Playing it Off

Exciting? Yes. But the Game 6 Eastern Finals blowout of the Detroit Pistons keeps it off our list of nail-biters.
There are certain sports foibles from the city’s past we’re just not going to dwell on anymore (See ya, Drive, Shot and Fumble). The Cavaliers’ incredible playoff run inspired us to find the seven most exciting post-season victories since the city’s last championship in 1964. Our criteria: the stakes, the stage, the performance and the post-victory euphoria.

Browns 34, Buffalo Bills 30
Jan. 6, 1990 - Cleveland Municipal Stadium
This one had it all; a Bernie Kosar bomb to Webster Slaughter, an Eric Metcalf TD kick return and Clay Matthews picking off Jim Kelly at the goal line in the final seconds. The Browns go to their third AFC Championship Game in four years. The last truly great Browns victory.

Cavaliers 87, Washington Bullets 85
April 29, 1976 - Richfield Coliseum
The “Miracle at Richfield” game — Dick Snyder’s shot with four seconds remaining in game seven stuns Washington and sends the Cavaliers to their first conference championship in their six-year existence. A shocker.

Indians 3, New York Yankees 2
Oct. 5, 1997 - Jacobs Field
Four outs from elimination; Sandy Alomar continues his storybook season by homering off the previously unhittable Mariano Rivera to tie the game at 2-2. Omar Vizquel’s single wins it in the ninth, sending the Tribe to a fifth game where they vanquish the defending champs, 4-3. Enough said.

Browns 23, New York Jets 20 (2 OT)
Jan. 3, 1987 - Cleveland Municipal Stadium
Kosar throws for a team record 489 yards and rallies the Browns back with 10 points in the final four minutes to overtime. Mark Moseley kicks the gamewinner, giving the Browns their first playoff win since the 1960s. A huge victory for a starving fan base.

Indians 1, Baltimore Orioles 0 (12 innings)
Oct. 15, 1997 - Camden Yards
Tony Fernandez homers in the top of the 12th and Charles Nagy and the Tribe bullpen shut down Baltimore in game six of the American League Championship Series, sending the Indians back to the World Series for the second time in three years. Avenges our heartbreaking ’96 playoff series loss and exacts revenge on the city that stole our football team.

Indians 4, Seattle Mariners 0
Oct. 17, 1995 - The Kingdome
Kenny Lofton scores from second on a passed ball and Dennis Martinez outpitches Randy Johnson to give the Indians their first pennant in 41 years. You always remember your first love.

Cavs 109, Detroit Pistons 107 (2 OT)
May 31, 2007 - The Palace at Auburn Hills
In a pivotal game five, LeBron James scores the Cavaliers’ final 25 points in a superhuman effort. Pistons fans are stunned as James scores the final two of his 48 points with 2.2 seconds left to put the Cavs ahead. Chauncey Billups’ jumper rims out and the Cavs head back to The Q to close out the series. Wow.
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