Extraordinary drama was not confined to the final day of the Championship. The sides seeking to leave the second tier behind them provided it but so did a team desperate to avoid demotion to the lower league. There were moments when Wigan, who twice trailed, seemed doomed. Instead, the Premier League's great escapologists salvaged an improbable, invaluable victory.
They may yet beat the drop for an eighth successive season. It is still a moot point if the biggest game of Wigan's week is the FA Cup final against Manchester City or the midweek match with Swansea, but win on Tuesday and they can go to Wembley outside the bottom three, courtesy of Callum McManaman's clincher and a late, fraught but successful rearguard action.
"We had 10 minutes to survive everything West Brom could throw at us," Roberto Martínez said. They did. Just.
Joel Robles denied Graham Dorrans and Jonas Olsson 90th-minute equalisers, Roger Espinoza, signed from Sporting Kansas City, appeared to have borrowed a trick from American football when he blocked off Billy Jones in the penalty box and, in the fifth minute of added time, James McArthur cleared Gareth McAuley's header off the line.
It capped a catalytic cameo by McArthur, the substitute who had scored with his first touch. The pivotal player, however, was Shaun Maloney, the creator of both McArthur's leveller and McManaman's decider. His class, illustrated on a weekly basis, is a reason why Wigan's defensive deficiencies may not cost them their Premier League status.
Both Albion goals, with Wigan being caught on the counterattack and then guilty of lax marking at a set piece, were symptomatic of their season. So, too, were Wigan's spirit and quality. Their salvation could lie in their ability.
Because, despite the character they displayed, they are not the stereotypical relegation strugglers, backs pinned against the wall. Martínez exudes a supernatural calm which, when they required a goal, seemed to be shared by his players. The manager is also unafraid to be bold and while Wigan have long been non-conformists, Martínez took a particularly unconventional approach in his tactics.
Lacking his three premier central defenders, who are all injured, he nonetheless used Ronnie Stam and Jean Beausejour as raiding wing-backs and took the radical step of drafting in Ben Watson, who had not played since breaking his leg at Anfield in November, to play as a sweeper in front of what was really only a back two.
It made, understandably, for some nervous moments in the undermanned Wigan rearguard, especially as Albion fielded three strikers. Just when Wigan appeared to be growing into the game, Paul Scharner, one of their two centre-backs, lost the ball in midfield. Romelu Lukaku, who had dropped deeper, supplied a slide-rule pass for Markus Rosenberg to outpace Watson. When the Swede crossed, Shane Long timed his arrival at the far post to apply the finishing touch. Preferred to Peter Odemwingie as the suspended Marc-Antoine Fortuné's replacement, Rosenberg justified his selection while Long struck for the second successive week.
It was merely the start of the excitement. Wigan drew level at the end of a frantic couple of minutes when they could have scored twice and Albion once. First Maloney bent a free kick fractionally wide of the post, then Lukaku, sent clear on goal by Rosenberg, scuffed his shot. Finally Beausejour crossed and Arouna Koné leapt high above Jonas Olsson to connect with a towering header.
Sadly for Wigan, Koné proved less adept in the air when the ball was delivered into his own box. He was supposed to be marking McAuley when Dorrans slung in a free-kick. Instead Albion's player of the year was left unattended to head past Robles.
And then Martínez's response displayed a counter-intuitive brilliance. Rather than turning to either of the strikers on his bench, he introduced a centre-back and a midfielder and saw the latter score within a minute.
"I thought this game would need a fresh injection of blood in the last 20-25 minutes," he said. "James McArthur's first touch changed the game and for me he typified Wigan Athletic."
McArthur dived forward to head in Maloney's teasing cross following wonderful wing-play from his fellow Scot. "He is so clever in the way he uses the space," Martínez said. Maloney displayed his elusiveness again to supply McManaman's winner, teasing and tormenting two defenders before providing a cutback to the near post where the Liverpudlian lifted his shot over the sliding Olsson.
Seven days earlier, a McManaman goal had put Wigan on course to claim all three points against Tottenham, only for them to concede in added time. A week on, there was almost an unwanted action replay but first Robles turned rescuer and then, when he left his line, McArthur materialised behind him.
Instead, Wigan may savour the sense that this is a welcome case of deja vu. It was a 3-2 win, against West Ham in 2011, that marked the turning point in one of their earlier escapes. Now another has the potential to prove just as significant.