According to Andrew: The Best of 2017
A very happy New Year to all my wonderful blog readers.
I've been doing this for what will be my third year now, and I'm so pleased to know many of you have been responding positively to what I've been writing, and that you've been visiting the site in general.
My New Year's resolution is to write more: to set deadlines for myself. Truth be told, I didn't do a very good job of that this year, and especially at the end of the year, when it's most important. I ended up churning out about six articles in three days. Writing, editing, formatting, and finding all these damn pictures takes a long time. And now that I live in New York, rushing around and waiting until the last minute has become a staple of my routine.
But I will get better, and I will make sure that 2018 will be the best year ever for this blog.
So, for the third year in a row, I am proud to display my "Best of the Year" spread: version 2017.
Feel free to have a look, leave comments, and all that jazz.
Top 25 Pop Songs of 2017
Top 10 Most Annoying Songs of 2017
Top 10 Films of 2017
Top 10 Most Disappointing Films of 2017 (Coming soon!)
Top 10 Sports Moments of 2017
Top 15 "Oh No!" Sports Moments of 2017
Top 15 Games of 2017
And as a special treat...
Top 100 Sports Plays of 2017: Part 1 Part 2
Looking forward to 2018. Thank you for reading. I appreciate you so much.
Top 15 "Oh No!" Sports Moments of 2017
For a great year in sports, there was a lot to shake your head at.
These are the moments that made our jaws drop, bury our faces in our hands, made us die laughing, and generally made us audibly gasp and say with disbelief "oh.. no!"
This is your list of sports fails from 2017, ladies and gentlemen.
August 22nd- Josh Harrison says no-no to Rich Hill's no-no
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
To work so hard and come so close to a perfect game, only to have it dashed by the fact that a) your team can’t play defense and b) your team can’t score runs. Rich Hill was on pace to have the 24th perfect game in MLB history, only to have it broken up by an error at third base by Logan Forsythe. Again, it also doesn’t help that your team can’t score runs. After nine, the Dodgers and Pirates were tied at 0-0 heading into extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Hill gave up this home run to Josh Harrison, losing the game and his no-hitter in the process.
November 24th- FIU recovers for touchdown after fake punt goes horribly wrong
Florida International Panthers vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
This might be the worst fake punt I’ve ever seen (okay, maybe not the worst). I’m not really sure what WKU punter Jake Collins was thinking here, but you can tell he’s doomed as soon as he takes a few steps forward and doesn’t punt the ball. He tries to get away from a defender, and begins to lose his balance. Devante Price for FIU scoops it up an scores. You can even hear the disbelief in the announcer’s voice as he drops the ball and FIU takes it in for a touchdown the other way.
September 2nd- Tim Zaleski whiffs on fake punt
Wyoming Cowboys vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Poor kid. Tim Zaleski is a true freshman, playing in his first ever college football game against Iowa, a team with a pretty stout defensive unit. Not to mention this game is being played in Iowa City, so it’s probably a hostile environment. In his attempt to transfer the ball out onto his dropping hand, Zaleski just plain ol’ misses it, and his attempt to take a whack at the ball in desperation is comical. Iowa would win the game 24-3, so it’s safe to assume that Zaleski had many more chances to punt that ball during the game. I don’t think any would be as traumatic as this one, though.
December 2nd- Stop dropping the ball before the line, guys.
Florida Atlantic Eagles vs. North Texas Mean Green
If I were Lane Kiffin, I would be upset, too. I’ve seen too many of these already (most of them from last year) to put another one of these in the top 15. Please take a watch and see what NOT to do as John Franklin III looks poised to score on a long touchdown pass, but drops the ball in celebration before the goal line.
May 26th- Trayce Thompson lets ball bounce off glove and over for a walk-off HR
Minor League Baseball: Oklahoma City Dodgers vs. Albuquerque Isotopes
Trayce Thompson is one of those guys who bounces around between the majors and minors. He’s played in some games for the Dodgers, and he’s even hit a few home runs before. The dude has professional experience. And maybe you can’t blame him for this one- maybe it’s that stupid hill in centerfield- but I certainly can. Open your glove, sir. Just because you’re in the minors doesn’t mean you can slack off! This one bounces in and out of his glove and over the fence for a walk off home run to win the game for the Isotopes.
October 23rd- Venice Marathoners led the wrong way by motorcycle
This is just cold. And despite all the other entries on this list, this really is one that makes you say “oh, no!” To be running a marathon and then to be led in the wrong direction? As if 26.2 miles in a straight line weren't easy enough. This is just adding insult to injury. I’m sure the guy didn’t mean to do it on purpose, but, like, have some signage out, folks.
The Top 15:
15. April 26th- You're not being the ball, Tampa.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles
Cue the circus music. The Rays for some reason have this tendency to throw the ball around way too much. This is apparent as both Alex Cobb and Kevin Kiermaier make throwing errors, allowing Ryan Flaherty and Seth Smith to score on this little league home run.
14. September 24th- Bears fumble after blocked kick return, get untimed down anyway
Chicago Bears vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Every player should be forced to watch Super Bowl highlights of Leon Lett fumbling against the Buffalo Bills. If Marcus Cooper hadn’t slowed down before crossing the goal line, Pittsburgh would have been down by 14 heading into halftime, and this game probably wouldn’t have ended the way it did. But Cooper did slow down, allowing Vance McDonald to knock the ball out of the endzone. In theory, this should be a touchback or a safety. Instead, some kind of inexplicable illegal bat call against the Steelers (who, at the time of the runback, then became the defense, making the bat out of the endzone an illegal touch) gave the Bears an untimed down at the spot of Cooper’s fumble. Thankfully the Bears won this game in overtime, but it shouldn’t have come down to that. Don’t slow down before you cross the line. It’s that simple. (Also, the Bears kicked a field goal on that one untimed down, in case you were wondering).
13. May 28th- Alex Jones hits home run that caroms off two outfielders
Minor League Baseball: Greensboro Grasshoppers vs. Knnapolis Intimidators
The announcer doesn’t do it justice, but the fact that this bounces off two outfielders (Joel Booker and Jamison Fisher) and over a fence that’s probably 9 feel high is ridiculous. I’m not even mad, I’m just impressed as to how Alex Jones managed to draw it up that way.
12. January 1st- "What are the Bills doing?"
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Kickoffs are not punts. Kickoffs. Are not. Punts. And it’s especially true that kickoffs are not punts when they roll into the endzone. You have to down the ball on a kickoff. How these professional athletes don’t know this is beyond me. This is from Week 17 of last season, but it still deserves revisiting. Watch as Mike Gillislee acts as if he wants to go after the ball but pulls away once it reaches the end zone. Unfortunately, the ball is still live, and Doug Middleton falls on it for a Jets touchdown.
11. May 8th & 11th- Kevin Kiermaier causes inside the park homer for Royals... twice.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals
To have this happen once is unfortunate. To have this happen twice to the same player against the same team in a span of four days is absurd. Kevin Kiermaier is a two-time Gold Glove winner, but he had a rough go of it against the Royals earlier this May. On the 8th, Lorenzo Cain hit a ground ball into center, which skipped underneath the centerfielder’s glove; Cain would circle the bases as the ball rolled all the way to the wall. The Royals would win that game 7-3.
Three days later, Kiermaier would bite the bullet again, as Whit Merrifield hit what looked like a single into center, only for that ball to get by him as Merrifield also circled the bases. The Royals would win that game, 6-0. Tough break for Kiermaier, who is typically found robbing guys of home runs in centerfield.
