, then two more times in 1971 and 1978. He was thought to be well past his prime when he entered the field in the 1987 race.
With 20 laps to go, Unser Sr. trailed Robert Guerrero by a full lap, but made it up after Guerrero ran into mechanical problems. Unser held off Guerrero and Mario Andretti down the stretch.
The improbable victory five days before Unser's 48th birthday still makes him the oldest winner in Indy 500 history.
New Mexico: What Happened Next?
The 1987 Indy 500 was the last victory in Al Unser Sr.'s career. He retired after racing in the 1993 Indy 500, and his four victories there are tied with A.J. Foyt and Mark Mears for most all-time.
The Unser family's history with the Indy 500 is pretty epic. Unser Sr.'s brother, Bobby, won the race three times, and his son, Al Jr., won twice.
42. Rhode Island: Scrappy Friars Make Final Four
When: March 22, 1987
Where: Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Team: Providence College
Sport: Men's basketball
Key figures: Head coach Rick Pitino, guard Billy Donovan, forward Darryl Wright.
What happened: Providence defeated No. 1 seed Georgetown, 88-73, in the Southeast Regional final.
Rhode Island: Bottom Line
Providence College had not been to the Final Four since 1973 before 34-year-old head coach Rick Pitino led the Friars to an upset of No. 1 seed and Big East rival Georgetown in the Southeast Regional final.
Providence had two stars that captured the nation's attention on its 1987 tournament run — Pitino and scrappy, undersized guard Billy Donovan.
Donovan had a career average of 10.6 points but averaged almost 25 points and 8 assists in the tournament, including a career-high 35 points in an opening-round win over Alabama-Birmingham in Birmingham.
Rhode Island: What Happened Next?
Providence head coach Rick Pitino left after the season to become the head coach of the New York Knicks.
But Pitino had his greatest successes at the college level, leading the University of Kentucky to the 1996 NCAA championship and Louisville to the 2013 NCAA championship, which was later vacated because of recruiting violations.
Billy Donovan led the University of Florida to back-to-back NCAA championships as its head coach in 2006 and 2007.
41. Utah: Stockon's Shot Puts Jazz Into NBA Finals
When: May 29, 1997
Where: The Summit (Houston, Texas)
Team: Utah Jazz
Key figures: Point guard John Stockton, head coach Jerry Sloan, Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley
What happened: Utah Jazz point guard hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in a 103-100 win over the Houston Rockets to clinch the Western Conference title.
Utah: Bottom Line
Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton already had his bona fides by the 1997 NBA playoffs, including a spot on the 1992 Dream Team. But his 3-pointer at the buzzer of Game 6 in the 1997 Western Conference finals made him a legend.
Stockton scored 25 points and dished out 13 assists in the win, but a closer examination of the shot will make you appreciate it that much more. As Stockton goes up for the shot, Houston star Charles Barkley closes on him. Stockton adjusts in mid-air and has to essentially get the shot off with one hand.
And he nails it.
Utah: What Happened Next?
John Stockton's shot gave Utah its first Western Conference title and the first of two straight trips to the NBA Finals — both times losing to Michael Jordan and the Bulls.
Stockton retired as the NBA's career leader in assists and steals. He was inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 as an individual and 2010 as a member of the 1992 USA Olympic men's basketball team.
40. Oregon: 'The Pick' Changes Oregon's Football Fortunes
When: Oct. 22, 1994
Where: Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Oregon)
Team: University of Oregon
Sport: College football
Key figures: Cornerback Kenny Wheaton, head coach Rich Brooks, Washington quarterback Damon Huard
What happened: Oregon cornerback Kenny Wheaton returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown and a 31-20 win over hated rival University of Washington.
Oregon: Bottom Line
Oregon hadn't beaten Washington in five years before one fateful day at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
The Huskies were driving for the win with under one minute to play when Damon Huard tried to test freshman cornerback Kenny Wheaton in the flat. Wheaton leaped on the pass and intercepted the pass, racing 97 yards for a touchdown and a 31-20 win, sparking pandemonium for Ducks fans.
Upon further inspection, it can't be understated what a bad decision Huard made on the play — particularly the lack of velocity he put on the ball.
Oregon: What Happened Next?
Washington quarterback Damon Huard played 12 seasons in the NFL and won two Super Bowls while he was Tom Brady's backup on the New England Patriots.
Kenny Wheaton played three seasons for the Dallas Cowboys but is still most well-known for his Oregon interception return.
That play is widely credited as being the turning point for the Ducks to become a national power in the ensuing decades.
39. Vermont: Skiing Phenom Dominates 1952 Winter Olympics
When: Feb. 14 and 20, 1952
Where: Rodkleiva (Oslo, Norway)
Sport: Downhill skiing
Key figures: Andrea Mead Lawrence
What happened: Lawrence won gold medals at the 1952 Winter Olympics in the giant slalom and slalom.
Vermont: Bottom Line
Andrea Mead Lawrence's family owned the Vermont ski resort at Pico Peak, and the skiing phenom was on the national team by the time she was 14 years old and participated in her first Olympics in 1948 at just 15 years old.
In 1952, she became the first American to win two gold medals in alpine skiing, taking first place in the giant slalom and slalom.
Lawrence's domination in the giant slalom was something to behold as she beat runner-up Dagmar Rom of Austria by over two seconds.
Vermont: What Happened Next?
Andrea Mead Lawrence returned to ski in the Winter Olympics one more time, in 1956, where she finished fourth in the giant slalom.
It's remarkable that she even was able to do that as she gave birth to three children between winning the two gold medals in 1952 and the next Olympics.
Lawrence was a lifelong champion for the environment and died in 2009 at 76 years old.
38. Maryland: Ripken Sets 'Iron Man' Record
When: Sept. 6, 1995
Where: Camden Yards (Baltimore, Maryland)
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Key figures: Shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig
What happened: The Orioles' shortstop broke Lou Gehrig's MLB career record of 2,130 consecutive games played.
Maryland: Bottom Line
The lead-up to Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. breaking one of baseball's most hallowed records was years-long, and it came at the exact right time for MLB — the season after the World Series had been canceled because of a strike.
Ripken Jr., ever humble, brought a flair for the dramatic into his record-breaking game against the California Angels with a fourth-inning home run while President Bill Clinton was in the ESPN broadcasting booth calling the game.
