The Miami Miracle, also known as the Miracle in Miami, was an American football play that took place at the end of a game on December 9, 2018, between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. Down 33–28 with 7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins completed a 17-yard pass and two lateral passes resulting in a 69-yard touchdown by running back Kenyan Drake. It is the first walk-off game-winning touchdown in NFL history to involve multiple lateral passes, and the first multi-lateral touchdown since the River City Relay in December 2003. After the game, the play was known by several names, most commonly the "Miami Miracle" and the "Miracle in Miami". The play went on to win the Bridgestone Performance Play of the Year Award at the 8th Annual NFL Honors Award Show on February 2.
Hard Rock Stadium, the site of the game.
|Date||December 9, 2018|
|Stadium||Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida|
|Favorite||Patriots by 9|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, and Evan Washburn|
Desperation lateral attempts have been used before in American football. In the history of the NFL, only twice in the twenty-first century has a team successfully converted a lateral pass for a touchdown at the end of a game. The first was on January 8, 2000, when the Tennessee Titans pulled off the Music City Miracle with a lateral pass from the Titans' tight end Frank Wycheck to wide receiver Kevin Dyson for a 75-yard touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. The second touchdown was the River City Relay on December 21, 2003, where the New Orleans Saints successfully completed three lateral passes culminating in a 75-yard touchdown by Jerome Pathon against the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, kicker John Carney missed the extra point, resulting in a 20–19 loss by the Saints.
Entering the game, the Patriots were leading the AFC East with a record of 9–3, while the Dolphins had a record of 6–6. A Patriots win would clinch them their 10th consecutive AFC East title. After the Patriots struck first with a touchdown, there would be a total of eight lead changes, but Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski would miss not only the extra point on the aforementioned first touchdown, but a field goal attempt later on. Leading 30–28 after an unsuccessful attempt to score a touchdown in the waning seconds, he would score another field goal to put them up 33–28 with 16 seconds left to play.
Trailing by five points with seven seconds to go, the Dolphins had the ball at their own 31-yard line. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a pass over the middle that was caught by wide receiver Kenny Stills, who lateraled the ball to the right side of the field that was caught by DeVante Parker at midfield. Parker then tossed the ball to running back Kenyan Drake, who ran the ball 52 yards for a touchdown to win the game 34–33. The Dolphins declined to kick the extra point, per the rule change for the 2018 season following the Minneapolis Miracle.
One of the keys to the play was the Dolphins left guard Ted Larsen diligently following the play 40 yards downfield and springing a vicious block on the Patriots' Patrick Chung, who otherwise might have tackled Drake.
Eagle's call of the play:
Seven seconds left. Tannehill will throw it... and this will end it after the shovel. Or will it? Miami running around. Circling. Oh look out! Gronkowski! Didn't have the angle! Touchdown! Oh ho Kenyan Drake! A miracle! Miraculous in Miami! Stills... to Parker, to Drake! A lateral... heard around the world.
Tannehill. Last shot. Back to throw. They throw it down, they try to pitch it, they do. To Parker, Parker pitches it, and it's Drake. DRAKE! 30, 20, GRONKOWSKI'S GONNA TACKLE! OH! THAT'S IT! HE GOES INTO THE END ZONE! TOUCHDOWN! UNBELIEVABLE! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THAT IS UNBELIEVABLE! I DON'T BELIEVE WHAT I JUST SAW! There are no flags and the game is over!
Tannehill throws down the middle caught by Stills, laterals, back to Butler. (sic) Or rather Parker, who flips it to Drake, he runs across the 40 of New England, angling inside to the 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, He's gonna win the footrace to the end zone! The Dolphins are going to win it! On the lateral! Once then twice! And Drake takes it in! And the Patriots stand stunned in disbelief!
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was criticized after the game for substituting out safety Devin McCourty for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the final tackle leading to Drake's touchdown. Retired Patriots players Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi, as well as McCourty and Patriots safety Duron Harmon, argued that since the Dolphins were too far away from the end zone to try a conventional Hail Mary pass play, Gronkowski, who has historically been used to defend against long passes in late-game situations, should not have been substituted in for a defensive back on the play.
The victory improved Miami's record to 7–6, keeping them in contention for a postseason berth and an AFC East title. The win proved inconsequential, though, as Miami lost all its remaining games; they finished 7–9, missing the postseason for the second year in a row.
