With the decade drawing to a close, ChampsArea looked back and voted on 100 moments that defined the sports world in the 2010s. We’re counting down every Monday in December, and below are moments 80-61.
100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 (Dec. 16) | 40-21 (Dec. 23) | 20-1 (Dec. 30)
80. It was 4-1 ?
May 13, 2013
It’s one of the greatest implosions of all time. The phrase “It was 4-1” was heard around the hockey world. The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a three-goal lead over the Boston Bruins in the third period of Game 7 and lost in overtime. The Leafs were eliminated from their first playoff appearance in eight years in horrific fashion, marking the start of a modern, albeit one-sided, rivalry: Toronto’s dropped two more playoff series to the Bruins since, both in seven games. – Kayla Douglas
79. Ibra’s wonder goal vs. England ??
Nov. 14, 2012
Derided for his poor record against English clubs in the Champions League, Zlatan Ibrahimovic answered his critics by scoring one of the most spectacular goals of the decade. The towering Swede actually put four past England in that memorable friendly, but it’s the last one that was seen and heard around the world. An overhead kick from some 30 yards out, it soared into the net. “Last night, the world woke up to the mighty Zlatan,” wrote English pundit Jamie Redknapp. – Anthony Lopopolo
78. Did Dez catch it? ?
Jan. 11, 2015
One of the NFL’s all-time most controversial calls occurred with under five minutes left in an NFC divisional-round game. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant leaped over Packers cornerback Sam Shields and made what appeared to be a spectacular grab on fourth down. However, following a review, officials determined Bryant failed to complete the catch “process,” as the ball squirted loose when he hit the ground. The throw was ruled incomplete, and Dallas was eliminated. – Mike Alessandrini
77. Saints win Super Bowl XLIV ?
Feb. 7, 2010
The Saints needed a spark while trailing the powerhouse Colts to start the second half of Super Bowl XLIV, and head coach Sean Payton delivered with one of the boldest decisions in NFL history: “Ambush,” an onside kick. Miraculously, his master plan worked, and New Orleans was able to take control of the game from there. Peyton Manning was still lurking, though, ready to orchestrate another signature comeback, until Tracy Porter got the best of him to polish off the Saints’ dream season. – Sean O’Leary
76. Women’s gold-medal hockey game in Sochi ?
Feb. 21, 2014
The Canada-USA women’s rivalry was at its finest in Sochi. The Americans seemed poised to knock Canada off its long-held Olympic perch, holding a 2-0 lead with three minutes to go. But Brianne Jenner scored to cut the lead in half, then the U.S.’s empty-net dagger attempt somehow clanked iron. Marie Philip-Poulin took over from there, burying the equalizer and the overtime winner to clinch Canada’s fourth consecutive gold medal. – O’Leary
75. Rodgers’ Hail Mary TD ?
Jan. 16, 2016
When Aaron Rodgers asks the Football Gods for a miracle, his prayer is answered more often than not. The quarterback’s divisional-round Hail Mary against the Arizona Cardinals – his second of the 2015 season after an unreal play versus the Detroit Lions in Week 13 – didn’t lead to a Packers win, but it will forever be held up as one of the NFL’s best-ever throws. Only a few QBs to walk this Earth could complete the perfect 61-yard heave that Rodgers launched while falling to his left. – Jack Browne
74. Roll Tide ?
Jan. 8, 2018
Alabama went to the locker room down 13 points with quarterback Jalen Hurts playing his worst game of the season. Facing an unfamiliar situation, head coach Nick Saban benched Hurts for then-freshman Tua Tagovailoa in the second half. That decision rewrote the 2018 CFP National Championship’s final script, as Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide to 20 second-half points, and he later tossed a 41-yard walk-off touchdown to DeVonta Smith in overtime to complete the 26-23 comeback victory over Georgia. – Caio Miari
73. Jeter says goodbye in iconic fashion ?
Sept. 25, 2014
“Now batting for the Yankees. No. 2. Derek Jeter.” The legendary introduction from late PA announcer Bob Sheppard resonated through Yankee Stadium one last time when Jeter stepped to the plate for his final at-bat at home. After the Orioles tied the game with three runs in the ninth inning, The Captain stroked a walk-off single through the first-base side to score pinch-runner Antoan Richardson. The game-winner was one of 3,465 hits Jeter collected during what will soon be announced as a Hall of Fame career. – Bryan Mcwilliam
72. Deshaun dethrones ‘Bama ?
Jan. 9, 2017
One year after Alabama defeated Clemson and celebrated its fourth national championship in seven years, Deshaun Watson brought the Tigers to the Crimson Tide’s level. Clemson stormed back after falling behind 14-0, with Watson producing one of the greatest championship-game performances of all time (420 passing yards and 43 rushing yards). Trailing 31-28 with six seconds to go and facing a first-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Watson rolled to his right and found an open Hunter Renfrow for the game-winning score. We could look back on that night as an evening when one dynasty replaced another. – Mark Cooper
