The Best Moment From Every Year In Sports Dating Back to 1996
By: Tyler Dugan
It is well known that the Wednesday and Thursday following the MLB All Star game are the most dead sports days of the year. They’re the only days of the baseball season with literally no games, and there are no other sports to offset it. We get the ESPY’s, and we all know what a shit show that is. This year we got to see Peyton Manning’s giant ass forehead on stage make cringe worthy jokes.
Luckily here at The PUP List, we’re here to save you from that disaster. I’m going to give you the best sports moment from each year, over the last 21 years (my entire life).
Super Bowl LI. You know the story, Brady gets down 28-3. Kyle Shanahan started celebrating a tad bit early and was hammered making play calls in the 4th quarter. Brady comes roaring back. Edleman picks a ball out of mid air, bada bing bada boom, Brady has himself ring number 5. The greatest Super Bowl comeback in history.
Holding the most well known curse in the entire world, the Cubs were down 3-1 in the World Series to the Indians, having to win 3 straight games to finally break the curse. They get it to a game 7, Fowler leads off the game with a blast. Grandpa Ross went yack. The Cubs looked like they were going to do it. Bottom of the 8th, 2 down, Cubs up 2, with the most dominant pitcher in the game on the mound. Rajai Davis launches a 2 run shot to tie for the Indians. RAJAI DAVIS, the man has 57 career home runs including this year, and he went on to do that. Then the rain delay hits. The teams go back into the clubhouse, wait for a little while. Zobrist comes up doubles down the line, Cubs take the lead. Then a chopper to Bryant over to Rizzo, the Cubs do it. Probably the greatest World Series game of all time.
John Crook Cal, had the UK Wildcats sitting at 38-0 and in the final four playing Frank the Tank, Sam Dekker, and the rest of the whitest team in America. Dekker hit the huge late go ahead 3, then took a balls out charge. I started drinking Coach Cal and the rest of their shitty fans tears. I love watching 9 year old UK fans hug their mom/cousin while sobbing over a loss. Cheers to that, people.
It was an even year this decade so the Giants were in the playoffs and on a tear. Mad Bum put on a show that will never be forgotten. Probably the most dominant performance I have ever seen. Bumgarner threw 21 innings, and gave up one run during the World Series. 21 innings. 1 run. On the biggest stage. Probably the greatest post season performance ever in baseball, maybe the greatest we have have ever seen in sports.
Saturday night. Verney Lundquist on the mic. Alabama v. Auburn. A trip to the SEC Championship on the line, and a crack at the natty title. It truly was a mega stage for the Iron Bowl which is always electric. The clock runs out. The game is headed to overtime. Not so fast. Saban fights for an extra second to be put on the clock to have another crack at a Hail Mary or a very long field goal. His wish gets granted. He runs out the field goal unit. The rest is history. The kick gets missed short, Chris Davis tip toes along the sideline on the return, takes it to the house, Auburn wins the football game. Maybe the wildest college football finish of all time.
There was no real unbelievable shot, or moment in this series, but Lebron’s first title will always be remembered historically. Coming off of a mega collapse in the Finals the year before, the King validated ‘the decision’ and beat Durrant, Westbrook and Harden for his first title. (Still wild to think that the Thunder had all 3 of them).
David effing Freese. Talk about randos coming up massive, David Freese did just that. The Rangers were up in the series 3-2 on St Louis. Game 6 was an absolutely wild game. Maybe just as a wild as game 7 of 2016 World Series. It was jammed back with errors. David Freese dropped a pop up. Michael Young couldn’t field a ball at first for the Rangers. Bottom of the 9th, the Cardinals down 2, two men on, two out, two strikes. David Freese smacks a ball to right, Nelson Cruz gets tangled up, Freese triples and ties the game. Josh Hamilton comes back in the top of the 10th with a ho hum 2 run bomb to put the Rangers back up 2, and 3 outs away from a World Series. Cards get down to their last strike again when Lance Berkman singles to tie the game up again. Then in the bottom of the 11th Freese walks it off, Joe Buck gives the tribute to his dad “We will see you tomorrow night.” The Cards win game 7.