The Patriots' loss dropped them to 9–4, meaning they could not match their 13–3 record from 2017. Ultimately, the Patriots clinched the division for the 10th consecutive season, finishing 11–5 record. They fell to second in the AFC playoffs, but finished the season with a victory in Super Bowl LIII. After the Super Bowl, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said that he doesn't consider the Miami game a loss.
The Dolphins–Patriots rivalry is an American football rivalry between the National Football League (NFL)'s Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. The Dolphins lead the all-time series 55–52. Because both teams are members of the American Football Conference (AFC) East division, the two teams have been scheduled to play twice (home and home) every regular season since 1967.
While not as famous as some other rivalries, the rivalry has a long history that dates back to the 1960s. The beginning of the rivalry was dominated by the Dolphins, as the time the Dolphins were one of the NFL's most successful teams, while the Patriots were one of the worst. The Patriots finally made the Super Bowl in 1985.
Starting in 1986, the rivalry was a little bit more even, with the Pats having a 7-game winning streak from 1986 to 1988. The Dolphins then took over the rivalry once again, winning 13 of the next 15 matchups between the 2 teams. Both teams had great quarterbacks in the 90s, with the Patriots having Drew Bledsoe and the Dolphins with Dan Marino, both of whom appeared in at least one Super Bowl; Marino in Super Bowl XIX and Bledsoe in Super Bowl XXXI. The Dolphins continued to dominate the rivalry through the late 1990s with the Dolphins sweeping the Patriots in back to back years, 1999 and 2000.
Miami is one of 4 teams in the AFC with a winning overall record against New England (the others being the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs). Since 2003, the Patriots have dominated the rivalry, but not as much as their rivalries with their two other AFC East opponents. In 2004, one of the most famous moments in the rivalry happened where the Dolphins, 2–11 at the time, upset the defending champion Patriots, whom were 12-1, in a game that has been known as "The Night That Courage Wore Orange". The rivalry briefly intensified in 2005 when Nick Saban (whom previously served as defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, coached by Bill Belichick at the time) was hired as the Dolphins head coach and when he nearly signed quarterback Drew Brees with the Dolphins, as well as in 2008, when the Dolphins became the only team other than the Patriots since 2003 to win the division. In week 3 of the aforementioned 2008 season, the Dolphins used the Wildcat formation to throw the Patriots off and went on to upset them, 38–13, snapping their 20-game regular season winning streak that dated back to December 10, 2006, which coincidentally, the Patriots were also beat by the Dolphins. In 2018, the Dolphins upset the Patriots in Miami for the second year in a row, this time with a last-minute hook and lateral scoring play in what is known as the "Miracle in Miami".Also notable is the fact that the Dolphins and Patriots are the only NFL teams to post undefeated regular season records following the NFL-AFL merger. The 1972 Dolphins finished with a 14–0 regular season record and went on to win Super Bowl VII, finishing the only complete perfect season in NFL history, while the 2007 Patriots were the first team to go undefeated in the regular season since the league expanded to 16 games, but famously lost Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants (whom would beat them again 4 years later in Super Bowl XLVI). Additionally both teams have had long-tenured coaches in Don Shula and Bill Belichick, respectively.Doug Flutie
Douglas Richard Flutie (born October 23, 1962) is a former quarterback in the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL), and United States Football League (USFL).
Flutie first rose to prominence during his college football career at Boston College, where he received the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award in 1984. His "Hail Flutie" touchdown pass in a game against Miami on November 23, 1984 (dubbed "The Pass") is considered among the greatest moments in college football and American sports history.Flutie was selected as the 285th pick in the 11th round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, making him the lowest drafted Heisman Award winner among those who were drafted. Flutie played that year for the New Jersey Generals of the upstart USFL, having already signed a five-year $7 million contract with them prior to being drafted by the Rams. In 1986, he signed with the NFL's Chicago Bears, and later played for the New England Patriots, becoming their starting quarterback in 1988.