10. April 1st- Oregon can't rebound, loses to North Carolina
NCAA Final Four, Oregon Ducks vs. North Carolina
Jordan Bell was Oregon’s best rebounder, and he is the one staring at the flight of the ball in the closing seconds of this Final Four game between Oregon and North Carolina. If only he had focused and boxed out, Oregon may have had a chance to win. With 5.5 seconds to go and the Tarheels up 77-76, UNC’s Kennedy Meeks stepped to the free throw line and missed both his free throws, his second one careening off the rim into the air. Instead of boxing out Theo Pinson, he didn’t really do anything, allowing Pinson to tip the ball out to a waiting Joel Berry, who was fouled with 4 seconds to go. Berry missed both of his free throws as well. This time it was Meeks who was able to nudge Bell into the lane and come up with a second rebound, dishing it out to Pinson, who ran out the clock for the Tarheels, advancing them to their second straight National Championship. UNC missed four straight free throws in the last five seconds, and Oregon couldn’t rebound. It’s a little pathetic.
9. May 17th- Alexander Egger puts one in his own net
IIHF World Championships
Italy was never going anywhere in this tournament, but own goals are the worst things ever. Late in the 3rd period of this pool play game between Denmark and Italy, both teams are pretty much playing for pride. Italy is pretty much on the road to relegation, but maybe a draw against Denmark will lift spirits for the troops. Down 1-0 with less than two minutes to play and the goaltender pulled, Italy’s Luca Frigo passes in his own zone to Alexander Egger, a 38-year old veteran. Egger lost his footing, shoveling the puck into his own empty net. Hopefully this isn’t the final stroke on Egger’s long career.
8. Luka Pibernik celebrates too early with one lap to go
I feel like many of the entries on this list have a theme: don’t be a showboat, and don’t celebrate too early. If you’re wrong, it makes you look like a jackass. This is just the case for Luka Pibernik, who was in the lead of the fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia. After riding for upwards of three hours, you’d probably be spent too. As such, the Slovenian spread his arms in victory after crossing the start finish line, with no other riders within a few bike lengths of him. The problem- there was one lap left. He had another 3.7 miles to ride and didn’t realize it, thinking that his previous lap was his last, and probably left all of his energy on the track during that last lap. The guy went from first place and a stage win and fell to 148th place. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that happen before, someone falling that far back after a showboat.
7. December 17th- "The receiver did not survive the ground," and the catch rule
New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
So, here. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it was a catch or it wasn’t a catch. I’m only going to use this as another example of how the NFL needs to get its shit together. Sure, maybe Jesse James should have maintained possession of the ball more solidly. But this is far too many times now where some stupid rule has prevented players that make catches from making catches. I am of this mindset on the Jesse James matter: Even if the play was not ruled a catch, the Steelers still had more time to punch the ball in against the Patriots, maybe even kick a field goal and send it to overtime. But they didn’t. Still, though. Change the rule, NFL. Do something.
6. February 23rd- Ashley Deary gets tied up in tying her shoe
Northwestern Huskies vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
I don’t really know what Ashley Deary was thinking here. This isn’t an NBA game where you can seemingly order takeout while trying to inbound the ball. If you want to take some time for yourself and tie your shoe, do it before the play starts or on the sidelines! If you’re going to do it on the floor, don’t try and dribble the ball while you tie your shoe, because an opposing player will steal it from you and score. I’m also not sure if that was an attempt to get her feet set to try and draw a charge, but I’m laughing.
5. October 24- Goalie celebrates early after ball hits crossbar, but spins back into net
Bangkok Sports Club vs. Satri Armstrong
Say it with me: “Don’t celebrate too early.” This is exactly what happened during this club soccer match in Thailand. With both clubs tied 19-19 and headed into a penalty shootout, one of the players for BSC took his shot and connected with the crossbar, the ball skying into the air. The goalkeeper for Satri Armstrong begins to run toward his bench to celebrate, arms extended in the air. But when the ball comes down, it still has an incredible amount of spin, and bounces backwards across the line and into the netting, counting as a good goal. This play has enough ridiculous things in it to be considered for both the best and worst of the year. Satri would miss its next penalty kick, sealing the victory for Bangkok Sports Club. To make matters worse, this was a semi-final game for the two clubs. I couldn’t find any names attached to this homemade clip, but I think it really exemplifies the thrill of victory combined with the agony and embarrassment of defeat.
4. April 21st-May 4th: The Red Sox-Orioles feud gets ugly
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
We’re about to get serious now, bear with me.
It all started with a slide, and it only got uglier from there. Manny Machado slid into second base, spikes up, catching Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia. While Boston manager John Farrell said the slide was late, Pedroia downplayed the incident. Machado even said the action was unintentional, and apologized to Pedroia after the game. After a close game the next day, Pedroia went in for an MRI, leaving his Red Sox teammates to exact some revenge, of sorts, the next day. With a comfortable six-run lead, Red Sox P Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head. The ball hit the bat instead, and Barnes was immediately ejected from the game. While Pedroia tried to make amends with Machado that same day, his good intentions didn’t have much effect in the long run.
A few weeks later, the Red Sox and Orioles met again in the first week of May, this time at Fenway Park. Leading up to the series, former Red Sox pitcher and MLB analyst Pedro Martinez noted that he would have beaned Machado had he been on the mound. Pedroia also tried to cool the tensions between the two clubs. It didn’t matter. Things only got worse.
May 1st- The Orioles and Red Sox are in a dog fight, with Baltimore up 2-0. Machado has already hit a home run and played a good game defensively. But this feud is about more than just the two original players involved. Orioles started Dylan Bundy hit Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts with a pitch, triggering the boos in Boston. And then there was Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who was subjected to racial slurs and having a bag of peanuts thrown at him from the Boston fans. There was, naturally, a negative reaction throughout the baseball world.
May 2nd- Manny Machado says the tension has “been over.” Adam Jones receives a standing ovation from the Fenway crowd before his first at bat. Chris Sale is on the mound for the Red Sox, their no-nonsense new ace pitcher. He strikes Jones out on three pitches. Up comes Machado, and Sale throws behind him, prompting a warning from the umpire to both benches. Machado gets his revenge on Sale later in the game with a home run- but was less than pleased with the Red Sox after the game.
And then came the ejections.
Before the game on May 3rd, commissioner Rob Manfred issued a stern warning to both managers, saying “enough is enough.” Didn’t help when you had players being ejected left and right. Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman plunked Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts with a pitch. He was ejected immediately, sparking outrage from the Orioles bench. Adam Jones was also ejected for arguing balls and strikes later in the game.
Finally, on May 4th, all seemed to be back to normal. The Red Sox were pretty much silenced throughout the game, as Machado was back to his old offensive powerhouse self, hitting a homerun in an 8-3 Baltimore victory. I can’t help but think that there was a lot of stuff in this feud that really shouldn’t have happened. I’m not sure if players are trying to make mountains out of mole hills, or trying to fight battles they shouldn’t fight, or trying to stir up a rivalry that just isn’t there. But let’s hope that the parties involved have learned their lessons- on all fronts.
3. September 9th- 3rd & 93: Louisiana Tech loses 87 yards on 2nd and goal
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. MIssissippi State Bulldogs
I tried this in Madden once. To try to do something like 1st and goal from my own 1 yard line and see how far I could get. Of course, that was what you could do with “situation mode” in a video game. I never thought I’d see it actually happen for real. To watch a play slowly devolve into one team fumbling the ball back, and back, and back, until it stops at its own 7 is one thing. To have been at the opponent’s 6 the play before is quite another. Watch as Louisiana Tech does just that, and the you can feel the announcers hands covering their eyes. This thing has like seven fumbles in it. And it results in a 3rd and 93. THIRD AND NINETY-THREE. Cue the wacky music.
Speaking of which, here it is again, paired with some wacky music. Just because.
