The Greatest Sporting Comebacks of All Time

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The New England Patriots recovered from a 25-point deficit yesterday in Super Bowl LI to win their fifth Super Bowl with a 34-28 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, Texas.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady became the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls and also became the second oldest (39) to win the NFL trophy. He was also named Super Bowl MVP (most valuable player) for the fourth time in his career.

10 points was the previous biggest comeback to win a Super Bowl so you could excuse the Falcons and their fans seeming ready to celebrate a famous underdog victory.

Where does this rank in the list of the world’s greatest sporting comebacks?



“J.P. Morgan Ben Ainslie Racing during the final fleet race” by Mark Doliner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sir Ben Ainslie and Oracle Team USA won the 2013 America’s cup after trailing 8-1 to Emirates Team New Zealand.



– Charlton beat Huddersfield in a match in the 1957 Division 2 season. 10-man Charlton were 5-1 down with 28 minutes remaining versus Bill Shankly’s Huddersfield. Unbelievably, Johnny Summers scored five goals to level the score on 6-6 before John Ryan wrote his name in the history books by scoring the winner with the last kick of the game.

– Arguably going down as the best Champions League final. Liverpool, skippered by Steven Gerard defeated AC Milan in the 2005 final with penalties following being 3-0 down at halftime.



During the 2012 Ryder Cup, Jose Maria Olazbal’s Europe side fought back from 10-6 down against the US team to win and equal the record fightback achieved by the US in 1999.



One of the pivotal tests in the 1981 Ashes saw England fightback against Australia with odds of 500-1 against England during their second innings batting performance. Ian Botham came to the crease and hit 149 not-out assisted by Bob Willis bowling figures of 8-43 to pull off an incredible victory.



Dennis Taylor came back from being 8-0 to Steve Davis in the 1985 World Snooker Championship final. Davis was world number one, so when he went 8-0 up it was assumed this would be a routine victory. However, Taylor went on to win six out of seven of the next frames to take just a 9-7 deficit overnight, with him winning the deciding frame the next day.



Lasse Viren won the 10,000m Gold for Finland in the 1972 Munich Olympics. His chances looked to be over after colliding with Tunisia’s Mohamed Gammoudi half way through the race. Gammoudi pulled out injured, but Viren fought back to unexpectedly claim gold.



Red Rum won the 1973 Grand National despite being 30 lengths behind race favourite Crisp. This race became one of the most infamous races at Aintree ever.



Pre-tournament favourites New Zealand led France 24-10 early in the second-half of the 1999 World Cup semi-final. However, Chrisophe Lamaison (who finished with 28 points), scored points both by kicking and through tries to recover the gap to 24-22 before going on to unbelievably win 43-31.



Steffi Graf expertly won the 1993 Ladies Wimbledon title. This was despite being down 5-1 in the deciding set to Czech Jana Novotná.


There have of course been many more dramatic come backs throughout sporting history, however, these are our favourites. Comment below with yours.


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