2013 brought many memorable moments in sports. I rank my top 5……let’s see if you agree.
5. Superbowl Blackout
2013 started out with quite a bang. The Super Bowl blackout, which delayed the game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers for 34 minutes at the start of the third quarter, was at first somewhat scary, then confusing, then totally surreal, as the players stretched out on the darkened Superdome field, waiting for the game to resume. How does this happen at the biggest sporting event of the year? Did someone forget to pay the electric bill?
When the lights came back on, the lopsided game got electric.
Before the blackout, Baltimore had taken a 28-6 lead after Jacoby Jones ran a kickoff back a record 108 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, the 49ers roared back, at one point scoring 17 unanswered points in four minutes. The delay seemed to faze Baltimore, while giving the Niners new life.
The Ravens finally prevailed, 34-31, but not before a stirring red-zone stand that will forever be second-guessed. Late in the game, the Niners had three chances to put the ball in the end zone from the five-yard line, to take the lead. But three times, Colin Kaepernick couldn’t connect with receiver Michael Crabtree.
4. Bruins amazing comeback in Game 7
After the Toronto Maple Leafs opened a 4-1 lead against the Boston Bruins, in the third period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Bruins looked like they were done.
No team in NHL history had ever won a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period. With under 90 seconds left in the game, Boston still trailed by two goals. But then the Bruins scored twice in the span of 31 seconds. Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner in overtime which sent the Bruins to the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins eventually lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, but it was a great (and much needed) moment a month after the Boston marathon bombings.
3. Mariano Rivera coming off the mound for the last time
The best closer in baseball history stepped off the field for good on September 26th. Mariano Rivera with his 652 saves and a fistful of World Series was escorted off the mound by his longtime teammates, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte in a touching moment at Yankee Stadium. Rivera received a standing ovation from the crowd and then stepped out of the dugout for a well-deserved curtain call. It was a great moment to watch…..even for a Red Sox fan.
2. Boston Red Sox Win the World Series
This is not on the list simply because I’m a Red Sox fan, it makes the list because it’s one of the greatest turnarounds in sports history. A year ago the Boston Red Sox were the worst team on major league baseball. The team booted their manager, Bobby Valentine and brought in John Farrell from Toronto. Everyone figured it would be another tough year for Boston. Instead, they finished at top of the American League and claimed the best record in baseball.
David Ortiz’s game-tying Grand Slam into the bullpen at Fenway Park, during the eighth inning of Game 2 of the American League Championship Series changed the course of this year’s postseason. Boston was in danger of falling behind 2-0, at home, to Detroit in the series…. instead, the Red Sox won that game, that series, and the World Series. Ortiz hit a ridiculous .688 and added two home runs.
The World Series-winning clincher at Fenway was certainly a great moment for Boston fans.
1. Amazing Iron Bowl: Auburn TD Return v. Alabama
The Crimson Tide was tied with rival Auburn, 28-28, with one second left in this year’s Iron Bowl. Two-time defending national champion and top-ranked ranked Alabama was riding a 15-game winning streak. The game seemed destined for overtime, but Nick Saban decided to let a freshman backup kicker, Adam Griffith, try a 57-yarder for the win, rather than take a knee for overtime.
Griffith’s kick (just the third field goal attempt of his college career) fell short, right into the hands of Auburn’s Chris Davis, who was waiting in the end zone. Alabama’s offensive lineman couldn’t catch Davis as he ran the failed field goal over 100 yards for the win. It’s definitely ranks as one of the greatest plays in college football history and places first as my top moment of 2013.