Flutie signed with the BC Lions of the CFL in 1990, and in 1991, threw for a record 6,619 yards. He played briefly with his brother Darren, a wide receiver, before being traded to the Calgary Stampeders, whom he led to victory in the 1992 Grey Cup. In 1994, he threw a record 48 touchdown passes. Flutie played for the Stampeders until 1996, when he signed with the Toronto Argonauts, leading them to back-to-back Grey Cup victories in 1996 and 1997. Flutie was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player a record six times, and was named the MVP in all three of his Grey Cup victories. Flutie is widely considered to be one of the greatest CFL players of all-time.He returned to the NFL in 1998 with the Buffalo Bills, where he earned Pro Bowl and NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. He played for the San Diego Chargers from 2001 to 2004, and finished his career as a member of the New England Patriots in 2005. In 2006, he was ranked No. 1 in a list of the top 50 CFL players. He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
After retiring in 2006, Flutie served as a college football analyst for ESPN and ABC. In 2009, he joined Versus as a broadcaster for United Football League games. Since 2011, he has worked for NBC Sports and NBCSN and in 2014 became the color commentator for Notre Dame Football on NBC.Gil Santos
Gilbert A. Santos (April 19, 1938 – April 19, 2018) was an American radio play-by-play announcer for the New England Patriots of the National Football League, and morning sports reporter for WBZ radio in Boston. He was an inductee of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.He retired from WBZ radio in January 2009, and was inducted into the WBZ Radio Hall of Fame on July 9, 2009. The Patriots 2012 season was his final season of radio play-by-play.Hail Flutie
The Hail Flutie game, also known as the Miracle in Miami, is a college football game that took place between the Boston College Eagles and the University of Miami Hurricanes on November 23, 1984. It has been regarded by FOX Sports writer Kevin Hench as among the most memorable moments in sports. The game is most notable for a last-second Hail Mary pass from quarterback Doug Flutie to wide receiver Gerard Phelan to give Boston College the win. Miami was the defending national champion and entered the game ranked 12th in the nation. Boston College was ranked 10th with a record of 8–2 and had already accepted an invitation to the Cotton Bowl Classic at the end of the season. The game was played at the Miami Orange Bowl, and televised nationally by CBS, with Brent Musburger, Ara Parseghian, and Pat Haden commentating.
Notable achievements in the game included:
The Hurricanes' Bernie Kosar passed for a school-record 447 yards.
Miami running back Melvin Bratton ran for four touchdowns.
Flutie passed for 472 yards and four touchdowns and became the first collegiate quarterback ever to surpass 10,000 yards passing in a college career.Hail Mary pass
A Hail Mary pass, also known as a shot play, is a very long forward pass in American football, typically made in desperation, with only a small chance of success and/or time running out on the clock. The term became widespread after a December 28, 1975, NFL playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings, when Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (a Roman Catholic and fan of The Godfather Part II (1974), whose character Fredo had popularized the phrase) said about his game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson, "I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary."The expression goes back at least to the 1930s, in which decade it was widely used publicly by two former members of Notre Dame's Four Horsemen, Elmer Layden and Jim Crowley. Originally meaning any sort of desperation play, a "Hail Mary" gradually came to denote a long, low-probability pass, typically of the "alley-oop" variety, attempted at the end of a half when a team is too far from the end zone to execute a more conventional play, implying that it would take divine intervention for the play to succeed. For more than 40 years, use of the term was largely confined to Notre Dame and other Catholic universities.Hook and ladder (football)
The hook and ladder, or hook and lateral, is a trick play in American, Canadian football & indoor American football. It starts with the hook, which is where a wide receiver runs a predetermined distance, usually 10 yards down the field, and along the sideline, and "hooks in" towards the center of the field to receive a forward pass from the quarterback. Another offensive player (usually another wide receiver) times a run so that he is at full speed, just behind the player with the ball at the time of the catch. As the defenders close in on the stationary ball carrier, he laterals or hands the ball to the teammate running at full speed in the opposite direction of the original receiver.If unanticipated, this play puts defenders out of position, running in the wrong direction. If the second receiver catches the lateral in stride, he can be long gone before defenders can react. However, the offense runs a high risk of turning the ball over if it is not handled properly because, unlike a forward pass, a dropped lateral pass results in a live ball.Ian Eagle
Ian Eagle (; born February 9, 1969) is an American sports announcer. He calls NFL and college basketball games on CBS, NBA games on TNT, Brooklyn Nets games on the YES Network and French Open tennis for Tennis Channel. Other announcing experiences include Army–Navy football games, boxing, and NCAA track and field for CBS. He is a graduate of Syracuse University. He is known as "Bird" or the "Birdman".John Galvin (American football)
John Blake Galvin, Jr. (born 1965) is a retired American Football Linebacker for New York Jets from 1988 to 1991.Kenny Stills
Kenneth Lee Stills Jr. (born April 22, 1992) is an American football wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Oklahoma. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.Kenyan Drake
Kenyan Drake (born January 26, 1994) is an American football running back and kick returner for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama. Drake was drafted by the Dolphins in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.Lateral pass
In American football and Canadian football, a lateral pass or lateral (officially backward pass in American football and onside pass in Canadian football) occurs when the ball carrier throws the football to a teammate in a direction parallel to or away from the opponents' goal line. A lateral pass is distinguished from a forward pass, in which the ball is thrown forward, towards the opposition's end zone. In a lateral pass the ball is not advanced, but unlike a forward pass a lateral may be attempted from anywhere on the field by any player to any player at any time.
