Top Ten Sports Moments of the Year

By; Jack Glassman—Sports Editor

1.Tennessee Beating Alabama

For the first time since 2006, the Tennessee Volunteers (Vols) beat a top-ten opponent in Alabama to solidify their legitimacy as a team this season. In the game, junior receiver Jalin Hyatt tied a one-hundred year old school record for most total touchdowns in a single game with five. To end the game, Tennessee kicker Chase McGrath kicked in a forty-yard field goal, securing the win for the Vols, as fans rushed onto the field in an overwhelming abundance of excitement. After the win, fans ripped down the field goal posts, as tradition, to then later throw them into the Tennessee River to celebrate. 

2.Colorado Avalanche beat the defending back-to-back champs in the Tampa Bay Lightning to win their first Stanley Cup since 2001

Securing every playoff series on the road, there is no doubt that this Colorado Avalanche (Avs) Stanley Cup run was anything short of iconic. In the playoffs, the Avs’ young star, Cale Makar, became the third defensemen to win both the Norris and Conn Smythe trophies in the same season, one being the award for the best defensemen, and one for being the most valuable player of the NHL playoffs. Also, with this Stanley Cup win, coach Jared Bednar became the only coach to have championship wins in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL. With the help of an elite coach, lineup, and ride-or-die fans, the Avs were able to win their first championship in 21 years, defeating the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. 

3.Jayson Tatum game winner in game 1 vs the Nets

After losing their eleven point fourth quarter lead to the infamous former Celtics’ player, Kyrie Irving, and the Nets, the Celtics gained possession after forward Kevin Durant missed a three pointer. With fifteen seconds left on the clock, star forward Jaylen Brown sped down the court before dishing the ball to Marcus Smart on the wing. After faking a three point shot, Smart took a few dribbles toward the hoop before locking eyes with a cutting Jayson Tatum. With Irving defending in the paint, Tatum spun as he caught the ball, sinking a layup, securing the Game 1 win for the Celtics. This win began the Celtics’ playoff run that would lead to their first finals appearance in over ten years. 

4.Justin Jefferson Catch

Over the years, there have been many extravagant catches since Odell Beckham Jr.’s iconic catch in 2015, but Justin Jefferson’s catch against the Bills from November is a level above the rest. The Vikings were driving the ball down the field when trailing by four with two minutes remaining. On fourth down and eighteen, the Vikings had to go for it, so quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a lob to Jefferson at the opposing team’s forty-one yard line. With one hand to the defender’s two hands, Jefferson was able to reel in the ball, making one of the greatest catches of all time. The NFL Hall of Fame announced shortly after the game that the gloves and sleeve that Jefferson was wearing will be displayed in the Hall of Fame.

5.8-seed UNC makes it to the National Championship and 15-seed Saint Peter’s makes it to the Elite Eight in March Madness

Having the record of 9-135, 15-seeds in March Madness are usually seen as easy picks for bettors as they always lose; however, Saint Peter’s of New Jersey made it all the way to the Elite Eight before being eliminated by the 8-seeded North Carolina (UNC) team. This Saint Peter’s team is the farthest that a 15-seed has gone in the history of March Madness while the UNC team is part of the 5% of 8-seeds that make it to the Elite Eight. Putting them in more elite company, UNC is one of four 8-seeds to make it to the Final Four and one of three to make it to the National Championship. In their Elite Eight game, UNC blew out the Saint Peter’s Peacocks by twenty, led by center Armando Bacot’s 20 points and 22 rebounds, ending the 15-seed’s historical run.

6.Coach K retiring and losing his final game to rival UNC

Ending his historical career with the record 1,202-368, Coach Michael Krzyzewski (Coach K) retired following a Final Four loss to his rival North Carolina (UNC). In Coach K’s 42 years of coaching Duke, he led them to five National Championships, thirteen Final Four appearances, and fifteen ACC Championships. Of the 208 players he coached at Duke, 68 of them advanced from college to the NBA draft, making Coach K the college coach with the most NBA players. After going back and forth for the last two minutes of regulation, UNC ultimately topped their North Carolinian rival Duke, with a score of 81-77, ending the legendary Coach K’s career in the 2022 Final Four. 

7.Serena Williams and Roger Federer Finally Retire

Both dominating tennis for over two decades, Serena Williams and Roger Federer have 43 Grand Slam titles combined, Williams with the record for most women’s titles at 23 and Federer with the third most men’s titles at 20. Williams and her sister, Venus Williams, two of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time, changed the historically white sport as two black women who constantly sat at the top of the rankings. Federer, too, changed the culture of tennis through his effortless play style and his kindness towards his opponents and fans. After about twenty years in the sport together, it is fitting for Williams and Federer to call it quits simultaneously.

8.Aaron Judge breaks the record for most HRs in a season

This MLB season, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge broke the American League record for most home runs (HRs) in a season with 62, pushing him to the number two spot for the most HRs in a single season for the MLB. Barry Bonds has the MLB record at 73 HRs, but he obtained this record during the steroid era of baseball, so many believe it is Judge who genuinely holds the record. The record that Judge now holds in the American League was a sixty year old record, formerly held by Roger Maris. Following his historic hitting season, Judge was named the American League MVP, winning by a landslide as the second place finisher received only 2 first place votes to Judge’s 28.

9.Cheifs beat the Bills in Divisional Round Thriller

After going back and forth all game, the Chiefs ultimately topped the Bills in overtime 42-36. This game was a rematch of the 2021 AFC Championship which the Chiefs, too, won. In the game, superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs in rushing while also throwing for almost 400 yards, further proving to the public why he is the best. When the Chiefs were trailing by 3 with thirteen seconds left, Mahomes was able to drive the ball down the field quickly with the help of receiver Tyreek Hill, setting up kicker Harrison Butker to kick a game-tying 49-yard field goal. After winning the overtime coin toss, the Chiefs took eight plays to score a game winning touchdown, scored by tight end Travis Kelce. 

10.A’ja Wilson beats Breanna Stewart for her second career MVP

After battling all season for the WNBA MVP award, Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson beat Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm for the award. Stewart had won the award back in 2018 while Wilson won in 2020 and now in 2022, making her the seventh WNBA player to win the MVP award multiple times. In the playoffs, the two stars met in the semifinals where in game four, Wilson put up 23 points and 13 rebounds to Stewart’s career high 42 points in an Aces win, securing their spot in the finals. In the finals, the Aces beat the Connecticut Sun three games to one to obtain their franchise’s first ever championship. Wilson averaged 20 points and about 10 rebounds in the finals.

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