Greatest Sports Moments of the Decade: Nos. 15-13


This decade has been full of great highlights, but which singular moments are the best of the best? I tried to pick a list of 15 of what I consider to be the best moments of the decade. There were a lot of deserving nominees, so there might be some differences between people’s lists. But for me, these are the best moments of the decade that sports fans will remember forever.

15. Minneapolis Miracle (2018) or Lillard’s Buzzer-Beater against the Rockets (2014)

I couldn’t decide between these two moments, because so they are both unique in their own right. So, they both made the list at 15.

Damian Lillard’s shot wasn’t even supposed to happen. On the inbounds play with 0.9 seconds left, LaMarcus Aldridge was actually the primary option in the post. However, Lillard exploded after Nic Batum was handed the ball and was able to gain two steps of separation between him and Chandler Parsons. Lillard buried the series-winner, and as Mike Tirico said, “The Blazers win the series for the first time in 14 years.”


The Minneapolis Miracle was a culmination of what was a pretty good game by itself. The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints played a back-and-forth affair, with the Vikings going up 17-0 before the Saints came roaring back with three touchdowns. The teams traded field goals late, but Wil Lutz connected with 30 seconds left to give the Saints a near-insurmountable lead. 

With 10 seconds left and no timeouts, Case Keenum stepped up in the pocket and launched a deep ball down the sideline, which was caught by Stefon Diggs, who turned upfield … and saw no one. Saints safety Marcus Williams lined up for a bone-crunching hit and whiffed, and Diggs scampered up the sideline for a walk-off touchdown to the delight of the raucous Minnesota crowd. 


Both of these moments are great, but neither elevated their teams to championships, something that raised several other moments on this list.

14. Alec Martinez’s Stanley Cup Winner in Overtime (2014)

The Los Angeles Kings faced a long and treacherous road to their second Stanley Cup in three years. In the first round of the 2014 playoffs, they fell behind three-love to their Pacific Division foe in the San Jose Sharks before rallying for four straight wins to the take the series. They fell behind to another Pacific rival in the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2, before winning the final two games to advance to the West Final, where they met the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks and the Kings dominated the Western Conference in the early part of the 2010s, passing the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl back and forth for basically the entire first half of the decade (except for 2011). The Kings went up 3-1 before losing the next two and sending the series back to Chicago for the decisive Game 7, which the Kings won 5-4 in overtime thanks to an Alec Martinez game-winner. 

From there, it was onto the Cup Final, merely a formality against the New York Rangers. Martinez capped off a clinching Game 5 with another late-series winner, this time in double overtime. This was the last gasp of the Kings’ dominance and solidified one of the great playoff runs ever. The Kings tied the NHL record with 26 games played, and Alec Martinez came up big when it mattered most.


13. Odell Beckham Jr.’s Circus Catch vs. the Cowboys (2014)


Odell Beckham, Jr. is known for his flashy style on the off the field, but the play that will live in NFL annals happened on Sunday Night Football in late November of 2015. With the New York Giants leading the Dallas Cowboys early in the second quarter, Eli Manning uncorked a deep ball down the right sideline where Beckham was waiting with two Cowboy defenders. Brandon Carr tried to drag down Beckham, and as the ref pulled out his flag, Beckham reached out and hauled in a miraculous catch.

As Cris Collinsworth pointed out in real-time, that play was the greatest catch in NFL history. Beckham made the catch with just three fingers and was still able to keep himself in bounds and control the ball with one hand.

This was one of the greatest displays of pure athleticism in any sport and caused a whole generation of kids to start to try to practice catching the ball one-handed. If you can make that big of an impact off of just one catch, then it definitely belongs on the list of top sports moments of the decade.

Stay tuned for Nos. 12 to 1 as I continue to count down as the New Year approaches.


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