While the forward pass is an invention of the North American games, the lateral and backward pass is also a part of rugby union and rugby league, where such passes are the norm. Compared to its use in rugby, laterals and backward passes are less common in North American football, due to a much greater focus on ball control in American football strategy; they are most commonly used by the quarterback, after taking the snap, to quickly transfer ("pitch") the ball a short distance to a nearby running back (or, rarely, wide receiver) on a rushing play. Laterals are also often seen as part of a last-minute desperation strategy or as part of a trick play. Examples of plays utilizing the lateral pass are the toss, flea flicker, hook and lateral, and buck-lateral.Maryland Terrapins
The Maryland Terrapins, commonly referred to as the Terps, consist of 19 men's and women's athletic teams that represent the University of Maryland, College Park in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I competition. Maryland was a founding member of the Southern Conference in 1921, a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1952, and is now a member of the Big Ten Conference.
The nickname was coined in 1932 by Harry C. "Curley" Byrd, then the school's football coach and later the school's president. Previously, Maryland teams were known as the "Old Liners"—a reference to the state's nickname, "The Old Line State." However, the school newspaper, The Diamondback, wanted a better nickname. Byrd thought "Terrapins" was a good choice because of the diamondback terrapins endemic to the Chesapeake Bay region. Byrd's hometown of Crisfield was famous for the number of terrapins along its shores. The school mascot is an anthropomorphic turtle named "Testudo." The official team colors are red, white, black, and gold, derived from the Maryland state flag. It is the only NCAA school to have four official school colors. On July 1, 2014, the Terrapins became members of the Big Ten Conference following 62 years of membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The university currently sponsors varsity athletic teams in 20 men's and women's sports, which compete at the NCAA Division I level.Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami metropolitan area. The Dolphins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The Dolphins play their home games at Hard Rock Stadium in the northern suburb of Miami Gardens, Florida, and are headquartered in Davie, Florida. The Dolphins are Florida's oldest professional sports team. Of the four AFC East teams, they are the only team in the division that was not a charter member of the American Football League (AFL).
The Dolphins were founded by attorney-politician Joe Robbie and actor-comedian Danny Thomas. They began play in the AFL in 1966. The region had not had a professional football team since the days of the Miami Seahawks, who played in the All-America Football Conference in 1946, before becoming the first incarnation of the Baltimore Colts. For the first few years, the Dolphins' full-time training camp and practice facilities were at Saint Andrew's School, a private boys boarding prep school in Boca Raton. In the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, the Dolphins joined the NFL.
The team made its first Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl VI, losing to the Dallas Cowboys, 24–3. The following year, the Dolphins completed the NFL's only perfect season, culminating in a Super Bowl win, winning all 14 of their regular season games, and all three of their playoff games, including Super Bowl VII. They were the third NFL team to accomplish a perfect regular season. The next year, the Dolphins won Super Bowl VIII, becoming the first team to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls, and the second team (the first AFL/AFC team) to win back-to-back championships. Miami also appeared in Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XIX, losing both games.
For most of their early history, the Dolphins were coached by Don Shula, the most successful head coach in professional football history in terms of total games won. Under Shula, the Dolphins posted losing records in only two of his 26 seasons as the head coach. During the period spanning 1983 to the end of 1999, quarterback Dan Marino became one of the most prolific passers in NFL history, breaking numerous league passing records. Marino led the Dolphins to five division titles, 10 playoff appearances and Super Bowl XIX before retiring following the 1999 season.
