Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady
At 38 years old, Manning has answered every question, every doubter. Whether the Broncos win it all this year or not, it doesn’t really matter. His legacy is secure. He has nothing left to prove.
But in 2006 that was all different. Manning and the Colts had yet to make the Super Bowl in six tries, and had lost twice to Tom Brady and New England in the playoffs. Then in the 2006 AFC Championship, despite the home field advantage, the Patriots went up 21-3. Manning would eventually bring the team all the way back for a three-point win, throwing for nearly 400 yards, even running for a score, and finally shutting up the critics who viewed him as Dan Marino to Brady’s Joe Montana.
They’d go on to beat Chicago in the Super Bowl.
9 of 10
Don Nelson vs. Dallas Mavericks
After coaching in Dallas for eight seasons, and pushing the team out of the cellar to visit the playoffs in four straight years, Don Nelson resigned and moved on to coach the Golden State Warriors. Why? He was locked in a bitter feud with owner Mark Cuban that had lasted for nearly a decade. It was so bad that at one point, Nellie said, “I actually thought when we split we would become friends again. That’s how naive I was.”
It was all a fight over $7 million, money Nelson believed he was owed, money Cuban thought he had deferred for good by breaching a contract. The back and forth went on and on, and only picked up once the two sides split up.
Then in a cruel twist of fate, they faced off in the first round the following year. Cuban had basically forced Nelson to leave a 42-22 team the year before, a sure title contender, for an upstart team that hadn’t made the playoffs since 1994. Luckily, Nelson had Stephen Jackson, Jason Richardson, Monta Ellis, and a motivated Baron Davis fall into his lap, and the No. 8-seeded Warriors pulled off one of the greatest upsets in NBA history, beating the 67-win Mavericks and leaving Cuban with the ultimate stone face.
10 of 10
I can’t speak for everyone, but I find it hard to believe you can be happier than Steve Young was on the night on January 29, 1995. That was the night of Super Bowl XXIX, and the San Francisco 49ers not only blew out the San Diego Chargers, but Young threw six touchdown passes, breaking the record by the man, the legend, that he’d replaced in the starting lineup. For years, Joe Montana WAS San Francisco, the epitome of a franchise quarterback and the master of the fourth quarter comeback. He’d won Super Bowls. He’d won MVPs. He was everything Young would never be. At least that’s what the critics said.
Despite racking up incredible passer ratings during his first few years as a full-time starter, Young continuously lost in the playoffs, falling to Dallas in two straight seasons. He couldn’t win the big one. He wasn’t a leader. He was a stat-padder. He didn’t have the cool of Montana. Young heard it all. So when he turned the 1994 season into his own personal revenge tour, leading the NFL in completion percentage, touchdown passes, and quarterback rating while beating Dallas and finally winning the biggest game of all, he couldn’t contain himself. He screamed. He yelled. He clenched the Lombardi Trophy like he’d never let it go. It was something no one expected.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, and while it’s fun to watch on the big screen, it’s never sweeter than it is in sports. Today, from Young to Michael Jordan, we’re looking at 10 of The Best Revenge Games in Sports.
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