2. October 10th- United States MNT fails to qualify for World Cup
United States vs. Trinidad and Tobago
For the first time since 1986, the United States will not be participating in the FIFA World Cup. Think about how far the sports of soccer has come in just the last 25 years. Major League Soccer has evolved into a truly national game with huge television packages and an even larger following of fans, with teams even spreading to Canada and Mexico. People have come to actually recognize American players like Jozy Altidore, Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Taylor Twellman, and even newcomers like Christian Pulisic. And with a humiliating defeat against 99th-ranked Trinidad, the United States will really need to rethink its approach to soccer if the sport is ever going to deserve the investments it’s received in the last quarter century.
The loss to Trinidad is even more shocking due to the fact that the small island had no chance of making the trip to Russia in 2018. The US had an all-time record of 18-2-4 against Trinidad before the contest in October. Even with a loss, there was still some hope for the U.S.- draws/losses by Panama and Honduras to Costa Rica and Mexico, respectively.
It was not so. Honduras came from behind to beat Mexico 3-2, and Panama beat Costa Rica on a goal in the 88th minute by Ramon Torres.
Even after the departure of Jurgen Klinsmann and the re-arrival of Bruce Arena, there are many questions left to be answered for the Americans. How far back does this loss set soccer in the U.S.? Taylor Twellman had a really great rant on ESPN that I think sums it up best.
1. February 5th- 28-3
Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
Golden State Warriors, you’re officially off the hook. The Atlanta Falcons have officially topped you. While it isn’t the biggest comeback in NFL history or in playoff history, it is certainly the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history- in the span of two halves of football, the fortunes of both the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots shifted like night and day.
A solid first few drives to get into the endzone on a run by Devonta Freeman. Another finishing with a 19-yard strike to Austin Hooper to go up 14-0. An interception of Tom Brady (the greatest quarterback to ever live) returned for a touchdown by Robert Alford to go up 21-0. It’s 21-3 at halftime. It’s 28-3 after your first possession of the third quarter. Twenty-eight. To three.
And then, inexplicably, it all changed.
The Patriots tagged you for 31 unanswered points. First came the sacks to push you out of field goal range. Then came the scores. Three touchdowns. Two two-point conversions. You even had Julio Jones bail you out with one of the most insane catches in Super Bowl history, seemingly to add to the history of crazy grabs to put the Patriots away.
Tyree. Manningham. Kearse. And now Jones.
Then you took a sack followed by a holding penalty. And they scored on you, and Julian Edelman made sure you felt the blow of a crazy catch to put you away.
And then the overtime. Not even a chance to touch the ball.
It was all over so soon.
Coming from a New England fan, once you brought your owner on the field in the 4th quarter, we knew it was over for you.
We could have talked about 28-3 about some mythical stat- the score that slayed the mighty Patriots. No more goat, no more prospering cheaters, no more winning. 28-3.
Now we’ll only see 28-3 and see that the 3 is missing a 4 next to it.
This was the greatest Super Bowl of all time. At least you can always live with the fact that being a part of it is part of your long legacy of failure.
Patriots 34, Falcons 28 (OT).
What other sports moments this year made you say "oh no!" Leave a comment down below.
Also, check out According to Andrew's Best of 2017 spread HERE.
Top 10 Sports Moments of 2017
2017 in the world of sports was an extraordinary one. From top to bottom, we hit just about every range of emotion across just about every playing field. From comebacks to homecomings, from moments that made us stand up and cheer to those that made us shed a tear, 2017 is a year we won't soon forget.
Here are 2017's Top 10 moments in the world of sports.
February 5th- The Truth comes home
Paul Pierce ends final game in Boston with three pointer, gets standing ovation
Paul Pierce was a staple of the Boston Celtics for most of the 2000s. Even at their worst, the presence of “The Truth” always made the people happy, for some reason. He was the team’s leader during their classic series against the Eastern Conference Finals against the Nets in 2002. He was the leader when the first “Big Three” was assembled in 2008. He was a leader on the court, and in our hearts. When he left for Brooklyn along with Kevin Garnett, his absence was noticeable. This past year, when he returned for his final game in Boston, this time as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, the TD Garden fans let him know how much he was appreciated. As time ran out on what turned out to be a Celtics victory, Pierce pulled up from beyond the three point arc and drained a three before the final buzzer. Perfection. Postgame, the greatest Celtic to come along since Larry Bird kissed the Leprechaun embedded in center court, to a standing ovation from the crowd. A Boston icon receiving a truly legendary sendoff.
March 23rd- United States wins its first World Baseball Classic
Americans bring home crown with 8-0 rout of Puerto Rico
This championship win felt special. Maybe it was because there was no more arguing about player allegiances to countries, or clubs, or anything else. Maybe it was because the Americans had to survive through more than one elimination game. Maybe because it was its first title. But I think it was special mostly because it was a team that could anyone could get behind. You felt good rooting for these players. And when the team reached the finals against Puerto Rico, you felt something had to give. Pitcher Marcus Stroman was dazzling, throwing six no-hit innings in the championship. Stroman, who has never won a Cy Young Award, certainly pitched like it, as he all but silenced much of the Puerto Rican contingent at Dodger Stadium that night. As Stroman was pulled after giving up a double to Angel Pagan in the seventh inning, he was greeted with a standing ovation along with thunderous “U-S-A!” chants. You could tell there was something special about this team. And when the final out was recorded, and the players shared a group jump in front of the pitchers mound, it was clear that the WBC title was home where it belonged.
December 10th- Fitzgerald pads the resumé
Passes Randy Moss for 3rd on the all-time receiving list
Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most underrated players ever. He’s never won a Super Bowl, but he has continued to rack up yards and touchdowns of astronomical proportions. In his 13th season in the NFL, he has never won an MVP award. But he has been elected to the Pro Bowl 11 times, as well as led the league in receptions and touchdowns twice in each category. During a week 14 game against the Tennessee Titans, Fitzgerald had 44 yards of receiving through three quarters, but that was enough to put him past his long time friend and mentor Randy Moss for third on the all-time receiving yards list with 15,292. He now trails only Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice, but could very well pass Owens next season, as he currently sits less than 500 yards back of TO. A legendary accomplishment by a true veteran of the game.
September 6th- Tim Alexander delivers game ball at UAB's first home game
Stands from wheelchair despite being paralyzed in car accident
The University of Alabama-Birmingham football team is a strange thing. The program was cut in December of 2014, only to be reinstated this past fall. In its first game, the Blazers handily defeated Alabama A&M 38-7, in front of a record crowd of 45,212. It was UAB’s first football game in over 1,000 days. But before all that, before all the emotion of the game itself, there was a moment that was truly reflective of the spirit of UAB football’s journey. Tim Alexander was in a car accident back in 2006 that left him paralyzed. While never technically a part of the football team, Alexander was as close to the team as any player might have been. He developed a close friendship with coach Garrick McGee, and McGee allowed him to participate in team workouts. When the team was shut down in 2014, Alexander vowed to do everything in his power to help bring it back. With a new coach in Bill Clark, Alexander moved to a new position with the team, teaching effort and resilience. His title: Character Education Coach. This past September before the game against Alabama A&M, Alexander reminded us of his vow never to give up when, with the help of three rehab specialists, he arose out of his wheelchair and walked ten yards with the game ball before handing it to the referee. None of the players knew about it until after the game, many of whom were emotional upon finding out- but paired with the return of the program and the heart of Tim Alexander, September 6th was a truly special day for UAB football.