Ripken received a 22-minute standing ovation when the game became official, and it's still one of the most-watched baseball games of all time.
Maryland: What Happened Next?
Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. kept going after breaking the record. He broke Sachio Kinagusa's world record for games played in 1996.
Ripken Jr.'s streak came to an end at 2,632 games, and on his own terms, when he pulled himself out of the lineup for the last home game of the 1998 season against the New York Yankees.
37. Washington: What If We Told You the Sonics Won an NBA Title?
When: June 1, 1979
Where: Capital Center (Landover, Maryland)
Team: Seattle Supersonics
Key figures: Head coach Lenny Wilkens, guard Dennis Johnson, center Jack Sikma
What happened: The Seattle SuperSonics defeated the Washington Bullets in five games for the 1979 NBA title.
Washington: Bottom Line
One year after losing to the Washington Bullets in the 1978 NBA Finals, the Seattle SuperSonics played their way into a rematch and delivered the only NBA title in franchise history and the first professional sports championship in Seattle since the Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917.
No player stood out for the Sonics more than guard Dennis Johnson, who brought home NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honors almost entirely thanks to his defense and passing.
He also was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team.
Washington: What Happened Next?
Seattle guard Dennis Johnson was traded to the Phoenix Suns one year after winning the title and won two more NBA titles with the Boston Celtics in the mid-1980s.
The Sonics made the NBA Finals just once more, losing to the Chicago Bulls in 1996, before relocating and becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.
36. Iowa: Gable's Timeless Olympic Wrestling Glory
When: Aug. 31, 1972
Where: Messegalande Convention Center (Munich, West Germany)
Sport: Freestyle wrestling
Key figures: Team USA wrestler Dan Gable, Russian wrestler Ruslan Ashuraliyev
What happened: Iowa native Dan Gable capped his run to an Olympic gold medal with a 12-0 win over Russia's Ruslan Ashuraliyev in the 68-kilogram final, not allowing a point through the entire games.
Iowa: Bottom Line
Dan Gable won two NCAA Division I titles at Iowa State and a world championship in 1971 before the Olympics, but Munich was where he made his final case for being the greatest freestyle wrestler of all time.
What was most remarkable about Gable's win was the Russians, dominant in the sport, vowed in the previous years to find a wrestler that could beat Gable in the Olympics.
By the time he reached the final, and because of the Olympic scoring rules that year, Gable could've lost the match to the Soviet Union's Ruslan Ashuraliyev by a score of up to 7-0 and still won the gold medal.
Iowa: What Happened Next?
Dan Gable became the wrestling coach at the University of Iowa in 1976 and coached there until 1997, winning 21 Big Ten Conference championships and 15 NCAA Division national championships.
Gable's continued success helped keep wrestling in the public eye for two decades, and it wasn't just on the college level.
He also was the head coach for the USA Olympic freestyle team three times and six times at the world championships.
35. Virginia: Cavs Win Long-Awaited NCAA Basketball Title
When: April 8, 2019
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Team: University of Virginia
Sport: Men's basketball
Key figures: Head coach Tony Bennett, small forward De'Andre Hunter, guard Kyle Guy, guard Ty Jerome
What happened: The University of Virginia beat Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime to win the NCAA national championship.
Virginia: Bottom Line
No story about Virginia's 2019 NCAA title is complete without mentioning their collapse at the 2018 NCAA tournament, when the Cavaliers lost to tiny Maryland-Baltimore County — the first time a No. 16 seed topped a No. 1 seed in men's tournament history.
Virginia dealt with becoming a national punchline for the next year and finally silenced all the doubters by winning the 2019 national championship — the first in school history.
The title came in the 10th season for head coach Tony Bennett, who had never led the Cavs past the Elite Eight.
Virginia: What Happened Next?
Like any team that wins the national championship nowadays, Virginia experienced a mass exodus of its roster to the NBA.
Three Cavaliers were selected in the 2019 NBA draft. Small forward De'Andre Hunter was the No. 4 overall pick, point guard Ty Jerome was taken in the first round at No. 24 overall and guard Kyle Guy was taken in the second round.
34. Arkansas: Broyles, Undefeated Hogs Win Football National Title
When: January 1, 1965
Where: Cotton Bowl (Dallas)
Team: University of Arkansas
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach Frank Broyles, linebacker Ronnie Caveness, quarterback Fred Marshall
What happened: The University of Arkansas beat the University of Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl 10-7 to cap off an unbeaten, untied 11-0 season for the national championship.
Arkansas: Bottom Line
Arkansas' lone national title under legendary head coach Frank Broyles has only gained more legitimacy over time since it came during an era when the AP Poll and the UPI Coaches Poll voted for the national champion before bowl games were played.
In this case, Alabama was given a share of the national title before it lost to Texas in the Orange Bowl. The Football Writers Association of America voted after the bowl games and rightfully named the Razorbacks as champions after their win over Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl.
Six other voting services followed suit.
Arkansas: What Happened Next?
Frank Broyles coached Arkansas until 1976, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, then served as the school's athletic director until 2007. Broyles died in 2017 at 92 years old.
Linebacker Ronnie Caveness played four seasons in the NFL and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and died in 2014 at 71 years old.
33. Mississippi: Ole Miss Wins Only NCAA Football Title
When: Jan. 2, 1961
Where: Tulane Stadium (New Orleans)
Team: University of Mississippi
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach Johnny Vaught, quarterback Jake Gibbs, halfback Bobby Crespino
What happened: Ole Miss beat Rice in the Sugar Bowl 14-6 to complete an undefeated season and clinch a national championship.
Mississippi: Bottom Line
The ridiculousness of how national titles were awarded before 1965 can't be overstated. The "major" polls that determined a champion were voted on before bowl games were played.
Thank goodness for the forward-thinking Football Writers Association of America, who were way ahead of the curve in waiting to vote until after bowl games.
This year, they awarded a national title to unbeaten Ole Miss over Minnesota, which won the title despite going 8-2 and losing to Washington in the Rose Bowl.
Mississippi: What Happened Next?
Ole Miss never won another national championship after 1960 that was recognized by any legitimate voting services.
Ole Miss actually claims three national titles in school history —1959, 1960 and 1962 — and all came under head coach Johnny Vaught.
