Allyson Felix-Jeneba Tarmoh dead heat: A look at notable sports ties
Dead heat involving Allyson Felix, Jeneba Tarmoh is latest example of notable sports ties
Jeneba Tarmoh, foreground, and Allyson Felix cross the finish line in a dead heat for 3rd place during Saturday's 100-meter dash final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. A berth to the Olympics will be determined by a coin flip or runoff. (AFP photo, USA Track and Field)
As absurd as that might sound, sprinters Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh face that possibility after finishing in a dead heat in the women's 100-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on Saturday night in Eugene, Ore. They tied for the third and final spot to go to the London Games.
The tiebreaker could be a coin flip or a runoff. That is undecided, but in the meantime, let's look at other notable dead heats or ties in sports.
Notre Dame vs. Michigan State, 1966
The scene: The Fighting Irish entered the game No. 1 in the country in college football, and Michigan State was No. 2. Notre Dame got the ball with 1 minute, 10 seconds left and, with the score tied, ran out the clock to retain its top ranking.
The outcome: Like myriad such games (including Florida-FSU, 1994) before overtime was instituted for the 1996 season, a tiebreaker was not an option if the score was deadlocked after regulation.
Baseball All-Star Game, 2002
The scene: The game became Bud Selig's worst nightmare after the commissioner declared a 7-7 tie after 11 innings because both teams ran out of pitchers. It even happened in Selig's hometown, Milwaukee. "This is a very regrettable situation,'' Selig said.
The outcome: What was regrettable was the fallout. Because of this unfortunate circumstance, the winner of baseball's Midsummer Classic — an exhibition, mind you — earns home-field advantage for its league during the World Series.
John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut, 2010 Wimbledon
The scene: Isner and Mahut met in a first-round match that seemed as though it lasted a fortnight. The match was tied at 6-6 in the fifth set, and because Wimbledon rules dictate a player must win by two games in the final set, they played on. And on. And on. . . .
The outcome: A mind-blowing 126 games later, Isner prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68 in the three-day, 11-hour marathon. The final set took more than eight hours. What, nobody had a coin?
The scene: Imagine racing nearly 500 miles, and the margin of victory is .002 second. You can't blink your eye that fast or say the names "Jimmie Johnson'' or "Clint Bowyer.'' Those drivers' cars were separated by a foot at the finish line of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega.
The outcome: Johnson edged Bowyer in a result that tied for the closest finish ever on NASCAR's top circuit. "What a bummer,'' said Bowyer, whose suggestion of "rock, paper, scissors'' instead of electronic scoring to determine the victor was rejected.
Red Sox vs. Yankees, 1978
The scene: The bitter American League East rivals finished the regular season with 99-63 records. In an era before wild cards, a one-game playoff at Fenway Park could be summed up in four words: Win or go home.
The outcome: The Red Sox led 2-0 before the Yankees — keyed by the most memorable (and iconic) of light-hitting shortstop Bucky Dent's 40 career home runs — rallied with four runs in the seventh. New York won 5-4 and went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games in the World Series. The Series MVP? Dent.
The scene: Several years before Cam Newton took his first step on Auburn's campus, the Tigers did everything to win a national championship. Within their power, that is. Like USC, Auburn ended 13-0. Unlike the Trojans, they didn't get to hoist a trophy.
The outcome: USC beat an undefeated Oklahoma team in the Orange Bowl for the national title, while Auburn won the Sugar Bowl and finished second in the final poll. USC ultimately was forced to vacate that title because of NCAA violations, but that year was one of the most blatant examples of the downside of the Bowl Championship Series, which some would say is probably as good as flipping a coin.