Tim Howard’s huge game against Belgium
Although it ended up being the end of US Soccer’s journey in Brazil, the knockout stage game against a tough Belgium side gained Americans a ton of respect in the international soccer community. So much of that was due to the absolutely brilliant game that Tim Howard put in, saving a record 16 shots and keeping Belgium scoreless until extra time.
T.J. Oshie’s shootout magic
This was another disappointing outcome on the national stage (failing to medal) that produced an incredible moment of the year. The shootout with Russia at the end of the preliminary game during the Sochi Olympics produced a shootout that ended with an American win thanks to T.J Oshie, who scored four goals on six attempts.
Richard Sherman ends the NFC Championship
Love him or hate him, the impact that Sherman made when he tipped the ball away from Michael Crabtree and let the whole world know about it, was significant. There was only one bigger stage, and the Seahawks defense embarrassed one of the greatest quarterbacks ever on it just two weeks later.
UConn win a huge underdog title
The Cinderella story of Kevin Ollie’s Huskies showed us why we really love March Madness. The team beat a 1, 2, 3, and 4 seed en route to the final game against Kentucky to become the first no. 7 seed to win the title in history.
Portland’s buzzer-beating, series-clinching shot
We already know that Damien Lillard is a special player, but his card got stamped when he took a ballsy three-pointer to win at the buzzer and send the Trailblazers into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
Derek Jeter’s victory lap
Although the Yankees season was largely full of disappointment, the Captain’s final tour meant something to every Yankees fan and most baseball fans. Whether it was debating his worth or just reminiscing, the all-time Yankee made it an interesting year in the Bronx.
The Royals break the drought
When Kansas City won a Wild Card spot, they remedied a 28-year absence from the playoffs, which is a big deal. But they didn’t stop there; the scrappy crew took their show all the way to game 7 of the World Series, and might have won it if it wasn’t for this guy.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t human
The Giants relief man and World Series MVP had an insane performance in the World Series, pitching seven innings of one-run ball in game 1, shutting out the Royals in a complete game in game 5, and pitching five more scoreless innings on two days rest in the decisive game 7. Did we mention he was also the NLCS MVP and won a Silver Slugger?
Peyton Manning breaks a fairly important record
The Broncos QB snapped Brett Favre’s 508-career touchdown mark during a game earlier in the season against the San Francisco 49ers. Manning still appears to have gas in his tank, so he’ll set the bar sky-high for anyone who thinks they possibly get close. Right now, no serious challengers are emerging.
King James returns home
In the redemption story of the year, LeBron James went back to Cleveland after abandoning ship for Miami in 2010 in search of championships. The move was praised, and the addition of Kevin Love makes the Cavs a real contender for a few rings of their own.