Madison students share favorite sports moments

Eamon Carew, Sports Editor

Sports are central to many Madison students’ lives. From buzzer-beaters and epic comebacks to down-to-the-wire finishes, these moments can encapsulate the impact a player or team can have on its fanbase. We surveyed Madison students on their favorite sports moment they have experienced. 

“Of everyone on Golden State, open shot, fate of the universe on the line or the Martians have the death beam pointed at Earth, you better hit it,” First Take analyst Max Kellerman said during the 2019 NBA Finals . “I want Iguodala.” Kellerman’s words may be iconic, but going back three years in time to the 2016 Finals, he may have held his tongue.

The Cleveland Cavaliers faced the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals in Oakland, California. No one had even had the faintest idea that the Finals would come down to a Game 7. The Cavaliers entered Game 5 down 3-1 in the series. With the threat of another Finals defeat looming and the potential of Golden State capping off the greatest regular season of all time with a championship, Lebron James flipped a switch. James scored 41 points in Games 5 and 6, putting his team and city on his back.

With Game 7 tied at 89 a piece and 1:53 left in the game, Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala found themselves on a break towards the Cavaliers hoop. Curry passed to Iguodala who made a move to score, in a feat of pure athleticism and defensive skill, Lebron James leaped and swatted away the layup attempt. This season-defining block allowed the Cavaliers to ultimately win Game 7, 93-89 and claim their first ever NBA Championship.

The Atlanta Falcons entered halftime of Super Bowl LI with a 21-3 lead. Their offense was clicking, scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter. From there the offense continued its rampage, eventually leading 28-3 with 8:31 left in the third quarter.

Their opponents, the New England Patriots, led by 39-year-old Quarterback Tom Brady, were no strangers to Super Bowl deficits. In Super Bowl XLIX, Brady led a comeback  against the Seattle Seahawks. That comeback went down to the wire, sealed by then-rookie cornerback Malcom Butler’s interception on the goal line. It seemed however, there would be no magic tonight. Even when the Patriots finally scored their first touchdown, the extra-point attempt was missed. The next Atlanta drive was stifled following a sack on Ryan. This continued, with the Patriots chipping away at the lead and locking down defensively. 

With the lead at 28-20 for the Falcons and under five minutes left in the game, Ryan heaved a prayer of a pass to wide-receiver Julio Jones. Jones stretched and caught the ball and touched both feet on the ground. This play surely sealed their first Super Bowl win in franchise history. But following a three and out, they were forced to punt. Brady did what Brady had done his entire career, he marched the team down the field, with the help of a miraculous catch by wide-receiver Julian Edelman. The Patriots converted for a touchdown, and the 2 point attempt, tying the game. After winning the coin toss in overtime, the Patriots chose to receive the ball. Brady led the Patriots to the Falcons two yard line, where James White ran it to seal the win, completing the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, and solidifying Brady as the greatest of all time.