Clinchmas 2010, Jay Bruce had the best moment for the Reds since the mid 90’s. He cracked the walk off homerun that clinched the NL Central. Maybe the best Cincinnati sports moment over the last 20 years. That team came out of no where to shock a lot of the baseball world, and win the division. Jay did it in unreal fashion. I will truly never forget Jay Bruce sprinting home arms stretched, getting ready to get mobbed by Jonny Gomes and the gang.
Back to back Cincinnati sports moments here. UC vs. Pitt. The Big East title on the line. UC a top 5 team in the country. Pitt a top 15 team in the country. And my favorite Cincy sports moment of all time. After Mardy Gilyard brought the cats back to life with electric special teams play, and some dominant receiving plays. The cats were down 6 with about 40 seconds to go, and there it was. Pike to Binns for 6. Truly an unbelievable moment. The Sugar Bowl wound up being a disaster, but I truly believe that UC team was one of the best teams in the country, and when they were fully loaded, that team beats almost every team in the country. Pike to Binns will never be forgotten.
Probably the last time we saw the true greatness Eldrick Woods. Better known as Tiger. Tiger playing on a bummed knee the entire pretty much willed himself to the top of leaderboard for the entire tournament. Down 1 stroke with a major putt coming, Tiger sunk the putt with no doubt. Gave the classic fist bump, and sent him and Rocco Mediate to a 18 hole playoff on Monday. Tiger would go on to win the playoff in typical Tiger fashion. The last piece of true greatness we have seen from Tiger.
The first time we saw LeBron show off his true greatness. 2007 Eastern Conference Finals vs the Pistons. LeBron lead a true team of nobodies past the Pistons who had Chauncey Billups, Sheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince. Game 5. Series tied at 2-2. LBJ drops 48 points on the road in the palace. Scores the Cavs final 25 points to lead the Cavs. Hit a trillion clutch shots. The first, and still may be the best performance in the King’s career.
The best game in college football history. Vince Young put on a show for the ages. Probably the greatest individual performance of all time, on the biggest stage. The National Title in the grand daddy of them all. The definition of putting your team on your back. Vince threw for 267 yards. Ran for 200 yards. Beat Leinart, Bush, White, Carrol, Snoop, and the rest of Southern Cal. Down 5 with 26 seconds left. I still hear Keith Jackson’s voice today, “4th and 5, and the National Championship on the line right here.” “Young lookkkkking for the cornnnnnerrrrrr, he’ssssss got it.” Music to my ears. Nothing else truly needs to be said about that.
A very underrated March Madness game, Illinois vs. Arizona in the elite 8. Salem Stoudamire and Channing Frye vs Dee Brown, Deron Williams, and Luther Head. Illinois who was 35-1 and a 1 seed entering the game, got down 14 points late in the 2nd half. Cut the lead to 9 with a minute to go, and out of no where. Deron Williams and the gang took over. Dee Brown with some big steals, Deron and Luther with huge 3’s. Bada bing bada boom the game headed to overtime. Illinois wound up pulling out a 1 point win in OT to advance to the final 4.
Some of these are harder than others. 04 is a no doubter. If I had to pick one sporting event to go to in my lifetime the 2004 ALCS is it. The Yanks get up on the Red Sox 3-0 in the series. You know the rest. Roberts steals second in game 4, Papi walks it off. Joe Buck drops the famous “We will see you later tonight.” Papi again in game 5. Schilling’s bloody sock in game 6 in the house of doom. Damon’s grand slam in game 7. In between all of that, Bronson in the corn rows gets the ball slapped out of his hand by A-Rod. “Who’s your daddy?” A damn near riot breaks out in Yankee stadium. The greatest sports series of all time. The Red Sox pull of the greatest comeback in sports history. They go on to win the World Series, and break the curse of the bambino.
The reason the ’04 was set up to be special was the ’03 ALCS. Who else? Red Sox v Yankees. The rivalry took major heat. Game 3. Pedro throws at Kadim Garcia. The next inning, Clemens throws high and tight to Manny Ramirez. Manny goes at em. Benches clear. Pedro throws down 72-year-old Don Zimmer. One of the most famous brawls in baseball history. The series wound up going 7. With former Redleg Aaron Boone walking it off in grand style.