The Top 10:
10. September 2nd- USC blind long snapper Jake Olson snaps extra point
USC vs. Western Michigan
It was a regular opening weekend of college football. USC, expected to win their game against Western Michigan, had scored a touchdown to go up by three scores and put the game away with three minutes or so left. Olson, blind since he was 12 years old, entered the game to be the long snapper on the extra point. He had never played in a live game before this Saturday. At the age of 10, Olson had developed retinoblastoma, a cancer of the retina. His sight was gone by the age of 12. Still, Olson, a lifelong USC fan, would accompany the team through the tunnel from time to time (all this during the Pete Carroll era). He got into the school and made the football team as a walk on. Now, in the first week of the 2017 season, Olson got his moment. The snap was clean, the hold was good, and the kick was straight through the uprights. USC 49, Western Michigan 31. A very touching moment for an extraordinary young man.
9. June 11th- Penguins repeat as Stanley Cup Champions
Pittsburgh defeats Nashville 2-0 to win series in six games
First off, my heart goes out to the Nashville Predators for giving the defending champions all they could handle. They were a group that never should have been here in the first place, but gave us all an underdog to root for. They truly put Nashville on the pro hockey map. As for the current champions, 2017 saw a return to form for the Penguins, as they finished 2nd in the Metropolitan Division, but ultimately beat the rival Washington Capitals in seven games. They defeated the Ottawa Senators in another classic seven game series, finally winning on a double overtime goal by Chris Kunitz to go back to the Cup Final. In the Final against Nashville, the Penguins won the first two games at home, before going to Nashville and dropping the next two. However, goaltender Matt Murray did not allow a goal after game four, and Pittsburgh would win game five at home 6-0, and take the Cup-clinching game six, 2-0. In the sixth game, the game was scoreless until 1:32 left in the third, as former-Predator Patrick Hornquist scored to break the tie. Carl Hagelin would notch an empty-netter a few seconds later to seal the win for the Penguins. Captain Sidney Crosby would become the first player since Penguins owner Mario Lemieux to win back-to-back Conn Smythe trophies, and the Penguins would be the first team since the 1996-97 and 97-98 Detroit Red Wings.
8. August 14th- Chad Bettis' first game back after cancer battle
Tosses seven shutout innings vs. Braves
In November of 2016, Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer. In March of this year, he started undergoing chemotherapy after the disease had spread to his lymph nodes. Still, through all the treatments and all the waiting and the praying, Bettis took them one at a time. He worked his way back into the minors starting in the early summer, and finally made his way back to Denver and into the Rockies rotation. On August 14th, amidst a flurry of emotions from Bettis, his family, his team, the Atlanta Braves, and the fans around him and watching elsewhere, Bettis put on a performance for the ages. He pitched seven shutout innings in his first start, dominating the Braves from top to bottom. While he left with a no decision, the Rockies won the game, 3-0. But the only score that really mattered was this: Chad Bettis 1, Cancer 0.
7. September 10th- Sloane Stephens wins U.S. Open
Becomes first American woman not named Williams to win Grand Slam title in 15 years
We had someone other than a Williams sister win the U.S. Open this year. Sloane Stephens, the 24-year old from Coral Springs, Florida, defeated Madison Keys in straight sets this past September to claim the U.S. Open title. Stephens would win 6-3, 6-0, making her the first American Grand Slam champion other than Venus or Serena in 15 years. But the road did not come easy for Sloane, who had been sidelined with a foot injury 11 months prior. She made her return at Wimbledon, but was quickly defeated in the first round. A month before the U.S. open, she was ranked outside the top 900 in the world. And yet, all in the span of a few weeks, the young American was able to shock the world, upsetting Venus Williams to reach the final, and then defeating fellow American Keys in straight sets. There’s a great video floating around of Stephens discovering just how much money she had won ($3.7 million) for the tournament. Her reaction is priceless. She’s projected to rise to 17th in the world, and one can only wonder what the lies in store for her down the road.
6. November 1st- Houston Strong
Astros win first World Series title in franchise history
The Astros weren’t just playing to win a title- they were playing for their entire city. We’ve seen this happen before. Take the Yankees during the 2001 playoffs- helping the city of New York come together through a thrilling run to a World Series. In 2013 the same happened in Boston, as the Red Sox helped guide the city out of the despair of the Marathon bombings, to ultimately win the World Series that October. Houston was no different. After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the Astros buckled down and showed just how strong their city was. They acquired Justin Verlander in a last minute trade. The offense exploded behind Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa. They defeated an overmatched Red Sox team and a surprising Yankee team. And in one of the greatest World Series showdowns of all time, highlighted by one of the greatest World Series games of all time, the Astros defeated the LA Dodgers to win it all. Sports have the power to do that sometimes. They can take your mind off of all the bad stuff in this world, and bring people together behind a common goal- to call your team the best. Houston Strong, indeed.
5. March 31st- Mississippi State ends UConn's winning streak
Morgan William hits buzzer-beater in overtime
111 games is a long time. I mean, it’s miniscule in terms of the fact that UConn has won over 400 games in the last 10 years to go along with six national titles. But 111 wins in a row is a long time. When the Huskies entered the Final Four against Mississippi State, no one really gave the Bulldogs a chance to win the game. The last time these two teams played, UConn won by 60. SIXTY. But, this was a different year, and the Bulldogs were poised to change their fortunes. With the score tied at 60 and time running down, Morgan William drove to the hole to try to bank home a game-winning, streak ending layup, only to be denied by UConn’s Gabby Williams, who in this game was outstanding: 21 points, eight rebounds, two steals and four blocks. As such, the game went to overtime tied at 60. In overtime, with the game tied at 64 apiece, Morgan William got the final shot for Mississippi State. The 5’5” junior pulled up on a jump shot from 15 feet and nailed it as the buzzer sounded. The team (and, let’s face it, everyone outside the state of Connecticut) exploded in celebration, as they had ended the streak at 111 games, and advanced to the National Championship against South Carolina. William was the shortest player on the floor. This game was played on the third anniversary of her father’s death. And this shot will be remembered for much longer than the next 111 games that UConn plays.
4. November 12th- Marquise Goodwin honors son after scoring touchdown
49ers vs. Giants
There are a lot of layers to this one. The San Francisco 49ers’ season has been abysmal to this point. Before the acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo, this team hadn’t won a game all season. And while the team has some good young talent, there hadn’t been anything to show for it. Marquise Goodwin is one of those talents. He’s got good speed and decent hands, but he hadn’t had a coming out party until this one. In a 10 matchup between the 49ers and the stagnant New York Giants, Goodwin finally staked his claim. Early in the 2nd quarter, 49ers QB C.J. Bethard connected with Goodwin on an 83-yard touchdown strike, putting the Niners up by 4 and igniting the crowd for the time being. Goodwin, after making the catch and getting into open field, pointed toward the sky, and upon scoring, fell to a knee and appeared to cross himself and say a prayer, eventually crumpling to the ground. His teammates were there to pick him up, but it was obvious that Goodwin was shaken. He was seen on the sidelines pointing to the sky more than a few times. It was not apparent to anyone in the moment, but postgame, Goodwin quickly left without addressing the media. He revealed on instagram a few hours later that he and his wife had lost their newborn son earlier that morning after complications during pregnancy. I can imagine this is an emotional release for Goodwin on many levels. A kind of coping, but also a sort of dedication. Either way, it’s heavy. Read up on the whole story. I can guarantee you someone will be magically cutting onions in the next room.
3. Patriots mount massive comeback, defeat Falcons in epic Super Bowl
Score 31 unanswered points, win 34-28 in overtime
When Robert Alford picked off Tom Brady and returned the interception for a touchdown to put the Falcons up 21-0, all hope was lost.
No team had ever overcome a deficit of more than 10 in a Super Bowl before.