The only title that's recognized by the NCAA is in 1960 because the FWAA voted for it.
32. South Carolina: Clemson's Last-Second TD Downs Alabama
When: Jan. 9, 2017
Where: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)
Team: Clemson University
Sport: College football
Key figures: Quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, head coach Dabo Swinney
What happened: Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with :01 left to win the College Football Playoff Championship over the University of Alabama, 35-31.
South Carolina: Bottom Line
Clemson came up just short of winning the CFP Championship the previous season, losing to Alabama in the championship game.
This year, Clemson got the ball back trailing 31-28 with two minutes left, and quarterback Deshaun Watson engineered a 64-yard drive that culminated in a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow in the corner of the end zone with just one second left.
The score gave the Tigers their first national title since 1981 and the first national title for head coach Dabo Swinney, who won a national title as a player for Alabama in 1991.
South Carolina: What Happened Next?
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was picked No. 12 overall by the Houston Texans in the 2017 NFL draft and is a two-time Pro Bowler.
Clemson won another national title in 2018, completing a 15-0 unbeaten season with a 44-16 win over Alabama in the CFP Championship Game.
But the Tigers lost to LSU in the CFP Championship Game following the 2019 season.
31. Arizona: Diamondbacks Deliver World Series in Record Time
When: Nov. 4, 2001
Where: Bank One Ballpark (Phoenix, Arizona)
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Key figures: Pitcher Randy Johnson, left fielder Luis Gonzalez, New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera
What happened: Diamondbacks win Game 7 of the World Series over the New York Yankees, 3-2.
Arizona: Bottom Line
The Arizona Diamondbacks became the fastest franchise to win a World Series in MLB history, winning their first title just four years into existence.
They did it in dramatic fashion, topping the New York Yankees in an electric Game 7, in Phoenix, on a bloop single by Luis Gonzalez that scored Jay Bell for the winning run. That the hit came off future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, which made it all the sweeter for Diamondback fans.
Arizona pitcher Randy Johnson went 3-0 in the World Series, including Game 7.
Arizona: What Happened Next?
The Diamondbacks were in the postseason again in 2002, but were swept by the Cardinals in the NLDS. Arizona lost 111 games in 2004 and wouldn't win another division title until 2007.
The Diamondbacks' win ended the Yankees' quest for three straight World Series titles — they wouldn't win again until 2009.
It also featured five future Hall of Famers: Randy Johnson, Derek Jeter, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera and Joe Torre.
30. Oklahoma: Stoops' Sooners Bring Glory Back
When: Jan. 3, 2001
Where: Pro Player Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)
Team: University of Oklahoma
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach Bob Stoops, quarterback Josh Heupel, linebacker Teddy Lehman
What happened: Oklahoma beat Florida State 13-2 in the BCS Championship Game.
Oklahoma: Bottom Line
The University of Oklahoma football team has seven national titles, but only one in the modern era, in 2000, under second-year head coach Bob Stoops.
The team achieved the big accomplishment after being ranked No. 19 in the preseason poll — the first time in five years they'd been in the preseason Top 25.
The Sooners shocked the nation by going 13-0 and topping Florida State in a slug-it-out BCS Championship Game in which the Seminoles' only points came on a safety.
Oklahoma: What Happened Next?
The 2000 national title essentially kicked off the modern era as we know it for the Sooners — a period of out-and-out dominance that's included 13 Big 12 titles and three Heisman Trophy winners.
The one thing the Sooners have been missing in that time is another national title. They lost in the BCS Championship Game in 2003 and 2004 and are 0-for-4 in College Football Playoff appearances since 2015.
29. Georgia: Bulldogs Follow Herschel to National Championship
When: Jan. 1, 1981
Where: Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans)
Team: University of Georgia
Key figures: Head coach Vince Dooley, running back Herschel Walker, cornerback Scott Woerner
What happened: Georgia capped off an unbeaten season with a 17-10 win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl for its first national title since 1942.
Georgia: Bottom Line
There's a solid argument to be made that Georgia actually won this national title on National Signing Day in March 1980. That's when they signed the top high school recruit in the nation — running back Herschel Walker out of tiny Johnson County High School in Wrightsville, Georgia.
As a freshman, Walker rushed for 1,616 yards and scored 17 touchdowns for the unbeaten Bulldogs.
In the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame, it was all Walker again. He rushed 36 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns with a dislocated left shoulder.
Georgia: What Happened Next?
Georgia hasn't won a national title since 1980, and the Bulldogs were on the losing end of one of the great comebacks in college football history when they lost to SEC foe Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game in January 2018.
Herschel Walker won the Heisman Trophy as a junior in 1982, then left school for the USFL, where he signed a record contract for three years and $5 million with the New Jersey Generals.
28. Wyoming: Gardner Pulls Off All-Time Olympic Upset
When: Sept. 27, 2000
Where: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (Sydney, Australia)
Sport: Greco-Roman Wrestling
Key figures: Russian heavyweight Aleksandr Karelin, U.S. heavyweight Rulon Gardner
What happened: Team USA heavyweight Rulon Gardner defeated Russia's Aleksandr Karelin in the 2000 Olympic finals, ending Karelin's 13-year winning streak.
Wyoming: Bottom Line
The greatest upset in Olympic wrestling history occurred at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, when Wyoming native and Team USA heavyweight Rulon Gardner defeated Russian Aleksandr Karelin, 1-0, in the gold-medal match.
Karelin, trying for his fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal, had not lost a match in 13 years and hadn't allowed a point to be scored against him in six years before the 2000 final.
Gardner's upset was seismic and became worldwide news — amplified by his country-boy personality.
Wyoming: What Happened Next?
Rulon Gardner returned to the Olympics in 2004 and won a bronze medal before he retired. Gardner, who wrestled at approximately 270 pounds, saw his weight balloon to almost 500 pounds in the years after his last competition.
He also made news from two brushes with death. In 2002, he had a toe amputated after he was stranded overnight during a snowmobile outing. In 2007, he crash-landed a plane into a freezing lake but swam to shore and survived after being stranded overnight.
In 2012, he filed for bankruptcy, and his Olympic gold medal went up for auction.
