Readers Say

The Red Sox rally in the 2004 ALCS is Boston’s greatest sports comeback, according to readers

Unlike in real life, the 2004 Red Sox won without the drama of a comeback. In fact, it was a landslide victory.

2004 Red Sox Dave Roberts
Dave Roberts scores a tying run after stealing a crucial base in Game 4 of the Red Sox comeback in the 2004 American League Championship Series. Elise Amendola/AP Photo

In the end, readers ensured that there was an ironic lack of drama in the championship matchup of a bracket about famous sports comebacks. Having sifted through 16 of the region’s greatest sports rallies in a week-long competition, voters picked a champion on Monday.

Pitted against the iconic Patriots’ Super Bowl LI rally from 28-3 deficit, the Red Sox comeback from a 3-0 hole in the American League Championship Series cruised to an easy win in the bracket’s finale.

The margin of victory ended up being a comfortable 76% for the 2004 ALCS vs. 24% for Super Bowl LI. Despite coming in as the top overall seed, the Patriots’ iconic comeback against the Falcons was decisively beaten.

Patriots' 28-3 vs. 2004 ALCS
Super Bowl LI: Patriots rally from 28-3
Red Sox 2004 ALCS comeback from 3-0

The final was actually the closest poll that the 2004 Red Sox were involved in throughout the competition, further testament to its dominance.


Starting in the first round with a Red Sox comeback against the Washington Senators from 1961, the 2004 entry began its climb to the top of the bracket with a convincing win, receiving 99% of the vote.

In round two, the 2004 Red Sox faced the Patriots’ 2013 comeback win against the Broncos. Again, readers were unimpressed with the competition, voting for the ’04 Red Sox at a 97% to 4%.

Even a semifinal matchup vs. the 2013 Bruins’ comeback against the Maple Leafs in Game 7 — itself a truly special moment in local sports history — proved to be no contest. Yet again, the 2004 Red Sox moved on by a clear count (90% to 10%).

Among the many match-ups, there were two especially close contests.

The first occurred in the Round of 8, when the Patriots-Broncos 2013 game (in which New England stormed back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to win in overtime) squeaked by Boston University’s 2009 men’s hockey National Championship game. The margin finished at 52-48, but was even closer for much of the actual vote.

The second, and by far the actual closest poll in the bracket was held between Red Sox-Reds World Series Game 6 and the Patriots’ 2002 “Snow Bowl” playoff win over the Raiders.

Readers were largely divided, ending at as close to a 50-50 split as was seen in the bracket. A difference of just 18 votes separated the two at the end, with the 1975 Series moving on.


By the bracket’s end, more than 32,000 total votes had been cast, with several upsets occurring along the way. The ’75 World Series began as an outsider (the No. 13 seed), yet beat out the fourth-seeded 2008 Celtics’ Game 4 NBA Finals comeback against the Lakers. And its eventual quarterfinal opponent, the 2002 “Snow Bowl,” also overcame having a lower seed (listed No. 12) to advance past the first round.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on