The Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl provided us with one of the biggest stunners in sports history, but if you want more of where that came from, then it's college basketball -- not pro football -- that has become the most reliable, exciting sport when it comes to supplying unthinkable flip-script endings.
Welcome to the era of the unbelievable comeback.
Within the past 11 months, there have been four incredible charge-from-behind victories. The most recent materialized Monday night, when third-ranked Kansas roared back from a 14-point deficit with less than three minutes remaining to force overtime, then conquered No. 9 West Virginia, 84-80.
It's a game owned by the ages already. If you watched, you'll probably always remember it. If you're one of the KU fans who actually walked out of the building before the game ended, your friends and family will never let you forget it.
But before we get to a deeper look at the fable that unfolded at the Phog, let's look at how we got to this point in college hoops. Crazy comebacks have become part of the landscape, and I thank the hoops gods for their intervention. Here are the four most unlikely comebacks within the past year, all of them classics.
TEXAS A&M 92, NORTHERN IOWA 88 (2OT)
When: March 20, 2016
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City; NCAA second-round game
Statistically, the most incredible comeback in college basketball history. No team had ever won a game after trailing by 12 points with less than 60 seconds remaining. Texas A&M, while most of the country had moved on, pulled off a magic trick to reach overtime. From there, a second OT would be needed. In the end, A&M pulled out a win and in the process added to the legend of the greatest sporting event in the world.
Because this game did not have a defining play -- just a blob of huhhhhhhhhh!? -- eating up the final minute, it's still hard to watch UNI give this one away. Making it even worse, the Panthers could have closed it out in OT but still couldn't claim the game. Our Dennis Dodd wrote a really good story earlier this season about Northern Iowa's heartbreaking defeat.
HIGH POINT 62, MORGAN STATE 61
When: Nov. 28, 2016
Where: Hill Field House, Baltimore
Just because you (probably) didn't see it doesn't make it any less incredible. First, check out the probability chart. Look at that cliff.
A steady climb followed by a most vicious fall.
How does that happen? Building a 13-point lead with 1:35 left, then losing it. High Point trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half, and outscored Morgan State 31-13 in the final 10 minutes.
And here's the best thing of all. This is the only game of the four to include a buzzer-beating shot to win. You can absolutely make the case this is the best overall ending of any on the list because of its punctuation. Here's the highlights. Enjoy the winning call. That is an NBA-distance 3, while trailing, to clinch the comeback. The crowd reaction is almost as good.
(Thanks to Ken Pomeroy for both the win probability chart above and reminding about this game and how it stacks up with any of the others here.)
NEVADA 105, NEW MEXICO 104 (2OT)
When: Jan. 7, 2017
Where: WisePies Arena, Albuquerque
Never before in the cataloged history of basketball, do I believe, has there been a more ridiculous string of 3-point shots to save a team from defeat. What Nevada did ... we may go decades before seeing something like this again.
Nevada's Jordan Caroline scored 45 points, 36 of those points coming by way of 3-pointers, and half of those 3-pointers being bonkers in nature. New Mexico had a 25-point lead with 11 minutes left in regulation. But more than that: Nevada hit seven 3-pointers in the final 1:50 to get the game to OT. New Mexico missed 9 of 14 free throws in the waning minutes. Nevada was down by 14 points with 1:07 remaining after trailing by 19 with four minutes to go.
An assault out of nowhere.
Caroline hit the winning shot with two seconds to go in OT. In the more-than-50-year history of the Pit (now WisePies Arena, whee!) had an opponent scored at least 105 points. Then the Wolf Pack made history.
This video is stupid. Deep 3s. Off-balance 3s. Running 3s. Banked-in prayer 3s. It is an all-timer. To me, it's more outrageous than the A&M win, especially when you consider Nevada pulled it off on the road.
KANSAS 84, WEST VIRGINIA 80
When: Feb. 13, 2017
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas
There was something spiritual in that building Monday night. Kansas winning the game is spooky. West Virginia had three turnovers and took only one shot (and missed it) in the final three minutes. KU went on a 21-7 run over that span, and when you factor in overtime, the Jayhawks outscored the Mountaineers 34-16. That coming in an eight-minute span. Nuts.
From 64-50 at the 2:58 mark to 71-all after 40 minutes.
"I still don't know how we did it," Bill Self said afterward.
Kansas won by pressing a pressing team. It worked. The turnover by WVU with 26.5 seconds to go foretold an ending. An out-of-control giveaway on a really bad pass at halfcourt essentially decided this game. WVU had no chance after that. Credit to Bob Huggins' team for even keeping it close in OT.
The Jayhawks took 42 free throws. Frank Mason had 24 points, including two critical free throws to get the game to overtime, and kept himself atop the Player of the Year chase. Devonte' Graham had one of the slickest and sickest shake-and-shoot 3-pointers this season.
Yeah, safe to say Devonte Graham was feeling himself right here. pic.twitter.com/NvL3CjozSW— Mike McCurry (@Mike_McCurry16) February 14, 2017
This was not only a huge comeback, but it was a great game. One of the three best start-to-finish tilts of this season. The first half was tremendously well-played, and the urgency and dynamic ability from Kansas made for a surreal experience in real time. They'll put up a plaque about this game in that building after this season ends, I think.
Self has now won at least one game in 107 home-and-home series since the 2000-01 season (via ESPN Stats and Info). Kansas still has not lost back-to-back home games since the 1980s.