But this was Tom Brady. These were the New England Patriots. After all, they were the ones to come back from down 10 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks. But this was an even greater deficit, and the Atlanta Falcons seemed unstoppable on offense.
With 2:06 left in the 3rd quarter, down 28-3, James White scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Brady, bringing the score to 28-9. Stephen Gostkowski would miss the extra point, but connect on a 33-yard field goal with 9:44 to play.
The defense forced a key turnover against Matt Ryan and the Falcons, forcing a fumble and recovering at the Atlanta 25-yard line. With 5:56 to go, Brady hit Danny Amendola for a 6-yard touchdown reception. James White added the extra point, and the Patriots were down by a score with under six minutes to play.
All they had to do was get the ball back from Atlanta. It didn’t come easy.
First was the 39-yard dump-and-run to Devonta Freeman. Then came Julio Jones, who made an incredible toe-tapping catch at the New England 22. All seemed lost.
But then, the football gods swung momentum back the other way.
Ryan took a sack on the two plays later to make it 3rd and 23 back at the New England 32. The next play was a 9-yard gain for Mohamed Sanu, but it was marred by an offensive holding penalty, pushing Atlanta out of field goal range at the New England 42. One incomplete pass later, and the Patriots got the ball back.
All it would take would be their longest drive of the season, 91 yards. After two incompletions, Brady connected with Chris Hogan on a 16-yard gain, and then hit rookie Malcolm Mitchell for 11-yards.
And then there was Julian Edelman, who made a spectacular catch to keep the drive alive after it was tipped up in the air by Robert Alford, who made the interception against Brady earlier in the game.
Three plays later, James White scored from one yard out to put New England within two. Danny Amendola added a two-point conversion on a pass from Brady, and the game was tied with under a minute to go.
We would go to overtime. I think you know the rest.
Brady drives New England down the field with mastery, picking apart the exhausted Atlanta defense. James White adds the touchdown to win New England a fifth Super Bowl title.
There were some of us that gave up. I think it’s safe to say that Tom Brady and the Patriots were not some of those people.
2. October 10th- Love and hockey in Las Vegas
Golden Knights honor victims and first responders at inaugural home opener
The NHL got a new team this year, and the stakes could not have been higher for this Golden Knights. On October 1st, a gunman tragically took 58 lives when he opened fire on a crowd exiting a concert in Las Vegas. Like any city suffering a major tragedy, especially one as severe as a mass shooting, the people need to heal. Sometimes gathering together in a sports arena and cheering on a team representing your city is the best way to assuage some of the bereavement. The Golden Knights’ first two games took place on the road, both of them wins against the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes. Now, in their first game at their new home, the Golden Knights had a chance to become the first expansion team ever to win their first three games in their existence.
Pregame was stunning. The Coyotes were booed when they first appeared on the ice, but were cheered when they lined up behind the Golden Knights for an honoring of the first responders, as well as those lost in the tragedy.
There was a 58-second moment of silence to remember the victims.
After the emotional pregame ceremony of this inaugural home opener, it was time for hockey.
And boy, did Vegas show the world it meant business.
2:30 into the game, Tomas Nosek put one underneath the left pad of Antti Raanta to put Vegas up 1-0 and send T-Mobile Arena into a frenzy.
90 seconds later, it was Deryk Engelland. 2-0, Vegas.
At the 6:15 mark, James Neal made it 3-0. Four minutes later, he added a second on the power play.
Four goals in the first 10:42. A 5-2 statement victory for the Golden Knights.
A golden night for the Golden Knights, the sport of hockey, and especially the city of Las Vegas.
1. September 25th- NFL players take a stand and kneel
Widespread national anthem protests after inflammatory presidential remarks
“NFL must respect this!” tweeted the president.
“Nah,” said the athletes as they knelt together in solidarity.
This all begins with Colin Kaepernick, who chose to sit during the national anthem in the later weeks of the 2015 season, drawing scrutiny from news analysts and political pundits for “disrespecting the flag.” He was followed by a minimal showing of support from his fellow players, but not as widespread as what we saw this past season.
With the election of Donald Trump, and this supposed revitalization of patriotism, the country seems to be out to get these athletes using their platform to draw attention to the injustices being shown by law enforcement officers against persons of color.
Late this past September, Trump’s tweet tirade finally reached the pro sports world, calling for NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who knelt during the national anthem.
NFL players, coaches, and owners weren’t about that.
That week, more than a dozen NFL teams chose to show their support for the cause and for their fellow teammates, as they took a knee during the anthem.
Jerry Jones joined his Cowboys on the field as they knelt and locked arms.
Other teams like the Patriots, Texans and Chargers did the same. Even the Jaguars and Ravens, who played in London that week, knelt during the American national anthem.
Other teams like the Steelers chose to stay in the locker room, save for individuals like Alejandro Villanueva, a former army ranger, who stood just inside the locker room.
Many other teams delivered statements in disagreement with the president’s words.
In a league that expects much more from its players in terms of conformity, it is extraordinary how this movement has gone from one player to encompass almost the entire league. While some teams have tried to quell the movement, the idea of players serving their communities and helping to bring attention to something very real makes one of this year’s great stories.
2017 in the sports world was full of some great moments. What was your favorite? Let us know in the comments down below.
Check out the rest of According to Andrew's Best of 2017 spread HERE.
Top 15 Games of 2017
My, my, my, do we have a lot to look back on in sports in 2017? This year was insane. This year gave us shocking upsets, heartbreaking defeats, stunning comebacks, and memories that will last a long, long time.
I gave you ten of the best sports game from 2016 last year. Because this is my blog and I can do whatever I want, I'm giving you the fifteen best games from 2017, because this year was just too packed with great contests to select only ten.
These are the games that we remembered most from 2017.
May 21st- NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Game 3
Boston Celtics 111, Cleveland Cavaliers 108
If you look up in the big sports dictionary the definition of the phrase “stealing a game,” you’ll find the Boston Celtics in the third game of the Eastern Conference Finals. With Cleveland up 2-0 after decimating the hopelessly overmatched Celtics in Boston (winning game two by an NBA playoff record 44 points), and the Celtics without their star Isaiah Thomas, lost to injury in the blowout, one would think the series would be over with the next three games in Cleveland. One would be wrong. The Celtics, down by as many as 21 in the game, would storm back to tie the game with 10 seconds to play. A perfectly drawn up play left Avery Bradley open to hit the game winning three with .1 seconds left to play. LeBron, Kyrie and the Cavs would beat the Celtics in five games, but this win certainly saved Boston some pride before their playoff exit.
October 29th- NCAA Football, Week 8
Ohio State Buckeyes 39, Penn State Nittany Lions 38
Yeah, I didn’t think Ohio State had a prayer as soon as Saquon Barkley returned the game’s opening kick off 97 yards for a Penn State touchdown, and especially not after they went down 21-3 at the start of the 2nd quarter. However, the Buckeyes were able to keep the game manageable against their Big Ten rivals, narrowing it to no more than a two score game for much of the second half. Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett was stellar, going 33 of 39 with 329 yards and 4 touchdown passes, the final one to Marcus Baugh with 1:19 left to play to put the Buckeyes up by one. With possible College Football Playoff implications for both teams, this game lived up to all the hype from pre-season, and saved Ohio State’s season.
