Finals: Topic #1 - Greatest Game

Discussion in 'Sports Debater's League' started by klunderbunker, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

    Jan 8, 2007
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    Are Big Sexy, LSN80 and hatehabsforever. The scores you have are completely wiped away so everyone starts the finals with a clean slate. There will be three topics and each person will lead off one time each. The same scoring system will be in effect as before. As usual, four days per topic so the deadline for this is Friday.

    Leading off is LSN80.

    Topic:What is the greatest game ever played? It can be pro or college but must be a game that was available to the masses. In other words, not some game in Division III that you were at or something like that. It can be regular season or post season or championship etc. Defend your arguments and critique others as always.

  2. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

    Feb 3, 2010
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    Every sport has it's greatest game. The three hours in time that athletes within each sport look at and one day hope to be mentioned in the same breath as the players who played in said game. More then any other, baseball fans have a plethora of games to point at. Many might look at Game 6 of the 1975 World Series between Boston and Cincinatti. In a 12-inning affair, Boston produced a game tying home run in the bottom on the 8th, Cincinatti pitched out of a no-out, bases loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth, and finally, Carlton Fisk hit a game winning home run in the bottom of the 12th. College basketball fans can point to the incredible six overtime game between Syracuse and Connecticut in the 2009 Big East Tournament at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. NBA fans can point to Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a triple overtime affair between Boston and Phoenix that saw Boston winning their 13th Championship, and the final of their era of dominance. NFL fans can point to the 1958 NFL championship game between Baltimore and the New York Giants, the first NFL game to go to overtime and the first NFL game broadcast across North America. While arguments can be made for all, there is no doubt that the greatest game of all time was the 1980 Olympic Semi-Final between the United States and Russia, simply known as the Miracle on Ice. The United States improbably defeated the Soviet Union 4-3 to advance to the Gold Medal game against Finland, where they took home the Gold Medal. This game was the greatest of all time for many reasons.


    To say this was a bad time for the United States would be a large understatement. Tension during the Cold War was at an all time high, there was still a significant number of American hostages in Iran, Jimmy Carter's popularity had eroded and the country had lost faith in him, and unemployment rates and poverty were at their highest since the Great Depression. What does this have to do with sports, or with the Miracle on Ice, you ask? Because few things have the ability to lift people's spirits like sports. Especially when said opponent was your most hated rival off the ice as well.The Soviet and American teams were natural rivals due to the aforementioned Cold War. President Jimmy Carter was at the time considering a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, to be held in Moscow, in protest of the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He eventually decided in favor of the boycott, which intensified the rivalry between the two nations. The "Evil Empire" Russians were heavy favorites, but the Herb Brooks lead American team gave the entire nation something to cheer for and be proud of when they came back from deficits of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 to win the semifinal game on their way to winning the Gold Medal. Perhaps more importantly, the victory signaled the start of a new era for a nation desperate for signs of life. The 1980 US mens hockey team, specifically with their victory over Russia, gave their country just that. No single athletic game was perhaps more important to lifting a nation's fortunes.


    There's no greater story in sports then the underdog overcoming the odds and beating the better team. It's something that we who love sports root for. We love pulling for the longshot, for the dark horse. And with certainty, there's been no greater underdog story in the history of sports then the United States Hockey team of 1980. While the US was comprised of mostly teenaged amateurs who had barely been together for a few months, the Soviets were easily the most polished, professional and seemingly unbeatable team in the history of international hockey.

    To say that the Soviet Union came in to the Olympic Games the favorite would also be a large understatement. The Soviets had crushed the NHL All Stars 6–0 to win the yearly Challenge Cup, and had gone 5-3-1 against NHL teams in exhibition games. The Soviets had won the previous 4 Gold Medals, and had gone 5-0 in their division games headed into the matchup, outscoring their opponents 51-11.

    The underdog story is even more incredible when you factor in that the same two teams had played only a week earlier in an exhibition match at Madison Square Garden. The Soviet Union had embarrassed the Americans on the way to a 10-3 victory. When the United States tied Sweden 2-2 with 27 seconds left in it's first matchup to earn a draw and stunned heavily favored Czechoslovokia 7-3 in the quarterfinals, it set the stage for the second embarrassment of the Russians that never came. Oh, yeah, and the U.S. went on to defeat Finland for the gold in the finals. Hollywood couldn't have written a better story then this one.

    The Game:

    Just because a game is filled with national pride and features an amazing underdog win doesn't soley guarantee that a great contest was had. In the case of the Soviets and the American's a great game is exactly what we got.

    As they had done for most of the Olympics, the US fell behind early on a deflected slap shot by Vladimir Krutov in front of US netminder Jim Craig. The US tied it on a wrist shot from Buzz Schneider, but the Soviets quickly regained the lead on a soft backhander by future defector and NHL player Sergei Makarov. It appeared the Soviets would take the 2-1 lead to the first intermission, but the US team again proved resilient by tying the game at 2-2 with less then a minute to play in the period. Defenseman Dave Christian fired a slap shot on Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak from 100 feet away. The Soviet goalie saved the shot but failed to corral the rebound. The puck which bounced out to the right circle in front of him, where forward Mark Johnson sliced between both two defensemen, snatched the puck, and wristed it past a diving Tretiak to tie the score with one second left in the period. The surprised and shaken Soviets made a goalie change then and there, replacing Tretiak with backup Vladimir Myshkin.

    The Soviets were back to their dominating play in the second period, with Center Alexander Meltsev putting them back in front of the US 3-2
    on a snap shot on the power play halfway through the period. This turned out to be the only scoring of the period, and the US was only able to muster 2 shots on goal the entire period. Despite only leadind by a goal, the Soviets appeared in firm control after outshooting the US 12-2 in the second period.

    The Soviets took a rare penalty a third of the way through the period, but the US failed to capitilize. Soviet goalie Vladimir Myshkin stopped defenseman Dave Ramsey's slap shot, but captain and center Mike Eruzione fired the rebound wide. The Soviets cleared the puck, but Dave Silk advanced the puck deep into the Soviet zone when he was knocked to the ice by defensemen Valeri Vasliev. The puck slid to Mark Johnson, who fired a wrist shot that slid through Myshkin's five hole, tying the game at 3-3 with 11 minutes to play, and just as the power play was ending. Just one minute later, forward Mark Pavelich found an undefended Mike Eruzione in the high left slot. Eruzione fired a wirst shot that was screened by Soviet defensemen Valeri Pervukhin, and beat Myshkin glove side. With exactly 10 minutes left, the US lead the Soviets 4-3 with exactly ten minutes to go in the 3rd period. The Soviets didn't go quietly, and peppered US goalie Jim Craig with 11 shots in the final ten minutes. Instead of going into a defensive shell, US coach Herb Brooks urged the team to keep taking the play to the Soviets offensively, which they did, almost scoring again themselves. The Soviets took the play to the Americans in the final minutes, and the final minute was as high drama as any professional game Ive ever experienced.

    The final minute of the US/Russia 1980 classic.

    The Soviets continued to pressure the United states, but as you can see above, the US was able to control the puck, clear it from their zone as the seconds ticked away, prompting Al Michales to enter the most iconic sports phrase of all time in "Do you Believe in Miracles? Yes!" It was fitting that the greatest game ever played was finished with the most iconic quote in sports history.

    Off the Ice Achievements:

    Don't just take my word for it. ESPN named it the Greatest Sports Moment of All Time. The victory was also voted the Greatest Sports Moment of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated. The team was named the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated's Athletes of the Year in 1980. Further, how many games have spawned two movies and an HBO documentary? Miracle on Ice was a 1981 TV movie, and Miracle starring Kurt Russell was released in theatres worldwide in 2004. The documentary Do you believe in Miracles? was aired on HBO in 2001. Sports figures such as Muhammed Ali and Rudy have had movies made about them, but having one movie, let alone two, made about an actual gameis unprecedented. It's also further proof that this was the greatest game of all time.


    Ive shown throughout this post the things that make this game the greatest game ever played. No one game has impacted a country's nationalism as this one did. There was perhaps no greater underdog in the history of sports play, increasing the excitement factor. It was certainly one of the most exciting games of all time, and well-played also. It's accolades and subsequent reliving over and over through TV and film show it's importance and significance. More importantly, as Ive shown, these things attest that on February 22nd, 1980, the United States and the USSR played the greatest game of all-time, the Miracle on Ice.
  3. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

    Jul 21, 2008
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    When it comes to the topic of greatest game there are many games throughout history that can be debated for but there is really only one that has all the qualities to truly hold the title. That games is the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants which, naturally, has widely become known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

    The Stage​

    To truly be known as the greatest game it is important that it is being played on a big stage. What bigger stage then the NFL Championship game at Yankee Stadium in New York? This was the game that decided who the best team in the NFL was and it happened in front of 64,185 fans in attendance and an estimated 45 million people watching at home.

    The Teams​

    The Giants and Colts combined to have 17 Hall of Famers with their organizations during this game. That includes 12 players like Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Art Donovan, Frank Gifford, Don Maynard, and Sam Huff. It also included 3 coaches like Colts head coach Weeb Ewbank, Giants O Coordinator Vince Lombardi, and Giants D Coordinator Tom Landry. Two administrators within the Giants Organization round out the 17. Some of the greatest players and coaches of all time were involved in this game.

    The Game​

    The game was highly competitive. A Pat Summerall field goal put the Giants up 3-0 after the first quarter. Then in the second the Colts turned the momentum around by forcing two Frank Gifford fumbles and turning those turnovers into a couple touchdowns on the offensive end. This gave the Colts a 14-3 lead at the half. Baltimore had a chance to put the game away early in the third quarter. They drove all the way to the Giants 1 yard line but were unable to punch the ball into the end zone and turned the ball over on downs. The Giants took advantage and went 95 yards in 4 plays including a huge 86 yard pass play from Charlie Conerly to Kyle Rote. That pass led to a 1 yard td run and pulled the Giants to within four, 14-10. The Giants took the lead early in the fourth after a Frank Gifford td catch and led 17-14. With just about 2 minutes left in the game the Colts took over at their own 14 yard line and Johnny Unitas led one of the most famous drives in NFL history. He took it all the way to the Giants 13 yard line where the Colts kicked a 20 yard field goal to tie the game at 17 with seven seconds left. While the overtime rule was in effect most players had never heard of it and didn't know what was going to happen. There was a pre season game a few years prior that had been decided in overtime but this was the first game of any significance to go into OT. The Giants received the ball in overtime but were forced to punt. Johnny Unitas then led another tremendous drive taking the Colts 80 yards on 13 plays and Alan Ameche scored on a 1 yard td run to end the game 23-17. The Colts had defeated the Giants in what would be known as the "Greatest Game Ever Played."


    This was one of the most historic games in NFL history. With the game being broadcast on NBC this was one of the main reasons the NFL soared in popularity and is now the number one sport in the US. A couple years after this game the AFL was formed and eventually the merger between the NFL and AFL brought the NFL to even greater heights, but it all started with this game. It's historic for many other reasons as well. Not only was it the first NFL game of any significance to go into overtime, it is still to this day the only NFL Championship game that has ever needed an overtime session. Another historic thing about this game was the two minute drive led by Johnny Unitas. Before this drive the phrase "Two Minute Drill" didn't exist. Unitas became famous for this drive and many like it and the "Two Minute Drill" phrase is one that is still used on a regular basis to this day. In 2008 ESPN made a two hour documentary on the game which included interviews from players in the game and restored footage of the game with color.


    When it comes to the greatest game ever there is only one choice that has it all and that is the 1958 NFL Championship Game. Other games may have been better moments like the Miracle on Ice or may have had slightly better finishes like the Christian Laettner buzzer beater as Duke defeated Kentucky in the elite eight of the 1992 NCAA Tournament, but no game has all the qualities necessary to be better then the "Greatest Game Ever Played" between the Colts and Giants.
  4. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 5, 2007
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    First of all, let me start off by congratulating both Big Sexy and LSN80 for making it into the Finals of the Sports Debaters League. Both of these guys have participated extremely well through all eleven of the preliminary rounds, and if their opening posts in the Finals are any indication, I expect this level of quality to continue until the end and the determination of a winner. I wish them both the best of luck.

    As my fellow finalists have both stated, there are a number of factors to consider when assessing what anyone feels should be considered the greatest game of all time. We need to look at the quality of the game itself, as well as the pedigree of it's participants. Any extraneous circumstances surrounding the game which may be considered relevant need to be considered. One thing which I feel is really important in determining the greatest game of all time is the context in which the game was played. You need to address the relevance of the game relative to its audience. What I mean by this is simple. Some consideration must be given to where the game was played, for whom, and the impact it had upon a particular audience. For example, if you ask an American sports fan the question, they may select an NBA game. Ask the same question to a Brazilian, or a European, and you will get a totally different perspective. Someone from Italy, for example, may be totally disinterested in the NBA, and may select a World Cup game in football. Thought must be given to the impact of the NBA game on the American fan, relative to the impact of the soccer game on the Italian. I will elaborate more on this below.

    To be consistent with my earlier perspectives, I need only to look to the previous round of this debate to select my answer. My choice for the greatest game of all time is again, the eighth and deciding game of the Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union in the fall of 1972.

    Nationalistic pride was in full force in this one. The ultimate battle of "us versus them," which in today's world, especially in hockey, would be nearly impossible to replicate. 38 years ago, we had a battle between a Canadian squad of NHLers, versus the Communist squad of hockey players from the Soviet Union. The Cold War was in full effect, eight years earlier than the Miracle on Ice. In terms of the political and social aspect of this time, the sentiments of the Canadian population regarding the Soviet Union largely echoed that of our neighbors to our immediate south. In this regard, Canada and the United States are quite comparable. The animosity, the apprehension, the hostility toward the Soviet Union was every bit as real for Canadians, and Canadian sports fans, as it was for our American counterparts.

    This game was extremely significant for the players, the coaches, and the fans of the era. This is evidenced by the magnitude of this series as it is still perceived today, nearly four decades later. At this time, it cannot be disputed that the NHL was dominated by Canadian players. A simple look at the numbers and the names would verify this fact. Unlike today, with the modern day NHL being represented significantly by Canadians, Americans, Russians, Swedes, Czechs, Finns and others, this was not the case in 1972. The NHL was top heavy with Canadians, and we were extremely proud of this fact. In contrast, our opponents were relatively unknown to us. Even though they were basically professional hockey players in their own country who maintained amateur status by skullduggery, we didn't really appreciate their skill level, their conditioning, their stamina, their mental toughness, and their cohesiveness until it was nearly too late. The expectation was that Canada would handle the Soviets with relative ease, and that this would be yet another feather in the cap of the Canadian hockey dominance of the time. Canadians wanted it. They expected it. They demanded it. And if it hadn't resulted in success, it would have been devastating to all parties involved.

    Some would say the fact that a team is comprised of underdogs makes their eventual success, such as with the Miracle on Ice, even greater. I disagree. It could be argued that the Americans who participated in the Olympics against the Soviet Union in 1980 did so with little pressure on them. Let's face it. Of the four major sports played in North America, namely football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, hockey is seen by the majority of Americans as the least significant of them, a distant fourth amongst most American sports fans, especially the more casual ones. No one expected the Americans to be able to compete with the Soviets. Therefore, if they had lost, no one would have really cared. The sentiment would likely have been, "oh well, it's only hockey anyway, it's not like it's something that really matters like football or basketball.". My fellow debaters clearly do not fall into this mind set, but I would generalize the American sports fan as feeling this lower sense of significance toward hockey. I would suggest that the American team entered the semifinal Miracle on Ice with low expectations, of themselves and from their country, and as such, had far less pressure, far less drama, and far less to lose.

    In stark contrast, the typical Canadian hockey fan of this time was far more passionate about the game. Hockey was not just a game, it was our game. It was like a religion, and as such, nationalistic sentiments and fanaticism were rampant. The pressure on this team was intense. When game eighth was played, the country largely ground to a halt. Schools, businesses, everyone stopped and watched, focused on their television sets. Ken Dryden, when interviewed subsequently, that his sentiments between the second and third periods of this game were that he knew that if they lost, he would be the most hated man in Canada. And he was right. Playing under such scrutiny, such pressure, such intense expectations, and ultimately prevailing, that far and away exceeds success as an underdog.

    Remember that Canada was expected to dominate this series, and when they lost game 1 in Montreal, won game 2 in Toronto, tied game three in Winnipeg, and lost their final game on home ice in Vancouver, complete with getting booed off the ice by their rabid and unrelenting fans who would not be appeased by anything other than complete success, pressure upon these guys was more intense than ever, as seen by the impassioned Esposito speech after game four.

    If this wasn't enough pressure, the last four games would be played in the hostile world of Communist Soviet Union in the midst of the Cold War. A loss in game five cranked the pressure up even more. Now Canada had to win three games in succession under the most difficult of circumstances, knowing that if they were unable to come through, people back home would be disgusted and devastated. Two tight victories by the Canadian squad in games 6 and 7 evened things up, but even still, at 3-3-1 and trailing in goal differential, only a Canadian victory would do in the final showdown.