27. Tennessee: Vols, Fulmer Win First BCS Title
When: Jan. 4, 1999
Where: Bank One Ballpark (Phoenix)
Team: University of Tennessee
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach Phillip Fulmer, quarterback Tee Martin, linebacker Al Wilson, wide receiver Peerless Price
What happened: The University of Tennessee beat Florida State 23-16 in the first BCS Championship Game.
Tennessee: Bottom Line
Tennessee won at least one national title in four straight decades beginning in the 1930s, but none since 1967.
Phillip Fulmer's greatest team went 13-0 and cemented themselves as one of the great college football teams of all time behind a stout defense and a diverse offense — the result of several years of top-level recruiting by Fulmer's staff.
The Vols' closest games were the first two of the 1998 season, a win over Syracuse on a last-second field goal and an overtime win over Florida in Knoxville that broke a five-year losing streak to the Gators.
Tennessee: What Happened Next?
Phillip Fulmer coached Tennessee until 2008 but never came close to winning a national title again.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and returned to Tennessee in 2017 in a special advisory role to the president and helped hire current head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
26. Nevada: Tark, Runnin' Rebs Win NCAA Title
When: April 2, 1990
Where: McNichols Sports Arena (Denver, Colorado)
Team: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Sport: Men's basketball
Key figures: Head coach Jerry Tarkanian, forward Larry Johnson, guard Anderson Hunt, guard/forward Stacey Augmon
What happened: UNLV beat Duke 103-73 in the 1990 NCAA tournament championship game.
Nevada: Bottom Line
UNLV reeled off 33 straight wins on the way to winning the only NCAA championship in program history, and the Runnin' Rebels did so in devastating fashion with a record-setting, 30-point win over Duke in the national championship game.
It's hard in today's day and age to explain how much the 1990 UNLV team and its outspoken coach, Jerry Tarkanian, captured the public's imagination during this time.
In the NCAA tournament, UNLV won three games by 30 points and had only one close game, a 69-67 win over Ball State in the Sweet 16.
Nevada: What Happened Next?
No team was ever more of a lock to win the NCAA championship than UNLV in the 1990-91 season. They returned every key piece from the 1990 championship, including four future NBA draft picks that featured 1991 No. 1 overall Larry Johnson.
As great a moment as winning the title was for UNLV in 1990, it was equally as devastating when they brought their 34-0 record into the 1991 national semifinals and lost to Duke in one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history.
25. Missouri: Chiefs End 50-Year Super Bowl Drought
When: Feb. 2, 2020
Where: Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)
Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Key figures: Head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill
What happened: The Kansas City Chiefs rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers for their first Super Bowl win since 1969.
Missouri: Bottom Line
It was a toss-up between the Chiefs' Super Bowl win and the Kansas City Royals' 1985 World Series win for Missouri's greatest sports moment, but we'll give the nod to the Chiefs by the slimmest of margins.
That takes into account a massive drought between Super Bowls for the Chiefs — wins or appearances — and a dramatic history of playoff failures by the franchise.
Against the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, quarterback Patrick Mahomes brilliantly engineered a second-half comeback, and the Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to rally from 10 points or more in each of their postseason wins.
Missouri: What Happened Next?
The Chiefs have the best young player in professional sports — quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was named NFL Most Valuable Player in 2018, his first year as a starter, before winning a Super Bowl in his second year.
The big question moving forward is Mahomes' next contract. It's widely thought the deal will make him the first NFL player to make at least $40 million per year and could be guaranteed up to $200 million.
24. Wisconsin: Packers Win first Super Bowl
When: Jan. 15, 1967
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, California)
Team: Green Bay Packers
Key figures: Head coach Vince Lombardi, quarterback Bart Starr, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Fred "The Hammer" Williamson
What happened: Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas Chiefs 35-10 in the first Super Bowl.
Wisconsin: Bottom Line
The foundations of the NFL go back to this game.
The first Super Bowl in history pitted the powerful, old NFL against the upstart AFL and created a sports spectacle that would overtake every other championship in North American team sports within two decades. And it probably doesn't get off the ground without the Packers taking care of business and beating the Chiefs in the first Super Bowl and creating the buildup to when the AFL did finally win.
Without that initial drama, who knows what the game would've become?
Wisconsin: What Happened Next?
The Green Bay Packers repeated as Super Bowl champions in 1968, then didn't win another Super Bowl until 1996.
Green Bay head coach Vince Lombardi stepped down as head coach after winning the second Super Bowl and returned to coach just one more season, with the Washington Redskins in 1969.
Lombardi died of cancer in 1970 at the age of 57.
23. Louisiana: Saints Become Symbol of Hope
When: Feb. 7, 2010
Where: Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)
Team: New Orleans Saints
Key figures: Quarterback Drew Brees, head coach Sean Payton, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning
What happened: The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.
Louisiana: Bottom Line
Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana in 2005 and forced the New Orleans Saints to play their games that season in different locations, and they went 3-13.
Their fortunes began to change after that, and like the city, the team rebuilt itself quickly into a contender, starting with the signing of free-agent quarterback Drew Brees.
In the franchise's first trip to the Super Bowl after the 2009 season, they trailed at halftime but rallied in the second half for the win, with Brees bringing home Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honors.
Louisiana: What Happened Next?
Just five years after Hurricane Katrina, the Saints' win in the Super Bowl had a major impact and became a rallying point for the people of New Orleans — a symbol that rebuilding efforts weren't in vain.
But a dark shadow loomed over the championship. It was discovered that the Saints had a wide-ranging bounty system that paid players "bonuses" for injuring other team's players.
A lot of people got suspended.
22. West Virginia: Marshall's Resolve After Tragedy
When: Sept. 25, 1971
Where: Marshall University Stadium (Huntington, West Virginia)
Team: Marshall University
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach Jack Lengyel
What happened: Marshall University won its first home game one year after a plane crash killed 37 players, eight coaches and 25 boosters — beating Xavier 15-13 with a touchdown on the final play of the game.
West Virginia: Bottom Line
Southern Airways Flight 932 crashed on Nov. 14, 1970, killing all 75 on board. That included 37 Marshall football players, eighth coaches and 25 boosters.
The resilience the football program showed by returning to play was remarkable and a true testament to the human spirit. New head coach Jack Lengyel fielded a patchwork team that included just nine players from the previous year's varsity.
