Top 10 Most Clutch Performances in Sports HistoryAs sports fans, we all have our favorite moments when our favorite athletes stepped up to the plate, court, field, or ice and delivered an unforgettable performance that left us cheering and screaming with joy. These are the moments that define sports history and give us something to talk about for years to come. From game-winning shots to come-from-behind victories, these are the moments that test the limits of human endurance, skill, and perseverance.
So, what makes a performance clutch? It's that feeling of adrenaline rushing through your veins, the knowledge that this is the moment when everything is on the line, and the pressure is at its highest. It's when the athletes rise to the occasion, digging deep and finding the strength and skill to deliver when it matters most.
There have been countless clutch performances throughout the history of sports, each one leaving an impact that lingers long after the game is over. From legendary feats of athleticism to improbable comebacks, these performances have become part of the collective sports consciousness, inspiring fans and athletes alike to push beyond their limits and reach for greatness.
With so many incredible moments to choose from, it's no easy task to narrow down the most clutch performances in sports history. But with your help, we've put together a definitive list of the top performances that will have you reliving the magic of these unforgettable moments. So, get ready to cast your vote and relive the drama and excitement of these clutch performances that will forever be etched in the annals of sports history.
The Top Ten
1 Joe Montana's game winning drive in the Super Bowl Joe Montana's game winning drive in the Super Bowl occurred in Super Bowl XXIII in 1989, where he led the San Francisco 49ers on a 92-yard drive in the final minutes of the game to secure the victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Montana threw the game-winning touchdown pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds left on the clock.
2 Christian Laettner's buzzer beater Christian Laettner's buzzer beater occurred in the 1992 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, in the East Regional Final between Duke and Kentucky. With just 2.1 seconds left on the clock, Laettner caught a long inbound pass, took a dribble, and hit a turnaround jumper as time expired to give Duke the 104-103 victory.
3 Michael Jordan's title winning shot in the 1998 Finals Michael Jordan's title winning shot in the 1998 Finals happened in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, where he hit a 20-foot jumper over Bryon Russell of the Utah Jazz with just 5.2 seconds remaining in the game. This shot gave the Chicago Bulls their sixth NBA championship in eight years, and secured Jordan's place as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
4 Jesse Owens's four Olympic gold medals in Berlin Jesse Owens's four Olympic gold medals in Berlin happened in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, where he won four gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4x100-meter relay events. Owens's victories were significant as they came at a time when Nazi Germany was promoting the idea of Aryan supremacy.
5 Adam Vinatieri's Super Bowl winning kick Adam Vinatieri's Super Bowl winning kick occurred in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, where he kicked a 48-yard field goal as time expired to give the New England Patriots their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. Vinatieri's clutch kick cemented his reputation as one of the most reliable kickers in NFL history.
6 Mike Eruzione's game winning goal over the USSR Mike Eruzione's game winning goal over the USSR happened in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, where he scored the game-winning goal in a 4-3 upset victory for the United States over the heavily-favored Soviet Union in the medal round. Eruzione's goal is widely considered one of the greatest moments in American sports history.
7 David Freese's two-run triple one strike away David Freese's two-run triple one strike away occurred in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. With the Cardinals down to their final strike, Freese hit a two-run triple to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Freese then hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning to force a Game 7, which the Cardinals went on to win.
8 Tom Brady's 25 point comeback in Super Bowl LI Tom Brady's 25 point comeback in Super Bowl LI occurred in 2017, where he led the New England Patriots on a historic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots were down 28-3 in the third quarter, but Brady orchestrated a remarkable comeback, throwing for 466 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Patriots to a 34-28 victory in overtime.
9 Reggie Miller's 8 points in 9 seconds Reggie Miller's 8 points in 9 seconds occurred in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks. With the Pacers down by six points with just 18.7 seconds left on the clock, Miller hit two three-pointers and two free throws in a span of nine seconds to give the Pacers the 107-105 victory. Miller's performance is considered one of the greatest clutch performances in NBA history.
10 Jack Nicklaus's comeback to win his 20th major Jack Nicklaus's comeback to win his 20th major occurred in the 1986 Masters Tournament. Nicklaus, who was 46 years old at the time, was four shots behind the leader going into the final round. He shot a 65 in the final round, including a back-nine score of 30, to finish with a score of 279 and win his sixth Green Jacket. Nicklaus's victory is widely considered one of the greatest comebacks in golf history.
11 Brandi Chastain's World Cup winning penalty shot Brandi Chastain's World Cup winning penalty shot occurred in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final between the United States and China. With the score tied at 0-0 after extra time, the game went to a penalty shootout. Chastain stepped up to take the fifth and final penalty kick for the United States and scored to give the US the victory. Chastain's celebration, where she ripped off her jersey and fell to her knees in her sports bra, is one of the most iconic moments in sports history.
12 Santonio Holmes's touchdown in Super Bowl XLII Santonio Holmes's touchdown in Super Bowl XLII occurred in the final minute of the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. With the Steelers trailing by three points and just 35 seconds left on the clock, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Holmes in the back of the end zone. Holmes made a spectacular catch, getting both feet in bounds, to secure the victory for the Steelers.
13 Frank Reich's 32 point comeback to beat the Oilers Frank Reich's 32 point comeback to beat the Oilers occurred in the 1992 AFC Wild Card game between the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Oilers. The Bills trailed 35-3 early in the third quarter, but Reich, who was filling in for injured starting quarterback Jim Kelly, led the team on an improbable comeback. The Bills tied the game at 38-38 and then won 41-38 in overtime, marking the largest comeback in NFL history at the time.
14 Bill Mazeroski's World Series winning homer Bill Mazeroski's World Series winning homer occurred in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees. With the score tied at 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mazeroski hit a leadoff home run to win the game and the series for the Pirates. Mazeroski's home run is the only walk-off home run in Game 7 of a World Series in baseball history.
15 Mary Lou Retton's perfect 10 Mary Lou Retton's perfect 10 occurred in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, in the women's gymnastics all-around competition. Retton, who was trailing Romania's Ecaterina Szabo going into the final event, scored a perfect 10 on the vault to secure the gold medal. Retton's victory made her the first American woman to win the all-around gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympics.
16 John Elway completes The Drive John Elway completes The Drive occurred in the 1987 AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns. With the Broncos trailing 20-13 and just over five minutes left in the game, Elway led the team on a 98-yard drive, completing six-of-nine passes and scoring the game-tying touchdown on a 5-yard run. The Broncos went on to win the game in overtime, and Elway's performance is widely considered one of the greatest clutch performances in NFL history.
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