In 2008, the Dolphins became the first team in NFL history to win their division and make a playoff appearance following a league-worst 1–15 season. That same season, the Dolphins upset the 16–0 New England Patriots on the road during Week 3, handing the Patriots' their first regular season loss since December 10, 2006, in which coincidentally, they were also beaten by the Dolphins.Music City Miracle
The Music City Miracle is an American football play that took place on January 8, 2000 during the National Football League (NFL)'s 1999–2000 playoffs. It occurred at the end of the American Football Conference (AFC) Wild-Card playoff game between the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills at Adelphia Coliseum, now known as Nissan Stadium, in Nashville, Tennessee. After the Bills had taken a 16–15 lead on a field goal with 16 seconds remaining in the game, Titans tight end Frank Wycheck threw a lateral pass across the field to Kevin Dyson on the ensuing kickoff return, and Dyson then ran 75 yards to score the winning touchdown and earn a 22–16 victory.New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are a professional American football team based in the Greater Boston area. The Patriots compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The team plays its home games at Gillette Stadium in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is located 21 miles (34 km) southwest of downtown Boston, Massachusetts and 20 miles (32 km) northeast of downtown Providence, Rhode Island. The Patriots are also headquartered at Gillette Stadium.
An original member of the American Football League (AFL), the Patriots joined the NFL in the 1970 merger of the two leagues. The team changed its name from the original Boston Patriots after relocating to Foxborough in 1971. The Patriots played their home games at Foxboro Stadium from 1971 to 2001, then moved to Gillette Stadium at the start of the 2002 season. The Patriots' rivalry with the New York Jets is considered one of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL.
Since the arrival of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady in 2000, the Patriots have since become one of the most successful teams in NFL history, claiming 16 AFC East titles as part of 18 consecutive winning seasons since 2001. The franchise has since set numerous notable records, including most wins in a ten-year period (126, in 2003–2012), an undefeated 16-game regular season in 2007, the longest winning streak consisting of regular season and playoff games in NFL history (a 21-game streak from October 2003 to October 2004), and the most consecutive division titles won by a team in NFL history (ten straight division titles from 2009 to 2018). The team owns the record for most Super Bowls reached (nine) and won (six) by a head coach–quarterback tandem, most Super Bowl appearances overall (eleven), tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins (six), and also tied with the Denver Broncos for the most Super Bowl losses (five).River City Relay
The River City Relay is a play in a National Football League (NFL) game involving the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars that took place on December 21, 2003, at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. With the Jaguars leading 20–13, the Saints used three laterals to score a touchdown as time expired in regulation. However, New Orleans kicker John Carney missed the ensuing extra point that would have sent the game into overtime, and instead gave Jacksonville the 20–19 victory.Rob Gronkowski
Robert James Gronkowski (born May 14, 1989), nicknamed "Gronk", is a former American football tight end who played his entire professional career for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL) until his retirement in 2019. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion (XLIX, LI, LIII), a five-time Pro Bowl, four-time First Team All-Pro selection, and was the highest ranked tight end in the NFL Top 100 Players five times.
Gronkowski played college football at the University of Arizona, winning several awards, including being named a Sporting News and Rivals.com Freshman All-American. The Patriots drafted Gronkowski in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft with the 42nd pick, after missing his junior year due to back surgery.
Notable for being a skilled receiver and talented blocker, Gronkowski has set several NFL records, including being the only one of his position to ever lead the league in receiving touchdowns (17) in 2011. He also has the most career postseason receiving yards by a tight end (1,163) – the only tight end in NFL history to reach 1,000 or more yards. He has the most career postseason receiving touchdowns for his position with 12, as well as the most combined receptions (23) and receiving yards (297) by a tight end in Super Bowl history. He is ranked first in average receiving yards per game (68.3), average yards per target (9.9), and average touchdowns per game (0.69) among tight ends.Gronkowski is one of the most popular football players of the 2010s, with a larger-than-life personality on and off the field. With his numerous accomplishments and accolades, he is regarded by many sports analysts, writers, and peers not only as one of football's finest players but the greatest tight end to ever play the game.Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Timothy Tannehill III (born July 27, 1988) is an American football quarterback for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Texas A&M, where he transitioned from receiver to the team's starting quarterback, and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the first round (eighth overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft, where he was the starter for several years until his trade to the Titans.Ted Larsen
Theodore Larsen (born June 13, 1987) is an American football guard for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played college football at North Carolina State.
|Division championships (13)|
|Conference championships (5)|
|League championships (2)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (21)|
|Conference championships (11)|
|League championships (6)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold
Website: CBS Sports - NFL News