Freshmen were allowed to play for the first time in NCAA history due to a special waiver, along with walk-ons and members of the Marshall basketball team who had already used up their eligibility in that sport.
West Virginia: What Happened Next?
Marshall went just 2-8 in 1971 and Jack Lengyel went 9-33 in four seasons. But the program's resolve to get back on the field would come to define it — Marshall won NCAA Division I-AA titles in 1992 and 1996 before moving up to the FBS level and becoming one of the country's premiere mid-major programs.
21. Illinois: Jordan Caps 'Last Dance' With Another Title
When: June 14, 1998
Where: Delta Center (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Team: Chicago Bulls
Key figures: Guard Michael Jordan, head coach Phil Jackson, Utah Jazz forward Byron Russell
What happened: Michael Jordan's game-winning jump shot in Game 6 of the NBA Finals delivers a sixth NBA title in eight years for the Chicago Bulls.
Illinois: Bottom Line
Michael Jordan's quest for a sixth NBA title was a worldwide obsession, and he capped things off with the greatest moment of his career — the game-winning jump shot in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz.
That Jordan did it against Utah Jazz forward Byron Russell, who'd irked Jordan during his brief retirement by gloating that he could shut the Bulls' star down.
Jordan isolated Russell with the clock winding down and hit a jump shot from the top of the key for the win.
Illinois: What Happened Next?
Michael Jordan's heroics and the Bulls' 1997-98 season became a national obsession, again, 22 years later with the release of the documentary "The Last Dance" on ESPN in 2020.
Russell, who refused to be interviewed for the documentary, played eight more seasons in the NBA after Jordan's shot.
20. Minnesota: 'Miracle on Ice' Lifts Minnesotans
When: Feb. 22, 1980
Where: Olympic Center (Lake Placid, New York)
Sport: Men's hockey
Key figures: Head coach Herb Brooks, goalie Jim Craig, left winger Mike Eruzioned
What happened: Team USA men's hockey pulled off perhaps the greatest upset in sports history, defeating Russia 4-3 at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.
Minnesota: Bottom Line
Yes, this one technically breaks the rules we set up to begin with, but we're going to have to institute our own loophole, so to speak. In this case, it's because 12 out of the 20 members of the legendary 1980 USA men's hockey team were Minnesotans, as was head coach Herb Brooks.
In 1980, Team USA won the gold medal by defeating Finland, 4-2, but it was their upset of the seemingly unbeatable Russians that captured the world's attention and led to the legendary "Do you believe in miracles?!" call by broadcaster Al Michaels as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Minnesota: What Happened Next?
Team USA was named "Sportsmen of the Year" by Sports Illustrated, and their win over Russia was named the No. 1 sports moment of the century by Sports Illustrated in 1999.
The team's legacy was turned into a big-budget movie starring Kurt Russell in 2004, "Miracle," and came out one year after the death of head coach Herb Brooks in a car accident in 2003.
19. Connecticut: Huskies Shock the World in NCAA Tournament
When: March 29, 1999
Where: Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, Florida)
Team: University of Connecticut
Sport: Men's Basketball
Key figures: Head coach Jim Calhoun, guard Richard Hamilton, guard Khalid El-Amin, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
What happened: UConn pulled off the biggest point-spread upset in the NCAA championship game, toppling Duke for the first national title in school history.
Connecticut: Bottom Line
Duke was on a 32-game winning streak and had a roster full of future NBA talent heading into the 1999 NCAA championship game against UConn.
The Blue Devils were favored by a then-record nine points in the title game, but UConn was undeterred.
Led by Final Four Most Outstanding Player Richard Hamilton and scrappy guard Khalid El-Amin, the Huskies shocked the world with a 77-74 upset.
Connecticut: What Happened Next?
Four players off Duke's roster went on to become first-round draft picks, including 1999 NBA draft No. 1 overall pick Elton Brand.
UConn star Richard Hamilton was picked No. 7 overall in the 1999 draft by the Washington Wizards, but had his most productive years with the Detroit Pistons, where he was a three-time All-Star and helped lead the team to another historical upset — this time over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.
18. Kansas: Danny and the Miracles Win NCAA Championship
When: April 4, 1988
Where: Kemper Arena (Kansas City, Mo.)
Team: University of Kansas
Sport: Men's basketball
Key figures: Head coach Larry Brown, forward Danny Manning, guard Kevin Pritchard, forward Mark Randall
What happened: The University of Kansas beat the University of Oklahoma 83-79 in the NCAA championship game.
Kansas: Bottom Line
There were a lot of remarkable things about Kansas winning the 1988 NCAA championship — starting with the Jayhawks being a No. 6 seed.
Over the final three games of the NCAA tournament, Kansas managed to avenge all three of its home losses that season with wins over Kansas State, Duke and Big Eight rival Oklahoma in the championship game.
The championship game's location magnified the moment for Kansas. Kemper Arena in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, was a mere 30-minute drive to the school's campus in Lawrence.
Kansas: What Happened Next?
Kansas forward Danny Manning, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, was drafted No.1 overall in the 1988 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Two months after winning the title, Kansas head coach Larry Brown left to become the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
Brown's exit was timely. Kansas was put on three-year probation by the NCAA shortly after he left for recruiting violations that occurred during Brown's tenure.
17. Nebraska: 1995 Huskers Make Case as GOAT
When: Jan. 2, 1996
Where: Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, Arizona)
Team: University of Nebraska
Sport: College football
Key figures: Head coach Tom Osborne, quarterback Tommie Frazier, running back Lawrence Phillips, defensive end Grant Wistrom, defensive end Jared Tomich
What happened: No. 1 Nebraska beat No. 2 Florida in the Fiesta Bowl 62-24 to win its second consecutive national title.
Nebraska: Bottom Line
The 1995 University of Nebraska football team has a legitimate case as the greatest college football team in history. The Cornhuskers went 12-0 and the closest game they played was a 35-21 win over Washington State in the fifth week of the season.
Getting a true No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in a bowl game was never a certainty in pre-BCS days, but Nebraska did when it dismantled Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.
That game included one of the most iconic plays in college football history — Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier's 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter when he broke at least seven tackles.
Nebraska: What Happened Next?
Three players from the 1995 roster have been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame: quarterback Tommie Frazier, defensive end Grant Wistrom and offensive guard Aaron Taylor, along with head coach Tom Osborne.