    Game eight was truly remarkable. Despite the momentum produced by their last two victories, the game was tied at two after the first period, but Canada trailed 5-3 at the second intermission. They managed to tie it up in the third stanza, setting up the drama which is near and dear to the hearts Of Canadians to this day. When Paul Henderson shoveled the rebound from Phil Esposito behind Tretiak with only 34 seconds remaining, scoring the goal heard around the world, the result of the greatest game ever played was determined. It was a moment that, when looked at though the eyes of the Canadian fan from our perspective, has to be seen as the greatest game of all time.

    I am unimpressed with the accolades and the awards heaped upon the Miracle on Ice as these are purely from the American perspective. Movies were made about the Summit Series as well, it's just that they didn't have the marketing machine as only the United States can offer to bring them to the collective conscious of the casual fan. Without such movies, I maintain that a lot of the American population would barely even be aware of the Miracle on Ice, and even for those who became aware, they in general cared far less about it (debaters here aside) than the typical Canuck.

    As I said earlier, it is important to keep things in perspective, in context, when assessing the greatest game of all time. What did the final game of the Summit Series mean to the Canadians who lived and breathed it, relative to what did the Miracle on Ice mean to the Americans who watched that? I contend that the Summit Series, especially the final and deciding game, meant far more to the nation of Canada, far more to the game of hockey and it's evolution into the game it has become today, than any other game has meant to any other group, in relative terms. And this is why the eighth game of the Summit Series, with the dramatic late game heroics of the Canadians in September, 1972, has to seen as the greatest game of all time. Certainly greater than a simple championship game in a professional football league. And greater than the famous and significant Miracle on Ice.
    LSN80 likes this.
  5. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

    Jul 21, 2008
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    A simple championship game? This was the game that started the popularity growth in the NFL and is one of the reasons the NFL is currently the most popular league in the US and it isn't even close. 45 million people watched this game on NBC and they saw the first ever significant overtime game in the league's history. They also saw, to this day, the only NFL championship game that has ever gone into overtime. They saw one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Johnny Unitas lead two of the most historic drives in NFL history and the whole Two Minute Drill phrase started because of this game. You had two of the greatest coaches of all time in Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry on the sidelines as the two coordinators for the Giants. You had 12 future HOF players leave it all on the field. It literally is the "Greatest Game Ever Played."

    I see from both Habs and LSN that they are talking about cultural significance and how great of moments these were for the respective countries. That's all well and good but I've already pointed out how significant the NFL Championship game was to the future of the game of football and American sports in general and on top of all that the game itself was greater then the Miracle On Ice and the Summit Series game 8. I'm not saying those games weren't great but just like there were comebacks in those games the 58 Championship game had comebacks from both teams. Just like the Summit Series game had a late game winning goal from Henderson, the 58 Championship game had a late two minute drive from Johnny U to tie the game AND an 80 yard drive in overtime that gave the Colts the victory. Every thing the two games my competitors are discussing had, the 58 Championship game had that and more. If this was a topic on best feel good moments for a particular country or countries then by all means they may have the two best choices, but the topic at hand is greatest game and no game is greater then the 1958 NFL Championship game.
  6. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

    Feb 3, 2010
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    I agree, and what bigger and better stage for a game to take place then on a Worldwide stage, the Olympics? This game was also played in New York, at Lake Placid, where it drew full capacity. The same can't be said be for the Baltimore/New York game, which came in 3,020 under capacity. Further, this wasn't just the game of American football being focused on, the eyes of the world were on the Olympics. And more importantly, those eyes were focused on the game between the United States and the USSR. This game didn't just decide who the best team in one league was, it decided who the best team in the world was. A bigger stage for a bigger game.

    The television viewership also is in favor of the 1980 USA/USSR game. An estimated 52 million people tuned in to watch the Miracle on Ice. It took an incredible 30 years before the USA/Canada gold medal game at the 2010 Winter Olympics outdrew it, and only by approximately 1 million people. This is an astonishing figure considering the vast amount of increase in media outlets between then and now. Before the argument can arise that there were more media outlets available in 1980 then 1958, the 1980 Super Bowl drew just 35 million viewers, which is 10 million less then Baltimore/New York and 17 million less then the USA/USSR game. The Miracle on Ice was superior in viewership to the Baltimore/New York game in every way.

    The Soviet team was considered to be the GREATEST team ever assembled in the history of professional hockey up until that day. Although the game was supposed to be contested solely by amateurs, the Soviets bypassed this rule on a technicality that they had all of their "professional" players loosely affiliated with the Soviet Red Army, which allowed them to maintain their amateur status. In actuality, most of the players on the USSR team were actually full time hockey players playing in the Soviet Elite League. This very team took on the NHL All Star team a month earlier in an exhibition game and thumped them 6-0. Between the two teams, 23 of the players and coaches were elected into either the United States or Russian Hall of Fame. On the United States side, Goalie Jim Craig, Forward Neil Broten, and Defenseman Dave Christian were among the elected, and coaches Herb Brooks and Craig Patrick were elected as well. As for the Soviets, Goalie Vladislov Tretiak, Defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov, and Forwards Valeri Kharlemov and Sergei Makarov were elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame as well, representative of the NHL. Tretiak and Kharlemov to this day are the only non-NHL players EVER to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. When Sports Illustrated named their greatest players of all time in 2000, Tretiak was the goalie alongside Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemiuex, and Gordie Howe. There may not have been more accolades garnered by or a greater collection of players in any sport that stepped on the ice that day at Lake Placid on February 22nd, 1980. The Soviets were the greatest team ever assembled up until that day, and the United States matched them in play and ultimately toppled them.

    Ive already pointed out succintly in my opening post about what made the United States victory over the Soviets so great, and one of the major points I discussed was the game itself. While there is no doubt that the Baltimore/New York game was a fantastic one, it paled in comparison to the truly back and forth nature of the USA/USSR game. There was never a time in the game where one team lead or trailed by more then one score. As you pointed out in your opening post, there was a time in the Giants/Colts game where the Colts were ahead by more then one score. Further, the Miracle didn't feature the runs made by each team in the other game, which signals letdowns at certain points of the game by each team. Baltimore ran off 14 unanswered points before New York ran a run of 14 points of their own. In the Miracle game, the score was 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, and 4-3. It was the ultimate back and forth, tug of war game. That level of equal competitiveness alone throughout 60 minutes makes for a better game then a game of runs and gaffes by both teams. And for the Greatest Game Ever Played, it's not considered by many experts to even be the best game in NFL history. In this compilation between Sports Illustrated and ESPN, the Colts/Giants game came in as the 7th greatest football game the 20th Century, and only the 20th greatest contest of the Century. The Miracle on Ice was THE top hockey game and trailed only the epic John McEnroe Bjorn Borg Tennis Match and the Ali/Frazier "Rumble in the Jungle." The top two were individualized sporting contests, and with number three being the Miracle on Ice, it's the greatest TEAM sporting event ever played.

    Written in conjunction with CNN/SI staff writers and ESPN "SportsCentury" staff.
    The 20th Centuries Greatest Contests:

    1 JULY 5, 1980 McEnroe 18, Borg 16
    It was the most excruciatingly sustained display of brilliance that tennis has ever seen, at the most prestigious tournament in the world, between the two greatest tennis players of all time, each at the peak of their abilities and both at pivotal moments of their careers. And it all converged at the perfect venue: Wimbledon's fabled Centre Court, which is occupied only two weeks out of the year - it's a theatre in search of a play.

    In 1980, it played host to a masterpiece. The actors were 24-year-old Bjorn Borg, the greatest tennis player ever to set foot in the All-England Club, and John McEnroe, quite possibly the greatest player ever to set foot anywhere (Sampras, Laver and Tilden fans will argue, but McEnroe was about to embark on a four-year run at #1 in both singles AND doubles - the most dominant four years in men's tennis history). The two were at opposite ends of their magnificent careers: while #1-ranked Borg would retire within 15 months, at the physical peak of his career, due to a combination of personal problems and an inability to deal with McEnroe's ascendance, the precociously talented challenger (ranked #2 at the tender age of 21) was either too young or too arrogant to realize that Borg was destined to win.

    The fourth-set tie-breaker was the Crown Jewel of their contest, a battle of wills that has never been duplicated. For Borg, it was a gritty display of his skill; for McEnroe, it was a coming of age - the man known as "superbrat" entered the stadium to boos, but departed to cheers.

    2 OCTOBER 30, 1974 Rumble in the Jungle

    Under a pale African moon in Kinshasa, Zaire, the greatest boxing match of all time unfolds. A younger Muhammed Ali could have run circles around heavyweight champion George Foreman, but at age 32, the 4:1 underdog has to improvise. A boxing purist can choose virtually any one of 5 of Ali's fights as his greatest - his three classics with Joe Frazier, his upset of Sonny Liston as a 7:1 underdog, or this one - but in my view it was this fight that defined him as a champion. If you had taken bets in 1968 that almost 30 years later, Muhammed Ali would be the most beloved athlete in American sports, and that the very sight of him holding an Olympic torch would bring an audience to tears ... well, you'd be rich beyond your wildest dreams today. A large portion of this phenomenon in American sports began with this battle.

    3 FEBRUARY 22, 1980 The Miracle On Ice

    One thing works against this game - the fact that it occurred in an Olympic event. I hate the Olympics. They are over-dramatized, jingoistic and literally amateurish - rarely do they play forum to a real, genuine,pure, unadulterated sporting event. Occasionally, something happens that is truly special without the benefit of the sentimental media back-stories, but usually it happens in a pseudo-sport like ice dancing or synchronized swimming. I mean, the luge - what the hell is that? That's just jumping on something that's going to cross the finish line with or without you. I call that hitchhiking.
    Still, this was a legitimate event - an upset of colossal proportions that riveted a nation, and it remains the most memorable event of the last half-century for American sports fans. The four-time defending gold medalist Soviet team was mostly from the Central Red Army, technically not professionals because they didn't play for money, but they were the Soviet equivalents of Western pros. They had blown away the opposition in all five of their division games, outscoring their opponents 51-11, and had embarrassed the Americans 10-3 at Madison Square Garden just v13 days before the Lake Placid Games began. But in the semi-finals, they were victimized by a Cinderella story, a fairy tale so improbable that Hollywood screenwriters would never have imagined it.

    4 JANUARY 2, 1982 1982 AFC Playoff Game

    What a roller-coaster. The AFC semifinal playoff game between San Diego and Miami had a little bit of everything, including the most dramatic play of post-season history: Miami coach Don Shula's gimmicky "hook-and-lateral" - football's equivalent to baseball's "hidden-ball trick" - with zero seconds left in the first half. It also had more shifts in momentum than just about any game in history.

    Some games need historical context (like the Miracle on Ice) or the passage of time (like the Rumble in the Jungle) to make them a classic: this one was clearly and obviously a momentous occasion from the very first.

    5 SEPTEMBER 30, 1975 Ali-Frazier III: Thrilla in Manila

    Ali says of the fight, "It was like death. Closest thing to dying that I know of." He and Frazier wrote boxing's most-compelling three-part series; each of their battles were wonderful to watch, but this closing chapter was the most dramatic and exciting fight ever held.

    6 OCTOBER 21, 1975 Game 6, 1975 World Series

    It rained for three days, then ... Two hard-luck teams battled on baseball's greatest playing field, Fenway Park, in the World Series. Even the casual fan will remember Carlton Fisk's game-winning home run in the 12th inning, aided by a major dose of body English. Unfortunately, Red Sox fans will also remember the Reds' 4-3 win the next day to win Game 7.

    7 DECEMBER 31, 1967 The Ice Bowl

    For the football purist, this is the epitome of what the game is supposed to represent: coach Lombardi's Packers taking on coach Landry's Cowboys in near-Arctic conditions, breath misting heavily in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The game was played with no whistles - the little wooden balls had frozen inside the official's whistles. Now, that's cold. The icy conditions meant that the game was decided more by grit than by skill - Green Bay's kind of game. Lombardi wasn't a gambler, but his great goal-line gamble, trying for a game-winning touchdown rather a game-tyng field goal attempt off the icy field, was as simple as football gets: a classic blocking play with a dash to daylight for a memorable win.

    8 JANUARY 22, 1989 Super Bowl XXIII

    A lot of people think SBIII was the best of all time, but for my money this one had all the elements of the greatest Super Bowl ever played. Even though San Francisco held an advantage in total net yards (453 to 229), the 49ers found themselves trailing late in the game. It was one of the most tense scenes ever to grace a Super Bowl, and the man at the center of it all was Joe Montana. For a quarter of a century, the Super Bowl had waited for this: the game's greatest quarterback taking the game's greatest team the length of the field for a game-winning drive.

    9 MAY 2, 1917 Toney-Vaugh No-Hitters

    We all know how hard it is to throw a no-hitter - perhaps two or three times a year, a major league pitcher will pull it off. So when the Cubs' Hippo Vaughn went nine hitless innings against the Reds, he was pretty confident of a victory. Unfortunately for him, the Reds' Fred Toney chose that same day to throw a no-hitter. In this, the greatest pitching duel of all time, it was another rather famous hitter who settled it. Vaughn finally cracked in the top of the tenth, when Larry Kopf scored on a dribbler by Jim Thorpe (yes, that Jim Thorpe). Toney then threw a 10th inning of no-hit work to get the W. Who else but the Cubs could have a pitcher toss nine no-hit innings...and lose? Ah, the Cubs. The more things change.... At least they would have all those World Series titles to look forward to. Oops.

    10 MARCH 28, 1992 Duke 104, Kentucky 103 (OT)

    The most exciting basketball of all time: in the Spectrum in Philadelphia, two teams with great basketball traditions left everything they had on the court in this East Regional final. Together, the two teams scored on the last five possessions, swapping the lead five times, and it took Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater to win it. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said afterward, "Did that really happen?"

    11 OCTOBER 8, 1956 Don Larsen's Perfect Game
    He was an imperfect man. A very average pitcher known more for partying than pitching excellence, his career 81-91 record over 15 seasons is the very embodiment of what baseball calls a journeyman. But on this day, Don Larsen got a chance to redeem himself on baseball's greatest stage, in front of a packed house at Yankee Stadium, during nothing less than the World Series.

    Don Larsen was 3-21 with Baltimore two years previous, and he had come to the Yankees in an 18-player trade. Three days after blowing a 6-0 lead in Game 2, the no-windup pitcher found himself matched up against Sal "The Barber" Maglie. The Series was locked 2-2, against the Yankees' most bitter rival - the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    Larsen was helped by three outstanding fielding plays. In the second inning, Jackie Robinson's hard grounder bounced off third baseman Andy Carey's glove, but shortstop Gil McDougald recovered the ball in time to throw out Robinson. In the fifth, center-fielder Mickey Mantle, whose homer had given the Yankees a 1-0 lead, streaked into deep left-center to make a backhanded catch to rob Gil Hodges of an extra-base hit. In the eighth, it was Carey's turn to rob Hodges, as he lunged to catch Hodges' liner inches off the ground. Larsen ended the game by slipping a called third strike past pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell before 64,519 breathless fans at Yankee Stadium. The Dodgers rebounded to win an exciting Game 6, behind hurler Clem Labine's 10 innings of shutout baseball, but in Game 7 Yankee pitcher Johnny Kucks tossed a shutout, and Dodger ace and NL MVP Don Newcombe allowed five runs in three innings to take the loss. On a more negative note for Larsen, his estranged wife filed a court action seeking to withhold his Series money because he was delinquent in his support payments.

    12 OCTOBER 3, 1947 The Bevens-Lavagetto game

    This is why I love baseball: in a World Series filled with the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Yogi Berra, and Jackie Robinson, two rather ordinary Americans battled at history. Baseball can be a cruel sport. The Yankees and Dodgers couldn't call a time out; they couldn't devise a play to put heir best players on the field; they couldn't sit on the ball, or pass the ball around to kill the clock. At it's most critical moments, baseball chooses the players who will be heroes and goats with the randomness of a Vegas roulette wheel.

    Bill Bevens, an undistinguished fourth starter with a 7-13 record for the Yankees, had a no-hitter going into the ninth inning. While he had permitted a fifth-inning run (on two walks, a sacrifice and a ground ball), he entered the ninth with a 2-1 lead and a chance to put his team up 3-1 in the '47 World Series. Bevens walked the first batter (Carl Furillo), his 9th walk of the day, and then retired the next two batters, to get to within one out of the win. Outfielder Al Gionfriddo was sent in to pinch run for Furillo, and promptly stole second. Pinch-hitter Pete Reiser (hitting for reliever Hugh Casey) was intentionally walked, and Eddie Miksis was inserted into the game as a runner for Reiser, who was bothered by a leg injury.

