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Giants loss to 49ers listed among 25 worst collapses in sports history

ESPN recently put together a ranking of the 25 worst collapses in sports history, and our San Francisco 49ers are on the good side of the list! The 49ers epic 2003 playoff comeback win over the New York Giants ranked No. 24. A panel of ESPN writers voted on this, considering the magnitude of the event, the size of the blown lead, and the historical significance of the meltdown.

Here is what they had to say about the 49ers wild 39-38 wild card round win over the New York Giants:

There they were, lining up for a 41-yard field goal, a chance to avoid the biggest collapse in NFC playoff history. The Giants had redemption in reach after blowing a 38-14 second-half lead against the host San Francisco 49ers, who rallied for 25 unanswered points in a 16-minute span. But it all went sideways after a low-and-away snap by 41-year-old Trey Junkin, whom the Giants had signed just days earlier. Holder Matt Allen gained control and heaved the ball downfield toward Rich Seubert, a lineman who was an eligible receiver on the play, but 49ers defensive end Chike Okeafor dragged down Seubert before the ball arrived. Flags flew -- but the call went against Giants guard Tam Hopkins for being downfield illegally. Later, the NFL acknowledged that pass interference should have been called, too, and the down replayed due to offsetting penalties. But the Giants never got another chance in their 39-38 loss. "I cost 58 guys a chance to go to the Super Bowl," Junkin said in the locker room. "I'd give anything in the world, except my family at this point, right now to still be retired."

I still remember watching that game. I was actually moving to San Francisco the following weekend. I had finished up a year in Bowie, Maryland working for a minor league baseball team. I moved back home to Las Vegas for a month before making the drive up to San Francisco. I was watching the game at my dad’s house. I spent the first half sitting in a recliner for the game. After the Giants took a 38-14 lead late in the third quarter and the 49ers had the ball, I got up and walked around the coffee table. In that next 49ers possession, Jeff Garcia connected with Terrell Owens on a 26-yard touchdown. Since they had scored with me walking around the coffee table, I decided that was clearly what was necessary for them to make the comeback. And so, I slowly made my way around the coffee table for the rest of the game, and the comeback was completed. I obviously had no impact on that, but you couldn’t convince me otherwise that day!