Events such as LeBron James’ first championship, the Kings winning the Stanley Cup, and the London Olympic games might seem like distant memories now that we’re focused on the NFL, but all of it went down in 2012. It just goes to show that a lot can happen in a year, and it’s easy for some truly amazing moments to slip through the cracks. Lest we forget, we’ve compiled the 25 most memorable sports moments of 2012.
When Jeremy Lin came out of no where and started putting up numbers for the Knicks, "Linsanity" swept the nation. Well, at least that's what ESPN told me. I never got any symptoms. And now that Lin's numbers with the Houston Rockets have come down to earth, the whole "Linsanity" outbreak seems about as overblown as the Swine Flu. Here's hoping for a sustained outbreak in 2013.
After missing all of last season due to a neck injury and subsequent surgeries, there were many who felt Peyton Manning would never play at the same level again. And if you only watched the first half of October's Broncos/Chargers game, you might have thought the critics were right. But if you stuck around for the second half, you were treated to one of the greatest NFL comebacks of all time as Manning rallied his team from 24 down, ultimately winning 35 to 24. The game was a fitting metaphor for Manning's career, which at this point, seems to be back in full swing.
Peyton Manning Rallies From 24 Down
While many will argue the point that Oscar Pistorius should not have been allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympic games, no one will argue that his performance wasn't one of the most memorable moments of London.
Oscar Pistorius Competes In London
In his first at bat in MLB, Adam Greenberg was struck in the head by a wild pitch. His injuries cost him his spot on the Cubs, and it seemed like Greenberg's shot at the majors was over. But thanks to a successful Internet lobbying campaign, he was given a one-day contract earlier this year with the Miami Marlins, and on his second at bat, he promptly struck out. Still, it's a lot better than getting hit in the head again. Besides, it's the journey, not the destination.
Greenberg's Second Chance
Usually, winning a gold medal is impressive enough. But not for Usain Bolt. In London, he became the fist runner to achieve the "double triple," winning gold medals in back-to-back Olympics in three different races.
Usain Bolt Makes More History
The world was shocked when Timothy Bradley beat Manny Pacquiao in a split decision. In fact, many critics believed the decision itself was a farce. However, the controversy was soon overshadowed by another Pacquiao loss.
Bradley "Beats" Pacquiao
2012 saw the Los Angeles Kings unexpectedly bring home the Stanley Cup. It was their first championship season since the team was founded in 1967. And thanks to the current NHL labor dispute, it looks like the Kings will be the de facto champions for the foreseeable future.
The Kings Are Crowned
In his final game for the L.A. Galaxy, David Beckham went out on top, winning the MLS championship. For a guy who has competed with the greatest teams in Europe, that might not be the biggest achievement. But hey, he'll take it.
David Beckham Goes Out On Top
Back in 2004, if you would have asked which Manning brother would end up with more Super Bowl wins, the resounding response would have been "Peyton." But in February of 2012, Eli stepped out of his brother's shadow and into the history books, winning his second Super Bowl ring along with his second Super Bowl MVP.
Eli Manning's Second Ring
Forget McKayla Maroney's athletic achievements. The Olympic gymnast will forever be remembered for the meme surrounding her "not impressed" face.
McKayla Maroney Memes
In London, Michael Phelps won four gold medals, bringing his all-time Olympic medal total to 22: 18 gold, two silver, two bronze. With those numbers, you can understanding why a Michael Phelps loss ends up being more memorable than a Michael Phelps win.
Michael Phelps Loses to Ryan Lochte
After years of denials, Lance Armstrong abandoned his fight against doping allegations, and was stripped of his multiple Tour De France titles. Although Armstrong has not admitted any wrongdoing, the damage to his reputation is done, and one of the greatest comeback stories of all time has ended in scandal.
Lance Armstrong Stripped Of His Titles
Love him or hate him (I'm assuming you hate him), the son of a bitch won it fair and square. And no one can deny that he didn't earn that trophy. Here's to hoping he never earns another one.
LeBron Wins It All
When the U.S. lost to Japan in the Women's World Cup, the team was devastated. But revenge is a dish best served cold. There was plenty of it being served in London as the U.S. got some payback, winning the gold medal in the process.
US Women's Soccer Gets Some Payback
In high school, I couldn't have made the basketball team if my life depended on it. Also, I have two hands. That might not seem like an important detail, except that I'm about to introduce about Landus Anderson, a high school player from Florida who plays with only one arm. Memorable, to say the least.
One-Armed High School Basketball Player Makes Me Look Bad
2012 saw Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one game, an accomplishment that has only happened 16 times in MLB history. But in all fairness, he was playing against the Orioles, so it really doesn't count.
Josh Hamilton Gets Four Homers In One Game
It's all fun and games until someone loses a testicle. And that's what happened to badass rugby player Paul Wood. To make matters worse, it was his last game. To make matters much worse, he kept playing after the injury! And you thought the NFL was nuts.
Rugby Player Loses Testicle In His Last Game
It's hard enough to score in the game of soccer. Trying doing it with your eyes closed like Italay's Mario Balotelli did against Ireland in the 2012 Euro Cup.
Mario Balotelli's No Look Goal
One of the more moving scenes of 2012 was that of Indianapolis Colts' coach Chuck Pagano inspiring his team with a speech about overcoming the odds. That's a topic he should understand more than most, since he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.
Coach Chuck Pagano's Speech
Does this really belong on a list of memorable sports moments? Probably not. But I really like breasts, so deal with it.
Kate Upton Makes The Sports Illustrated Cover
On the final play of the match up between Notre Dame and Stanford, Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor made a dramatic second effort, twisting over fallen bodies in order to reach the end zone. However, the officials ruled the player down, and Notre Dame was given the win, keeping them in the hunt for the national championship.
Luck Of The Irish
Nothing symbolizes Joe Paterno's fall from grace better than the removal of his statue from the Penn State campus. The once lauded coach was unexpectedly brought down by an assistant coach's pedophilia scandal, tarnishing Paterno's legacy forever, and costing him his numerous records, including the title of winningest football coach in NCAA history.
Joe Paterno's Fall From Grace
After a 2 and 14 season last year, the Indianapolis Colts have made the playoffs, an accomplishment shared by only one other team in NFL history. Throw in the fact that the team has been without their head coach for most of the season because of his bout with cancer, and the story becomes even more amazing. Chalk it up to Luck. Sorry.
The Colts Make The Playoffs
With the regular officials on strike, the NFL's replacement refs had been taking heat for weeks as blown or missed calls seemed to be the new normal. But things came to a head when the Green Bay Packers went down to the wire against the Seattle Seahawks, resulting in a controversial final play which saw two different officials making two different calls. Despite the replay booth upholding the touchdown, many felt Green Bay was robbed of a win. As a result, the league quickly settled with the regular officials, and I assume there were no more blown calls for the remainder of the season.
Green Bay, Seattle, And The Replacement Refs
When Manny Pacquiao lost in a split decision earlier in 2012, most people chalked it up to incompetent judging. But there was no controversial decision to blame in late 2012, when Juan Manuel Marquez knocked Pacquiao out cold, in what was arguably the most stunning sports moment of 2012.