    The underdog Dodgers now turned in desperation to a 34-year-old journeyman pinch hitter named Cookie Lavagetto, to hit for Eddie Stanky, their light-hitting second baseman. Lavagetto doubled off the right field wall to drive in two runs, and Brooklyn won 3-2 - in one fell swoop, Bevens lost his no-hitter and the game, and the Dodgers tied the Series 2-2. Of course, the Yankees won the Series anyway, and nine years later another Yankee righthander, Don Larsen, would throw the first Series no-hitter...against the Dodgers.

    13 APRIL 4, 1983 NC State Upsets Houston, 54-52

    The Wolfpack's victory over Akeem and Co. is the granddaddy of them all - the biggest upset in tournament sports this side of Joe Namath's Guarantee and the Miracle on Ice.

    14 JUNE 4, 1976 Celtics 128, Suns 126 (3 OT)

    It is likely the greatest game in NBA history, the triple-overtime thriller between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns in the fifth game of the 1976 finals. John Havlicek had a chance to win it in regulation for the Celtics, but he missed one of two free throws with 19 seconds left and sent the game into OT.

    But what really made the game special was the second overtime: an incredible seven points were scored in the final five seconds. Curtis Perry's jumper put the Suns up 110-109, but then Havlicek banked in a lunging jumper to put the Celtics up 111-110. The crowd at Boston Garden stormed the court, thinking the game was over, but the referees put a second back on the clock. An incensed fan attacked Richie Powers, one of the officials.

    Rather than taking the ball out from under the Boston basket, guard Paul Westphal shrewdly called a timeout for the Suns, knowing they didn't have any left. This resulted in a technical, which Jo Jo White converted for a 112-110 Celtic lead, but it also gave the Suns a chance to take the ball out at half court. The strategy worked: Garfield Heard took the inbounds pass and beat the buzzer with a high, arching jumper from beyond the top of the key with Don Nelson's hand in his face.

    In the third overtime, substitute Glenn McDonald, playing only because Paul Silas fouled out, scored six points, and the Celtics broke a 118-118 tie to earn a 128-126 victory.

    15 JANUARY 12, 1969 The Guarantee

    The first two Super Bowls were lopsided affairs, with the NFL representatives - the Green Bay Packers - trouncing the representatives of the upstart AFL (Kansas City in 1967 and Oakland in 1968). Packers coach Vince Lombardi summarized the conventional wisdom in 1967 when he said of the Chiefs: "They have great speed, but I'd have to say NFL football is tougher; their team doesn't compare with the top NFL teams."

    So the AFL representatives to Super Bowl III - the New York Jets - were a little sensitive when hecklers lit into them three days before the game at a Miami bar. Jets quarterback Joe Namath, a double scotch in his hand, brassily answered them by saying, "We'll win. I guarantee it."

    Brassy, considering that the Jets were 19-point underdogs to the Baltimore Colts. But Broadway Joe was as good as his word, guiding the Jets to a stunning 16-7 triumph and legitimizing the AFL with an upset for the ages. The Colts inserted the legendary Johnny Unitas late in the third quarter, down 16-0, but it was too late. Namath completed 17-of-28 passes for 206 yards, with George Sauer grabbing eight for 133 yards. Fullback Matt Snell gained 121 yards on 30 carries, including a four-yard touchdown run to give the Jets a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. Jim Turner tacked on three second-half field goals.

    16 NOVEMBER 1, 1913 Notre Dame 35, Army 13
    There's so much to say about this game, but maybe this sums it up: of all the legends echoing through history from South Bend, this one rings loudest. The unknown Irish pounded the undefeated Cadet juggernaut, and they did it with a gimmick: the forward pass.

    Notre Dame's Gus Dorais went 14 for 17 for 243 yards and two touchdowns. One went to halfback Joe Pliska, the other to Knute Rockne. Army was bewitched by the aerial attack and couldn't stop the onslaught; maybe they should have turned to one of their halfbacks - a young man named Dwight David Eisenhower - for advice.

    17 JANUARY 3, 1993 Bills 41, Houston 38

    The greatest single game comeback in team sports history played out in favor of the Buffalo Bills, not a team known for playoff success. The Tennessee Titans would exact some measure of revenge six years with the Music City Miracle (Greatest Moments #17).

    18 OCTOBER 13, 1960 Game 7, 1960 World Series

    The World Series has had it's moments: Babe Ruth calling his shot, Bob Gibson striking out 17 batters, Christy Mathewson's three shutouts in six days, Willie Mays' incredible catch in 1954 off of Vic Wertz, and Fred Snodgrass muffing a fly ball. Don't forget Bill Wambsganss making an unassisted triple play, and Bill Buckner letting an easy roller escape.

    But there is one moment that inhabits the dreams of kids playing stickball more than any other: winning Game 7 with a ninth-inning home run to defeat a heavily favored Goliath. And in all the years that baseball teams have met in the World Series, there is only one player who has ended a Game 7 of the World Series with a home run - Bill Mazeroski of the Pirates.

    19 APRIL 18, 2000 Tiger Woods Wins U.S. Open

    Tiger Woods is a true phenomenon. Admittedly, it's only golf - it's not like it's a real sport. And much of the Woods legend is built on the fact that he is a minority playing a game long reserved for white men - a fact that is totally irrelevant for the purist like me. But Woods' dominance of golf is still mind-boggling. Woods took the lead on 18 on Day 1, and never gave it back. By the end of Day 2, he had a record six-shot lead, and after Day 3, going into the final round, he was up by an astounding 10 strokes (another record).
    On Sunday, Woods was all alone, playing for himself - and for history. His coronation began unspectacularly enough - he played the front nine with all pars. Then, while the rest of the field was playing for second, Woods took aim at the record books. As if sensing records were in range, Woods poured it on with one spectacular shot after another. He birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine, and saved par from a bunker on 17 with a shot that nearly went in.
    Woods made par again on 18, and closed with a 4-under 67, the best score of the day. He became the first player in the 106-year history of the U.S. Open to finish 72 holes at double digits under par - 12-under - and his 15-stroke victory not only shattered the Open mark of 11 set by Willie Smith in 1899, but was the largest ever in a major championship, surpassing the 13-stroke victory by Old Tom Morris in the 1862 British Open.
    Woods *averaged* 299.3 yards off the tee, hit 73% of fairways (41 of 56) and made 71% of greens in regulation (51 of 72). He was so dominant, he didn't make a bogey on the last 26 holes he played. Woods simply made a mockery of a U.S. Open that prides itself in protecting par.
    Three years ago on the other side of the country, Woods had turned in a similarly scintillating performance, taming Augusta National to become the youngest Masters champion with a record 12-stroke victory.

    The U.S. Open, however, was never supposed to look this easy. With his length on the par-5s, Woods simply shortened the course at Augusta. But you don't win the U.S. Open unless you have the whole package - driving, short game, iron play, putting. It is the toughest test in golf. Its aim is to identify the best player in the world.
    Any questions?

    20 DECEMBER 28, 1958 Colts 23, Giants 17 (OT)

    The Baltimore Colts' 23-17 overtime victory over the New York Giants for the NFL championship is often called "the greatest game ever played." It may not be that, but it WAS the most important football game ever played because it changed the way America looked at pro football.

    While it may have been the game in which the phrase was "coined", it was because of the fact that it was the game that, as you noted, was responsible for expanding the popularity of football in the United States. The two minute drill had been done before, specifically in the first NFL Championship game in 1933 between the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, and the 1944 one between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. It was just in the Colts/Giants game that it was given an official name. It doesn't contribute in making the game great anymore then the popular "USA USA" chants that are famous to the day at national sporting contests that was first made famous at the Miracle on Ice game does. It simply means a phrase was coined.

    And the game between the Soviets and the United States truly signaled the beginning of a new era in professional hockey as well. Up until this point, the NHL was primarily made up of Canadiens, and this single game put the league on notice that American players were forces to be reckoned with. Scouting in the United States became the rule rather then the exception. NHL teams began to draft Soviet players on a regular basis in hopes of enticing them to come play in North America. While no player came to play in the United States until 1988, it opened the door for Soviet players and eventually players from other continents to come play hockey in the NHL, truly making it the most balanced sport on earth most equally represented by nations around the world. Couple that with the fact that the audience was bigger, the stage was larger, the game was better played and better coached, it's easy to see how the United States/USSR Miracle on Ice game handily surpasses the Baltimore/New York 1958 NFL championship as the greatest of all time.

    I apologize that I have to conclude my post in a seperate post altogether as my combined responses to both debators far surpassed the character limit allowed by the site. My response to Habs will follow.
  7. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

    Feb 3, 2010
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    Context is important, but it isn't the be-all, end-all. But if we're going there, what BETTER context then the game between the USA and the USSR, at the Olympics? The Summit Series was merely a battle between two nations that disliked each other immensely, and as you acknowledged, knew LITTLE about each other. No game has held more relevance perhaps in American history then the Miracle on Ice game. The Olympics was about declaring the best in the WORLD, and the game happened to be between the two biggest rivals to perhaps ever made on an Olympic stage, given the context. And we knew how good the Soviets were, they had won the last FOUR gold medals and had drubbed us 10-3 in an exhibition before the Olympics had started. It was why Brooks adapted his gameplan to a hybrid between the American style fo dump and chase with the European free skating, puck possession approach. Having a coach who draws up a magnificent game plan and his team executing it is also part of the context for what makes for a great game, and Brooks knew that and did exactly that, ensuring that the USA came in prepared for the USSR. When you have two teams preparing for and familar with each other, a better conetst is generally bound to ensue. And the expectations for the Americans coming in can be summed up by Herb Brooks himself, right before the game between the two.

    Right there represented the sentiment shared by the Americans across the nation. They believed in this team. They were passionate about this team. They had seen what the Americans had accomplished in the earlier rounds of the tournament, putting expectations and pressure at an all time high. Still remaining the underdogs, the Americans took the faith and belief their nation had in them and delivered upon the weight of those expectations and still being seen as "less then" the Soviet Union. It truly was the greatest game ever played.

    This is a humungous fallacy. The fact that this game, and not one of the Summit Series games, was one of the most broadcast hockey games of all time is a testament to that. In comparison with the USA/Russia game, the Summit Series drew only a paltry 18 million viewers as compared to the 52 million that watched the Miracle on Ice. If this importance was so much more prevalent as you claim, why did 34 million MORE people tune into the Miracle on Ice then they did the Summit Series Finale? That's a gaping difference that cannot be accounted for other then with the logical conclusion that the Americans were more passionate about this game then the Canadiens were the Summit Series and the Miracle on Ice game was considered to be on a bigger stage then the Summit Series was. Perhaps you're selling it a little short.

    What's more, when a News Anchor in Washington DC accidentally broke the score of the game(As it was being showed on tape delay in the United States), the station and the female anchor were pelted by thousands of angry phone calls and death threats towards her. If "noone really cared", then why did these events occur? Obviously, the Americans at the time were much more passionate about the game and the sport of hockey at the time then you give them credit for.

    Youre right, it doesn't. But it does make for a greater game, especially when said underdog stands toe to toe with the greatest hockey team in the world for an entire 60 minutes and doesn't blink, defeating them in dramatic fashion by coming back from three deficits. People seem to live under the assumption that this was the only tournament game the US was a massive underdog in. They were massive underdogs against Sweden, the USSR, and Finland. Being an underdog was certainly part of the story in this game, without a doubt, and contributed to making it the greatest game ever played. But it wasn't the entire picture.

    Low expectations? Herb Brooks was handpicked because the Americans had HIGH expectations, and there was no greater motivator perhaps in the history of American hockey then Brooks. Brooks, used a tough, confrontational style that broke his players. Their conditioning was top-notch, a major factor in them upsetting the Soviets. All of their practices were contact drills in which Brooks would repeatedly stop practice to berate his players for mistakes and perceived weaknesses. Here's just some of the things Brooks said in preparing the team for the game.


    Brooks' original expressions were known by his players as "Brooksisms." According to Olympians John Harrington, Dave Silk, and Mike Eruzione, these are a few.

    "You're playing worse and worse every day and right now you're playing like it's next month."
    "You can't be common, the common man goes nowhere; you have to be uncommon."
    "Boys, I'm asking you to go to the well again."
    "You look like you have a five pound fart on your head."
    "You guys are getting bent over and they're not using Vaseline."
    "You look like a monkey tryin' to hump a football!"
    "You're looking for players whose name on the front of the sweater is more important than the one on the back. I look for these players to play hard, to play smart and to represent their country.”
    "Great moments are born from great opportunities."
    "You know, Willie Wonka said it best: we are the makers of dreams, the dreamers of ."
    "This team isn't talented enough to win on talent alone."

    Brooks knew the meticulous balance of being tough on his players, and motivating them, and he walked that line with expert precision. For those who would downplay the role of a coach in the success/greatness of a particular game, whose the first person we scream to go when our favorite team isn't playing well? The coach. We understand the importance of coaches in games, and for one night, Herb Brooks was the greatest coach of all time, which contributes to the fact that this was the greatest game of all time.

    And as for less drama, are you serious? Just to get to the game, the United States tied their first game against Sweden with 27 seconds left. They routed a heavily favored Czechoslovokian team 7-3 just to get there. As for expectations, the arena sold out with American fans. It was a sea of red white and blue for the USA/USSR game. Lets not forget the speech Herb Brooks gave his team before the game, or what happened in the game itself. The Americans tied the game with one second to go in the first period, causing who some to be considered the greatest goalie of all time in Vladislav Tretiak , to be pulled. They erased another deficit in the third period, took the lead with ten minutes to play, and took the play to the Soviets in a balanced last 10 minutes of play. They then made one of the greatest "defensive stands" in the history of sports, as evidenced by the video I provided earlier. This was high drama at it's best!

    No it doesn't. The Americans were under the same amount of scrutiny, if not more, then the Canadiens were. Far more people were watching the USA/USSR game then game 8 of the Summit Series. Note the death threats I mentioned above when a news anchor accidentally spoiled the results. The Soviets were even moreso bitter rivals to the United States then they were to the Canadiens because of the 2nd Cold War. I don't recall the Canadiens boycotting an Olympic game in protest the way the United States did in Summer of 1980. And if the way you're describing the games is accurate, the Soviet Union came in the "underdog", not two teams playing on an equal playing field. For all of the arguments to be made about the United States being underdogs, they were the equals and one goal better then the Soviets on February 22nd, 1980. The fact that they erased 3 1 goal deficits and got one of the most magnificent performances by a goalie of all time due to the stage it was in Jim Craig stopping 36 shots made the game all the more remarkable.
    As for being passionate, watch the video I posted in my OP. That there is truly the visual definition of "passionate."

    These games are entirely irrelevant. Are you arguing the series here, or just the final game? It's difficult to tell, honestly, by the way you're presenting them equally.

    Again, I find this to be irrelevant. I understand that these games may have set the stage for the 8th game, but the question was about the "greatest game", not the "greatest series". The United States didn't win the Gold Medal, or were assured of medaling, after beating the Russians. A Russia win over Sweden and a US loss to Finland would have left the US in 4th place by virtue of goal differential, as this was a round robin tournament, not a single-elimination. Finland actually won the bronze and the USSR the Silver after all was said and done. None of those were factors as to why the USA/USSR game was the greatest of all time. It was because of the way the game was contested, the stage it was on, the great sense of national pride, and the players on the ice that made the game truly special.

    Its funny that no major lists of great games see it that way. Was it a great game? Yes. Was it the greatest ever? Not even in it's own sport. The USA/Canada Gold Medal game in 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics was better, with the USA tying it with less then a minute to play on a goal by Zach Parise, and Canada winning it in overtime on a goal by Sidney Crosby. And that game couldn't touch the Miracle on Ice. Those "amateurs" went on to become multi-time all-stars and most of them HOF's. They were far more skilled then given credit for, and it showed in them erasing the 1-0 lead, 2-1 lead(with 1 second to go in the first on one of the greatest individual plays Ive ever seen), a 3-2 lead, and holding off a furious Soviet rally to win 4-3. For American's who look at hockey as it's "fourth sport' to pretty unanimously recognize it as the greatest game ever played says even more about it.

    Im pretty sure that the 55 million people combined who watched the game live and on reply would assure that regardless of what feature films were made about said event, America was quite aware and passionate about the game. If anything, you have things the opposite way around. It's the passion and high regard with which us Americans hold the game that spurred the making of two films and a documentary about it.

