When we sat down to rank the moments in sports that captivated us this year, we found at least five or six that might have been #1 on a normal year. We should just consider ourselves lucky that we were able to witness all of these.
#5 – RAY ALLEN’S SHOT FOR THE AGES, NBA FINALS – Was it the greatest basketball game ever? Boy, it sure might have been. Game Six of the Spurs – Heat finals, featuring the Heat’s series-saving five-point comeback with 28 seconds left capped off by the Allen’s corner three, almost defined logic. It was tremendous, gripping theater.
#4 – A GOODBYE FOR MARIANO – A fitting ending to one of the great modern careers in sports. Season after season, the pinstriped #42 on the Yankees mowed down batters and shattered bats with one pitch, a devastating, buzzing cutter that was just about unhittable. No one has ever closed out games with such remarkable flair and skill, and his last season – a celebratory trip through the parks he dominated –was absolutely fitting for his legacy.
#3 – DAVID ORTIZ’S GRAND SLAM – After everything Boston went through this year, the city deserved a great moment. Leave it to Papi to give it to them. His miraculous game two blast, silhouetted perfectly with the raised arms of the Fenway Park bullpen cop and the tumbled-over legs of Torii Hunter, revitalized the Red Sox and powered them to a World Series title. It might have been the most clutch moment in Ortiz’s remarkable career.
#2 – THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN N’AWLINS – Isn’t it funny how the Superbowl has gotten completely lost, in the flood of great moments we saw this year? Perhaps all we remember is Beyonce’s earth-shattering halftime show (for good reason), but we can’t forget how completely insane this game was. Brothers facing off against each other on the sidelines? The last gasp at another championship for Ray Lewis? The storylines were crazy going into the game, and the wacky way it unfolded – from the great 49ers comeback that fell just short to that bizarre 34-minute blackout – made it unforgettable.
#1 – CHRIS DAVIS WINS IT FOR AUBURN – It was the greatest play in college football history. Sorry, Doug Flutie and the Stanford Marching Band, this one is tops. Adding in the rivalry and the stakes behind the game, and the sheer outrageousness of a missed kick being returned for a walk-off touchdown … and you’ve got one of the single greatest sporting moments in American history. It’s legendary.