From shootouts to comebacks, 2018 has given us so many great sports moments. It has displayed the power of sports and its ability to bring people of all backgrounds together. As we begin to enter a new year, it is only right to reflect on how we got here. Here are the top five sports events of 2018:
1. Jan. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Arguably the greatest college football championship game ever, Alabama made a surreal comeback after being down 13 – 0 at halftime. Making a quarterback switch heading into the second half, the Crimson Tide marched back with freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa under center. This game will forever be remembered as it was the first playoff national championship game to go into overtime, and it is very rare to see a freshman quarterback shine in the brightest lights in his first career start.
2. Jan. 14 New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings
Filled with highlight plays, this game was an absolute thriller as the Saints made a comeback and took the lead in the fourth quarter. Responding to the Viking’s scoring drives with their own, the Saints had the lead with 25 seconds left in the game. Things weren’t looking too good for Minnesota as they were on their own 39-yard line with only 10 seconds left. This was when the iconic “Minnesota Miracle” happened as quarterback Case Keenum threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs as the clock ran out, stunning the Saints. Looking at all the football games this year, this one might just be the best.
3. Feb. 9 – Feb. 25 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games
Whenever the Olympics are on, people tune in to watch sports they don’t normally follow. The United States finished fourth overall in this year’s Winter Olympics medal count. Each victory made a great story, but perhaps the best one was that of the U.S. Curling Men’s Team. The group lost four of their first six games and barely squeaked into the knockout stages with five wins and four losses. Once in the playoffs, the team reached their peak and went on a rampage, eventually upsetting Sweden in the finals. The squad shocked the whole world as the difference between their performances in the group stages and the knockout stages was dramatic.
4. March 13 – April 2 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament
This March was truly filled with madness as there were many shocking games aside from regular upsets that happen every tournament. Perhaps the most memorable one was the victory of 16 seed UMBC over number one Virginia. Previously, 16 seeded teams were 0-135 against No. 1 teams, so this was something the world has never seen. Another surprise was the uprising of the 11 seed Loyola Ramblers who marched their way into the Final Four, upsetting team after team. The whole nation started to rally behind them as it was so rare to see such a small a basketball school find ways to beat schools that have better high school recruits and programs. Though Loyola lost in the Final Four to Michigan, they still proved that any team can make a run in this tournament. More importantly, they made their first Final Four since 1963.
5. May 28 – June 7 Washington Capitals vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights
The Stanley Cup is something that is played for every year, but this year’s was very different from previous competitions. The Las Vegas Golden Knights had dominated the whole season and had reached the championship in their first year as a team. This has never been seen before in any of the major sports leagues across the nation so the team was looking to make history with a victory. Their competition, the Washington Capitals, were a team known for being good, but not great. They had the fifth-longest active postseason streak with four seasons, but they always struggled in the past to win games here. With new-found determination, the Capitals marched their way into the finals, looking to bring their first ever Stanley Cup home. As both teams had such great stories, millions of people tuned in across the nation having high expectations for the series. What was expected to be a neck-to-neck series slowly faded away as the Capitals dominated the Knights and won four to one.