Current Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, a backup quarterback in 1995, led the Huskers to another national title in 1997, Osborne's final season as head coach.
16. Michigan: Four Months, Two Basketball Championships
When: April-June 1989
Where: Kingdome (Seattle) and Great Western Forum (Inglewood, California)
Teams: University of Michigan and Detroit Pistons
Key figures: Michigan head coach Steve Fisher, Michigan forward Glen Rice, Michigan guard Rumeal Robinson, Detroit Pistons head coach Chuck Daly, Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons forward Dennis Rodman
What happened: In a three-month span, the University of Michigan men's basketball team and the Detroit Pistons won championships.
Michigan: Bottom Line
The University of Michigan won the first NCAA men's basketball championship in school history on April 1, 1989, with a thrilling 80-79 win over Seton Hall in the national championship game.
Three months later, on June 6, the Detroit Pistons won their first NBA title with a 4-0 sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Michigan forward Glen Rice was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, and Detroit Pistons guard Joe Dumars was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
For basketball fans in Michigan, this was absolute bliss.
Michigan: What Happened Next?
The Pistons repeated as NBA champions in 1990, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers. Detroit wouldn't win another title until 2004, when the Pistons upset the Los Angeles Lakers.
Michigan has played in the national championship four more times and lost each time — 1992, 1993, 2013 and 2018 — although the 1992 and 1993 appearances were later vacated because of NCAA violations.
15. New Jersey: Giants Pull Off All-Time NFL Upset
When: Feb. 3, 2008
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)
Team: New York Giants
Key figures: Head coach Tom Coughlin, quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver David Tyree, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
What happened: The New York Giants upset the unbeaten Patriots, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLII.
New Jersey: Bottom Line
The New England Patriots were 18-0 and attempting to become the second team in NFL history to go unbeaten for an entire season, following the 1972 Miami Dolphins, when the New York Giants delivered one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
The game's signature play became known as "The Helmet Catch" when Giants wide receiver David Tyree made a leaping, one-handed catch in the fourth quarter by pinning the ball to the top of his helmet to convert a third down.
The Giants, who are actually located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, became the first wild-card team to win the Super Bowl.
New Jersey: What Happened Next?
The Giants weren't done beating the Patriots in Super Bowls. The G-Men beat them again, three years later, in Super Bowl XLVI. It's been a rough go ever since.
Two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Eli Manning led the team to the playoffs just one more time, a wild-card loss in 2016, before he retired after the 2019 season.
14. Alabama: Auburn Wins Iron Bowl on 'Kick Six'
When: Nov. 30, 2013
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn, Alabama)
Team: Auburn University
Sport: College football
Key figures: Cornerback/return specialist Chris Davis, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Alabama kicker Adam Griffith
What happened: Auburn's Chris Davis caught a field-goal attempt in the back of the end zone as time ran out in the fourth quarter and ran it back 109 yards for a game-winning touchdown and a 34-28 win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Alabama: Bottom Line
Alabama head coach Nick Saban challenged a call by the referees and got one second put back on the clock in the fourth quarter to attempt a game-winning, 58-yard field goal by Adam Grififth with the score tied 28-28.
Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson suggested punt returner Chris Davis line up in the back of the end zone, so if the kick was short so he could return it.
Griffith shorted the kick, Davis caught the ball at the back line of the end zone and ran 109 yards to immortality.
Alabama: What Happened Next?
Auburn's win ended Alabama's run at a third consecutive national title, while Auburn went on to lose to Florida State, 34-31, in the BCS National Championship Game.
Chris Davis, who was officially credited with a 100-yard return against Alabama, went undrafted but still played three seasons in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers.
13. Massachusetts: Red Sox End 'Curse of the Bambino'
When: Oct. 27, 2004
Where: Busch Memorial Stadium (St. Louis, Missouri)
Team: Boston Red Sox
Key figures: Manager Terry Francona, outfielder Manny Ramirez, pitcher Derek Lowe
What happened: The Boston Red Sox completed a World Series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals for their first championships in 86 years.
Massachusetts: Bottom Line
The legendary "Curse of the Bambino" began when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1919, a year after winning the 1918 World Series — a move fans began to believe doomed the franchise to never win a title again.
It took almost a century to prove them wrong. Boston pitcher Derek Lowe was masterful in the clinching Game 4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, but the real story was the Red Sox coming back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
Massachusetts: What Happened Next?
The day after the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, The Boston Globe had to more than double its press run — from 500,000 to 1.2 million.
Boston fans certainly wouldn't have to wait another 86 years for a championship. The Red Sox won one more title with Francona in 2007, John Farrell in 2013 and with first-year manager Alex Cora in 2018.
12. Indiana: Perfect in '76 for Hoosiers
When: March 29, 1976
Where: The Spectrum (Philadelphia)
Team: University of Indiana
Sport: College basketball
Key figures: Head coach Bobby Knight, center Kent Benson, forward Scott May, guard Quinn Buckner
What happened: The University of Indiana beat the University of Michigan 86-68 in the NCAA championship game to cap a perfect 32-0 season.
Indiana: Bottom Line
Indiana started the regular season off with a win over defending national champion UCLA and rolled through its schedule to the NCAA tournament, where its closest game was a six-point win over Alabama in the second round.
The championship game against Michigan was the third game between the two teams that season, including an overtime win by Indiana in Bloomington, Indiana.
The Wolverines were no match for Hoosiers in the championship game, with National Player of the Year Scott May leading the way with 26 points.
Indiana: What Happened Next?
In the 44 years since Indiana went unbeaten and won the national title, no men's college basketball program has been able to match the feat.
Seven players from Indiana's 1975-76 roster were picked in the NBA draft, with 1976 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Kent Benson selected No. 1 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1977.
11. Idaho: Boise State's Fiesta Bowl Win for the Ages
When: Jan. 1, 2007
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)
Team: Boise State University
Sport: College Football
Key figures: Head coach Chris Petersen, quarterback Jared Zabransky, running back Ian Johnson
What happened: Boise State beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl 43-42 using three trick plays in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Idaho: Bottom Line
Boise State was 12-0 heading into the Fiesta Bowl with no shot of winning the national title. The Broncos still played like the Avengers trying to get back the infinity stones when they faced Big 12 power Oklahoma.
