We all root for the underdog. Not only does it create storylines when there aren’t any to begin with, but it keeps things fun. And what is better than seeing a big underdog comeback from a huge deficit to snatch a win? That said, not all team victories are created equal. The Eagles beating the Giants during a pre-season game isn’t the same as a comeback when qualifying for the playoffs matters. The victory is even sweeter when it happens in the final moments of the game.
To dig a bit deeper, we are focusing attention on PA teams. We’ve listed some of the biggest comebacks in Pennsylvania sports history. When Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in 2019, two years after it authorized online gambling with sites like betting.us, it opened up the state for an influx of betting. This resulted in some dramatic moments that were magnified by the money spent on betting. As with New Jersey and Nevada, Pennsylvania permits both in-person and mobile betting. Of course, this has affected the lines of games, skewing them away from Pennsylvanian teams now that money is coming in on them in greater quantities.
Big Pennsylvania Comebacks in History
1—Miracle at the New Meadowlands
The Miracle at the New Meadowlands is perhaps the biggest comeback by the Eagles. The New York Giants led by 21 points with less than eight minutes to the clock. But the Eagles wanted to move up the divisional rank and book a position in the playoffs.
Against all odds, Philadelphia rallied up to score four answered touchdowns. Wide Receiver Desean Jackson, a crucial artist in initiating the comeback, also made a punt returned as time expired, a first in the league. The Eagles eventually turned the tables to win 38-31 and booked a spot in the playoffs. In turn, the New York Giants failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Unfortunately, Philadelphia didn’t last long in the postseason, losing early on to the Green Bay Packers, that year’s Super Bowl winners.
2—Philadelphia Flyers Comeback at the 2010 Eastern Conference Semis
2010 was the year of comebacks for PA teams. After the Eagles’ improbable win in October, the Flyers found themselves in a dire situation. They were 3-0 against the Boston Bruins. Then they composed themselves and won three more games to force a Game 7.
In Game 7, overconfidence kicked in and the Flyers let in three goals in the first period. But they fought back by scoring four goals to win 4-3 and advance to the finals. With their unexpected victory, the Flyers became the third NHL team at the time to overturn a 3-0 deficit—only the NY Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Maple Leafs had done it. The LA Kings joined the list in 2014.
3—The Pittsburgh Steelers Comeback at Super Bowl XLIII
Mike Tomlin’s only Super Bowl as Steelers’ head coach didn’t come easily. Sure, his team was leading in at SB XLIII as Pittsburgh faced the Arizona Cardinals. But during the fourth quarter, the Cardinals took a three-point lead with two and a half minutes to the final whistle.
Quarter back Ben Roethlisberger, looking for a second championship, made a vital 40-yard pass to Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes who made a game-winning touchdown. Thanks to his prowess, Holmes took home to the Super Bowl MVP award that year, becoming the sixth wide receiver and the third Steeler to clinch it.
4—Steelers vs Packers Comeback, Week 15, 2009
Ben Roethlisberger has led the Steelers to a lot of comeback winners. And besides the Super Bowl passing touchdown in 2009, none of them comes close to his game-winning touchdown in Week 15 of the 2009-2010 season.
The reason it’s a notable comeback is that the ball was in the quarter back’s hand, so it was up to him on whether the team would win or lose. The Packers were leading 36-30 thanks to a touchdown by Aaron Rodgers.
Still, the Steelers didn’t seem to want to win this game. They committed two penalties in their final drive. But after a couple of moves and zero minutes on the clock, Mike Wallace made a pass to Roethlisberger and he held it while in the field of play. A review had to be done to determine whether it qualified for a touchdown but it was upheld, handing Pittsburgh a much-needed victory.
#5: The Phillies vs Dodgers Comeback in 1990
It’s been thirty years ago since the Philadelphia Phillies pulled off an unimaginable victory against the LA Dodgers. But this is a moment that will be forever in the minds of people that watched the game. The Dodgers were on their way to their sixth .500 game and their 11-1 lead had their fans in high hopes.
But then in the night inning, they gave up nine runs and ended up losing the game 12-1. Surprisingly, the then Philadelphia manager Nick Leyva was disappointed but not heartbroken by the victory. Nonetheless, the Phillies set a record that night, becoming the first team since 1934 to overturn such a huge deficit in baseball.
#5: The Penguins vs the Chicago Blackhawks Comeback
In 1992, the Pittsburgh Penguins were looking for a second consecutive Stanley Cup win. But during their first game in the finals, they faced a major challenge. Their competitors, the Chicago Blackhawks were in it for a win.
It was the first time the Blackhawks were appearing in the Stanley Cup finals since 1973. To add to their steam, Chicago had just swept the Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh had struggled against Washington and the New York Rangers.
Against that backdrop, the Blackhawks came fired up in the first game, scoring three quick goals to prove their dominance. But they fought back to win the game 4-3. Then they got their act together and won the Stanley Cup.
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