• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

7 forgotten comebacks from Boston sports history


Mar 16, 2023

Bill Russell defends Hal Greer through 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 build an indelible memory for some fans.

However not every single comeback occurs on the most significant 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 produced it tougher to catalogue every certain comeback in the region’s collective memory.

And although the term “forgotten” is inherently subjective, its application is utilized in context: Boston College fans of a particular age will undoubtedly recall the Eagles’ comeback against Alabama football in 1984, but quite a few extra recall (or know of) Doug Flutie’s popular 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 exciting 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 1st game of an April doubleheader, the Philadelphia Athletics led 7- soon after 3 innings, and 11-five heading into the final half inning.

Soon 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 extra with a single to ideal field. Later in the inning (with two outs), George Metkovich clobbered a 3-run property 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

Possessing never ever 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, almost everything seemed to be going to script.

However in the final meters, the Huskies produced a late dash for the line, passing other supposedly stronger boats, and at some point eclipsing Harvard for the win.

“I consider that this is the most significant 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

Even though three-1 series comebacks are nevertheless far from regular, just before the Celtics pulled it off in the 1968 Eastern Division Finals, such a point had never ever occurred in the NBA.

Boston, led by player-coach Bill Russell, dropped 3 of the 1st 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 one more championship soon after surviving the 76ers’ scare.

1984 Boston College vs. Alabama

At the outset of his popular 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 function 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 soon after Boston College’s comeback win against Alabama in 1984. – Globe Archives

1990 Adams Division Semifinal Game four: Bruins vs. Whalers

Soon after the Whalers unexpectedly took two of the 1st 3 games in the 1st-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 1st 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 into familiar in future years — won it with 35 seconds remaining on a 26-yard field purpose.

2020 Revolution vs. D.C. United

On a rainy November evening at Gillette Stadium in 2020, the Revolution have been bogged down soon after a pair of early D.C. targets.

Needing a win to preserve pace in the playoff race, New England battled back, at some point tying the game in the second half. Soon after managing to take a three-two lead, the Revolution gave up a tying purpose of their personal, appearing to squander the possibility at the comeback.

In the finish, New England forward Teal Bunbury’s second purpose of the evening (coming in the 84th minute) place the Revolution more than the leading in a dramatic four-three win.


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