The two teams combined for 22 points over the final 1:26 of regulation, including a hook-and-ladder play by Boise State to tie the score and send the game to overtime.
The Broncos scored a touchdown on a wide receiver pass, then called a variation of the Statue of Liberty play for the two-point conversion by star running back Ian Johnson for the win.
Idaho: What Happened Next?
Let's start with the proposal.
Boise State running back Ian Johnson was planning on asking his girlfriend, cheerleader Chrissy Popadics, to marry him after the Fiesta Bowl. After he scored the game-winning two-point conversion, he decided to do it on national television — she said yes.
Over a decade later, it's still considered one of the greatest college football games of all time.
10. Florida: Fins' Unbeaten Record Still Stands Alone
When: Jan. 14, 1973
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles)
Team: Miami Dolphins
Key figures: Head coach Don Shula, running back Larry Csonka, quarterback Bob Griese, quarterback Earl Morrall, linebacker Nick Buoniconti
What happened: The Dolphins completed the only unbeaten season in NFL history with a 14-7 win in Super Bowl VII over the Washington Redskins.
Florida: Bottom Line
After losing the Super Bowl to the Dallas Cowboys in the 1971 season, Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula made his team watch the game film, front to back, during training camp the next season.
The message got across, and the Dolphins tore up an admittedly soft 14-game schedule during the regular season. What's more amazing about the Dolphins' run was that in the playoffs, all three of their games were decided by a touchdown or less.
In the Super Bowl, Miami safety Jake Scott took home the MVP with two interceptions.
Florida: What Happened Next?
There's an urban legend that the remaining members of the Miami Dolphins have a champagne toast every year when the last unbeaten team goes down in the NFL. This isn't true.
The team has done some pretty cool things over the years, though, including a much-delayed visit to the White House in 2013. The Dolphins didn't go in 1973 because the president was a hardcore Redskins fan.
9. Colorado: Elway Helicopters Way to Legend Status
When: Jan. 25, 1998
Where: Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego)
Team: Denver Broncos
Key figures: Quarterback John Elway, running back Terrell Davis, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre
What happened: The Denver Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24 in Super Bowl XXXII to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Colorado: Bottom Line
Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway was one of the biggest superstars in pro sports for almost two decades — and three Super Bowl losses. By the time he led his team to face the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre, his pursuit of winning a title was a national obsession.
Elway had a career-defining moment in the third quarter with an eight-yard run on 3rd-and-6 from the Packers' 12-yard-line – diving for extra yards and being hit so hard he spun in the air like a helicopter.
With that one play, and the Broncos win, Elway cemented his place in American sports folklore.
Colorado: What Happened Next?
The Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls after the 1997 and 1998 seasons, and John Elway retired after the second one.
Elway, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility, took over complete control of football operations for the Broncos in 2011.
Under Elway's leadership, the Broncos have been to two more Super Bowls, winning after the 2014 season with Peyton Manning at quarterback.
8. Hawaii: Hamilton Captures 'Millennium Wave' in Teahupo'o
When: Aug. 17, 2000
Where: Teahupo'o, Tahiti
Key figures: Surfer Laird Hamilton, watercraft pilot Darrick Doerner, photographer Ted McKenna
What happened: Laird Hamilton rode the legendary Millennium Wave off of the Teahupo'o break in Tahiti and etched his name next to the greatest surfers who ever lived.
Hawaii: Bottom Line
Early on, Hawaiian surfer Laird Hamilton eschewed competitions in favor of chasing big waves around the world. And nothing enticed him much as the long-rumored Millenium Wave off the coast of Tahiti.
Hamilton essentially invented tow-in surfing using "watercrafts" — oversized WaveRunners — and came to Tahiti in August 2000 hoping the monster set would appear.
After a morning of watching the waves grow from 10 to 20 feet over one morning, Hamilton pounced. The picture of Hamilton inside the wave was on the cover of Surfer magazine with the caption: "oh my god…"
Hawaii: What Happened Next?
Word of Laird Hamilton's exploits in Tahiti quickly filtered out to a new, burgeoning tool for sports fans — the internet. In retrospect, the wave even surprised him.
"That wave in Teahupo'o was one we didn't know really existed," Hamilton said. "The ability to ride it didn't exist."
Hamilton, one of the most well-known surfers in the world, still lives in Hawaii with his wife, former professional volleyball player and model Gabrielle Reece.
7. California: 'The Catch' Sparks 49ers' NFL Dynasty
When: Jan. 10, 1982
Where: Candlestick Park (San Francisco, California)
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Key figures: Quarterback Joe Montana, wide receiver Dwight Clark,
What happened: San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana found Dwight Clark for a 6-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone for the game-winning score in a 28-27 win against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC championship game.
California: Bottom Line
One of the most iconic moments in NFL history went down at Candlestick Park in San Francisco following the 1981 NFL season, when Joe Montana connected with Dwight Clark for a 6-yard touchdown pass to win the NFC championship.
The sight of Montana, double-pumping three Cowboys defenders, and Clark coming out of nowhere to snag the pass is burned into football fans' minds — including a young Tom Brady, who was at the game with his father.
The win put the 49ers into the Super Bowl for the first time.
California: What Happened Next?
The San Francisco 49ers won their first Super Bowl two weeks later, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals.
It was the first of four Super Bowls in the 1980s for the 49ers with Joe Montana under center, and came after losing several NFC championship games to the Cowboys in the 1970s.
The 49ers teams from the 1980s featured eight Hall of Famers: Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, Charles Haley, Fred Dean, Bill Walsh and George Seifert.
6. Pennsylvania: Maz Wins World Series With Walk-Off Home Run
When: Oct. 13, 1960
Where: Forbes Field (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Key figures: Second baseman Bill Mazeroski, New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry
What happened: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 10-9 on a walk-off home run by Bill Mazeroski in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the World Series against the New York Yankees.
Pennsylvania: Bottom Line
The first and only walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series was hit by Pittsburgh's Bill Mazeroski off New York Yankees relief pitcher Ralph Terry in 1960.
Mazeroski, a Hall of Famer known more for his defense, smashed the ball over the left-field wall and triggered a wild celebratory run around the bases by Mazeroski.