The Patriots dynasty began. Tommy Five Rings had to beat the greatest show on turf to win his first. Ty Law (one of my childhood favorites) had a pick 6. Brady got the ball with less than a minute left, and drove the Pats into field goal range, where the legend of the Adam Vinatieri arose. He nailed the game winning field goal. If only we knew what this super bowl would begin. Pretty wild to think Tom Brady was in my best 2002 sports moment, and my best 2017 sports moment.
Obviously the storyline of the world twisted on September 11th of 2001. At our nations deepest struggle, there was one major thing that brought this country together: baseball. In the first game back from baseball Mike Piazza hits a late go ahead homerun to pull the Mets ahead in New York. That gave the country life. But to me, there was nothing more iconic than the first pitch of game 3. President Bush, walked out to the field, didn’t go to the front of the dirt, didn’t stand in the grass, he walked out to the white rubber, 60 feet 6 inches away, stuck his thumb up in the air, and fired a strike right down the middle. Letting the world know what this country is about. Just an unreal moment. After that the ’01 world series was unbelievable. It was the first World Series ever to go into November. Jeter coined the name Mr. November after a game 4 walk off homer. Alfonso Soriano walked off in game 5 for the Yanks. D backs would go on to blow out New York in game 6 behind Randy Johnson. Game 7 ended with Luis Gonzalez hitting a walk off single to win the World Series. (If you haven’t seen the ESPN story on the 2001 world series you need to. Unbelievable series.)
Rams v Titans Superbowl. The “one yard short game.” The greatest show on turf vs 8-8 master Jeff Fisher. Steve McNair, Eddie George, Jevon Kearse, Kevin Dyson. Both teams had some real skill. 26 seconds left Titans down 23-16 Steve Mcnair was thrown around like a little rag doll but somehow escaped and found Kevin Dyson wide open at the 10 yard line, pass was completed Titans called a timeout with 6 seconds left. Mcnair finds Dyson again on a slant the next play, but Mike Jones makes an unbelievable open field tackle at the one. Titans fall one yard short just like Donny Billingsley and the Permian Panthers.
I don’t know much about soccer, but I do know that the 1999 women’s world cup was a major win for the women’s team, and the country. Brandi Chastain burying that final PK, sliding to her knees, and ripping her shirt off remains one of the most iconic sports images of all time.
Speaking of iconic sports images. Game 6 of the 1998 finals ended with one of the most iconic sports images of all times. The 2nd best player of all time, strips Karl Malone, then takes the ball down, slightly pushes off, and buries the mid range jumper. It solidified MJ with his 6th NBA title, and the G.O.A.T. title.
The 1997 World Series was another one that ended in dramatic fashion. The Indians and Marlins went the distance until game 7. Marlins coach Jim Leyland, a future hall of famer, was ejected earlier in the game which is bananas to think about. The Indians had a 1 run lead into the bottom of the 9th when the Marlins tied it on a sac fly. In the bottom of the 11th Edgar Renteria lined a ball into center scoring Craig Counsel for the fins to win their first World Series.
The Bulls had the greatest overall season in NBA history. Maybe the best sports season of all time. 72-10 without a rang don’t mean a thang, ask Draymond. The Bulls finished off the Supersonics (bring them back please) to win the 96 title, and the start of Mike and the boys 3 peat. Greatness.
This was legitimately a mentally taxing blog. I think I somehow ended up with 22 moments but whatever. Obviously some of these are controversial, but these are MY favorite moments. Sports are truly the best, I like showing them the appreciation they deserve. Here are some honorable mentions for the years.
1999: MLB All Star game at Fenway. They brought out all living members of the all century team, pretty star-studded moment.
2008: This was one of the toughest years to choose. It came down to the helmet catch, and Mario Chalmers game tying shot vs Memphis in the Natty Title.
2013: Ray Allen’s shot in game 6. Just an iconic moment in one of the best games I have ever seen.
2016: NBA finals. This will probably be the biggest beef, but the overall series kind of sucked. Like Lebron’s block, and Kyrie’s shot were electric, but the previous couple minutes were sloppy, no one could hit a shot. Don’t get me wrong I loved that series, and really loved the way it turned out, but games 1-6 were pretty shitty, so that was the main reason the WS got the nod over it.
If you stuck this long, serious mad props to you. Hopefully this gets you through this tough night in sports.