2012 was another exciting season across all sports producing memorable games and clutch performances. Here are the Top 10 (plus 1) games (races, finishes) in Sports in 2012
11) May 19, 2012 – I’ll Have Another vs. Bodemeister (and the field), The 137th Preakness Stakes
After the two stallions emerged in the Kentucky Derby as 1-2, the rematch was even more thrilling. I’ll Have Another surged down the stretch overcoming a 3-length deficit to overtake favored Bodemeister and get the second jewel of the elusive Triple Crown of horse racing. Sadly, I’ll Have Another suffered an injury that forced him to be pulled the eve of the Belmont Stakes (of which Bodemeister was not going to compete) and we’ll never know if he would have done what hasn’t been done since 1978 with Affirmed.
10) April 26, 2012 – New Jersey Devils vs. Florida Panthers, Game 7, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
After a physical first six games in which the Devils won in overtime in Game 6 to force this game, the Panthers overcame a 2-0 deficit in the third period to force sudden death overtime. It took until the second overtime period when Adam Henrique needed the deciding goal to win 3-2. The Devils went on to win two more series and the Eastern Conference.
9) May 30, 2012 – Boston Celtics at Miami Heat, Game 2, Eastern Conference Finals
On a day when Rajon Rondo went off with 44 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds, LeBron missed the last shot in regularion, the Heat won an overtime thriller 115-111. The series ended up going 7 games, had the Celtics escaped with this one, LeBron may still be chasing that first ring.
8) July 8, 2012 – The Championships at Wimbledon Men’s Final, Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray
Murray carried the weight of the Empire on his shoulders in trying to become the first British tennis player to win Wimbledon since 1936. After a furious first set win, Murray lost a second set tiebreak and never seemed to gain his confidence back losing 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Murray made one of the most heartfelt speeches of the sports year in thanking the crowd.
7) October 12, 2012 – St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals, Game 5, National League Division Series
In the decisive game of an entertaining series, the Nationals seemed to have all but sewn up their first postseason series win (in their first appearance) when they jumped all over Adam Wainwright in taking a 6-0 lead. The Cardinals proceeded to hang around, then, down to their last out, scored 4, two-out runs in the Top of the 9th to stun the Nationals 9-7 and advance to the NLCS.
6) June 19, 2012 – Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat, Game 4, NBA Finals
Trailing 2 games to 1, the Thunder seemed poised to wrest home court advantage back from the Heat in surging to a 17-point lead early, but the Heat wouldn’t back down, behind a big 3 from a hobbled LeBron, the Heat edged the Thunder 104-98 to put Oklahoma City in a 3-1 hole.
5) September 30, 2012 – Europe at United States, Medinah Country Club, IL, Singles Matches
In what was supposed to be a mere formality, the United States coughed up a seemingly insurmountable lead as Europe stormed back to retain the Ryder Cup. On home soil, the American’s needed only 4 1/2 points (out of twelve singles matches) to wrest the cup away. And one by one, the Americans fell. Finally, Martin Kaymer sank a 5-foot putt on 18 to seal the American’s historic fate 14.5 to 13.5. This video captures the moment:
4) February 26, 2012 – Missouri Tigers at Kansas Jayhawks, Final Big 12 matchup
Both teams entered the game in the Top 5, so a number 1 seed was proverbially on the line. Add to that the impending departure of Missouri to the SEC (and no non-conference matchups on the horizon) a lot was at stake. And both teams put on a performance, with Kansas overcoming a 19-point deficit and ultimately prevailing 87-86 in overtime.
3) January 14, 2012 – New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers, NFC Division Playoffs
The fourth quarter of the game saw four lead changes, including three TD’s in the last 2:11 as the 49ers ultimately prevailed 36-32 on a 14-yard pass to Vernon Davis with 9 seconds left to seal the Saints fate. The game would later become infamous for alleged pregame bounties put on the 49ers by Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, resulting in his and head coach Sean Payton’s suspensions for the 2012 season.
2) February 5, 2012 – New York Giants vs. New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLVI
In a matchup that produced arguably one of the most exciting Super Bowl finishes in history (SB XLII in which the Giants ruined what would have been a perfect Patriots season), the same two teams slugged it out for another 60 minutes, with the deciding TD in the final minute and a last minute Hail Mary from Brady that fell harmlessly to the ground and the Giants winning 21-17. The Giants crawled back from an 8-point deficit in the 3rd quarter by crawling back in, then having Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning once again complete a miracle pass on the way to the decisive scoring drive.
1) December 1, 2012 – Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs, SEC Championship Game
In what was a de facto National Semifinal game, the two Southeastern Conference heavyweights did not disappoint. The see-saw battle saw five lead changes, including three in the fourth quarter, and ended with Georgia frantically trying to score inside the Alabama 10 yard line on the last two plays before time expired. The two teams produced over 900 yards of offense including three 100-yard rushers and two 100-yard receivers.