Greatest Shootouts in Sports History

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All-time great shootouts in sports are becoming more common, as leagues have tweaked rules to favor the offense in recent years. One of the most exciting games in NFL history happened recently, when the Los Angeles Rams duked it out with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football. The Rams won the game 54-51, marking the first time two NFL teams scored at least 50 in the same game.

There is a saying that “defense wins championships.” That may be true to some extent, but fans without a rooting interest in a game want to see scoring. Whether it is a slam dunk, a long touchdown pass, or a home run, big scoring plays are the most exciting part of sports, and they are what keep fans coming back for more. These games, often known as “shootouts” go down in the annals of sports history as some of the most exciting matchups of all time.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed some of the most exciting, highest scoring games in the modern histories of the four major American sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB — to determine the greatest shootouts in sports history.

These games are not necessarily the absolute highest scoring matchups of all time. But they all have something in common — excitement. These are all games in which the scoring went back and forth. In many cases, the games are playoff games. The win-or-go-home nature of the matchups adds an extra level of intensity to each pitch, possession, or shot on goal.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed past scores of the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB on the Sports Reference family of sites to determine the most exciting shootouts in American sports history. Games were selected based on an index that included the amount of scoring, lead changes, overtimes, and the importance of the game.

Click here to see the greatest shootouts in sports history.