March 24th- NCAA Tournament, East Regional Semifinal (Sweet 16)
Florida Gators 84, Wisconsin Badgers 83 (OT)
In the only NCAA Tournament game that had a bona fide buzzer-beater, you knew it had to go somewhere on this list. The back and forth contest Wisconsin wiping out an 8-point Florida lead with only 2:10 left to go in regulation. With two quick layups by Ethan Happ and Zac Showalter, and a three by Bronson Koenig, the Badgers found themselves down by three with only six seconds left to play. Out of a timeout, Showalter sank a three just before the buzzer to send it to OT. With under 30 seconds to go and Wisconsin up 81-79, Badgers forward Khalil Iverson headed toward the basket, only to find himself stuffed at the rim by Canyon Barry, who himself had made two free throws seconds ago, keeping Florida in the game. After both teams traded baskets, Florida’s Chris Chiozza turned into a March Madness legend by charging down the court with under five seconds left, and knocking down a three at the buzzer to win it for the Gators, sending them to the Elite 8. This game put the “Madness” in “March Madness.”
May 2nd- NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 7
Boston Celtics 129, Washington Wizards 119
Kelly Olynyk came out of nowhere for the Celtics in this game seven, scoring a career-playoff high 26 points, 14 of them in the fourth quarter, as Boston defeated Washington to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The game was fairly close through three quarters, with Washington leading by two at the half. But the Celtics bench outscored their counterparts 43-5, and shooting 8 of 13 from 3 point range in the second half. Isaiah Thomas, who, a day before game two of the series tragically lost his sister (and then proceeded to light up the scoreboard with 53 points in an overtime win) led the Celtics with 26 points.
The Top 15:
15. NFL, Week 3
Los Angeles Rams 41, San Francisco 49ers 39
Before the Rams were the Rams we know right now, they were 1-1 through the first two games of the season. The 49ers were 0-2. And the two NFC West opponents met on a Thursday night, which is typically reserved as a game no one wants to watch. Raise your hand if you expected this to be the best game of the NFL season to this point. This one had it all. A show of two offenses firing on all cylinders, some special teams gaffes, a great comeback, and a recovered onside kick for good measure. The Rams held the lead early and often, as Todd Gurley rushed for three touchdowns in the first half. The 49ers had some help of their own thanks to a muffed punt, and some great catches by Pierre Garcon. In the 4th, with Los Angeles up 41-26, The Niners scored to make it a one possession game with roughly five minutes to play. The Rams would fumble the ensuing kickoff, leading to another San Francisco touchdown with 2:48 to go. A failed 2-point conversion kept the game at 41-39. Then came the onside kick- which the Niners would recover, giving the San Francisco faithful one last gasp of hope.
Unfortunately, Brian Hoyer would take a sack on 4th and 20, sealing the victory for Los Angeles. Seriously, check out the highlights the NFL won't let me embed on this website. Business picks up REAL quick.
14. The Masters, Final Round
Sergio Garcia vs. Justin Rose
Sergio Garcia almost didn’t win another major and all was almost right with the world. After he carded back-to-back bogeys on 10 and 11, leaving Justin Rose two strokes ahead, everyone thought “well, here comes the old Sergio, choking the moment away when it matters most.” But man, if there’s two things I love in golf, it’s a good grinder, and some solid back-and-forth action down the stretch. On 13, Sergio hit a shot that left him a bad lie, but managed to save par thanks to a spectacular up-and-down from 89 yards out. Then came a birdie on 14, leaving him only one back of Rose. Rose would birdie the par-5 15th, bringing him to 9-under par for the tournament. Garcia managed to eagle the hole to pull even, his first eagle in 452 holes at Augusta National. Rose would card another birdie on 16 but a bogey on 17, and the two traded pars at 18, setting the stage for a sudden-death playoff. Garcia actually had a chance to win, but missed a five-footer that would have given him his green jacket. After Rose had a bad drive on the playoff hole, Garcia took advantage, this time knocking down that five-footer to win the Masters for the first time.
13. January 5th- NFC Divisional Playoff
Green Bay Packers 34, Dallas Cowboys 31
Originally, this game was not close, with Green Bay jumping out to a 21-3 lead, leaving many to wonder just how long Dallas’ run of luck with rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would last. However, thanks to one muffed punt, and another forced three-and-out, Dallas was able to cut the score to 21-13 by halftime. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers downfield to a score quickly after halftime, and the Green Bay defense forced a quick three-and-out on Dallas’ next possession. However, thanks to an interception by Dallas safety Jeff Heath, Dak Prescott was able to lead the Cowboys 69 yards, capping it off with a touchdown pass to Jason Witten, making the score 28-20 with 11:39 to go. Dallas would score again, with Prescott making a two-point conversion to tie the game at 28. Mason Crosby’s 56-yard field goal put Green Bay up 31-28 with 1:38 left, but Dallas quickly drove down the field to the Green Bay 35-yard line, setting up Dan Bailey’s game-tying 51-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining. Following a touchback, Rodgers completed a 17-yard pass to Ty Montgomery, but then took a 10-yard sack on the next play. On a 3rd and 20, with 12 seconds to play and only one timeout remaining, Rodgers threw a 35-yard strike to Jared Cook, who was able to keep both feet in bounds, putting the Packers at the Dallas 35 with 3 seconds remaining. Crosby nailed the 51-yard field goal, sending the Packers to the NFC Championship game.
12. June 5th- Women's College World Series, Game 1
Oklahoma Sooners 7, Florida Gators 5 (17 innings)
17 innings is almost two full-length baseball games rolled into one. In softball, it’s more than two. The first game of this year’s Women’s College World Series only got more intense as the marathon contest progressed. With two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the 7th inning, and Oklahoma up 2-1, Florida’s Sophia Reynoso was able to bring in Alesia Ocasio from first on a bloop single, setting up extra innings. Florida would again extend the game while down to its last strike in the 12th inning, down 4-2, as Amanda Lorenz would knock in two more runs off the Sooners’ original starter Paige Lowray. Lowray would pitch 10.1 innings and throw 139 pitches in this game. Oklahoma loaded the bases in the 15th and 16th, but failed to score. In the top of the 17th, however, Oklahoma’s Shay Knighten hit a three-run shot to put the Sooners up for good, 7-4 the final. The five-and-a-half hour marathon saw all four pitches in the game throw over 100 pitches on the night. Oklahoma would take game two as well, knocking off the top-seeded Gators to win the Women’s College World Series.
11. October 25th- World Series, Game 2
Houston Astros 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 6 (11 innings)
Game one of the World Series lasted a mere two hours and 28 minutes. Game two would last four hours and 19 minutes, a record for an extra innings World Series game. The contest would feature eight home runs, another World Series record. And for the Astros, this game would make even more history, as the club won its first World Series game in its history. The game started off relatively tame, as the Dodgers jumped out to a 3-1 lead by the end of the 6th inning, poised to go up 2-0 headed back to Houston. In the top of the 8th, with Dodgers close Kenley Jansen on the mound, the Astros managed to pull within a run after Carlos Correa’s single to bring in Alex Bregman. In the 9th, Marwin Gonzales would homer off Jansen to tie the game, sending it to extras. Next, it would be the Dodgers’ turn to come from behind, as the Astros would add two more in the top of the 10th on back-to-back home runs from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. The Dodgers evened the score on a home run by Yasiel Puig, and then a single from Enrique Hernandez after a walk and a wild pitch from Ken Giles. Again, in the 11th, the Astros pulled ahead by two runs after a George Springer two-run shot to dead center. The Dodgers came up just short after Charlie Culberson’s home run to make it 7-6. Puig, who brought the Dodgers life in the previous frame, would strikeout to end the game. Series tied at one game apiece headed back to Houston. At the time, this game was considered to be the craziest World Series game ever. They hadn’t seen nothin’ yet.
