Yep, it’s another list. It’s the end of the year. It’s what I do.
This one is also compiled by the law offices of…Glenn Clark.
This used to be an annual ESPN SportsCenter special every year.
All sports, everywhere…what were the best games?
Here’s my list.
10. WEC 53: Anthony Pettis def. Benson Henderson (December 16 Glendale, AZ)
The easy choice for fight of the year (RIGHT?) is remembered much more for how it finished than anything that happened for the better part of three rounds.
This was a really good fight BEFORE Anthony Pettis channeled Keanu Reeves with a kick that could have been taken right out of The Matrix.
It was awesome.
The final curtain for WEC before merging with UFC provided the greatest moment in the promotion’s history; and the greatest moment in Mixed Martial Arts in 2010.
9. NCAA Lacrosse Final Four: Duke 14, Virginia 13 (May 29 Baltimore, MD)
As I wrote in my “Top 10 Local Sports Moments of the Year” roundup, this game was the definition of an “Instant Classic.”
The buildup that went into the game (including the Yeardley Love tragedy and George Huguely fallout in Charlottesville; the presence of the last class of “Super Seniors” at Duke following the 2006 rape allegation scandal) was intense.
Amazingly, the game lived up to the hype…and then some.
8. Breeders’ Cup Classic (November 6 Louisville, KY)
Usually horse racing has NO relevance outside of Triple Crown season. This year horse racing was actually MORE relevant outside of Triple Crown season.
The buildup that surrounded Zenyatta’s quest to finish off a perfect record at Churchill Downs was intense, yet once again it was lived up to.
Never before has a favored competitor lost…but yet somehow found themselves praised as if they had won. The celebration of the late charge from the filly was almost poetic in nature, with even regularly irreverent folks like Deadspin waxing poetic in their analysis.
The movie would have been better had Zenyatta managed to get past Blame.
Then again…maybe not.
7. NFL Playoffs: NFC Wild Card Round-Arizona Cardinals 51, Green Bay Packers 45 (OT) (January 10 Glendale, AZ)
I have to admit that I didn’t get to see this game the first time around, as sadly I was on a bus on the way back from Foxborough after the Ravens had defeated the Patriots.
I’m glad the NFL Network exists so that folks like me get a second chance.
This was incredible drama, with Aaron Rodgers matching Kurt Warner right up until the final overtime fumble.
It was fitting that this allowed us one more opportunity to celebrate Warner before he would retire. An improbable future Hall of Famer; Warner gave us a lot of memories. This was a great one to tie a career together.
6. MLB Playoffs: NLDS Game 1-Philadelphia Phillies 4, Cincinnati Reds 0 (October 7 Philadelphia, PA)
A lot of folks should feel proud to have been involved with games that are on this list.
The Cincinnati Reds probably shouldn’t include themselves in that group.
In fairness to the Reds, Roy Halladay would have been dominant against just about ANY team at Citizens Bank Ballpark that night. Maybe not no-hitter dominant, but dominant nonetheless.
For the rest of eternity, Halladay will be able to hear his name with Don Larsen’s every time a pitcher flirts with a postseason no-no. It’s a pretty cool club to join.
Baseball doesn’t provide us as many of these “hairs on your arms raised” moments as it once did-but when they come around, they’re still pretty special.
This one definitely qualifies as special.
5. NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game: Duke 61, Butler 59 (April 5 Indianapolis, IN)
Drew Forrester and I were discussing this recently on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST.
Had Gordon Heyward’s shot gone in at the buzzer…would it have been the greatest moment in the history of sports?
The Bulldogs’ run to the Final Four (which was of course in their hometown in Indy) was so improbable it HAD to be compared to the movie “Hoosiers.”
If the shot had gone in…this movie would have been better.
What makes me think the shot would have been the greatest moment in the history of sport is the fact that the shot was MISSED yet we still put it in lore.
How would history have been different had David stood toe-to-toe with Goliath for 10 rounds only to see a final slingshot toss just miss?
4. Wimbledon: John Isner def. Nicholas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68 (June 24-25 Wimbledon, England)
Despite the surreal (I’m not kidding, I’m still in a state of disbelief about this epic clash) nature of this showdown, it WASN’T better than the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal final two years ago. In fact, it wasn’t better than Federer’s final clash with Andy Roddick in 2009 either.
But it was an AMAZING two days.
Two players no one had ever heard of (not named Glenn Clark anyway) caught the attention of the entire world, nearly shutting down Twitter in the process.
It wasn’t always high-level tennis; but it was about impossible to comprehend.
It was MORE meaningful because it just so happened to come on the heels of #3…
3. World Cup: Team USA 1, Algeria 0 (June 24 Pretoria, South Africa)
As far as “best moment of the year” is concerned, the video above is all of the evidence you would need to certify this as your winner.
When Landon Donovan finally delivered salvation to the Yanks, strangers hugged strangers across the country.
A number of those strangers won’t find themselves watching soccer again until 2014.
The game wasn’t necessarily as good from start to finish as others on this list, but it was damn compelling. The storyline WOULD have been an incredible amount of missed opportunities for the Americans had Tim Howard never hurled a football toss towards midfield in stoppage time.
Of course, that wouldn’t have made this list.
2. Super Bowl XLIV: New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17 (February 7 Miami, FL)
As football fans, we’ve been treated to a number of really good Super Bowls recently.
This was absolutely amongst the best.
The game was compelling; with Drew Brees outdueling Peyton Manning. The drama was better; as Sean Peyton’s decision to go for an onsides kick to start the second half will be remembered amongst the all time great calls in football history.
The celebration…and the belief that winning the Super Bowl truly represented “hope” in the city of New Orleans…made this even better.
1. Olympics Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game: Canada 3, Team USA 2 (February 28 Vancouver, ALB)
We were in the airport in Indianapolis (it was the weekend of the NFL Scouting Combine) as this game was happening.
Every human being in the airport was GLUED to a television.
Had it been Patrick Kane scoring the game winner instead of Sidney Crosby, there would be no argument about what was the game of the year.
In fact, we would probably think of Ryan Miller in a similar way we think of Jim Craig.
With no offense to the NHL…they could never give us this.
Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…