The 2010s were filled with historic milestones, buzzer beaters, dynasties, and heartbreaks. Ranging from NFL fairytale endings to one of college football’s most defining moments; here’s a look at the top ten moments of American sports in the 2010s.
10. Peyton Manning Retires a Champion
Going into 2015, Peyton Manning had already accomplished a QB’s dream. He was a Super Bowl MVP, had garnered 14 Pro Bowl appearances, and held the all time record for passing touchdowns. That, apparently wasn’t enough for Manning, as he would go on to win the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl and ride off into the sunset as a champion. Take that Tom.
9. The Philly Special
When Carson Wentz went down in Week 14 of the 2017 NFL season, many assumed the Eagles were done for. Not on Nick Foles’ watch. Foles would go on to lead Philly to victory over the battle tested Patriots with a 373-yard, 3-TD performance. One of those touchdowns came on the Philly Special, a trick play which led to a Foles receiving touchdown and gave Philadelphia a 22-12 lead going into the half. Not bad for a backup.
8. Villanova’s Championship Shot
UNC vs. Villanova was as down to the wire as it gets in the last two minutes of the 2016 NCAA National Championship Game. With UNC down three and eight seconds to go, Marcus Paige channeled his inner Dwayne Wade, hitting a double pump three and leaving 4.7 on the clock, tie game. Michael Jordan and all of Carolina couldn’t believe their eyes. After a timeout, Villanova ran the floor, kicked it back to Kris Jenkins, and the rest is history.
7. Tiger Winning the Masters
Tiger Woods hadn’t won a major title in over a decade. At one point during that span it looked like he might never play again due to injuries. Four back surgeries later, he won his fifth Green Jacket and fifteenth major title, completing one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.
6. Cubs End Championship Drought
The Cubs’ last World Series win came in 1908, over a century ago. Despite several playoff appearances, they just couldn’t get it done. The Cubs seemed cursed. Then it happened- a game 7 victory in dramatic fashion- and Theo Epstein did exactly what he had done for the Red Sox…end a historic drought to win a World Series.
5. Ray Allen Saves the Heat
With the Heat down three, twelve seconds to go, LeBrick couldn’t come in clutch, and in the words of Mike Breen himself… “Rebound Bosh, back out to Allen, his 3-pointer…. BANG!!!” The Heat would go on to win in overtime, and eventually win the series, saving LeBron’s legacy in the process. Well, at least for the time being.
4. Malcolm Butler on the Goal line
Most NFL head coaches would elect to run the ball on 2nd & Goal, down 4, with a timeout, and 27 seconds to go. Not to mention being on the one yard line with arguably the best power-back of all time in Marshawn Lynch. Pete Carroll, on the other hand, decided to run a slant route against one of the most disciplined defenses in the league. Malcolm Butler swooped in for his first career interception and left Seattle in heartbreak.
3. LeBron Brings the Chip to Cleveland
After a crushing fall to Golden State in his return to The Land, things seemed like they could only go downhill from here for LeBron James and the Cavs. That hill got much steeper when Kevin Durant joined the Warriors and finished off the regular season at 73-9. But, much to Skip Bayless’ dismay, Cleveland would return from a 3-1 deficit in miraculous fashion. Kyrie Irving hit one of the biggest shots in NBA history, LeBron led in almost every statistical category, and Cleveland’s championship drought was over. “CLEVELAND….. THIS IS FOR YOU!”
2. Pats Make Comeback of a Lifetime
A year removed from Peyton Manning’s retirement, Tom Brady could finally sleep at night and focus on the task at hand, Super Bowl 51. It wouldn’t happen so fast. Down 28-3 with just over 2 minutes to go in the third, Brady and the Pats looked to be going home early this year. Flash forward a couple minutes- James White scored, Matt Ryan fumbled, Danny Amendola came up big- and the Pats were right back in it. Julio Jones and Julian Edelman then had a quick Catch of the Year competition before the Pats forced OT, James White finished off his hat trick for the win and the whole country woke up to their dads going crazy in the living room.
1. The Kick Six
Alabama vs. Auburn has been one of the the best rivalries in college football ever since their first contest in 1893. In the 2013 Iron Bowl, Nick Saban sent out his kicker for a 56-yard field goal try, in a tie game with one second remaining. Make the kick- Saban and the Tide continue on their quest to finish off his first handful (literally) of championship rings. Miss the kick- Overtime. Or so they thought. Adam Griffith, a redshirt freshman, came up just short and Chris Davis returned the kick 109 yards to….the….house. An absolute shocker and, by far, the best American Sports Moment of the 2010s.