    Game 8 of the Summit Series meant less to the world then the Miracle on Ice did, which is the true context that needs to be examined. I already showed that with the large disparity in viewership numbers and the outcry against a young female news anchor who accidentally gave away the results. What's more, the Miracle on Ice lifted American spirits, breathing life into a nation both from a hockey perspective but a national one as well. The heroics and the meticulously executed game plan of the Americans with Herb Brooks cannot be denied as well, as erasing 3 deficits in one hockey game while chasing the greatest goalie in the world is virtually unheard of. The heroics of Mike Eruzione in stepping up like a Captain does and scoring the game winning goal cannot be understated or undervalued. The defensive play of the underdog Americans and netminder Jim Craig in doing something the favorite Soviets couldn't on three occasions in holding the lead is also the stuff of legend. These factors combined easily contributed to making the Miracle on Ice a far more significant game then the 8th game of the Summit Series, and more importantly, a greater game as well.
  8. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

    Jul 21, 2008
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    And exactly what does attendance have to do with how great a game was? If there's a 3 ot college basketball game with 50 lead changes and only 10,000 people see it does that make it any less of a great game? Fuck no. The stage plays a part in the greatness of a game but you can't compare an Olympic stage to that of a regular pro sport in the US. The 58 Championship game was on as a big a stage as it possibly could have been and that's what I was getting at. That doesn't make it any less of a big stage then the 1980 Miracle On Ice, both were played on as big a stage as possible for their particular event and time period.

    Two facts you are completely failing to mention:

    1. The NFL Championship was blacked out in New York City because of NFL restrictions so there goes a lot of viewers right there.

    2. The 58 Championship Game took place at 2:00 in the afternoon. The Miracle On Ice was in prime time. Big difference there. The Miracle On Ice may have been on tape delay but most people watching didn't know the outcome and even if they did I can guarantee they made sure they watched it.

    Fantastic. No one is arguing that it wasn't the greatest moment in sports history or possibly the biggest upset in sports history. This is about which game overall was the best and while an underdog story is nice and may add to the suspense of the game it doesn't automatically make it better.

    Both games were back and forth, your whole "double digit lead" nonsensical argument is grasping at straws. Both contests were back and forth the whole time and had multiple lead changes. I'll take the two minute drive to tie the game up and the the ot drive for the win over the US having the lead for a full ten minutes at the end of the Olympic game. As far as your SI/ESPN list I can see in the description that they did exactly what you did and base a lot of their argument on the fact that it was such a huge upset and was memorable because of that fact. When talking about the greatest game that is just one small factor to me. When it comes to the games themselves, forget Olympics, forget upsets, forget national pride, just the game. Then the 58 Championship game takes it over the Miracle On ice.

    It was just another part of the history that I was showing for the game. I can easily take that part completely out of my argument and still have an easy time debating. You take all the history with the upset and how Soviets had dominated out of your argument and you're in trouble.

    Yet hockey is currently struggling and is 4th in popularity among the 4 major sports. The NFL is easily the most popular league in the US and it isn't even close.

    I already pointed out the flaws in your stage and audience argument. When it comes to better played I did the same and proved the 58 Championship game between the leagues top offensive and defensive teams was better. When it comes to better coached that is absolute bullshit and you know it. That is 100% subjective opinion with zero factual base on your part. I have facts if you want to bring up coaching. The Colts were led by HOFer Weeb Ewbank and both of the Giants coordinators would leave the next year to become head coaches and they became two of the greatest head coaches of all time. Maybe you heard of them? Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry? Ring a bell? The 58 NFL Championship game > Miracle on Ice all day long.
    LSN80 likes this.
  9. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

    Feb 3, 2010
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    The bold parts that I outlined were taken directly from your opening post. You brought up the notion of attendance and viewership, not I. I simply was pointing out that the "stage" for the championship game wasn't nearly as significant as you thought that it was seeing that they couldn't even sell out the game! It's a rediculous notion to state that just because a game was played on the biggest stage possible, it makes it equal in terms of a stage as the Miracle on Ice. Both games were played in New York, with the same opportunities. The Miracle on Ice game sold out, the championship game didn't. While hockey may not be as relevant now as football, this one hockey game was more relevant then that one football game given the nature of its event and the time period in which it was played. There are many factors that go into seperating a great game from the greatest game, and stage is one of them. And the Miracle on Ice completely outclasses the 1958 championship game in terms of stage.

    This still doesn't account for the 10 million viewer disparity in viewership. According to the US Census Bureau, only 7.8 million households in the state of New York have a television in 2011, so that's still a disparity of over 2 million if you assume that every man, woman, and child in the state would have watched, which would have been quite the stretch. It's also a stretch to assume that the number of households with a TV in New York in 1980 is equal to the number today. Again, there's a large disparity that you simply can't account for.

    The 1958 championship game also took place on a Sunday, so the 2:00 pm time is virtually negligible. It's not as if it took place during the week when people were working. The Miracle game was also aired on a Sunday in the United States, so the "prime time" factor you've noted is negligble.

    I wasn't arguing that those factors alone made it the greatest game ever played, I argued that they were part of the equation. The underdog aspect and the moment do add to making the game the greatest game ever played, which is what is being argued here. The 1958 game doesn't have the underdog element or the overall moment that the Miracle on Ice does, once again making it inferior in determining the greatest game ever played.

    We could go back and forth on this for days, and we're not going to agree. Ill take the United States coming back from three deficits, including scoring a dramatic goal with one second to play at the end of the first period to tie the game and chase the greatest goalie ever to play the game. Ill take Captain Mike Eruzione stepping up and scoring the game winning goal with 10 minutes to play, and goalie Jim Craig making 36 saves including 10 in the final ten minutes.

    Ill take perhaps the greatest talent to set foot on the ice in one game over two Giant fumbles leading to a Baltimore double digit lead, which was subsequently blown on a large defensive gaffe by the Colts. The mistakes continued on a lucky fumble that bounced to the Giants and was run down to the 1 yard line. It's obvious to see that a back and forth game against the greatest hockey team ever assembled trumps a game filled with fumbles, muffed punts, defensive gaffes, and a touchdown scored on a tired defense.

    Ill take a mistake free game that was back and forth the entire game filled with multiple comebacks over a mistake ridden game. There are a number of factors that make the Miracle on Ice a better game then the 1958 Championship game, and a well played game that was back and forth the entire game with the best player scoring the game winner in dramatic fashion is one of the biggest reasons why the Miracle on Ice trumps the 1958 Championship game. When comparing the games alone on quality of play, the Miracle on Ice is obviously superior.

    The SI/ESPN list also included your 1958 championship game, at number 20. It pointed out the obvious factual information that while the 1958 championship game was the most important football game ever played, it was #7 within its OWN sport in terms of well played. There's no way around that. The Miracle on Ice was the top game not only within its own sport, but within ALL of team sports. Again, I used factual information to show that the Miracle on Ice was the greater game then the 1958 Championship Game.

    Here's another ESPN article regarding the greatest games of the 20th century. Note that the title is the greatest games, not moments or upsets. The final voting is at the bottom.


    The Greatest Game of the Century
    OK, the first round of voting narrowed the field to 10 finalists for the greatest game of the century. Read about these memorable games and contests and then place your vote for the greatest one of all.

    Muhammed Ali-Joe Frazier III
    September 30, 1975, Quezon, Phillippines: Ali wins, TKO 14
    As Larry Merchant put it, "They fought for the heavyweight championship of each other." This was the rubber match, so this decided it, although both were past their primes. But the fight was probably the most brutal, bruising spectacle in heavyweight history. Frazier finally had to quit after the 14th round, unable to see. Ali collapsed onto the floor after the TKO, unable to stand. Afterwards, Ali said, "Joe is the greatest of all time next to me."

    1975 World Series, Game 6
    Oct. 21, 1975: Boston Red Sox 7, Cincinnati Reds 6
    This game had it all. Fred Lynn's three-run homer staked Boston to a first-inning lead. The Reds led 6-3 in the eighth, but Bernie Carbo tied it up with a pinch-hit three-run homer. The Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, when Lynn flied to George Foster in left, who nailed Denny Doyle at the plate for a double play. In the 11th, Dwight Evans made a spectacular play in right off Joe Morgan's shot and doubled Ken Griffey off first. At one point, Pete Rose stepped up to bat and told Carlton Fisk, "This is one of the greatest games ever. And we're playing in it!" Finally, Fisk led off the bottom of the 12th and lofted a fly ball toward the Green Monster. Fisk stood at home plate, waving the ball fair, coaxing it with body language ... and it hit the foul pole for the game-winning home run.

    1980: Miracle on Ice
    Feb. 22, 1980: United States 4, Soviet Union 3
    The U.S. hockey team consisted of a bunch of amateur college players. Nobody expected them to play with the powerful Soviets, who regularly beat NHL teams and had many of the best players in the world. In an exhibition game two weeks before the Olympics, the Soviets won 10-3. In a semifinal game in Lake Placid, N.Y., the Soviets led 3-2 entering the final period. But Mark Johnson tied the game with 11½ minutes left and two minutes later team captain Mike Eruzione scored for a 4-3 lead. With the crowd wildly cheering them on, the U.S. held on for the stunning upset. Goalie Jim Craig finished with 36 saves and in the locker room, the U.S. players sing "God Bless America." Two days later, they beat Finland 4-2 to capture the gold medal.

    1981 AFC playoff game
    Jan. 2, 1982: San Diego Chargers 41, Miami Dolphins 38 (OT)
    The Orange Bowl has hosted many memorable games, including this classic. Dan Fouts and the high-powered San Diego offense led 24-0 after one quarter. The Dolphins fought back, scoring right before the half on a hook-and-lateral play to Tony Nathan to make it 24-17. It goes back and forth and ends up 38-38 after regulation. Kellen Winslow, who delivered one of the most inspirational individual performances in history with 13 catches for 166 yards, blocked a potential game-winning field goal before Rolf Benirschke's 29-yarder 13:52 into OT finally won it for the Chargers. Winslow, towels draped over him, has to be helped off the field, unable to walk.

    1984 Orange Bowl
    Jan. 1, 1984: Miami 31, Nebraska 30
    The top-ranked Cornhuskers were 12-point favorites to beat No. 4 Miami. It's easy to understand why -- Nebraska had scored 624 points while going 12-0, the highest-scoring team in college football history (Heisman winner Mike Rozier scored 29 TDs). But Nebraska had played only one ranked team all season and it showed as the 'Huskers fell behind 17-0 as Bernie Koser picked apart the secondary. Nebraska guard Dean Steinkuhler scored on a "fumblerooski" play, but Miami still led 31-17 entering the fourth quarter. Rozier was injured in the third quarter, but backup Jeff Smith scored with 6:55 left to make it 31-24. Later, on a fourth-and-8 from the Miami 24, Smith took an option and scored with 48 seconds left. Tom Osborne went for two. The pass was broken up and Miami won the national championship.

    1992 NCAA Tournament East regional finals
    March 28, 1992: Duke 104, Kentucky 103 (OT)
    After an exciting, fast-paced regulation between two powerhouses, the action heated up in overtime. The two teams scored on the final five possessions of the game, trading the lead back and forth. Kentucky took a 103-102 lead with 2.9 seconds left on Sean Woods' crazy, 10-foot bankshot. That set up the final play. Grant Hill threw the ball all the way down court to Christian Laettner at the foul line. Laettner faked one way, took one dribble and hit the miracle turnaround jumper at the buzzer, completing a perfect day shooting: he scored 31 points on 10-for-10 from the field and 10-for-10 at the foul line. Duke went on to win the national title.

    1994 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 7
    June 14, 1994: New York Rangers 3, Vancouver Canucks 2
    One of only two seven-game finals since 1971, the Rangers were seeking their first Stanley Cup championship since 1940. The Rangers led the series 3-1 but the Canucks won twice to force Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Vancouver cut it to 2-1 in the second. Mark Messier tallied late in the second period for 3-1 lead, while the Canucks once again cut it to a one-goal deficit. But in a tight third period before a screaming home crowd, the Rangers held on to win the elusive Cup.

    1998 Daytona 500
    Dale Earnhardt finally wins the big one
    The winner of seven Winston Cup championships, Earnhardt had gone 0-for-19 at the Daytona 500. Before 185,000 screaming fans, Earnhardt led five times for 107 of the 200 laps, but the victory wasn't assured until John Andretti and Lake Speed tangled on lap 199. Earnhardt then takes a slow drive to Victory Lane, shaking hands and slapping high fives with dozens of crewmen from competing teams who line pit road.

    1998 NBA Finals, Game 6
    June 14, 1998: Chicago Bulls 87, Utah Jazz 86
    Michael Jordan had many memorable games in his illustrious career, but this was his final game, and naturally, he won it with a game-winning shot. Jordan scored 45 points on a night when teammate Scottie Pippen was hindered with a bad back. After making a steal in the closing seconds, he hit the game-winning jumper with 5.2 seconds left to play, leaving Utah's Bryon Russell helpless. Jordan stutter-stepped, used a cross-over dribble to get free and drained the shot from the top of the key. The Bulls had their sixth NBA title in eight years.

    1999 Ryder Cup
    Sept. 26, 1999: United States 14½, Europe 13½
    The American team staged the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history, capped by Justin Leonard's 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to clinch the victory. The Americans won 8½ of 12 points in Sunday singles at The Country Club in Bookline, Mass. to reclaim the Cup they had lost at Valderrama two years earlier.

    1. 43.6%.1980 Miracle On Ice: USA 4 USSR 3
    2. 12.6% 1992 East Regional: Duke 104 Kentucky 102(OT)
    3. 9.6% 1975 World Series, Game 6; Fisk's HR beats Reds in 12th
    4. 7.7% 1981 AFC Playoff Game Chargers 41 Dolphins 38(OT)
    5. 7.2% 1998 NBA Finals Game 6; Jordan's shot sinks Jazz
    6. 6.4% 1975 Ali vs Frazier III; Ali TKO 14 in Thrilla in Manilla
    7. 5.6% 1999 Ryder Cup: US wins with remarkable rally
    8. 3.9% 1984 Orange Bowl: Miami 31 Nebraska 30
    9. 1.8% 1994 Stanley Cup, Game 7: Rangers 3 Canucks 2
    10.1.1% 1998 Daytona 500: Eanheardt finally wins the big one

    Total votes: 59,757

    As this notes, the Miracle on Ice was far and away voted the top game of the century. The 1958 Championship game didn't even crack the top ten here. The Miracle on Ice received 30% more votes then the second place game for greatest game of the 20th century. Not a bad statistic for the sport considered to be the "distant fourth" sport in the country. This just furthers the proof that the Miracle on Ice is the Greatest Game of all time.

    And I in return pointed out the flaws in your stage and audience argument, using your own arguments against you and once again with factual information. I also pointed out the reasons and ways in which the Miracle on Ice was a better played game game then the mistake filled 1958 Championship Game.

    I have plenty of factual information, you just chose to ignore it. Specifically for the game against the USSR, Brooks created what became known as the "hybrid" style of playing hockey. He mixed the Russian/European puck possession and free skating style of play with the North American dump-and-chase style. In doing so, he created a fast-paced and creative style which became the cornerstone of his 1980 gold medal team. That's called creating a game plan, and specifically a system that is still used to this day. He specifically worked on conditioning so that the US could match the Russian fast-paced tempo, and the US actually outskated and outpaced the Russians as the game wore on because of this. That's called phenomenal coaching, and there's your facts.

    This has nothing to do with the actual game and you know it. The future success of Landry and Lombardi had nothing to do with the game. Where was Landry's defensive prowess when his defense was surrendering 83 and 80 yard drives in succession to allow the Colts to tie and win the game? Where was Lombardi's offensive mastery when his team was fumbling three times and scored on a lucky bounce? The coaching in the Miracle on Ice was obviously superior, as Ive just proved. Future success means nothing in context here.

    Its Miracle on Ice without question and Ive proved it once again brotha.
  10. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

    Jul 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    No. By big stage I was referring to the fact that it was the Championship Game to decide the best team in the NFL. Yes I added attendance and viewership numbers after the fact but that wasn't the main point I was making which is why if you read my opening post I put the viewership numbers AFTER talking about it being the game to decide who the best team in the league was. Nice try though. It's nice to be able to throw big attendance numbers out there but once again it isn't completely necessary and you also can't compare the stages of two events that are completely different not only in type but also in time period.

    Large disparity my ass and I have no clue where your 10 million person difference came from. You said the miracle on Ice had approximately 52 million people watching and I said the championship game was estimated around 45 or 50 million so that's a 7 mill disparity at the most. Take into account not just the fact that New York was blacked out but also the fact that the game was on a Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. The Miracle On Ice was in prime time. That makes a huge difference.

    That's absolute bullshit and you know it. You're telling me that major TV shows coming on Sunday at 2 pm are going to get the same ratings as ones that take place in prime time. You're out of your mind if you believe that. Yes weekend afternoon numbers will be higher then weekdays ones but they still can't compete with prime time. It's called prime time for a reason. Why do you think Fox airs their prime time cartoons on Sunday night in prime time rather then in the afternoon? Why do you think the Super Bowl is played at 6:30 and not 1 in the afternoon?

    The underdog aspect is very overrated in my book. The Colts vs Giants was the best offense in the league vs the best defense in the league. They had the two best records in the regular season and it's what everyone wanted to see. I'd rather watch the two very best go at it then a dominant team and an underdog.