10. July 10th- Wimbledon, Round of 16
Rafael Nadal vs. Gilles Müller
The Championships at Wimbledon are my favorite for some reason. Maybe it’s the traditional all-white attire from the players. Maybe it’s the prestige. Maybe it just takes place as a low-volume area of the sports calendar year. Regardless, it always somehow seems to create some great drama, none more compelling than this fourth round matchup between Rafael Nadal and Gilles Müller. Nadal, who missed the 2016 tournament and been eliminated early in 2015, was looking to make his way back to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011, when he lost in the finals to Novak Djokovic. Gilles Müller of Luxembourg had had a tremendous 2016, which landed him a draw of 16th in the tournament. In the match itself, Müller jumped out to a two-set lead, winning the first sets 6-3, 6-4, the first set highlighted by the ridiculous volley seen in the video. Nadal came back firing in the second two sets, also winning 6-3, 6-4. The decisive fifth set was nip-and-tuck, with Nadal and Müller pushing hard to gain an edge over the other. The set extended to 10-10, then 14-13 in favor of Müller. Müller finally put Nadal away with three quick points to win the final set 15-13 and advance to the quarterfinals.
9. NCAA Football, Week 5
Western Michigan Broncos 71, Buffalo Bulls 68
You read that correctly. Seven overtimes. SEVEN. A tied record for longest college football game by number of overtimes, and 139 total points put up between the two teams, with 77 of them coming during the overtime periods. One doesn’t normally consider Western Michigan or Buffalo to be the cream of the college football crop. However, based solely on the longevity of the game, this one makes the list. Buffalo came back from down 10 in the fourth quarter, and blocked a crucial field goal from Western Michigan that would have won the game for the Broncos as time expired on regulation. In overtime, it was like the two teams were trying to extend the game for as long as they could. In the 3rd overtime, Buffalo RB Theo Anderson coughed up the football at the 2-yard line, opening the door for Western Michigan. And just like that, Broncos kicker Josh Grant missed a 29-yarder, his second potential game winner of the afternoon. The teams again traded scores until the 7th overtime, when Buffalo went ahead on an Adam Mitcheson field goal to go up 68-65. Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin scored from 12 yards out to finally win the game for the Broncos. While neither team ended up in a bowl game this year, the 7-overtime contest between the two certainly makes its case for best college football game of 2017.
8. April 5th- Stanley Cup Playoffs, Western Conference Semifinals, Game 5
Anaheim Ducks 4, Edmonton Oilers 3 (2OT)
Four minutes. Three goals. Two overtimes. One winner. The Ducks, down 3-0 in the third period, made up the three-goal deficit in the last four minutes of regulation, and finally emerged victorious in double overtime. After a scoreless first period, the Oilers scored twice in the first three minutes of the second period, on a goal by Leon Draisaitl, and then by Oilers captain Conor McDavid on the power play. Edmonton would score again on a goal by Drake Caggiula. And while Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot stood on his head for the Oilers, marking up 64 saves in the contest, the Ducks’ resilience was too much during last minutes of the third period. After pulling goalie John Gibson for an extra attacker, Ryan Getzlaf finally got Anaheim on the board after a blast from the point. 3-1, Oilers with 3:16 to play. 35 seconds later, it was Cam Fowler from the slot. 3-2, Oilers. And finally, with 15 seconds to go, Rickard Rickell was able to squeak one underneath the left pad of Talbot to tie the game at 3 and send it to overtime. Three goals in 3:07. The game would remain scoreless until the double overtime period, when Corey Perry finally put one past Talbot to win game five for the Ducks. Even after losing game 6 in debilitating fashion, the Ducks were able to get the win in game 7, and move on to the Western Conference Finals, thanks to one of the greatest comebacks in Stanley Cup Playoff history.
7. October 7th- College Football, Week 1
UCLA Bruins 45, Texas A&M Aggies 44
I want you to imagine that you’re UCLA for a minute. You’re down 44-10 with 4:08 to go in the 3rd quarter. If you’re Josh Rosen, UCLA quarterback, you haven’t thrown a touchdown yet, and you’ve lost two fumbles. Texas A&M had as high as a 99.9% chance to win this game at one point. And yet, here we are. In another great comeback, Rosen led his Bruins back from down 34 points to win against Texas A&M. All four of Rosen’s touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter, the final one coming on a fake spike with 43 seconds remaining. In capping off the largest college football comeback since 2006, Rosen threw for 292 yards in the fourth quarter alone.
6. March 26th- NCAA Tournament, South Regional Final (Elite 8)
North Carolina Tarheels 75, Kentucky Wildcats 73
When the brackets were announced in mid-March, North Carolina and Kentucky were the two that everyone wanted to see. Many thought the Wildcats might be a no. 1 seed due to their SEC Tournament win and 35-6 regular season record (a better mark than their South Regional counterparts, who finished at 34-7 and did not win their conference championship). However, the two storied college basketball schools met for a chance to go to the Final Four. Earlier in the regular season, Kentucky beat North Carolina, 103-100. If you thought that game was close, this NCAA Tournament game would be a major treat. The Tarheels managed to keep Kentucky phenoms Malik Monk and D’Aaron Fox at bay, and led 37-33 at halftime. In the second half, Kentucky managed to get in front and stretched its lead to 64-59. North Carolina went on a run of its own, and made it 69-64 with two minutes to play. After Monk missed a three to force Kentucky to start fouling, the teams traded shots, and North Carolina’s lead stood at 73-70, with 10 seconds to play. Monk hit a three from the top of the arc to tie the game at 73, sending Kentucky fans into a state of delirium at the fact that they had a chance to win in a potential overtime. But on the ensuing fast break, North Carolina’s Luke Maye hit a long jumper with .2 seconds left to send the Tarheels to the Final Four.
5. January 2nd- Rose Bowl Game
USC Trojans 52, Penn State Nittany Lions 49
This game represented everything that was great about the Rose Bowl: two powerhouse franchises in an offensive dogfight that included a comeback, resulting in a crazy finish. This roller coaster contest saw over 1,000 yards of total offense from both teams. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley rushed for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns, while USC QB Sam Darnold threw for 453 yards and FIVE touchdowns. USC led 27-21 at halftime, but Penn State took over in the 2nd half, as the Nittany Lions jumped out to a two-score lead by the end of the 3rd, up 49-35. Darnold led USC on consecutive 80+ yard drives, both resulting in scores. The second drive only took 39 seconds, highlighted by two Penn State pass interference penalties to set up a 27-yard touchdown pass from Darnold to Deontay Burnett. On Penn State’s ensuing drive, QB Trace McSorley threw a costly interception on his own 33 yard line. USC kicker Matt Boermeester hit a 46-yard field goal at the gun to win the Rose Bowl for the Trojans.
4. August 27th- "The Fight of the Century"
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor
Forget Mayweather and Pacquiao- this was the fight of the century that actually lived up to the hype. You’ve got Floyd Mayweather, who at this point is a semi-retired undefeated champion boxer, against Conor McGregor, a man who made his name by running his mouth and backing it up with his fists in UFC. When McGregor threw out the challenge to Mayweather, many thought the fight wouldn’t last more than three rounds (mostly because both men bragged they could knock the other out inside of a round, but that’s neither here nor there). Surprisingly, McGregor held his own against Mayweather, landing more punches than Pacquiao did in his fight. The Irishman came out swinging in the first few rounds and it showed; many judges had McGregor winning the first few rounds against the undefeated Mayweather. However, as the fight went on, McGregor’s uneasiness in the ring showed, and he began to tire as Mayweather began to take over and wear him down, winning the next four rounds. McGregor showed some late fight in the 8th round, but Mayweather finally put him away in the 10th, winning via TKO. On a personal note, I had never been a fan of Conor McGregor before this fight. Seeing him be able to take a punch as well as dish it to a full-time professional boxer earned him my respect. And for once, we actually had a fight that lived up to (and probably surpassed) all expectations.
