Looking back: This week in sports history December 24-30

December 25, 1971: The game is now known as “The Longest Day.” The longest NFL game ever played took place on Christmas day 1971. It was the AFC Divisional Playoff Game featuring the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. The game was tied at 24 at the end of the fourth quarter, and neither team managed to score in the first overtime. The Miami Dolphins eventually managed a field goal during the second overtime and won the game. It took 82 minutes and 45 seconds to complete.

December 25, 2008: Phil Jackson won 1,155 games as a head coach in the NBA. On Christmas Day in 2008, the former Lakers and Bulls coach won his 1,000th game, a 92-83 Lakers victory over the Boston Celtics. Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and Pau Gasol added another 20.
December 26, 1919: Red Sox fans probably hate this day. On December 26, 1919, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox reached an agreement on the trade of Babe Ruth to New York in exchange for $125,000. The deal wasn’t announced until the following month, and every sports fan knows who was on the losing side of the agreement and the dominance the Yankees showed in the decades to come with The Sultan of Swat in their lineup.

December 27, 1964: December 27, 1964 was the last time the Cleveland Browns won an NFL title. The Browns beat the Baltimore Colts 27-0 to win the NFL championship. The game was scoreless through the first half, but the Browns dominated in the second, scoring 17 points on two touchdowns and a field goal in the third and added another touchdown and field goal in the fourth.
December 27, 1981: We feel as if we’re constantly talking about records set by Wayne Gretzky. And it’s because we are. On December 27, 1981, the Oiler became the fastest NHL player to get 100 points, doing it in just 38 games. Gretzky tallied 212 points that season (92 goals and 120 assists).
December 28, 1958: It is now known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” On December 28, 1958, the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants met in the NFL Championship game. The game resulted in the first ever sudden-death overtime in the history of the league. The Colts scored on an 80-yard touchdown drive in OT, winning 23-17. There were 17 players on the field that went on to become Hall of Famers.
December 28, 1975: On December 28, 1975 “The Hail Mary” was born. The Dallas Cowboys were down 14-10 against the Vikings in the NFC Divisional Championships. With just a few seconds on the clock, Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach launched a 50-yard pass to Drew Pearson, who caught it for an improbable touchdown and a win for the Cowboys. After the game, Staubach coined the term “Hail Mary,” and years later said he was “kidding” with the writers when he said that after letting go of the ball and taking a hit he closed his eyes and said a Hail Mary.
December 28, 2008: The worst season in the Detroit Lions history comes to an end. The Lions wrapped up the season with a 31-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and finished the season 0-16. They became the first NFL team to ever finish a season with a 0-16 record.

December 29, 2007: December 29, 2007 was a day to remember for the New England Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady set what was then an NFL record by throwing his 50th TD pass of the season, passing Peyton Manning. Randy Moss also broke a record by catching his 23rd touchdown pass and passing Jerry Rice. The Pats beat the New York Giants 38-35, becoming the first team to finish the season with a 16-0 record. Little did they know the Giants will be the ones to ruin their perfect season in the Super Bowl.

Notable birthdays

December 24, 1963 Former college player and current basketball analyst Jay Bilas was born in San Pedro, CA
December 25, 1945 Former quarterback and Super Bowl champ Ken “The Snake” Stabler was born in Foley, AL
December 25, 1958 Retired MLB player Rickey Henderson who spent more than two decades in the league was born in Chicago, IL
December 27, 1962 Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self was born in Okmulgee, OK
December 27, 1983 Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels was born in San Diego, CA
December 28, 1929 Legendary NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuk was born in East Kildonan, Winnipeg, Canada
December 28, 1960 Canadian defenseman Raymond Bourque was born in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
December 29, 1963 New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton was born in San Mateo, CA
December 29, 1973 Baseball executive Theo Epstein was born in NYC, New York
December 29, 1989 Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori was born in Matsue, Japan
December 30, 1975 Former No. 1 golfer Tiger Woods was born in Cypress, California
December 30, 1977 Former boxer and daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali, was born in Miami Beach, FL
December 30, 1984 NBA superstar LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio

We bid farewell to…

December 26, 1989 Former Canadian NHL player Doug Harvey died of cirrhosis of the liver, he was 65 years old
December 26, 2004 Former NFL player Reggie White passed away from respiratory disease among other health issues, he was just 43 years old
December 30, 1970 Boxing great Sonny Liston died of Congestive heart failure, he was just 38 at the time of his death

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