    And I'll take 12 future NFL HOF players play the most competitive championship game ever. I'll take HOF receiver Raymond Berry hauling in 12 passes for 178 yards and a td. I'll take on of the greatest qb's of all time in Johnny Unitas leading two of the best, most historic drives in NFL history to tie and then win the game.

    The Championship game had fumbles, the Miracle on Ice had penalties that led to power play goals. The Colts made a mistake on defense on the big pass play, Mike Eruzione was left wide open in the high slot on the game winning goal. You want to play that game we can play it but it won't get you anywhere. All games have mistakes and many times it adds to the excitement. Don't act like the Miracle On ice was some perfectly played game with no flaws from anyone.

    Mistake free my ass. See above as to why. I mean, do you know you're typing out bull shit or do you just think no one will catch it? And how exactly is scoring the go ahead goal with 10 minutes left when you were left virtually uncovered dramatic? I'll take a two minute drive late in the 4th quarter to send the championship game into OT and then an OT game winning 80 yard drive to win the championship over that. Another factor I haven't even mentioned yet is that well the %8 Championship game was just that, a Championship game. The US vs Soviet Union wasn't even for the gold medal.

    I'm not sure where your list came from because I didn't see a link to anything, just spoiler tags, but this list:

    shows that ESPN Sportscentury picked the 58 Championship Game as the number game ever while the Miracle On Ice was number 4. Since you've put so much stock into this list of yours and mine actually has a link unlike yours, I guess that makes me right according to your logic.


    First off, again there's no link just spoiler tags around what is supposedly an ESPN article but I'm actually going to let it go this time. Want to know why? Because the article is clearly showing that this was a FAN voted thing. Since when do fans that vote in an poll provide proof of anything? Not only that but nothing in that top 10 predates 1975. I highly doubt many people online voting on an ESPN poll have ever even seen the 58 game. I like you so I'm going to let this absolutely horrendous excuse for an argument slide but for the sake of my sanity, don't let it happen again.

    My opening argument
    To truly be known as the greatest game it is important that it is being played on a big stage. What bigger stage then the NFL Championship game at Yankee Stadium in New York? This was the game that decided who the best team in the NFL was and it happened in front of 64,185 fans in attendance and an estimated 45 million people watching at home.

    You Taking it out of context
    To truly be known as the greatest game it is important that it is being played on a big stage. This was the game that decided who the best team in the NFL was and it happened in front of 64,185 fans in attendance and an estimated 45 million people watching at home

    You pointed out nothing but the fact that you took my argument out of context with the stage thing and with the audience thing you just proved your lack of knowledge on the subject. Sunday afternoon should draw the same as prime time? Really?

    Yes, facts that you failed to talk about until just now. Good thing I was here to remind you to talk about them. I also fail to see how Brooks good game plan means the coaching in the Miracle on Ice was better then the 58 Championship Game. I'll take three HOF coaches on the sidelines over one coaches good game plan.

    So you're telling me that Lombardi and Landry were horrible coaches yet somehow got head coaching jobs the very next year? Landry's defense held the best offense in the league to just 17 regulation points. Lombardi's offense struggled with turnovers but since when is that on the coach? The Patriots played like shit against the Jets in the playoffs this year does that make Bill Belichick a horrible coach? You've again proven nothing other then the fact that Brooks had a good strategy for Team USA. Obviously HOF coach Weeb Ewbank had a good strategy for the Colts as well because they won the game.

    You've proven nothing but the fact that you're good at making nonsensical arguments.
  11. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 5, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Context is extremely important when assessing the relative merits of any particular sporting event. It may not be the be all, end all of the question at hand, but it is very significant. With all due respect, you may have misunderstood where I am coming from in regards to context. No one is suggesting that the Olympic Games are not a big time stage for the showcasing of a particular sport or to highlight a particular game. In this regard, of course the Olympics are higher profile. The Olympics involve pretty much all countries on a global scale, while the Summit Series involved just two. But that is not my point.

    The context involves the relative importance of the event, and the particular game in question, relative to the audience. The fact that the Olympics are on a grander scale is irrelevant to my point. My point is that even bearing in mind the scope of the Olympics, I feel the Summit Series held more significance and more passion for the typical Canadian sporting fan than the Olympic semifinal did for the typical American sports fan. I will delve a little deeper into this later. Suffice it to say for now that when game eight of the Summit Series was being contested, the entire nation of Canada was captivated. Whether you lived out west near the Rocky Mountains near Vancouver, or in the Prairies, or in the urban jungle of Ontario, or the francophone environment of Quebec, all the way into Atlantic Canada, the entire nation was spellbound by the event. Hockey fans were enthralled. General sports enthusiasts were too. Even non sporting people were captivated by the game. I don't feel that the United States embraced the Miracle on Ice with ten same degree of totality. Sure, there were plenty of American sports fans who were very into the whole majesty of the event of the USA/Soviet Union showdown. But I would suggest that it was likely localized pocketing of interest, much like hockey in the United States is perceived today. All along the Eastern Seaboard, where there is a nucleus of hockey interest in the country, or in the northern states, where hockey was/is relevant, passion was clearly evident. But head down into the southern states, where hockey was invisible in the '80's, and still is largely today, and I don't think the people in these areas were as drawn to the spectacle as you would suggest. Were people in Phoenix, or San Antonio, or Atlanta, or New Orleans drawn into the Miracle on Ice, in the same manner as people in Montreal, or Toronto, or Vancouver, or St. John's? I would respectfully suggest no, and this is the context to which I refer. As I stated earlier, in general terms, the Summit Series, specifically the final game, meant more to the collective conscious of Canadians than the Miracle on Ice did to the Americans. Big Sexy may try to suggest that this is not relevant, but I disagree. It is considerations like his that dictate which game is truly the best ever, as we look beyond the ice, beyond the field, beyond the lines, into the hearts and soils of the fascinated and passionate fan.

    I find your assessment of the Summit Series as simply being a battle between two nations that disliked each other immensely surprisingly short sighted and naive. If you really believe this, my entire discussion of context has clearly fallen on deaf ears, because from the perspective of the Canadian sports fan, it was far more than this.

    Again I have to disagree with the notion that the words of Herb Brooks were representative of the feelings of Americans across the nation. His feelings and his passion were palpable and real in himself, in his team, and in select hot pockets across the nation, but not the nation as a whole. I feel there were significant portions of the country that were ambivalent and oblivious to the Miracle on Ice. Such ambivalence is still seen in many areas of the country today, and they certainly permeated the sentiments of much of the country 3 decades ago regarding hockey, especially considering the American squad were underdogs and as such, likely did not have the force of the nation behind them.

    I would be careful about these quotes from Herb Brooks as well. Hearing him say such things as they could play the Soviets ten times and probably lose nine, but that they would win tonight, while clearly a coaching tactic to rally the troops, is strongly suggestive of the fluke aspect of the game. If Brooks truly believes that they could lose 9/10 games and only win one, it could be argued that that one win was an aberration, and an aberration, a fluke if you will, hardly reeks of greatest game of all time. Canada went into the Summit Series fully expecting to win all 8 games. Their coaching staff did not tell them that they may lose 7/8 games and only win one.

    This is absolutely not a humungous fallacy, in fact it is not even a slight exaggeration, it is take it to the bank fact. Of course the Summit Series drew considerably fewer viewers than did the Miracle on Ice. Look at the relative populations of the countries involved. While geographically smaller, the Unites States is far more populous than we are. As such, by default, there will be greater numbers of viewers of anything in the United States when compared to Canada. The fact that more people watched the Olympic semifinal than the finale of the Summit Series is irrelevant and misleading. The millions of more viewers of ten Miracle on Ice does not translate into a more raucous and passionate fan base, but instead is simply a result of population statistics.

    I am unimpressed by your multiple references to the news anchor who leaked the results of the hockey game prematurely. I have conceded that there were pockets in the United States where fans were very exuberant and passionate. There will always be a lunatic fringe who will behave in this manner. This is totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    You are trying to have it both ways here. You nitpick my post a little further down here, saying that I should only be discussing game eight, that the other seven games are irrelevant to the discussion, because we are looking at the greatest game rather than the greatest series. So similarly, issues involving Sweden, Finland, or anyone else should be equally irrelevant, you can't have it both ways. Plus, I have earlier dismissed your assertion of the relative importance of the underdog card. Underdogs are not expected to win. They face lower expectations, less scrutiny, and by default less pressure. Pre-match favorites like Canada in 1972, who have to overcome adversity to win, impress me far more than underdogs who fly beneath the radar and pull it off in the end in an upset.

    You overstate the significance of coaching in this discussion. I don't see coaches or coaching styles as being terribly relevant to the discussion at hand. Of course Brooks was a good coach and a tremendous motivator, but this has little to nothing to do with whether or not this was the greatest game of all time. I disagree with the sentiment that the choice of Brooks as head coach equated to high expectations. Expectations were low and you know it. They were significant underdogs and were not expected to win regardless of who was manning the bench. Of course they hired the best guy they could, but this does not translate into high expectations. How could expectations be high? After all, it was only hockey, right? It's not like it was football, or basketball, or even baseball after all ;)

    Here you go, trying to have it both ways again. Remember it is the best game we are talking about here, not the best tournament. If you tell me that games 1-7 of the Summit Series are irrelevant because we are discussing game 8 only, aren't discussions involving games with the Swedes and Czechs equally irrelevant? Once again, you are placing too much emphasis on coaching. And let's not even get into drama. Trailing 5-3 entering the third period in a must win game in Moscow in the early '70's during the Cold War, only to tie it up and then go ahead with just 34 seconds remaining, that's about as dramatic as it gets. Remember, Canada had to win. If 34 more seconds had elapsed, the game ends in a tie and the Soviet Union wins the Summit Series. That's as dramatic and exciting as it gets, especially carrying the weight of the nation on your shoulders in the process.

    I have previously destroyed your points in this paragraph. The number of viewers is simply population driven. The news anchor drama is simply the result of the lunatic fringe amongst one of the pockets of localized passionate gas in the United States. As I said earlier in the thread,the Cold War was every bit as significant and intimidating to the Canadians of this era as it was to the Americans. Sure, political tensions between the US and USSR were
    probably more direct, but this does not detract from the Canadian sentiment of the Cold War at the time and the relative impact this all played in the designation of the greatest game of all time discussions.

    That's right, I keep forgetting. Games 1-7 of the Summit Series are irrelevant here. Of course, the Americans games against the Czechs and Swedes are, strangely, relevant, as are their pre-tournament games against the Soviet Union to which you have made several references. I think this is called trying to have it both ways :)

    See above. You can't have your cake and eat it too, as the old expression goes.

    No, what actually is funny is these lists to which you refer. You know, the ones compiled by Sports Illustrated, or ESPN, and people like these. People with an inherent pro-American bias. Of course these guys rank the Miracle on Ice more highly than the Summit Series. They are American reporters commenting from an American perspective, and rightly so. And let's face it,a lot of these guys probably do not even know about the Summit Series. After all, it was only hockey, right, it's not like it was football, or basketball, or even baseball. And the Americans were not involved in any capacity. Wow, that's shocking, that the American population and the American media would rank an American event, hosted on American ice, involving American players, more highly than the Summit Series. Shock and awe.

    And please do not compare any current tournament to either the Summit Series or the Miracle on Ice, because these are different times, this is a different world. Tensions are not as high, pressures are not as intense. The Cold War is over. Guys go from teammates, to Olympic rivals, and back to teammates again in a matter of weeks. As much as I loved seeing Canada beat USA in Vancouver 2010, it simply is not the same thing at all, and I know you are not naive enough to suggest that it is.

    I think I have adequately dealt with this already.

    I have already dealt with most of this stuff above as well. The simple fact of the matter is this. The Miracle on Ice was a tremendous hockey game, something which true American hockey fans (if you can find any ;)) could and should be very proud of. Hell, it is probably the second greatest game ever, and I do not want to understate its significance. However, when looked at in context through truly objective eyes, it has to be seen as secondary to the eighth and deciding game of the a summit Series. No doubt about it, this showdown between Canada and the Soviet Union in late September of 1972 is truly the greatest game of all time.

    By the way, Big Sexy, I am not forgetting you either. But it is getting late here in Atlantic Canada, and I am calling it a night, but I will be back on here tomorrow to deal with you and to show you as well why game 8 of the Summit Series trumps anything the NFL Championships of any season has to offer.
  12. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

    Feb 3, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I simply reminded you of the things you pointed out in your first post. Once again, you brought up viewership first, not I. You added attendance and viewership numbers in the same sentence as you did "championship game" and "Yankee Stadium", so it would only be logical to assess your argument based upon ALL of the information you provided in said sentence. And as you said, it is impossible to compare the stage of the National Championship game to that of the Olympics. The Olympics is simply a bigger stage and this was the biggest game in the history of United States Hockey, both on a national and a global level. While that isn't the entire story, it is a piece of it, and an important one. A division III basketball game could be played, as you said earlier, with 50 lead changes and end in triple overtime, and it might be a great game. But you would be ridiculed if you tried to bring it into the discussion of greatest game ever played. It's not the same comparison here, but the stage for the Miracle on Ice was larger because of it's global scale, and it was in context determining who the best team in the World was, not just the nation. That fact cannot be discounted, and it shows that in terms of stage, a factor for determining the greatest game, The Miracle on Ice surpasses the 1958 Championship Game.

    Im not sure where this 50 million figure for the 1958 Championship suddenly appeared from, as you made it clear earlier that it was an estimated 45 million. Ive never seen anything that's indicated that the figures were more then 45 million, so im not sure where you're getting that from. We'll say for argument's sake that the viewership numbers for the Miracle on Ice was 52 million, which I originally did say. That's still a 7 million disparity in viewership, which is quite large. Seeing how that's the viewership numbers for the replay of a game, that's quite an astounding figure. You can keep repeating the blackout in New York figure, but Ive already shown how irrelevant that is based upon television ownership in 2011, and noting that ownership would have been much, much less in 1958. The prime time argument is a silly one as fans for a "Championship Game" would have tuned in to watch the game at 2pm(when the 1958 game was played) or at 6pm(when the Miracle on Ice was aired.) Considering it was a Sunday, the time the game was aired/played is a complete non-factor and you're grasping at straws here.

    To prove my point, lets examine the viewership in 2011 for the NFC divisional playoff games, shall we? The Atlanta/Green Bay matchup, the more attractice of the two, was played on a Saturday at 8pm, in prime time. The less attractive Seattle/Chicago matchup was played on a Sunday at 1pm, certainly not in prime time. Yet the Atlanta/Green Bay game drew only 30.8 million viewers as compared to the 32.5 million viewers that the Chicago/Seattle game drew. Once again, using facts, Ive rendered the prime time argument negligible, using the most recent example available. Here's the article.

    This just furthers my argument even more. Both teams scored 1 power play goal. Both teams took 3 penalties. It wasn't as if one team capitilized on more mistakes then the other team did, it was an evenly played game, as I've been saying all along. The USA played with the Russians. They matched them in Power Play goals and Penalties. Three penalties per side(1 each being bench penalties for delay of game(USA) and Unsportmanlike conduct(USSR)) is very close to being a mistake free game in the sport of hockey. The Eruzione goal was one of a great United States forecheck punctuated by a diving play to get the puck to Eruzione, who was coming in off a line change, not a blown coverage. He beautifully used a Soviet defenseman right in front of him as a screen.

    Its hardly bull and you know it. There's a difference between going uncovered and coming off the bench at the perfect time on a line change after the defense utilized Brooks hybrid game plan to perfection and advanced the puck. Eruzione scored off a diving play by forward Mark Pavelich to keep the puck in the Soviets zone, where he came in on a perfectly executed line change, not a breakdown by the Soviets. There was a defenseman right in front of him, for goodness sakes! It's high drama when your goalie makes 36 saves, including 10 in the final ten minutes. It's high drama when a team overcomes 3 deficits and there are 4 lead changes. Ive already provided video of the final minute, which is high drama at it's best.

    And yet the game ws still on a bigger stage, for a bigger prize. The USA and the Soviets were battling in a tournament to determine the best team in the WORLD, while the Colts and the Bears were determing the best team in the United States, that year. One was for world-wide supremacy, the other was for one country alone. Ive already addressed your argument over which game was better, and done so in convincing fashion. Ill take the underdog team playing at the same level with the team considered to be greatest hockey team ever assembled. Two of the Russian players were elected into the Pro Hockey Hall of Fame(The NHL's HOF) despite never playing a game in the National Hockey League. There were 13 Hall of Famers total just on the Russian side between players and coaches, not to mention 10 more HOF's on the American side. Ill take the game with 3 comebacks and a dramatic final 10 minutes of the United States executing Brooks Hybrid game plan and conditioning to perfection.

    My logic here is simple. I used a list comprised of fan votes, and a list comprised of experts from Sports Illustrated, CNN, and ESPN. So I got the experts opinion as well as layman's perspective. The links are provided below, and accentuate my point well. Both fans and experts alike chose the Miracle on Ice as the greater game over the 1958 Championship game.

