Colin Cowherd's Miracle Game Theory is Spectacularly Wrong


Colin Cowherd has in the past said that he is in the entertainment business, and that prevails over being right. In a Ringer article, he told Bryan Curtis, ““I’m just doing sports,” Cowherd said. “If I’m wrong on Cam” — he turned his palms upward and shrugged his shoulders — “who cares? … I’m in the interesting business.”

So he won’t mind if we point out an entertaining tweet where he ends up being way off the mark. As the Eagles were thumping the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, a week after winning on the miracle play to Stefon Diggs to walk-off with the victory, Cowherd, who had picked the Vikings ATS, sent this out:

Is that really a rule that would have made you money, though, or would it have left you needing to get a big contract with Fox Sports to pay off your gambling debts?

Let’s go with the most famous sporting events officially labeled with the Miracle moniker. Here are, I believe, the most famous sporting events described formally by a nickname with “Miracle” in the title.

MIRACLE ON ICE: The USA Olympic hockey team stunned the heavily favored USSR team at Lake Placid in 1980. It was in the medal round, but not the final game. Team USA had to beat Finland two days later to secure the gold medal, and they did. Verdict: Granted, it was two days, and not a week, but going against the miracle would have been a bad move.

MUSIC CITY MIRACLE: The Titans beat the Bills in the wildcard round on the wild final kick return lateral play. A week later, they went on the road and beat the Colts in Peyton Manning’s first playoff game, then beat Jacksonville to advance to the franchise’s only Super Bowl. Verdict: you also would have lost a large amount of money betting against the miracle in the next game.

MIRACLE AT THE MEADOWLANDS: Herm Edwards returned a botched Joe Pisarcik to Larry Csonka exchange for a game-winning touchdown when the Giants were running out the clock. The Eagles had been a desolate franchise and not made a playoff appearance in 18 years, but moved to 7-5. A week later, they went on the road to the St. Louis Cardinals as an underdog and won 14-10, and made the playoffs as a wildcard. Verdict: Again, another L if you went against the miracle a week later.

MIRACLE AT MICHIGAN: In 1994, Kordell Stewart heaved a hail mary to Michael Westbrook to stun Michigan. The next week, the schedule didn’t ease up as Colorado traveled to #16 Texas. Rashaan Salaam ran crazy and Colorado won a shootout 34-31. Verdict: Mixed. If you were a point spread bettor you would have covered the 7 point line with #5 Colorado favored. If, though, you took that large sum of money banking on a big money line payout with a letdown, you took another L.

MILE HIGH MIRACLE: Joe Flacco hit Jacoby Jones with a 70-yard touchdown pass late in the game at Denver to tie it in 2013 in the Divisional Round, and the Ravens won in overtime. They went to New England the next week and won, and then won the Super Bowl against San Francisco. Verdict: Yep, another L.

MONDAY NIGHT MIRACLE: The Jets were down 30-7 on October 22, 2000 entering the fourth quarter, and came all the way back to win in overtime. That win got them to 6-1. They went to Buffalo the next week and lost 23-20. Verdict: Well, the Jets did lose, but they covered the 3.5 point line on the road, unless you were able to shop for a line and avoid the hook, in which case maybe you got a push.

Okay, so with the most famous “Miracles” the Cowherd rule would have lost you a lot of money. Maybe if we look at other famous miraculous games that received a different nickname? The Immaculate Reception, after all, didn’t occur the year of one of the Steelers’ Super Bowl wins. It came in 1972 and Pittsburgh lost 21-17 to the undefeated Dolphins in the AFC title game. Christian Laettner‘s Shot to beat Kentucky in the Elite Eight? The Blue Devils won the national title a week later. The Mets winning on Buckner’s error? They won Game 7 of the World Series. The forever-ringless Red Sox coming back from 3-0 down against the Yankees? They won the World Series a week later by sweeping the Cardinals. The Auburn “Kick Six”? They won the SEC Championship a week later.

That’s not to say every time to a team wins in miraculous fashion it turns into a storybook finish later on. But there are enough prominent examples–pretty much all of the most famous miracle sports events–that this one can be put to bed as some entertaining junk.

Disclosure: TBL’s founding editor Jason McIntyre appears alongside Colin Cowherd on FS1’s Speak for Yourself