2015 will go down in the books as one of the craziest in sports history. Between incredible games, insane plays, and nonstop nonsense on and off the field/court/ice/mat/whatever, the year had it all. For that reason, I decided to take on the nearly impossible feat of narrowing down the top six sports moments of 2015. Here’s a look back at a great year in sports, and here’s hoping for even more magical moments in 2016.
6. Eric Hosmer scores game-tying run in the ninth in World Series clincher for Royals
This might have been one of the most underrated plays of the year. It may be because it’s baseball during football season, and America has its priorities straight when it comes to the two sports, but it’s a play that should not be overlooked. Eric Hosmer pulled off one of the craziest moments I’ve seen in a World Series with his team down one run in the top of the ninth inning needing the win to give the Royals their first title in 30 years. On a ball that never left the infield, Hosmer faked out the Mets’ third baseman and sprinted home in the gutsiest moment of the year to tie the game and completely swing momentum in Kansas City’s favor. The Royals scored five runs in extra innings to beat the Mets and win the World Series, all sparked by that one moment.
5. Ronda Rousey knocked out in the second round against Holly Holm
Ronda Rousey, to put it simply, took over the UFC in 2015. She had three fights throughout the year, two of which she ended in less than 40 seconds, and one of which she ended in 14 seconds. She was the talk of the town in mixed martial arts, and had everyone wondering who would be the one, if anyone, to beat her for her title. The moment finally came on November 15, when she fought Holly Holm at UFC 193. Rousey was dominated in the fight, eventually getting knocked out by Holm with a vicious kick in the second round. It was Rousey’s first loss of her career, and just her second fight to ever reach the second round. The world went from wondering if she could be taken off her pedestal, to wondering if she can get back to the top of it.
4. Warriors win first NBA Finals in 40 years
I debated whether or not I wanted to put this moment on the list, or replace it with the first game of the Warriors’ Finals series with LeBron’s Cavaliers. It’s a shame that Kyrie Irving got hurt in the Finals’ first game, or else this series could’ve gone down as one of the best in history. The first game was everything a basketball fan would want from two teams on the court, and then some. The Warriors won that game in overtime, and their next three wins may not have been as entertaining, but their Finals win was the beginning of an era that will run over the NBA for years to come.
3. Seahawks’ comeback in the NFC Championship against the Packers
This is one of those moments on the list that isn’t one play or one series, but rather an entire half (and then some) of football. The defending champion Seahawks were held scoreless at home in the first half against Green Bay, and were down 16 points to an incredible Aaron Rodgers-led offense. Seattle’s first touchdown came on a pass during a fake field goal to an offensive lineman, signaling just how crazy this game really was. They were down 12 points with four minutes to go, and scored a touchdown just before the two-minute warning before madness ensued. To put it this way, I went downstairs to get dinner and turned on the TV in my living room, and missed a touchdown, a recovered onside-kick and half of a game-tying Seahawks touchdown drive. Seattle won the game on a 35-yard touchdown in overtime, and clinched a spot in the Super Bowl for the second straight year. If you’re a football fan and didn’t enjoy that half, something is wrong with you.
2. Warriors win 28 straight games, start season 24-0
This definitely isn’t a quick moment, but it is completely worthy of the number two spot on the list. The Warriors completely dominated the NBA in 2015, and after winning the NBA Finals in June, carried all their momentum into the next regular season. They won their first 24 games, which gave them the second best win streak (counting playoffs) in NBA history. They brought back the hype to the NBA, and had some great games while doing it (see their games with the Bucks, and their battles with the Celtics and the Raptors). They eventually lost to Milwaukee, but still haven’t missed a beat and are currently 28-1. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and the rest of the Warriors are making basketball popular and fun to watch again, and really revamped the sport in 2015.
1. Malcolm Butler’s Interception in Super Bowl XLIX
You had to see this one coming. Super Bowl XLIX was one of the best in NFL history, and featured the two best teams in the NFL last year. The Patriots and Seahawks put on a show for all of the world to watch, and gave fans of both teams heart attacks in the process. Both teams had moments that could’ve been put on this list by themselves, between New England’s comeback from being down 10 points in the fourth quarter, to Seattle’s miraculous catch by Jermaine Kearse with less than two minutes to go to put the Seahawks in position to score a game-winning touchdown. However, absolutely nothing can beat the Super Bowl-clinching moment that occurred with 26 seconds left in the game. The Seahawks, with star running back Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, decided to throw the ball at the one-yard line, and were intercepted by undrafted rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler at the goal line to clinch the win for the Patriots. The game itself was the best of 2015, and the interception was one moment that any football fan will remember for years to come.