7 forgotten comebacks from Boston sports history
Bill Russell defends Hal Greer in the course of the Celtics-76ers Eastern Division Finals matchup in 1968. AP Photo/File
Anytime a group tends to make a comeback to grab an improbable win, it has the energy to generate an indelible memory for some fans.
But not each comeback takes place on the largest of stages, or if it does, memory of it can fade more than time.
For Boston fans, the truth that neighborhood teams have won so often — specially in the final two decades — has created it tougher to catalogue every particular comeback in the region’s collective memory.
And though the term “forgotten” is inherently subjective, its application is made use of in context: Boston College fans of a specific age will undoubtedly keep in mind the Eagles’ comeback against Alabama football in 1984, but lots of additional recall (or know of) Doug Flutie’s well-known win against Miami later in the season (therefore the Boston College-Alabama inclusion in this list).
So as readers continue to vote in Boston.com’s bracket of Boston’s greatest sports comebacks — and as entertaining as reflecting on the 2004 American League Championship Series or Super Bowl LI can be — let’s also take a moment to appear back on a handful of comebacks that haven’t garnered as significantly historical interest more than the years.
1946 Red Sox vs. Athletics
In the initially game of an April doubleheader, the Philadelphia Athletics led 7- right after 3 innings, and 11-five heading into the final half inning.
Right after operating the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Johnny Pesky drew a stroll, plating a run, and Ted Williams drove in two additional with a single to ideal field. Later in the inning (with two outs), George Metkovich clobbered a 3-run dwelling run to tie the game. Williams at some point won the game for Boston on a stroll-off single in the 10th.
1972 Northeastern men’s rowing wins at Eastern Sprints
Obtaining in no way won the annual Eastern Sprints championship, Northeastern was not anticipated to challenge in 1972. And when Harvard, the pre-race favorites, surged to an early lead, anything seemed to be going to script.
But in the final meters, the Huskies created a late dash for the line, passing other supposedly stronger boats, and at some point eclipsing Harvard for the win.
“I assume that this is the largest thrill of my life,” mentioned a shocked but elated Northeastern coach Ernie Arlett afterward in an interview with The Boston Globe. The Huskies would go on to repeat in 1973.
1968 Eastern Division Finals: Celtics vs. 76ers
Although three-1 series comebacks are nonetheless far from typical, prior to the Celtics pulled it off in the 1968 Eastern Division Finals, such a point had in no way occurred in the NBA.
Boston, led by player-coach Bill Russell, dropped 3 of the initially 4 games of the series against Wilt Chamberlain and the 76ers. Facing elimination, the Celtics somehow rallied to win 3 in a row, obtaining revenge on Philadelphia for the 1967 playoff elimination. Russell, John Havlicek, and Sam Jones at some point guided the Celtics to however a different championship right after surviving the 76ers’ scare.
1984 Boston College vs. Alabama
At the outset of his well-known 1984 Heisman Trophy-winning season, Doug Flutie and Boston College faced a 31-14 deficit in Alabama.
The Eagles remained undaunted and gradually started to perform their way back into the game. More than the final 22 minutes and 20 seconds, Boston College scored 24 unanswered points to pull off a 38-31 win.
From the Boston Globe’s sports section right after Boston College’s comeback win against Alabama in 1984. – Globe Archives
1990 Adams Division Semifinal Game four: Bruins vs. Whalers
Right after the Whalers unexpectedly took two of the initially 3 games in the initially-round playoff matchup, the Bruins appeared on the verge of falling into a three-1 series hole when Hartford took a five-two lead heading into the third period.
Boston responded in style, ripping off 4 consecutive targets (two coming from center Dave Poulin) to come away with a thrilling six-five win.
1999 Patriots vs. Colts
Just before the classic battles among Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, Drew Bledsoe showed what a classic Patriots-Colts game could appear like.
Manning and Indianapolis orchestrated a brilliant initially half, chalking up a 28-7 halftime lead. Bledsoe and New England gradually pushed their way back into the game in the second half. A pair of Ben Coates touchdown catches in the fourth quarter tied the game, and Adam Vinatieri — in a scene that would turn out to be familiar in future years — won it with 35 seconds remaining on a 26-yard field target.
2020 Revolution vs. D.C. United
On a rainy November evening at Gillette Stadium in 2020, the Revolution have been bogged down right after a pair of early D.C. targets.
Needing a win to retain pace in the playoff race, New England battled back, at some point tying the game in the second half. Right after managing to take a three-two lead, the Revolution gave up a tying target of their personal, appearing to squander the likelihood at the comeback.
In the finish, New England forward Teal Bunbury’s second target of the evening (coming in the 84th minute) place the Revolution more than the prime in a dramatic four-three win.