In the dry spell of Chicago sports in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, the battle cry in Chicago sports was wait ‘til next year. Comebacks haven’t generally been a part of the Chicago Sports landscape.
The Blackhawks rally from three games to one down will be remembered for the ages. Michael Jordan’s return from two years off has spawned conspiracy theories and two rallies by the Bulls in back to back seasons were an important part of their title runs.
All of these comebacks will be remembered for a generation and will keep these players in our minds forever and endear them as heroes for eternity in Chicago sports.
1985 Bears at Vikings
Trailing 17-9 in the third quarter, Jim McMahon came off the bench to post one of the most improbable victories in Bears history. McMahon went 8-15 for 236 yards and three touchdown in the last quarter and half to post a 33-24 win.
1992 Bulls NBA Finals Game 6 vs. Portland
Trailing by 17 in the third and 79-64 after three quarters, the Bulls staged most of their rally with Michael Jordan on the bench. Led by Scottie Pippen, Bob Hansen, B.J. Armstrong, Scott Williams and current Bulls color analyst Stacey King all made key plays in the fourth quarter to lead the Bulls to their second consecutive NBA title.
1993 Bulls vs Knicks
After winning the first two games in New York it looked like this was finally the year the Knicks were dethrone the two time defending champion Bulls.
The Bulls returned home and posted two double digit wins to tie the series. The series would turn on one sequence. Leading 96-95 late in the game, the Bulls blocked Charles Smith four consecutive times to win game five at Madison Square Garden and take the series back to Chicago Stadium with a 3-2 series lead.
Leading by three after three quarters in game five, the Bulls pulled away in the fourth quarter to post a 96-88 victory to advance to their third straight NBA Finals. They would defeat the Phoenix Suns in six game to win their third straight NBA title.
1995 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan spent two years away from the game after his father’s murder and trying his hand at a baseball career. Jordan announced his return in March 1995 with a two word fax, “I’m back”.
After a strong 1994 season, the Bulls slipped into mediocrity in 1995. With Jordan back, the Bulls went 13-4 down the stretch to finish 47-35.
They defeated Charlotte in four games in the first round before being eliminated in six games in the Eastern Conference finals by Horace Grant and Orlando.
The Bulls would return to the top a year later. They would win the next three NBA titles. With Jordan in a Bulls uniform the Bulls would win 24 out of 25 playoff series between 1991-1998.
2002 White Sox Comeback from 8-0 Down against Cubs
The Cubs scored eight times in the first three innings to take an 8-0 lead. The White Sox came storming back by scoring ten runs in the middle three innings. Paul Konerko led the charge by going 4-4 with four runs scored, four rbi’s and two home runs.
Kerry Wood gave up six runs in 5.1 innings and Joe Borowski took the loss with two runs allowed in .2 innings.
The White Sox bullpen saved Danny Wright with 6.1 innings and just three hits and one run allowed.
2005 Illinois versus Arizona
One of the most improbable comebacks in college basketball history. Trailing by 15 with four minutes remaining, defense and impressive three point shooting brought Illinois back. Playing in front of an electric home crowd in the regional final, Illinois went on a 20-5 run over the final 4:02 of regulation to force overtime.
After getting out to a six point lead in the overtime, the Illini held on for a 90-89 victory to advance to the school’s first final four in 16 years. Illinois’ big four of Luther Head, Roger Powell, Dee Brown and Deron Williams combined for 73 points.
2006 Bears vs Cardinals
Trailing 20-0 at halftime, the Bears staged the biggest comeback in NFL history without scoring an offensive touchdown. Mike Brown and Charles Tillman returned fumbles for touchdowns and Devin Hester’s 73 yard punt return late in the fourth quarter put the Bears ahead.This was the game that Devin Hester became ridiculous and Dennis Green had one of the greatest rants in NFL history.
2009 Blackhawks vs Calgary
Trailing 5-0 less than 12 minutes into the first period, the Blackhawks staged one of the most improbable comebacks in team history.
A Brent Seabrook goal 26 seconds into overtime capped off their amazing comeback and gave the Blackhawks a 6-5 victory. The win came just five games into what would eventually become a Stanley Cup winning season.
2010 Blackhawks Game Five vs. Nashville
Trailing 4-3 and shorthanded, Patrick Kane scored with 14 seconds remaining to tie game. Marian Hossa scored 4:07 into overtime to redeem himself for a major boarding penalty late in the third period to give Blackhawks a crucial game five victory.
The win was a turning point in the series. It put the Blackhawks up 3-2, instead of going to Nashville and facing elimination on the road.
After an impressive 4-1 victory in game one, the Blackhawks appeared to be in control of the series. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock made some adjustments and Detroit captured the next game 4-1 to even up the series.
When the series shifted to Detroit, game three could have gone either way. Down 2-1 in the third period, an Andrew Shaw game tying goal was disallowed after he was called for interference. Pavel Datsyuk scored later in the third to stretch the Wing lead to 3-1. The won the game for a 2-1 series lead.
A Jakub Kindl second period goal and an empty netter by Andrew Cleary in game four gave Detroit and seemingly insurmountable 3-1 series lead.
When the Blackhawks returned home for game five, the momentum of the series shifted. After playing awful the previous three games, the Blackhawks power play awakened. Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews scored goals with the man advantage and another third period score by Shaw gave the Blackhawks a 4-1 win.
Playing at Joe Louis arena and trailing 2-1 entering the third period in game six things, were not looking good for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford let in a soft second period goal by the Wings Joakim Andersson put the Wings ahead.
Third period goals by Michal Handzus and Brian Bickell tied the game and put the Blackhawks in front just three minutes into the third period. A penalty shot by Michael Frolik stretched the lead to 4-2 and the Blackhawks held on for a 4-3 victory to send the series back to the United Center.
Although the Blackhawks never trailed in game seven, they had to stage another late comeback. After having a Niklas Hjalmarsson goal taken away with 1:47 remaining in the third period, the Blackhawks had to keep their composure.
Brent Seabrook scored 3:35 into overtime and the Blackhawks won Game Seven 2-1 and the the series 4-3 to cap off the greatest comeback in the history of Chicago Sports.
The Blackhawks became the first team in Chicago History to ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit. The Blackhawks had been 0-11 all time when trailing 3-1 and 1-19 when trailing 3-2.