After all, the game took place in U.S. Bank Stadium, a place that in its less than three years of existence has supplied two other hugely memorable moments in some of sports’ biggest games.
Let’s go back to Jan. 14, 2018, when the stadium that opened in July 2016 was the site of an NFC divisional playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. That one ended with the “Minneapolis Miracle,” a 61-yard walk-off touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs that gave the Vikings a 29-24 win and sent Minnesota to the NFC championship game.
Three weeks later, we learned about “Philly Special,” when Trey Burton of the Philadelphia Eagles hit Nick Foles with a touchdown pass on a trick play during the second quarter of Super Bowl LII in the stadium. It was, according to NFL Films, “a play that the Eagles had never called before, run on fourth down by an undrafted rookie running back pitching the football to a third-string tight end who had never attempted an NFL pass before, throwing to a backup quarterback who had never caught an NFL (or college) pass before, on the biggest stage for football.” The Eagles went on to win that one over the New England Patriots, 41-33.
So maybe what happened to Virginia the year after it was knocked out of the NCAA tournament by No. 16 seed UMBC shouldn’t have been so surprising, given that it was playing in U.S. Bank Stadium.
“It’s such a great story,” Cavaliers Coach Tony Bennett said. ”It’s the story of hope, of always being faithful when it doesn’t always look so promising."
The Vikings and Eagles could relate.