    The link to the article is provided above, and the reasoning for it is given above. The article clearly states that the list was narrowed down by voting to the top 10 games of the Century, not 1975 and beyond. You can spew all the B.S. you want about it being a FAN voted thing, but fans are entirely relevant here. Perhaps the fans don't hold the game in as high of a regard as you do. Perhaps fans aren't as aware of the game? They should be, right? After all, football is by far the most watched and beloved game in the United States, correct? This was the greatest game ever played and the most important in the history of NFL football, no? Yet it barely cracked the top 20 in the SI/CNN/ESPN expert's article, and didn't even make the fan's top 10. And while Im not suggesting this is the only thing that matters or is even the most important piece of the puzzle, it's a factor nonetheless. And in BOTH articles I provided, it's not even close.

    I took nothing out of context as I quoted directly from your opening post. You're suggesting that Im saying that viewership and attendance alone is the entire context with the "stage", which is hardly true. Ive already dispelled the myth you've created over prime time automatically drawing higher figures then an afternoon game within the context of the the most recently available information possible. The afternoon game in this case OUTDREW the prime time game. Im not suggesting there's any correlation whatsoever between the time the game is played and viewership, you are. A correlation I proved to be false as well.

    I fail to see how just throwing out three big names in Ewbank, Lombardi, and
    Landry automatically means the game was well coached. While I outlined a specific game plan that a Hall of Fame coach in Brooks used, you just tossed three impressive names out there failing to mention what they did other then go on to have HOF careers. That's freaking phenomenal, but this is about ONE game. And in that one game, Brooks laid out a meticulous game plan for wearing out the Soviets that his team executed to perfection both in rallying from deficits on three occasions to take the lead but also to hold that lead for the final ten minutes of the game. As long as we're going there, Brooks is considered to be the greatest hockey coach of all time, and assistant Craig Patrick is in the HOF as well. So is Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov, considered to be the greatest Soviet coach of all time. At the point of their careers in their respective GAME, Ill take the Miracle on Ice coaches over the 1958 Championship Game coaches.

    Talk about taking what I said out of context. Lombardi and Laandry are easily 1 and 2 in my book in terms of NFL coaches of all time. That's all well and good, but what I was referring to, and will continue to, is ONE game. I simply pointed out that for this one game, Brooks was perhaps the greatest coach of all time. If I convince you of one thing here, it was that on January 22nd, 1980, Brooks and staff performed perhaps the greatest coaching job of all time. He designed the hybrid style of play while emphasizing superior conditioning and the game plan was executed perfectly. Coaching is a factor here and Brooks, the greatest hockey coach of all time, was better then Ewbanks, Lombardi, and Landry in their respective games, which is ALL THAT MATTERS here. And the Belicheck argument is a silly one, he's a first ballot HOF coach. Having watched the Jets/Pats game, the argument could be made that he was outcoached by Rex Ryan and staff for one game, but that's not here nor there. What is relevant is that Brooks designed a magnificent style of play that's still used today. It was designed specifically for this ONE game, and it was executed to perfection.

    In the end, Ive used outstanding factual information to show that the Miracle on Ice was the greatest game ever played, certainly greater then the 1958 Championship Game.
  13. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

    Jul 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I think you need an English lesson. A sentence starts with a capital letter, has a subject, and ends with some form of punctuation. This was in my opening post word for word:

    The bold part is most definitely a sentence and mentions nothing at all about viewership. It is also a sentence that you completely got rid of when you quoted me to change what I was saying. That is the definition of taking something out of context. You obviously knew what you were doing otherwise you wouldn't have taken the bold part out of my statement when you quoted it.

    I already told you that while stage was one factor it can't be compared evenly amongst different types of sports and events. The NFL Championship game in 58 was being played on as big of a stage as it possibly could be, just like the Miracle On Ice was (minus the fact that the MOI game wasn't for the gold medal).

    As I've done more research on the attendance I've seen some places that estimate 50 million viewers for the Championship game but we can keep it 45. I've already shown how the attendance numbers are skewed and besides all that, is a 7 million viewer difference really all that relevant to two completely different sports in two completely different time periods? You can't tell me that you are going to sit here and say the MOI was a better game because 7 mill more people were watching at home, especially with discrepancies in who got to see the game and the time slot. And don't use the fact that the MOI was tape delayed as an excuse. Most people had no clue of the outcome or the fact that it was even on tape delay. Those who did certainly would still tune in to watch, in fact it would probably make them more inclined to do so.

    Since when does ONE random example prove a point negligible? You are comparing viewers from ONE Saturday night game to that of viewers from ONE Sunday afternoon game. That's it. I can easily show how the Pats/Jets Sunday night playoff game was the highest rated playoff game in NFL history (obviously not counting SB's).
    If prime time wasn't important and didn't bring in more viewers then why are all of the biggest sporting events like the Super Bowl and WS games all in prime time? Once again though, none of this is that important. I brought up viewership as a little side note and you took it and ran to China with it. If you think 7 million more viewers for a 1980 Olympic hockey game makes that game better then a 1958 NFL Championship game then your argument is lacking substance.

    Ok so you're saying everything that went wrong in the MOI is equated to even play and great coaching but everything that went wrong in the NFL Championship game is equated to sloppiness and poor coaching? Get out with that bull shit.

    And on the 86 yard pass play for the Giants that helped bring them back, the receiver ran a great route, received a great throw, and broke a tackle. Yes he fumbled but the G Men had a player not giving up on the play and trailing it to make the recovery for an extra few yards. Both games had great moments, both games had high drama, but I'll take a game tying drive at the end of regulation and a game winning drive in OT over the US hanging on for the last 10 minutes of the game.

    Bigger prize? Last time I checked the Colts and Giants were playing for the NFL Championship. The highest honor in the NFL at the time. The US and USSR were playing FOR A SHOT at the Gold Medal. If this was the gold medal game you may have something but while the Championship game was, you know, for a championship. The MOI was for a chance to play for the ultimate prize in Olympic hockey. Basically the equivalent to a semi final game.

    And I also provide this link: that shows how ESPN SportsCentury's 48 member panel made a list and had the 1958 Championship game as number 1, obviously ahead of the MOI. What this tells you is that we both have lists comprised of supposed experts giving their "opinions" on what the best game is. Just like we are giving our "opinion" on what the best game is. We both have credible articles from sources (my source is credible I'm not sure about yours) saying which game was better but all that does is back up our opinion with more opinions. I'll stick to my fact based argument as to why the 58 game was better as opposed to going other places and getting more "opinions." Expert opinion is nice but we obviously both have it so it's a stalemate and has become irrelevant.

    I never said it was only about 1975 and beyond but when you get to fan voting the older things always get left out. The fans voted nothing in the top 10 before 1975. In your first article you have there are 3 events pre 1975 that made the list. Fan voting always has to be taken with a huge grain of salt. Fans vote for injured and non deserving stars for all star games all the time, they aren't the most credible source. 1958 was a long time ago. It's not like you can go on the internet and easily watch the game from start to finish. I'm not positive but the lists you have seem to be ones that are a few years older. Maybe if these fans had seen the 58 Championship documentary from 2008 their opinion would have been swayed. While football is easily the most popular US sport now back in 1958 it was no where near that. Smart, knowledgeable fans hold the 58 game in high regard and that's all that matters.

    I've already shown you most certainly took my post out of context by completely deleting part of it. You also dispelled no myths at all. One example of an afternoon network TV game outdrawing a prime time one does nothing for me, especially considering the fact the games were played on two different days. You have proven nothing false. You can say something over and over as many times as you want but it doesn't make it true.

    Yes, and in that one game Tom Landry's defense held the leagues best offense to just 17 regulation points despite the offense turning the ball over multiple times. Weeb Ewbank had a great game plan to attack the Giants number 1 defense threw the air with his all pro quarterback and while Landry's defense was up to the task for the most part, the Colts strategy still yielded big numbers and an eventual victory. Coaches don't forget how to coach. When you're a great coach the game plan will be there, it's all about your players executing. That's why coaching really is a highly overrated thing to use when talking about the greatest game ever.

    I took nothing out of context, I just asked a simple question. It seemed you were saying the coaches in the 58 game were horrible and I wanted to see if that was what you were really saying. There was some tremendous coaching in both games but like I said above I don't really see that as a big factor when discussing the greatest game ever.

    No, in the end you've used decent facts, other people's opinions, and the ability to edit my quotes to prove that the Miracle On Ice, while great, is not better then the 1958 NFL Championship game.
  14. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

    Feb 3, 2010
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    I didnt misunderstand what you were saying in terms of context, I was simply adding to the contextual argument. I agree that context is a significant factor in determining the importance of the game. As I told Big Sexy, a Division 3 basketball game could be contested between two teams with 50 lead changes and 3 overtimes with a dramatic basket to end the game, but one would be ridiculed for dragging it into the argument of greatest game ever. Why? Because of context. The profile of the game, the stage on which it's played, the importance of the game to the participants and the sport, and the audience are all important factors. On the same token, a game can have all of those elements and be an absolute blowout, and any discussion of context goes out the window. It's important to remember that while context is important, its not the most important factor, regardless of what aspect of context we're referring to. The game and the elements within it itself are first and foremost the most important element.

    It may be irrelevant to your point, but it's ENTIRELY relevant to the discussion. As I stated above with regards to the basketball game, the grander the stage, the more important the game. In this case, there is no larger scale then the Olympics. In this case, the Soviets were widely regarded to be the greatest hockey team in the world. So the American's were in essence playing for the right to be known as "the greatest hockey team in the world", and they succeeded in magnificent fashion on the biggest stage of them all. Within that context as well, the Miracle on Ice is entirely greater then the 8th game of the Summit Series.

    I disagree, and the 35 million disparity in viewership backs up my point better then anything you may mention regarding Canadien pride, nationalism, or hockey being "Canada's sport." There's no arguing that. For that ONE game, with respect to Game 8 of the Summit Series, hockey was more important to the United States then it was to Canada. By 35 million people, to be exact.

    I disagree. If anything, the Americans felt the same way, to a greater degree. Regardless of the region, this was BIGGER then a hockey game for the nation, so the entire country cared. Part of the reason the nation was so captivated was that the US had proposed a boycott of the 1980 Summer Games because of their disagreement over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and their storing of nuclear weapons. The United States set a dealine for evacuation for TWO days before the USA/USSR game, or the boycott would ensue, which it did. The United States and Russia became natural rivals as a result. This was bigger then the game of hockey at this point, so you better believe the entire United Staes cared, not just the nucleus of Americans that were more familar with hockey. Also, the popularity of President Jimmy Carter was at an all-time low due to the number of Americans being held hostage in Iran. On top of this unemployment rates and poverty were at an all-time high since the Great Depression. The United States was a broken nation on many regards. The United States hockey team had breathed life into a nation that had little to believe in.

    When the US defeated heavy favorites Sweden and Czechoslovokia, it set up a dream scenario: The opportunity for the United States to find victory against their bitter enemy, the Soviet Union. Because of this, the entire NATION was enthralled, not just parts and territories. It was during this game that the "USA USA" chants said in UNISON that are popular and famous to this day began. The fact that the United States did win the game and exact revenge against our rivals was devastating for the other side as well, a contextual factor that needs to be mentioned. The Soviet players were so upset over the loss that they failed to follow the Olympic custom of turning in their Silver Medals to get their names inscribed on them.

    The loss didn't impact the players alone, as it stunned the Soviet Union and its news media as well. The day following the loss to the United States, the Soviet news offices at Lake Placid's International Broadcast Center were closed, with only a note written by hand taped to the door of the office stating "Today Closed We Are." The USSR's leading newspaper, PRAVDA(the equivalent to USA Today) didn't even mention the game, both in the following days issue, or in its Lake Placid Olympic's final wrapup. I'd say the game was pretty important in context to both sides and BOTH countries, which only enhances the contextual importance of the game. Can you imagine a major news outlet today NOT reporting on the Super Bowl because its team lost? I can't, but that's EXACTLY what happened with the Soviets following the USA/USSR game. It's completely unheard of, but it showed the importance of the game to BOTH sides. No such occurences took place as a result of Game 8 of the Summit Series, did they?

    I understand that it was significant to Canada because that Soviet team had dominated hockey for more than a decade, and the two nations were "strangers" to one another in terms of playing against one another. I understand the passion of Canadien fans in believing hockey was and is "their" game. That's well and good, but that doesn't usurp the passion and emotion that was shown by the United States AND the USSR regarding the Miracle on Ice. I understand your argument that Canadiens today are far more passionate about the sport of hockey then us Americans are. But this isn't about today, it's about events from 31 and 39 years ago. When looked at within the context that you yourself outlined, Ive showed clearly how the collective conscience and passion of the United States and the USSR far outweighed the collective passion of the only group you've been arguing, the Canadiens. Within this context, it's an easy victory for the Miracle on Ice over Game 8 of the Summit Series.

    What's relevant today has absolutely nothing to do with what took place 31 years ago. You are free to "feel" that there were portions of the country that were ambivalent to the hockey game, but you've shown nothing factual here to back this up in any way. The notion of being an underdog was a rallying cry for the Americans at the time, and it echoed the sentiment of the entire nation. Furthermore, what the American hockey team accomplished against the Soviets on the ice at Lake Placid in 1980 pales in comparison to what their accomplishment did to the hearts and minds of the American people. How much did people care? The other American hero of the 1980 games, with five Golds in five attempts, Eric Heiden, couldn't even get into the fieldhouse at Lake Placid to watch the game between the Soviets and the United States, because it was filled to legal capacity. Thanks to the magic of television, the victory over the Soviets was the catalyst for a spontaneous national celebration of epic proportions. 52 million Americans wept in unison, strangers hugged one another, and groups around the country broke into stirring renditions of "God Bless America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner." If that's not the OPPOSITE of ambivalence, I dont know what is. There is no possible way to discount 52 million viewers across the country watching a 5pm replay of a game that already transpired as "ambivalent". View the videos of Mike Eruzione's game winning goal and of the final minute of the game, and come back at me with your ambivalent argument. The reaction of those fans was the same sentiment demonstrated by the viewers watching across the nation, be they hockey fans or proud Americans.



    I have never seen anything like that reaction in my entire life. Bedlam, I believe, was the word used. The fans in the building, be they hockey fans or proud Americans, echoed the sentiments of the entire nation, be they hockey hotbeds or not. An entire nation was standing and cheering along with them. More proof that this truly was the greatest game ever played.

    Its called a motivating tool. The Pittsburgh Penguins have had one of the best defensive teams in the league for some time now. 3 years ago, coach Michelle Therrien called them out on National TV by saying "They suck. I think their goal is to become the worst defensive team in the league, and they're doing a great job at that. They don't care. They say they care, but they don't care." The team only responded by advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals that year, that's all. Sometimes, hearing yourself called out and told that you're "not as good" as another team is quite the motivator to go and prove otherwise. And the Americans one-upped the Penguins, because they responded to those words and WON. You conveniently left out the part where Brooks told his squad that "They were born to be there", and Their time is over"(referring to the Soviets) and "Go out there and take it!" Does that sound like a coach who believed his team was a fluke? I don't think so.

    It sounds like a coach who knew how to motivate and inspire. Brooks was a big part of the United States victory, both with his words AND his actions. Not only was he an expert motivator, he created a style of play that enabled the US to skate with and eventually outskate the Russians. It was a system of puck possession and free skating combined with dump and chase that his players BOUGHT into and executed to perfection against the USSR. Ill happily talk all day long about both Brooks words and actions. The ice arena where the Miracle on Ice took place in Lake Placid? Its not called Herb Brooks Arena without reason.

    How does viewership not translate into people caring and being passionate? Along with the Gold Medal game against Finland, they were the two most watched hockey games for 30 years before the United States/Canada Gold Medal game last year overtook them. It currently stands as the third most watched hockey game of all time. Again, I could understand if the disparity was 5 or even ten million people, but its ludicrous to suggest that that a disparity of 35 million viewers is only indicative of population, and nothing more. As I said earlier, this was about so much more then hockey, it was about besting a bitter rival on the grandest stage of them all for the opportunity to say they were the best in the world. And 52 million Americans were right there with them, as passionate about the sport of hockey as they've ever been before, and have been since.

    This is but a small part of my point regarding the passion of the fans toward the game. News stations across the country were under strict orders NOT to reveal the results of the game. Why do you think that was done? So the nation could watch, embrace the moment, and rejoice in unison. Ill agree that it's lunacy to threaten a life over a sporting event, but it also shows the passion of the fans. Here's one of the articles, from the Washington Post, regarding the leaked information.

    The reactions of these people are priceless. It also furthers my claim about the passion of the American fans toward that one game.


    You completely missed what I was saying, apparently. You were describing each game in vivid detail, each with as much furvor as the next. I simply pointed out that what we're talking about is the greatest game,not series. My only comments were that the upsets over the Czechs and the tie with Sweden put the US in position to not only defeat Russia, but assume ownership of the title of "Greatest Team in the World." I didn't go into vivid detail as to how the games played out. There's a huge difference there.

