Five Games to Rewatch as Sports Come Back to Life

Get back in the game with these five rewatchable games to celebrate the return of your favorite sports

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Graphic by: Abraham Navarro/SAC.Media.

It has been a long and grueling time away from sports. Never in my life has there been so long a period of time without the broadcast of any sport. Soccer around the world has already come back and Major League Baseball just got underway. The NBA has already begun exhibition games to ready teams for their return. There has been very little to look forward to during the pandemic, but with competitive sports coming back there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, however dim it may be. To celebrate its return, here are my personal favorite top five rewatchable games of all time.

FC Barcelona vs PSG Champions League Round of 16 (2017)

One of the most rewatchable soccer games in recent memory is the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matchup between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain FC. The 2017 matchup had star names all over the pitch: Edison Cavani, Luis Suarez,  Andres Iniesta, Marco Verratti, Neymar Junior and, of course, Lionel Messi. Barcelona had a daunting task ahead of them, considering they would have to try and erase a 4-0 first leg deficit on aggregate against one of the best clubs in the world. The only thing that Barcelona had in their favor was their home field advantage at Camp Nou.

To have a chance of a comeback, Barcelona needed to score goals as quickly as possible. Suarez, Barcelona’s forward did exactly that with a quick goal at the three minute mark to open up the game. After a goal from PSG defender Layvin Kurzawa, Barcelona went into halftime with a 2-0 lead; in need of two more goals to tie up the Round 16 matchup. Five minutes into the second half a penalty was given to Barcelona, and Messi did not miss the opportunity to convert. After Messi’s penalty the aggregate score was 4-3, and for many fans watching at home, this was the moment the game came alive. Ten minutes later, PSG striker Cavani responded with a crucial away goal to give PSG some breathing room. The aggregate score was 5-3, but the momentum was on Barcelona’s side.

With the clock dwindling down the crowd at the Camp Nou was roaring and hungry for more goals. With only minutes left before the final whistle, PSG thought they would be able to hold on to their lead, but Barcelona was able to find the back of the net three times in the final 10 minutes to secure a historic come-from-behind victory. Two goals by Neymar and the final goal scored by Sergi Roberto sealed the win by an aggregate of 6-5, and secured a place in the quarter finals of the Champions League. Many soccer fans around the world enjoy hating Barcelona, but not even Real Madrid fans (like myself) could deny the spectacle they had witnessed. This is a high scoring game to introduce the sport of soccer to potential new fans that may think the sport is full of 0-0 ties.

Super Bowl 45: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Greenbay Packers (2011)

This is one I will always remember, because this Super Bowl featured two of the most historic franchises the NFL has to offer: the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was the first Super Bowl the Packers were competing in that I was actually able to watch (I was two years old when they last won the Super Bowl).

This game was everything I could have asked for. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw the pigskin all over the Steelers’ secondary, demonstrating his elite throwing prowess, making it all look so easy. Rodgers’ stellar Super Bowl performance vaulted Green Bay to an impressive 21-3 lead, but there was still a lot of time left in the game. This was also the Pittsburgh Steelers that Rodgers was up against so I knew as I was watching the game that it would come down to the wire. The Steelers eventually cut the lead down to 21-17 and were driving with all the momentum on their side. That’s when Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews forced a fumble on Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall to kill the drive and give possession back to the Packers. After trading touchdowns and a Packers field goal, the Packers were crowned Super Bowl champions, and Aaron Rodgers was named MVP.

This Super Bowl was one of the best days of my life since I am a big Packers fan, so for myself specifically it has extra rewatchability, but any fan of football would enjoy going back to watch this gem.

Rose Bowl: USC vs University of Texas, National Championship Game (2006)

What a game this was.

USC football was at the top of the college football world. The Trojans were looking to repeat as national champions and entered the contest ranked number one in the Bowl Championship Series rankings. The Trojans were also riding a 34-game win streak entering the game, with head coach Pete Caroll at the helm. The University of Texas, led by head coach Mack Brown, was ranked number two in the BCS rankings and had a streak of their own. Texas had won 19 games in a row which, at the time, was the second highest active streak in college football; second only to USC. This game was truly an unstoppable force colliding with an immovable object. The buildup and hype leading up to the game was almost better than watching some college bowl games.

Prior to the contest, USC’s Reggie Bush beat out Texas’ Vince Young for the Heisman trophy. This gave Young a chip on his shoulder which he used to elevate his game on college football’s biggest stage. Young ended his night in Pasadena with 467 total yards and three touchdowns.

It was a back and forth affair the entire game, and with a little over two minutes left in the fourth quarter the score was 38-33. The Trojans had the lead late and had a chance to ice the game. However, USC failed to convert on a fourth and one opportunity later they were stifled by the Longhorn defense. If USC would have converted the fourth down attempt they would have been able to run out the clock. Instead of USC repeating as national champions, the stage was set for Vince Young and his offense to drive down the field and upset the Trojans. Young’s eight-yard scamper on fourth down gave Texas the lead with 19 seconds left on the clock. After a two-point conversion the score was 38-41. The over 90,000 in attendance at the Rose Bowl exploded, and everyone watching on television witnessed an instant classic.

Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers

The last couple minutes of this game might be some of the craziest in basketball, but let’s take a step back for a second to look at some key factors. This was the season the Warriors broke the Chicago Bulls record for most wins in the regular season at 73 wins. They didn’t even reach double digits in the loss column. They only lost nine games the entire regular season. On top of that, this was the second NBA Finals matchup in as many years between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Plus: the Warriors had lost a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series setting up a winner take all game seven.

Fast forward to the last three and a half minutes of regulation: with the game winding down and neither team wanting to give an inch, both teams were struggling in terms of shooting. With less than two minutes left in the game, Warriors forward Andre Iguadala thought he was going to give his team the lead with a layup, but Lebron James made a superhuman effort to fly through the air and swatted the ball into the backboard to keep the game tied. It had been over two minutes since anyone scored when Cavs guard Kyrie Irving stepped up and drilled a clutch three over the outstretched hand of Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

Play by play announcer Mike Breen screamed, “It’s good! Kyrie Irving from downtown!” The engaging voices on the ABC broadcast which belong to Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson add an element to the game that enhances its rewatchability.

The dagger three pointer by Irving in the final minute of the game won the NBA Finals for the Cavs and broke the hearts of the home crowd at Oracle Arena. The perfect season slipped right through the Warrior’s fingers and Lebron James cemented his legacy in Cleveland by keeping his promise of bringing an NBA title to his home state of Ohio.

Super Bowl 42: New England Patriots vs New York Giants (2007)

In 2007, the New England Patriots ended the regular season with a flawless 16-0 record. After two playoff wins, the Patriots were 18-0, on their way to the Superbowl, and on the cusp of making history as the second team to have a perfect season next to the 1972 Miami Dolphins. What makes this game great to watch again and again is the fact that, for once, the stars aligned for a Patriots Super Bowl loss and almost everybody outside of the Boston area wanted New England to fail and come up short of that perfect season.

The Giants defense led by defensive end Michael Strahan made New England quarterback Tom Brady uncomfortable all game and limited the high powered Patriots offense to 14 points.The highlight of the game was David Tyree’s improbable catch, which was made possible by Eli Manning’s legendary scramble during which he broke away from multiple defenders to avoid being sacked while somehow keeping his eyes downfield. The success of the underdog Giants combined with the satisfaction of seeing Tom Brady and the Patriots lose on the biggest stage is more than enough to revisit this game.