For the Win: Best Type of Game Winning Play

For the Win: Best Type of Game Winning Play

There is nothing more exciting in sports than a game winning play. It’s a suspenseful moment that lasts only a few seconds but can feel like an eternity. All sports feature amazing game winning moments that fans remember forever. The question is: which game winning play is the best to experience in sports?

Basketball Buzzer-Beating Game Winner

A basketball buzzer beater has the best crowd reaction of any of these plays. The moment the ball falls through the hoop and the crowd going wild is electrifying. 

I am personally a bit biased because I watch more NBA than any other sport. However, some of my favorite sports plays in recent history revolve around basketball buzzer beaters. The Kris Jenkins shot in the 2016 NCAA Championship game is probably the craziest sports winner I have ever watched live. I did not even have a rooting interest between Villanova and UNC, but that play still had me off the couch going nuts. 

Likewise, there were two series-winning buzzer beaters in this year’s NBA playoffs. Kawhi’s bouncing corner shot to eliminate Philadelphia and Damian Lillard’s deep shot to eliminate the Thunder were insanely thrilling plays. 

Baseball Walk-Off Home Run

Baseball walk-offs have great reactions because everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting for that moment. In the NFL and NBA, you know exactly when the winner is going to happen. You know that the game will likely be over, one way or another, within a couple of seconds. The joy of a baseball walk-off is that it can happen anytime in the inning. 

Every pitch has the crowd anxiously waiting for a defining moment to happen. Furthermore, you can get faked out really easily. A deep fly ball that looks like it’s gone can curve foul, so when the crowd may be ready to explode, they then have to settle back down and build anticipation again.

Football Walk-Off Touchdown

A football walk-off touchdown is by far the rarest of these plays. I did not want to include a game winning field goal because these happen often in the NFL; it’s not uncommon to see a game winning field goal almost every week. Likewise, a kicker drilling a 20-yard game winner just does not have the same type of anticipation and explosion like the rest of these plays.

When pulled off for the win, a Hail Mary touchdown or a long touchdown scramble filled with laterals is one of the most exciting plays in sports. We saw it last season with the Dolphins against the Patriots. We saw it two seasons ago with the Minnesota Miracle involving the Vikings and Saints. 

Chris Davis’s kick-six against Alabama in the Iron Bowl a couple years back is one of the most electric sports plays I’ve ever seen.

The best part about a football play like this is that it’s not usually expected. It’s not uncommon that teams are down 5 or 6 points with a few seconds left; however, it’s extremely uncommon that teams are able to execute a play to win the game. When situations like that happen, the play is remembered and celebrated by fans for a lifetime. 

Hockey Overtime Goal

I’ve said it before. Nothing in sports can beat the entertainment and excitement of overtime hockey. Like baseball, you don’t know when the defining play is going to happen, so you need to have your eyes glued on the game the whole time. It’s common for NHL playoff hockey games to go into multiple overtimes that take hours. And yet, it’s always worth it to stay tuned in for the final goal. 

The way that overtime hockey commands your attention is unlike anything else in sports. The breaks are minimal. It’s already difficult enough to track a small, fast puck on television. But knowing the contest can end at any second keeps your eyes extra peeled to the screen. 

My Take

An overtime hockey goal is the most exciting to me. A big reason for this is because most of the game-winning goals I’ve seen have been in the playoffs, which ups the anticipation, drama and stakes. It’s riveting knowing that the moment can come at any time and you have no idea when it’ll happen. It’s not like other sports where you can focus for a few seconds then turn your attention to something else (for example, checking your phone between pitches in baseball). 

Furthermore, hockey players and fans know how to celebrate. I’ve never seen any of these plays happen in person at a live sporting event. So, I asked myself which of these events I would most like to happen at a live sporting event with a team I was rooting for. The answer was an overtime hockey goal.

What do YOU think? Which game-winning play is the best?

NBA expert and IU grad. '96 Bulls > Warriors. #FireGarPax

Twitter: @realdmill