    You didnt dismiss the underdog notion whatsoever. You challenged it, but not with facts, rather, large assumptions. It's hardly flying under the radar either literally or figuratively when the entire collective nation is watching a replay, avoiding news at all costs. The Lake Placid fieldhouse where the game was played was filled to capacity with flag-waiving American's, chanting USA, USA, in unison. Those people believed because of what the United States had accomplished in the earlier rounds. They had seen the skill, speed, strength, puckhandling, and goaltending and were more then believers. People don't tune in generally when they believe their team has NO chance of winning. The underdog story is important, because it made the moment even greater. The United States had stood toe to toe with the favorite Soviets for 60 minutes and had bested them by a goal. They were buoyed on by a packed arena and their 52 million fans watching at home. Can the same be said for the Summit Series? I dont believe so.

    I don't believe that I do, I believe that you completely understate it. When a coach designs a specific system aimed at defeating a specific team, the coaching is entirely relevant. When a coach ensures that his team's conditioning is of the level that it can skate relentlessly with the puck and without, the coaching is extremely important. When a coach knows how to mix the right amount of criticism with the right amount of praise to motivate one's team, the coaching is of maximum value. When Herb Brooks created the Hybrid system specifically for the Russians and ran full contact drills in the week heading up to the game, he ensured how valuable he was. When the speech of a coach before a game is remembered in it's entirety, Id say it was completely relevant to the game. Brooks value to the win over the Soviets cannot be understated and his coaching was a major contributor to this being the greatest game ever. Expectations leading up to this game weren't low, and that's the only thing that matters. This one game. The team expected to win, and that was because of Brooks.

    I don't mind going there. The United States tied the game at the end of the first period with ONE second left. Because of that goal with one second left, they chased whom many believe in Tretiak to be the greatest goalie of all time, regardless of league. The US rebounded from THREE one goal deficits to tie and take the lead on a brilliant pass on a perfectly executed line change. The goal from Eruzione was a thing of beauty, as he used the Soviet defenseman as a screen to score the game winner. The final ten minutes is stuff of legend as the US withstood tremendous pressure in their own end and got brilliant goaltending from Jim Craig. The final minute, as shown above, is visual proof of drama at its finest. The United States had withstood the Soviet onslaught and bested them. There was no greater drama, and there's been no greater game.

    The Miracle on Ice equally involved a foreign team, if I remember correctly, in the Soviet Union. You can keep repeating the same argument that it's "only hockey", which just furthers my point. Using your argument that hockey is a distant fourth to baseball, basketball, and football, it would figure that ESPN and SI would choose a game from one of the big three, right? Instead, they chose a game from "only hockey."

    As for your assertion that "these guys" don't even know what the Summit Series was, here's an article that proves otherwise. It discusses the greatest hockey contests of all time, without ranking them. Not surprisingly, the Summit Series is included, as are many other international games.

    These experts from ESPN are fully aware of what the Summit Series was, as this article shows. The other article I used, also involving ESPN, but also a ranking, placed the Miracle on Ice first. I think that question is sufficiently answered, but here's an International article that further proofs my assertion.

    That's an article from the International Ice Hockey Federation., regarding the top hockey moments of the 20th century. What game tops the list? It's the Miracle on Ice. The Summit Series has TWO games on the list, so you can hardly argue exclusion or international bias here. It just falls behind the Miracle on Ice, once again.

    Ive responded to each of your arguments, and countered them convincingly. In terms of context, Ive discussed how the Miracle on Ice trumps the Summit Series in terms of profile, importance of the game, relevance to the nation, and importance within the context of the sport. Ive provided viewership numbers that can't simply be shrugged off by "population." They're a representation of an entire NATION that was passionate about a game, and it's not even close. Ive shown how the underdog story is an important one in relevance to this being the greatest game ever played, and how coaching played a big factor in that. Herb Brooks is considered by many to be the greatest coach in the history of hockey, and much of this is due to ONE game, the Miracle on Ice. His value towards making it the greatest game ever played cannot be noted enough. Despite hockey being only a distant fourth in popularity in the US, Ive shown experts analysis from SI and ESPN which notes that the Miracle on Ice is the GREATEST game ever played. To eliminate any claims of "national bias", I provided an international perspective that also points at the Miracle on Ice. Finally, Ive shown how the game in and of itself was the greatest ever. Im not denying the significance of the Summit Series, especially to Canadiens, but it simply cannot hold a candle to the Miracle on Ice for the title of greatest game ever played.
  15. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 5, 2007
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    With all due respect to my fellow posters, I think you both have gotten sidetracked from the issue at hand, and have gotten bogged down in the irrelevant. In the determination of the greatest game of all time, who really cares about attendance figures, or viewership rates, or the size of the stage upon which the match is being contested? Do we really care whether it is 45 million, or 50 million, or 52 million? Because I don't believe for one second that determination of the greatest game of all time can be made based upon attendance or viewership. Sure, they are one tangible means to assess interest in the game, but I think it goes without saying that all three games being discussed in this thread fit the bill for having suitable attendance and viewership to be considered in this regard. I would suggest to both of you that the final game of the Summit Series probably comprised the lowest figures, in terms of both attendance and viewership, of the three. Yet, it is still worthy of the designation of the greatest game of all time.

    Again, it all comes down to context. What did the Summit Series mean to the typical Canadian sports fan and the typical Canuck, versus what did the Miracle on Ice mean to the average American, or what did the '58 NFL Championship mean to the average US citizen. The thing is, while I love the NFL and I think the '58 championship was very significant, in the end it ultimately only appeals to the professional football fan. It had no general appeal outside the realm of the NFL. It did not capture a nation. It did not appeal to fans and non-fans alike. It did not bring the nation to a screeching standstill. It got NFL fans excited, and while that is very significant as the NFL is huge in the US, it simply is not big enough to earn the distinction of the greatest game ever.

    The 1958 NFL Championship game certainly had no lack of drama. But when push comes to shove, it was just one championship game in one season in one league. This game was cause to celebrate for whichever team would emerge victorious, and tremendous disappointment for the unsuccessful team, but ultimately, the victor would have bragging rights for one year, and the loser would have the ability to come back and try again next year. But there was no tomorrow in the Summit Series. Canada and the Soviet Union would not be playing a Summit Series again in 1973. The team who would emerge on top would have the ultimate bragging rights, which thankfully turned out to be Canada. For the Soviets, there was no second chance. Once unsuccessful, that was that, and the ultimate prize was gone. That's high drama. That's the stuff of legends. And a championship game in any professional league simply cannot bring this.

    34 seconds remained in the game when Canada scored the go ahead, and ultimately winning, goal. That brings more drama than a late game drive to tie a football game, and an overtime drive to secure it. 34 seconds. I simply cannot agree that the drama elicited by the football can equal this. The very nature of football is different than hockey in this regard. Football by nature is an ongoing progression of plays. Sustained drives that while very exciting and significant, do not have the sudden impact of hockey. Hockey involves simultaneous offense and defense, with the result changing in the blink of an eye, whereas football is a more gradual progression of events. Hockey simply lends itself more to the sudden drama more so than football does.

    In the end, what constitutes the greatest game of all time all comes down to personal preference, personal tastes, and there will never be a clear and undebatable decisive choice. All three of these games were tremendous,y significant from a historical perspective in the world of sports. But again, when taken in context, the Summit Series has to be seen as the greatest of the great. The most significant result to the people most invested in it. The most dramatic. The most exciting. In Canada, people still talk about the Summit Series like it was yesterday, and hoist the players up on a pedestal as sports icons just the same today as they did nearly four decades ago. Do Americans still talk about the '58 NFL Championship with the same fondness and passion as Canadians do about the Summit Series. Frankly, I was not even aware of the details of the '58 game until I specifically google searched it to review the details. Meanwhile, I know all about the Summit Series like the back of my hand. It simply comes down to context, national significance, passion, drama, and appealing to an entire nation, rather than a subsection of the population who follow one specific league in one particular sport.

    I maintain my position. The greatest game ever played was the eighth and deciding game of the Summit Series in 1972. Maybe you need to be a Canadian sports enthusiast to truly appreciate it.
    LSN80 likes this.
  16. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

    Feb 3, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Lets take a look at your post and my opening response to you, shall we?

    As you can easily see(or if you just read post 6 in this thread), I quoted your post verbatim. I addressed the issue in it's entirety the first time around succintly and successfully. Just because I didn't feel the need to quote-mime you over and over means nothing, as I took nothing out of context. I addressed your entire post the first time, and re-addressed issues as they were brought up. I don't know where this crap is coming from that Im taking you out of context, unless it's simply an attempt to distract from the fact that you've provided little factual information to back up your claims.

    You're right, the stage can't be compared equally between the 1958 Championship game and the 1980 Miracle on Ice. The "big as it could have been" argument is a weak one, as Ive already discussed. Like I stated earlier, the best division III college basketball teams can play a back and forth game with 50 lead changes and 6 overtimes and a heroic last second basket, but they're playing in front of 2,000 people or so, and it would be ludicrous to include them in the discussion of greatest game because it was as "big as it could have been." The simple fact of the matter is the Olympics were the biggest stage, and this was the biggest game of that Olympics, and perhaps in the history of the Olympics. The stage is a factor and there simply is no comparison whatsoever.

    Ive discussed how viewership is relevant in terms of context to the game overall. Ive discussed how the championship game didn't even sell out, so even the argument of "the best they could" doesn't hold water here, because of those 3,000+ vacant seats at Yankee Stadium. As for attendance, Ive noted how the US/USSR game wasn't topped for over 30 years until USA/Canada in the Gold Medal game in 2010, which was live. Ive already discredited the idea of time slot and discrepencies in viewership. As for the 1958 championship game, the viewership of the Super Bowl in 1980 was only 35.3 million, which is actually down almost 10 million from the 1958 Championship game. So it's safe to say that we can look at time periods with relevance. The 1958 game was obviously more relevant to viewers then the 1980 game, by 10 million viewers. The USA/USSR game was the most relevant game in hockey along with the USA/Finland game(the viewership numbers were virtually the same) for 30 years as they drew the largest numbers until that 2010 game. So we can look at viewership in context of different time frames given those facts, and the viewership for the Miracle on Ice was 7 million stronger then the 1958 Championship game. There's no denying that fact, or that viewership plays a small factor here. And again the advantage goes to the Miracle on Ice.

    I used the most recent example available. In that example, the more attractive prime time game in Green Bay/Atlanta drew less then the less attractive, non-prime time game in Chicago/Seattle. My entire point is that it's impossible for you to validate the idea that a prime time game will automatically attract more viewers. And your Jets/Patriots game is a terrible example because it was played at 4:30 in the afternoon, which is hardly a prime time game. Most of the World Series games are played during the work week, so it would be ludicrous to play the game during the day when most people in its target demographic are working. It's completely different when you're talking about a non-working day in a Sunday, and a simple four hour difference in between game times. The fact of the matter is, in the case of the weekend, especially Sunday, people will find the time to watch what's important to them.

    Ive noted that this is a small factor, if you've bothered to read it. 7 million is a large disparity when you compare it across the same nation. You're the one who initially brought up the ide of viewership, and I succinctly and successfully showed how despite the fact that it is a small factor, it's still in favor of the 1980 game. It's not a substantial part of my argument, and Ive never argued it as such.

    I said no such thing. I simply noted how the Miracle on Ice team had a succinct game plan that was derived from a style of play that was invented specifically for that game, and then executed by its players. Herb Brooks designed a system specifically aimed at beating the Soviets, so it worked. I can't speak to the game plan of the Giants/Colts game as it's not the game Im arguing but I can argue sloppiness in 3 fumbles and a muffed punt just on one side by the Giants. You use absolutes such as everything and that's hardly what Im saying. There were mistakes made in both games and that certainly goes on the players, in both cases. Im just arguing that the Miracle on Ice was partly the result of a system developed specifically for the game, and the execution of it. Quit jumping to conclusions and get your facts straight son.

    Again, something we can go back and forth on forever and we simply won't agree. Ill take the US erasing 3 Soviet leads, including one with one second to go in the first period. I'll take the US riding a hot goalie in the second period. Ill take the US tying the game then going ahead in the third with a goal on a great diving play and perfectly executed line change with a perfectly placed screen shot through the five hole. Ill take the US taking the play to the Soviets as much as they defended in the final ten minutes, and Ill take the greatest final minute of drama in the history of any sport in the Miracle on Ice.

    This is a common misconception about the USA/USSR game. Most people assume that this was a semi-final game, which is an absolute fallacy. This was a round-robin event until the end, not a tournament, so overall record is what mattered most. The US had a tie entering the game against the undefeated Soviets, so this was an all or nothing game for the United States. Either they won the game, or they didn't medal whatsoever. This was the biggest game of the Olympics against the greatest team in the world, which the United States won, giving them the right of calling themselves the greatest team in the world. The USSR actually won Silver in the games, backing up my claim that their game was the most important. Ill take the most important game in the world over the most important game in a 12 team league, regardless of its impact on football. The Miracle on Ice meant so much more.

    The link you provided is nothing more then the actual article from the Wikipedia one you posted earlier. Its not new information, its the same information as before, just confirming ESPN as the author, nothing more. And if my source comprised of both Sports Illustrated and ESPN, the same site you used, isn't credible, then neither is yours. Expert opinion is nice and all but it only tells a small part of the story as it's only a few men putting their opinions out there. Like you said, it's a wash and really not relevant here to this argument. I like the facts Ive provided on the 1980 Miracle Game and Ill continue to stand by them. As you said, it's a stalemate in terms of expert opinion, which certainly renders it irrelevant here.

    Ill be the first to admit that fan voting is to be taken lightly, but its to be taken nonetheless. In this case, the list was from 2001, but the list still was about the century. I also will acknowledge that the casual fan tends to forget about older games, but it would be silly to suggest that every fan who voted in said poll was a "casual fan." I hold the 1958 championship game in the highest regard out of respect for Johnny Unitas, Frank Gifford, Ewbanks, Lombardi, and Landry, as well as the impact it's had on the game of professional football. I recognize that football was 3rd in the 50's in terms of popularity behind baseball and basketball as well, but when this list was comprised, football was the most popular sport. And yet the fans far and away chose the Miracle on Ice, by over 30%. Even if it's to be taken lightly, its still a factor to consider.

    And Ive shown clearly earlier in my post that in my initial argument, I addressed all parts of your argument, taking absolutely nothing out of context. You can continue to distract with this silly argument that I didn't quote you word for word in EVERY post, but it's just distracting from the fact that your facts don't match mine here. The example I gave was a perfect example of how prime time doesn't always pop bigger viewership, and how prime-time is essentially irrelevant to this debate. It's true, Ive shown it, whether you want to recognize it or not.

    Here is where we totally disagree. I believe that coaching in this one game played a tremendous role. With no disrespect to Landry, Ewbank, or Lombardi, Brooks was the better coach for ONE game. He designed a hybrid style of play that meshed the American style of dump and chase with the European style of puck possession, free skating, and superb conditioning. In the week in between the Czech game and the USSR game, he focused on full contact drills with the goal of skating with the opposition and wearing them down. Brooks also masterfully motivated them in this game, as how many games can you recall when the pre-game speech is actually remembered word for word? Can that be said about the 58 Championship game? Brooks expertly played up the underdog aspect while emphasizing the belief in his team.

    Originally posted by Herb Brooks: Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here, tonight. One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with 'em. Tonight, we stay with 'em, and we shut them down because we can! Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players—every one of ya. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time—is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearin' about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em! This is your time!! Now go out there and take it!

    In the end, it comes down to the execution of the players, but Brooks did everything possible to set them up for success. And they went out there and executed his game plan to perfection. The players ultimately wore the Soviets down with their style of play, executing Brook's game plan to perfection. In this case, coaching was a large part of what made this the greatest game of all time.

    When it comes down to it, Ive used excellent facts, acknowledged that our opinions are a wash, and have shown how I completely addressed your post succintly and successfully, and your incessant insistance otherwise is nothing more then a distraction from the fact that your facts don't add up to mine. One thing certainly adds up: The facts clearly show that the Miracle on Ice was the greater game then the 1958 NFL championship game.

    This isn't irrelevant whatsoever, nor is it sidetracked from the topic at hand, When discussing the notion of greatest game ever played, there are a myriad of factors that must be discussed. Viewership numbers do matter, especially when they're so substantially greater. Ive shown that they're relevantly greater with regards to the Miracle on Ice in regards to the 1958 Championship Game, and substantially greater then the Summit Series. While they're not the entire picture, they do play a role in determining the greatest game, as they're indicative of the stage. My basketball example is the best proof of this. So these facts are entirely relevant in determining the greatest game, and the Miracle on Ice wins in both cases.

