ESPN Films’ next SEC “Storied” documentary, Miracle 3, will premiere on Sunday, March 3, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The film chronicles the events that ensued after a tornado hit the Georgia Dome during the 2008 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament.
After the severe weather damaged the roof of the Dome, the tournament was relocated to Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the campus of Georgia Tech. There, the Georgia Bulldogs completed an amazing feat by winning two games in the same day to claim the 2008 SEC Basketball Tournament Championship.
About the film (from ESPN)
On March 14, 2008, Alabama found itself trailing Mississippi State 59-56 in the final seconds of the first quarterfinal game of the evening session. Crimson Tide guard Mykal Riley sank a last-second three-pointer as time expired, sending the game into overtime. That shot not only extended Alabama’s season for the moment, but it may have prevented thousands of fans from pouring into the city streets just as a tornado touched down outside the Georgia Dome a few minutes later.
Though no one in the Georgia Dome was injured, the building felt the effects of the twister. Enough damage was done to the Georgia Dome to not only delay the completion of the Alabama-Mississippi State game and eventually cause a postponement of the last quarterfinal game of the day, but also to force SEC officials to find a new home to finish the tournament on schedule. Ultimately the University of Georgia Bulldogs, who finished last in the regular season, managed to win three games in a 30-hour period to earn the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
In Miracle 3, director Rory Karpf explores how a stunning and potentially devastating weather event touched off a series of situations that tested all involved like never before.
Broadcaster during Alabama/Mississippi State game, Joe Dean Jr., on the atmosphere when the tornado hit:
“And at that moment we hear an unbelievable sound that sounds like a train riding over the top of the Georgia Dome…The entire building froze. Everybody stopped; the officials, the players the crowd and everybody looked up. Scaffolding was swaying back and forth, lights were swaying and it was very scary. And nobody really knew what to do.”
Meteorologist Paul Ossmann on the rarity of a tornado in Atlanta:
“More than 90% of the tornadoes that hit America are in rural areas that no one ever sees. So to get one to hit in a populated area—not only that but a downtown area—is very rare.”
Georgia State Fire Marshal John Oxendine on if the game ended in regulation:
“This could have been a massive human catastrophe had that game not gone into overtime and you had thousands and thousands of people milling the streets right where the center of that tornado came.”
Georgia Bulldogs player Dave Bliss on the team’s double-header:
“If we acknowledge the fact that we just played a game and we’re tired, then we’re gonna lose. And we’re not going to be able to beat this team that slept all day and is already more talented than us. What’s stronger, your excuses or your desire?”
Ryan McGee, ESPN Senior Writer, on the outcome of the tournament:
“The biggest winners in the ’08 tournament were Georgia. The second biggest winners were the people that work in that SEC office. Because what they pulled off was every bit as miraculous as what Georgia pulled off.”