3. January 9th- College Football Playoff National Championship
Clemson Tigers 35, Alabama Crimson Tide 31
This was a rematch of last year’s National Championship, where Alabama defeated Clemson in a 45-40 heartbreaker. Dare I say this game surpassed that one? Clemson was down by double-digits twice in this game, but managed to battle back to keep the game within reach. Alabama’s rushing attack, led by Bo Scarborough got the Tide on the board first, and put them up 14-0 with a second rushing touchdown from 35 yards out in the second quarter. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson scored on a rushing touchdown of his own, making the score 14-7 at haltime. After an Alabama field goal and a Clemson touchdown, Bama’s lead was cut to three with seven minutes left in the 3rd. A major theme of this game was the hyper-dramatic back-and-forth swing, in which one team would catch a break, only for the momentum to swing the other way immediately. Scarborough left the game with an injury in the 3rd, a clear break for the Tigers, who were more or less unable to stop the run for a good chunk of the game. All seemed to be going Clemson’s way before Alabama’s QB Jalen Hurts connected with reciever OJ Howard on a 68-yard touchdown pass. 24-14, Tide. Then came the fourth quarter. Oh, the fourth quarter of this game. Watson leads the Tigers down the field to score a touchdown. 24-21, Alabama with 14 minutes to play. Ten minutes later, it’s Clemson again, as Wayne Gallman scored on a 1-yard rush to put Clemson up 28-24 with just over four minutes left. With Alabama on the ropes, facing a 3rd & 16 at their own 32, Hurts was able to find WR ArDarius Stewart for 15 yards, and then convert on 4th and 1. Hurts would eventually find the end zone on a 31-yard rush to put Alabama up 31-28 with 2:01 to play. Clemson began the game’s final drive on their own 36, but found their way all the way down to the Alabama 9 yard line with 14 seconds to play. Two plays later, a pass interference call on Alabama set the Tigers up with 1st and goal from the 2 with six seconds to play. With one second left, Watson found WR Hunter Renfrow in the front corner of the endzone to win the game 35-31 for Clemson.
2. October 29th- World Series, Game 5
Houston Astros 13, Los Angeles Dodgers 12 (10 innings)
I said last year that the 2016 World Series surpassed all expectations, and that the game seven played between the Cubs and Indians might be the greatest World Series game of all time. After watching this one, I can say that I was dead wrong. This 5 hour and 17 minute marathon was an instant classic- five ties, five lead changes, seven home runs, a blown save- this one had it all, and it was the most pivotal of the series, particularly for the Astros, who would have needed two wins in Los Angeles to win the series had they lost this game. Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, who had pitched well in game one against the Dodgers, left the game after 2⅔ innings, giving up four runs on five hits. In the fourth, the Astros scored four times to tie it, three of them coming on a home run by Yuli Gurriel. The Dodgers added three more in the fifth on a three-run shot by Cody Bellinger, only to see Jose Altuve tie it in the bottom half of the inning with a three-run homer of his own. Multiple three run deficits? No problem for these Astros. Through five innings, both Keuchel and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw were chased from the game, and we’re tied at seven. Bellinger again drove in a run to put the Dodgers up 8-7 in the top of the 7th, only to have George Springer hit a towering shot to left on his first pitch in the bottom of the inning. The Astros took their first lead of the night after Carlos Correa also went deep.
The Dodgers chipped away with a run in the 8th, but Brian McCann homered in the bottom half as well, keeping Houston’s lead at 11-8 heading into the 9th inning. Yasiel Puig hit a two-run home run for Los Angeles in the top of the 9th, which was the 22nd home run in the series, breaking the record for most home runs in a World Series, cutting the lead to 11-10. Down to their last strike, the Dodgers evened tied the game on an RBI single from Chris Barnes (because it wouldn’t be October without high drama). The Astros had their chance to win in the bottom of the ninth, but stranded a man at second. In the bottom of the 10th, however, the Astros put two men on after McCann was hit by a pitch, and Springer was walked on five pitches. Alex Bregman, the next batter, drove in pinch runner Derek Fisher to walk it off and give the Astros a 3-2 series lead. Houston would eventually win the series in seven games to claim its first ever World Series title, highlighted by one of the greatest World Series games ever played.
1. February 5th- Super Bowl LI
New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28 (OT)
Truth be told, this wasn’t much of a game until the end of the third quarter. The Patriots were down 28-3. Tom Brady had thrown a pick-six (something he had never done in a playoff game before). Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman looked incredible. It was all Atlanta, and it didn’t look like there was any letting up to be done.
And then, everything changed.
Sorta. I thought New England had a chance in this one when James White scored with 2:06 to play in the 3rd, and then I thought they didn’t when Stephen Gostkowski’s extra point attempt hit the upright. 28-9 with a full quarter left? I mean, I guess.
After another Gostkowski field goal to make it 28-12, I thought: “Down by 16. That’s two touchdowns and two two-point conversions. Good luck with that.”
And then there was the strip sack by Dont’a Hightower and the recovery by Alan Branch on the Atlanta 25.
After Brady’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola, I saw a glimpse of the ghost of Patriots’ past on the two point conversion: The direct snap play, a la Kevin Faulk, all the damn time. When that was the play that put New England only down 28-20, that was when I really started to believe.
And then, everything changed.
Freeman had a catch and run for 39 yards.
And then, Julio Jones made one of the most ridiculous catches of all time.
Of all time. To put Atlanta at the New England 22, in fact. All they had to do was run the ball, kick a field goal to go up 31-20 with less than five minutes to go, and that would have been it.
And then, everything changed (again).
Inexplicably, the Falcons kept trying to be fancy and pass the ball. And Ryan took a sack at the New England 35. On 3rd and 23, the Falcons took a holding penalty to push them out of field goal range. New England would get the ball back with 3:30 to go for a chance to tie the game.
But of course, nothing comes easy for these Patriots. They would have to go from their own 9 yard line (making the ensuing drive the longest they would have to complete all season) to have a chance. Brady made it interesting, of course, with two incompletions to start the drive, but converted on 3rd down with a pass to Chris Hogan, and followed it up with another mid-range pass to Malcolm Mitchell.
And then, there was Julian Edelman.
Brady almost had another pass intercepted by Robert Alford. Thankfully, it was batted up in the air. Even more thankfully, Edelman somehow came down with it, keeping the drive alive with a 23-yard gain.
Here's another look:
Remember the helmet catch? Well, this was New England’s version of the helmet catch. (Oh, and Atlanta lost their final timeout challenging the play, so that was nice.)
A pass to Amendola for 20 yards. Two more completions to James White for 20 more yards. First and goal at the Atlanta 1.
With 57 seconds left to play, it was James White who scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. 28-26, Atlanta.
Brady to Amendola for the two point conversion, and we are tied at 28. After a three and out from Atlanta, and a failed fake kneel/run play/something from the Patriots, and Super Bowl LI becomes the first Super Bowl to ever need overtime to decide a winner.
Once the Patriots won the coin toss in overtime, however, you knew it was over. Brady hit White, Amendola, and Hogan for gains of 6, 14, and 18 yards, respectively. He hit Edelman for a 15-yard gain, and moved the ball to the Atlanta 15 on a lateral play to White. After a pass interference call in the endzone against the Falcons, James White (who, if not for Tom Brady, should have been the MVP of this game) scored on a two yard run to complete the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, sealing a fifth Lombardi Trophy for the Patriots.
It was the largest comeback in Patriots franchise history, and it shattered the record for greatest comeback in a Super Bowl.
And it’s the best game of 2017.
What did we miss? Tell us about your favorite games from this past year in the comments down below.
Also, be sure to check out According to Andrew's full Best of 2017 spread HERE.
I enjoy making lists, countdowns, and making sense of the world that I see around me.