71. The Sherman Swat ?
Jan. 19, 2014
The NFL identifies it as one of the league’s greatest game-winning plays. The “Swat heard around the world” propelled the Seahawks to the Super Bowl and the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. Richard Sherman, the Legion of Boom’s leader, backed up his brash talk with flashy play, then produced an all-time great postgame interview. “I’m the best corner in the game,” he said. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gon’ get!” – Michael McClymont
70. Barcelona’s unbelievable comeback ?
March 8, 2017
After winning the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona 4-0, Paris Saint-Germain headed to the Catalan capital for the reverse fixture with a near-insurmountable aggregate advantage. Players joked, quarterfinal plans were made, and the media painted Barcelona as a club in decline. What could go wrong? Spoiler alert: Everything. Barcelona scored thrice in the final minutes to cement La Remontada (The Comeback) and snatch victory courtesy of a 6-5 aggregate win. – Michael J. Chandler
69. Miggy wins Triple Crown ?
Oct. 3, 2012
The Detroit Tigers slugger became only the 15th hitter in baseball history to earn the Triple Crown and the first since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabrera led the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBIs during his historic campaign. “That’ll probably be the greatest thing that I’ll ever see in my career,” teammate Alex Avila told The New York Times. Cabrera’s otherworldly performance culminated in him winning the first of back-to-back AL MVP Awards. – Tom Ruminski
68. FIFA bribery scandal ?
FIFA was in crisis mode ahead of its annual meeting in 2015 as U.S. federal prosecutors raided a luxury hotel in Zurich and arrested several executives of the world football governing body on corruption charges. Among the various charges, the FIFA officials were accused of accepting bribes related to bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The fallout of the investigation eventually ended Sepp Blatter’s reign as FIFA president; the disgraced Swiss international was banned from football-related activities for eight years the following December. – Gordon Brunt
67. NCAAF playoff signals end of the BCS
June 26, 2012
Resentment for the BCS reached a fever pitch in 2011 after Alabama edged Oklahoma State for No. 2 in the final ranking, turning the national championship game into a rematch between LSU and the Crimson Tide. Less than six months after the title game, conference commissioners and university presidents came together in Washington to present a new format: the four-team College Football Playoff. It replaced the BCS formula, which combined polls and computer rankings, with a 13-person committee that watched the games. But it couldn’t get rid of the fierce debates every November and December. – Cooper
66. Chloe Kim wins halfpipe gold ?
Feb. 13, 2018
Chloe Kim was under immense pressure to win the women’s halfpipe in her Olympic debut – at the age of 17, she was already a four-time Winter X Games winner. Kim’s parents were originally from South Korea and many family members – including her grandmother – had never seen the American snowboarder compete live. But no moment was too big for her. Kim had wrapped up the gold medal before her final run, and she was tweeting about being “hangry” prior to becoming the youngest woman to land back-to-back 1080s at a Winter Games. – Chicco Nacion
65. Andrew Luck’s shock retirement ?
Aug. 24, 2019
The reigning Comeback Player of the Year stood on the Indianapolis sideline during a preseason game wearing street clothes and a smile, unaware that his name was trending worldwide. As rumblings inside Lucas Oil Stadium grew, Luck realized the news was out. Colts fans booed as the game ended. Afterward, the former No. 1 pick confirmed he was walking away from football at 29 due to injury-related exhaustion. “I’m in pain,” he said. “Still in pain.” – Alex Chippin
64. ‘I’m coming home,’ LeBron announces ?
July 11, 2014
There are scoops, and then there are revelations, like the one then-Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins landed regarding LeBron James’ 2014 free agency. James shocked the world with an open letter announcing he was leaving the Heat to go home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The news was a bombshell not only because his choice hadn’t been definitively reported, but because it was a drastic contrast to James’ controversially televised decision four years prior. – Jonathan Soveta
63. Gotze’s goal, Messi’s heartbreak ??
July 13, 2014
Poor Leo Messi. Mario Gotze was the hero of the hour at the Maracana – his exquisite extra-time goal that secured the 2014 World Cup for Germany is the type of moment dreams are made of – but it was impossible not to focus on a crestfallen Messi at the final whistle. The cameras certainly did. His search for a major international title, and its accompanying status as a beloved figure in Argentina, continues. Adding to the cruelty, the Argentines went on to suffer heartbreaking defeats in successive Copa America finals over the next two years. – Gianluca Nesci
62. Russia busted for doping ?
July 18, 2016
In what the World Anti-Doping Agency called “a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games,” Russia – bent on dominating the Sochi Games in 2014 – planned and carried out a state-sponsored doping program that would include 15 medal winners. Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov implicated the FSB and just about every other major Russian government entity, and his testimony eventually led to those famous “Olympic Athletes from Russia” uniforms meekly worn in PyeongChang. – Devang Desai
61. Rousey knocked out ?
Nov. 14, 2015
With one second-round kick, the unstoppable freight train known as Ronda Rousey came to a screeching halt at UFC 193. The brutal kick to the neck/head of the champion was delivered by 7-1 underdog Holly Holm, producing one of mixed martial arts’ biggest upsets. Rousey was in the midst of a three-year reign as bantamweight champion, and she couldn’t bounce back from the gut-wrenching loss. She left MMA to become a professional wrestler two years later. – Mcwilliam
100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 (Dec. 16) | 40-21 (Dec. 23) | 20-1 (Dec. 30)