    Ill post my closing argument tomorrow.
  17. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 5, 2007
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    I think the three of us have adequately beaten this topic to death over the last several days, so I think I will wrap up my contribution to the discussion here in a relatively brief post. Kudos to both Big Sexy and LSN80 for bringing excellence to the debate yet again, as they have done throughout the competition.

    Unfortunately for the both of them, excellence of debating does not necessarily translate into correctness. And while they both made superb points and expressed them very clearly, in the end, they both made the wrong call. Big Sexy picked what could be argued to be the third greatest game in his references to the 1958 NFL Championship Game. LSN80 got even closer, picking the second most significant game in the Miracle on Ice of 1980. But in the end, the simple fact of the matter is this. The single greatest game ever played comes down to one choice and one choice only, the eighth and deciding game of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union.

    Never mind clouding the discussion with talk of which game featured the greatest attendance figures, or the highest television viewership, or details like these. Sure, these are indicators of how interested people were in an event, but they in and of themselves mean very little. Such numbers are clouded by population statistics, geography, and i simply think it is incorrect to suggest a game is the greatest ever because it was the highest in terms of such numbers. These numbers are misleading and ultimately result in the wrong conclusion being drawn. Simply put, Canada will never compete with the United States in terms of any numbers like these, as the population discrepancy between the two is simply too great.

    What determines the greatest game of all time? For one thing, the game must be played at the highest level of the sport in question at the time it was played. It must involve the best of the best, putting it all out there on a grand stage. The Summit Series has this. The top players of the NHL, who happened to be the Canadians, versus the highly skilled and disciplined Soviet Union squad. The MOI did not really have this, as the American team were amateurs, underdogs, overachievers, many of whom became household names, but weren't at the time. The NFL game of '58 featured just two teams in one professional league. Granted they were tremendous and legendary players, but in the end, this does not carry the same scope as the Summit Series.

    The game has to be of the highest quality and feature drama and intrigue which captives it's audience. All three of the choices here have this and then some, so this point will be hard for any of us to really debate. As a Canadian sports enthusiast, though, the details of the final Summit Series just do it for me far more so than the other choices. A must win game in a hostile environment during the Cold War, in a time period when tensions were highest from a sports perspective as well as political and social parameters, with the winning goal being scored by a journeyman with only 34 seconds remaining, with the weight of a nation your shoulders, it is hard to discount the significance of this.

    Ultimately, the greatest game of all time has to be one that still inspires drama, nationalistic pride, and relevance, one that is still viewed as fondly today as it was at the time of the event. Talk to any Canadian today. Talk to them about the Summit Series, about the goal heard around the world, compliments of Paul Henderson, about the Phil Esposito speech, etc., and it still has meaning and relevance to this day. It transcends sports, and always has. I posed the question to my dad yesterday, which do you think was the greatest game ever played. Without hesitation, he said the Summit Series finale featuring Paul Henderson's goal. I feel the exact same way. And now my 11 year old son does too. It was epic. It was magical. It brought a nation together like nothing else could. When I asked my dad about the the '58 NFL game, he said "who? What game? Don't know that one.". Regarding the Miracle on Ice, he was well aware of that one, but of course felt it paled in comparison to the Summit Series.

    Talk to a casual sporting fan about the 1958 NFL Championship Game, and I guarantee you, most will have no recollection of it. Sure, avid sports fanatics like Big Sexy will appreciate it, but he is the exception to the rule. Talk to most people about the Miracle on Ice, and they will clearly remember it as it was a tremendously significant hockey game, but it will not inspire the same passion as the Summit Series does for the average Canadian. In the end, hockey in the United States just will never reach that level of significance for the average guy. It never has and it likely never will. At the 1980 Olympics, with the political turmoil of the era as it was, you probably would have gotten 50 million people to tune in to watch practically anything between these two rivals. It was not the significance of the game in particular, but rather, the significance of the us versus them philosophy of the time. It could have been a game of tiddlywinks, and the Americans would have tuned in to see it if it was contested against the Soviets. Because it was the situation, more so than the game itself, that inspired the response, I simply cannot give the nod to the Miracle on Ice. It has to go to the deciding game of the Summit Series.

    When evaluating the opinions expressed in this thread, all I ask of the judges is one thing and one thing only. Put on a toque, crack open a bottle of Molson Canadian, and evaluate this question through the eyes of a Canadian as well as that of an American. I think if you do, the choice will be clear. The greatest game of all time has to be the finale of the Summit Series on September 26, 1972.
  18. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

    Jul 21, 2008
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    You are quite the card. Yes the first time you responded fine to my post but you damn well you took my post out of context in post number 9 of this thread. It would have been easy for you to quote exactly what I said but instead you purposefully eliminated part of my post to prove a point that wasn't there. The facts are in the posts.

    We're not talking about division 3 college basketball though this is the fucking NFL. It was played on as big a stage as possible and the argument is not weak whatsoever. Even if it was a division 3 basketball game, if that game was for the championship and played at Madison Square Garden then of course it could be in the discussion. What you're arguing right now is basically that no game outside of the Olympics had a chance in this topic because none could be on an international stage and that is absolutely ludicrous.

    You can have all the viewership numbers you want. It was a side note in my opening post and you turned it into a deciding factor of best game. News flash, viewership numbers are not all that important in the long run. I'm sorry the 1958 game didn't sell out. It was probably because it was a Sunday afternoon in 1958 and most people had just gotten out of church not long before the game started. You're comparing apples to oranges in terms of time period and sports.

    Friday and Saturday nights are the nights where the majority of people go out and they always have smaller numbers because of it so your comparing a Saturday night to Sunday Afternoon game doesn't do much anyways. The Jets/Pats started at 4:30 but it was still a later game and went into prime time. The biggest thing here is that in 1958 the NFL wasn't what it is today. It was not the number one sport in America so yes that 4 hour difference probably did have some viewership differences. Once again, the majority of this rambling from you is irrelevant because what was a side note in my opening post has become a point of emphasis for you.

    Yet you continue to beat the argument like a dead horse and spend a good part of your posts talking about it.

    My facts are perfectly fine I'm just going by what you're saying. The Colts aerial game plan was also a big factor and one of the first times a passing attack was used as the main part of the offense. Johnny Unitas who had averaged 26.3 pass attempts per game in the regular season threw 40 in the championship game and completed 26 of them. It was a great game plan by Weeb Ewbank and it got the Colts the victory.

    Yes we can go back and forth forever. You like a game they may have had drama but nothing overly significant happen in the last 10 minutes and I like one that was a battle with the game being tied at the very end and then won in overtime.

    I'm well aware it was a round robin tournament but with the way the tournament played out in the end, the US/USSR game basically equaled a semi-final game. The US won the Gold Medal against Finland and that game where they actually won the medal should be seen as greater because it actually got them something no the opportunity to play for something.

    I know the second link I provided was the same just from the actual website, I never said it wasn't. The reason I posted it was because it did come directly from the ESPN SportsCentury website. Yours somehow came from I just find it hard to believe that ESPN SportsCentury would have the 58 game at number 1 and then when they are in conjunction with SI all of the sudden it goes to number 20. Unless they had idiots on the SI panel that doesn't really seem possible for it to go from 1 to 20.

    The bold part is what I want to focus on. You seem to be using similar statements like that a lot. You have a lot of things taken "lightly" into your argument but not much you are saying is a huge, definitive factor in what makes the game the greatest.

    I'm not going to recognize what isn't there. And you can't sit there and say you took nothing out of context when I have literally showed you did exactly that.

    You can have all the strategies and pre game speeches you want. All great coaches will have great strategies for big games. It all comes down to execution.

    And with the great coaches involved in the 58 Championship game you know damn well that they had their players set up for success as well.

    You have very few hard, relevant facts and it has really hurt your argument. You have focused way too much on things that are close to irrelevant in the debate at hand and I'm not going to lie, because of that I've been dragged into it a little as well trying to respond to them. You seem to be the one providing all of the distractions to the real topic at hand. Nothing you have said indicates to me or anyone that the Miracle on Ice was better then the 58 NFL Championship Game because, well, it isn't.

    This isn't irrelevant whatsoever, nor is it sidetracked from the topic at hand, When discussing the notion of greatest game ever played, there are a myriad of factors that must be discussed. Viewership numbers do matter, especially when they're so substantially greater. Ive shown that they're relevantly greater with regards to the Miracle on Ice in regards to the 1958 Championship Game, and substantially greater then the Summit Series. While they're not the entire picture, they do play a role in determining the greatest game, as they're indicative of the stage. My basketball example is the best proof of this. So these facts are entirely relevant in determining the greatest game, and the Miracle on Ice wins in both cases. [/QUOTE]

    Viewership numbers play the slightest importance especially when we are only talking about a difference of a few million viewers. Your basketball example was nothing other then taking a complete extreme and trying to apply it to the topic at hand, but it doesn't work that way. You used a division 3 college bball example with 2,000 fans. With my example from earlier I was at least getting at a D1 game with 10,000 fans in the stands (which is around the size of many college bball arenas).

    LSN80 likes this.
  19. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

    Feb 3, 2010
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    Both Big Sexy and Habs deserve to be recognized for the excellence they have shown in emphasizing the your beliefs regarding the greatest game of all time. Habs has showed the importance of the Summit Series in regards to the Canadiens, likely the greatest moment in their proud hockey history. There's no disputing the fact that hockey today is "Canada's sport", and the Summit Series served as a prime example as to why. Big Sexy was equally impressive in showing the relevance of the 1958 championship game with regards to the game of football, and its impact on the game today. The game featured some of the greatest talent to grace the football field, and three of the greatest coaches of all time. It's highly regarded as the the most important game in the history of American football, and rightfully so.

    However, there are a myriad of factors that one must address when truly deciding the greatest game ever played, and respectfully, Ive demonstrated those better then the others. The stage on which the game is played is certainly one of those factors. The Miracle on Ice was held on the largest and grandest stage of them all, the Olympics. With no disrespect towards the Summit Series or the 1958 Championship game, their respective stages simply can't compare to the world stage of the Olympics. While the Summit Series game 8 was played to determine the greater of two nations and the 1958 championship game was played to determine the best of a 12 team league, the Miracle on Ice was fought to determine supremecy over the greatest team in the world. And the USA did just that in defeating the team regarded to be the best in the world at the time, and possibly ever. There simply is no comparison in that regard.

    Attendance and viewership figures are a part of the picture that must be examined when looking at the context of the game as well. Ive demonstrated throughout this debate that there is no possible way to account for the 35 million disparity in viewership, which Habs so casually dismisses. Im sorry, but when a hockey game stands tied as the most watched hockey game for 30 years, viewership is entirely relevant. It shows the passion and belief of the entire American fanbase, not just hockey hotbeds. It must be taken into consideration that these figures are in context of a replay, which makes them all the more astounding. The 1958 Championship Game, for all it's importance, couldn't sell out the game. The arena at Lake Placid was filled to capacity to the point that American Olympic figure skater and hero Eric Heiden(by virtue of five gold in five attempts) couldn't even get intothe arena to watch. The arena was filled tio legal capacity with raucous American fans who started the infamous "USA, USA" chant, which is still used until this day. The 52 million people watching at home were a testiment to the passion, belief, and significance of the game to the American people. The game was equally important to the Soviets as well, as they shut down their media operations, refused to report on the story, and the players refused to participate in the customary tradition of the ceremonies regarding their medals. These factors attest to the meaning in context for both sides, which is thoroughly unmatched, and also contributes to making this the greatest game of all time.

    As ive mentioned earlier, the underdog status here is also a contributing factor. It's an inate quality in most of us to pull for the underdog, and the United States was certainly that. Combine this with the factor that the US was at odds with the Soviet Union, Iran was holding Americans hostage, and the unemployment rate and poverty rates were at all time highs, so Americans needed something to believe in. The Miracle on Ice hockey team gave them exactly that, and became a rallying figure for the entire nation to get behind in full force, as vieweership and attendance figures show. Comprised of mostly college hockey players, the United States were seemingly at a disadvantage facing the greatest team in the World in the Soviet Union. The Soviets were a polished team who had previously demolished the NHL All-Stars 6-0, and had beaten the Americans 10-3 a week earlier. But backed by their fan base, a phenomenal system created specifically for this game, buoyed by wins earlier over favorites Sweden and Czechoslovokia, and most importantly the support of a nation who believed, the United States stood toe to toe with the Soviets, and bested them. I can't imagine Hollywood writing a better script then this one, and it certainly contributed to the game being the greatest ever played.

    Speaking of the game, it was a phenomenally contested matchup. Ive already shown video evidence of the game, and backed it up with facts regarding the game. In underdog fashion once again, the United States rebounded from three deficits, and once they took their only lead, they never surrendered it. They scored a first period goal with one second to play in said period on a remarkable one man effort splitting two defensemen. The game was evenly contested with minimal mistakes, as each team surrendered only two on-ice penalties(both received on bench minor apiece), and surrendered only one power play goal. The United States received tremedous goaltending from Jim Craig, who stopped 36 Soviet shots. I provided video evidence of the magnificence of the game winner, an incredible diving effort by Neil Broten onto the stick of captain Mike Eruzione, executing a perfect line change. He then utilized the Soviet defenseman as a screen, beating the Soviet goalie five-hole. The final ten minutes is stuff of legend, as the US took the play to the Soviets as much as they defended, perfectly utilizing their superior conditioning and executing Herb Brooks hybrid system to perfection. I also provided video evidence of the final minute, which is the most dramatic minute ever played. The US withstood heavy pressure within their own zone, beating Soviets to loose pucks as the seconds ticked down. It was only fitting for Al Michaels to deliver the most famous one-liner in the history of sports in, "Do you believe in Miracles? Yes!". It was fitting that the most iconic phrase in the history of sports was delivered at the end of the greatest game ever played.

    I mentioned coaching earlier, and I don't want to understate it. Herb Brooks was a master motivator, mixing the right amount of criticism with the right amount of praise. Brooks also created a system still used until this day in the hybrid style of utilizing American dump and chase hockey combined with European puck possession and free skating. He created this system specifically for this one game, and the Americans used it to perfection both in rebounding from 3 deficits, but also in wearing down the Soviets in the final minutes as they protected their only lead. Coaching is entirely relevant here, and for one game, Brooks was the greatest coach in the world. This factor also contributes to making this the greatest game ever played.

    Once again, Ive shown through a myriad of factors as to how the Miracle on Ice was the greatest game ever contested. In regards to the context of which the game was played, none was done so on a bigger stage, had a larger profile, demonstrated more importance to the game, proved more relevant to the nation, or was more important within the context of the sport. It's not even close, and all these factors contribute to this game being the best ever played.

    There has never been a game that has impacted one country and its nationalism the way the Miracle on Ice has. It can be argued that this was the greatest upset in sports history,increasing the excitement factor. Ive shown how in retrospect, no one field, arena, stadium, or rink has housed more talent or HOF's then this game did, and it showed in how the game played out. Ive demonstrated how it figures in as the most well played and dramatic game of all time, It remains relevant through today in American and International history, specifically through its accolades, TV and film. It's importance and significance cannot be denied as the greatest of all time. These things attest that on February 22nd, 1980, the United States and the Soviet Union participated in the greatest game ever played, the Miracle on Ice.With regards to the 1958 Chmpionship game and Game 8 of the Summit Series, there can be no debate. The Miracle on Ice was the greatest game ever played.
    Big Sexy likes this.
  20. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

    Jul 21, 2008
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    I will now conclude my argument that the 1958 NFL Championship Game ("The Greatest Game Ever Played") was in fact the greatest game ever played.

    At the start I used these main arguments to prove it was the greatest game: Stage, teams, the game itself, and the history.

    The Stage was the biggest it could have possibly been in that time period. It was the NFL Championship Game being played at Yankee Stadium. It featured the two best teams in the league. The Baltimore Colts who also happened to have the number 1 ranked offense and the New York Giants who happened to have the number 1 ranked defense.

    The teams like I said were the two best in the league and they also featured a total of 12 HOF players, 3 HOF coaches, and 2 HOF administrators. The Colts were led by Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry and the Giants were led by Frank Gifford and Don Maynard.

    The game was one of the most highly contested in NFL history. It was back and forth throughout the entire course of the contest. It was the first significant NFL game to ever go into overtime and to this day it is still the only NFL Championship game to ever need an extra session.

    The history is nearly unmatched. The NFL is easily the most popular sport in the US right now and you can easily go back and look to this game as the stepping stone and first reason why its popularity started to soar.

    My opponents have made some decent arguments but none that prove their game was greater. LSN focused on many irrelevant factors or ones that had very little relevance. When he focused on his main argument he did alright but nothing to prove the Miracle on Ice was a greater game. Habs tended to focus a little too much on national pride and cultural significance. That's all well and good but this isn't a question about significance, it's a question about which game was the greatest and that goes to the 1958 NFL Championship game. I stated the reasons why at the beginning and reinforced them throughout my other posts and debates. It is clear to me and should be clear to all of you that the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants is indeed, "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

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