New York Yankees superstar Mickey Mantle said it was such a stunning result that it was the only time he ever cried after a loss in his entire life.
Pennsylvania: What Happened Next?
While Bill Mazeroski's 1960 home run is still the only Game 7 walk-off in MLB history, another player has won the World Series on a swing of the bat.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter won the 1993 World Series on a walk-off, three-run home run, albeit in Game 6, off Philadelphia relief pitcher Mitch Williams in the bottom of the ninth.
5. North Carolina: N.C. State Wins Improbable NCAA Title
When: April 4, 1983
Where: The Pit (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Team: North Carolina State University
Sport: Men's basketball
Key figures: Head coach Jim Valvano, forward Lorenzo Charles
What happened: North Carolina State pulled off a shocking upset of Houston in the 1983 NCAA tournament championship game, winning 54-52 on a basket by Lorenzo Charles at the buzzer.
North Carolina: Bottom Line
North Carolina State benefited from the NCAA field expanding from 48 to 52 teams in 1983, but the Wolfpack still needed to win the ACC tournament to make sure they had a spot.
In the NCAA tournament, the "Cardiac Cats" won three games that came down to the last basket before meeting heavily favored Houston in the championship game.
The Cougars, with future NBA superstars Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, were stymied by N.C. State coach Jim Valvano's slow-it-down strategy and Lorenzo Charles' shocked facial expression after hitting the game-winner is seared into our minds
North Carolina: What Happened Next?
Jim Valvano was fired at North Carolina State in 1990 over an academic scandal involving the program — something he was so bitter about he actually titled his 1991 autobiography "They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, Then They Declared Me Dead."
Valvano was diagnosed with cancer in June 1992 and died at the age of 47 on April 28, 1993, just months after his legendary "never give up" speech at the ESPYs.
Lorenzo Charles was killed in a bus crash in 2011 at the age of 47.
4. Ohio: LeBron, Cavs Make NBA History
When: June 19, 2016
Where: Oracle Arena (Oakland, California)
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Key figures: Forward LeBron James, guard Kyrie Irving, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green
What happened: The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
Ohio: Bottom Line
No team in the history of professional team sports had ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven championship series until the Cleveland Cavaliers did it against the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
They did it through almost the sheer willpower of one individual — Ohio native LeBron James, who created the signature play of his career on a swooping block of Golden State forward Andre Iguodala in Game 7.
The block helped seal the win and deliver Cleveland its first pro sports championships since the Cleveland Browns won the NFL title in 1964.
Ohio: What Happened Next?
The Cavaliers returned to the NBA Finals the next two years and lost both times to the Warriors, who added superstar Kevin Durant to their ranks after their 2016 loss.
LeBron James left to join the Los Angeles Lakers after the 2017-18 season, and the Warriors were on the receiving end of another upset in 2019 when they lost to the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard in the NBA Finals.
3. New York: Thomson Hits 'Shot Heard 'Round the World'
When: Oct. 3, 1951
Where: Polo Grounds (New York City)
Team: New York Giants
Key figures: Third baseman Bobby Thomson, Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca
What happened: Bobby Thomson's three-run, ninth-inning home run gave the New York Giants a 5-4 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers to take the National League Championship Series.
New York: Bottom Line
Bobby Thomson's home run to win the NLCS in 1951 earned the name "Shot Heard 'Round the World" because it was the first baseball game ever to be aired on national television and was also heard by millions of people on radio broadcasts in American and overseas, where U.S. troops were fighting in the Korean War.
The Giants winning the NLCS over their hated rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, underlined the impact of the home run.
The Giants lost the World Series to the New York Yankees that year, in five games.
New York: What Happened Next?
Bobby Thomson's home run captured the imagination of millions, and its influence has spawned out over the decades. But there's a dark side to the story.
Over the years, stories have emerged about the Giants' sign-stealing tactics, including a buzzer that sounded in the Giants' clubhouse to indicate fastballs or offspeed pitches.
2. Texas: Young Brings USC Dynasty Crashing Down
When: Jan. 1, 2006
Where: Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California)
Team: University of Texas
Sport: College football
Key figures: Quarterback Vince Young, head coach Mack Brown, USC's defense
What happened: Texas quarterback Vince Young turned in arguably the greatest single-game performance in the history of college sports in a 41-28 win over USC in the 2006 BCS Championship Game.
Texas: Bottom Line
USC featured two Heisman Trophy winners in its starting lineup — a first in college football history — with quarterback Matt Leinart and running back Reggie Bush. The Trojans also were going for their third straight national title.
They had the distinct advantage of that year's BCS Championship Game being played a few miles from their home, but Texas had Vince Young. The junior quarterback racked up 467 yards of total offense in the championship game — 200 rushing and 267 passing — and won the game on a nine-yard touchdown run with nine seconds left.
Texas: What Happened Next?
Texas quarterback Vince Young went No. 3 overall to the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL draft and signed a five-year, $58.5 million contract.
Young was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006 and a two-time Pro Bowler before his career went down in flames.
Young was out of the NFL after the 2011 season and filed bankruptcy in 2014 after blowing a reported $64 million made during his short career.
1. Kentucky: Ali Downs Liston to Shock the World
When: Feb. 25, 1964
Where: Convention Hall (Miami Beach, Florida)
Athlete: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali)
Key figures: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Sonny Liston
What happened: Louisville native Cassius Clay (he officially changed his name to Muhammad Ali later in 1964) became the heavyweight champion of the world when Sonny Liston refused to come out of his corner before the seventh round.
Kentucky: Bottom Line
Sonny Liston was a 7-to-1 favorite over his young opponent, but Muhammad Ali's strategy from the start was pure psychological warfare.
With the sole intent of whipping Liston into a blind rage before the fight, Ali believed Liston would be so mad by his antics that he wouldn't be able to think straight when they fought.
He was right. Liston hadn't fought past the first round in three years and grew tired as the younger, nimbler Ali doled out a calculated, cold beatdown.
Kentucky: What Happened Next?
Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston had a rematch written into their contracts before the first fight and fought again on May 25, 1965, in Lewiston, Maine. It would become one of the most notorious boxing matches of all time.
Ali won by knockout in the first round — the "Phantom Punch" — and the picture of him standing over Liston, screaming, might be the most iconic sports photo in history.