Most memorable games of the last 10 years
The 2000s were all about globalization. College basketball fans in China could watch the Final Four on their phone while soccer nuts in Texas could chat live with fellow fans all over the world before, during and after matches.
That close connection made the decade’s most memorable games even more memorable. People who had never heard of Peyton Manning, Boise State or Mario Chalmers were enjoying the best the world of sports had to offer.
Here’s a look at the best games of the last 10 years:
|2007 AFC Championship: Indianapolis 38, New England 34 |
Every great game involves an even greater rivalry. For the NFL, it got no bigger than Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning. After losing the past two playoff meetings with the Patriots, Manning brought the Colts back from the dead in the second half and proved that no matter how good looking, he was better than Brady.
Manning’s final drive took just under three minutes, leading the Colts to the New England 11-yard line. Running back Joseph Addai capped off the late push with a three-yard run for the go-ahead touchdown.
Manning and the Colts went on to win the Super Bowl, giving the quarterback the missing piece of his Hall of Fame puzzle.
|2000 NBA Western Finals Game 7: Los Angeles 89, Portland 84|
Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals was the birth of what many consider to be the team of the 2000s.
Portland took a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter but the star-studded Lakers battled back, eventually breaking the Blazers' backs when Shaquille O'Neal plucked an alley-oop out of the stratosphere like the hand of Zeus raining down lightning bolts.
A few years (and three NBA titles) later, Shaq and Kobe Bryant would have their falling out, Kobe would beat a rape charge to become MVP and coach Phil Jackson would call it quits (for a year) and write a tell-all book about the team.
But for one quarter, the Lakers played perfect basketball and everything was right with the world.
|2009 AL Central play-in: Minnesota 6, Detroit 5|
The Twins should have been on vacation after trailing the Tigers by seven games in September.
But Minnesota was an inferno in the final 20 games and forced a play-in showdown for the AL Central crown.
After trading shots and controversial calls in extra innings, the Twins took the division title on a game-winning single from Alexi Casilla in the 12th inning.
That stunning victory gave Minnesota the honor of getting smacked by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.
|2006-07 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State Broncos 43, Oklahoma Sooners 42|
This game had it all.
David vs. Goliath, dramatic lead changes, a budding star running back, two trick plays including the most-ballsy overtime call in college history.
In the the end, the "little team that could" did with the help of the now-infamous hook and lateral and Statue of Liberty plays.
The only thing that topped this crazy finish was the postgame marriage proposal from Ian Johnson, who scored the game-winning two-point conversion, to his cheerleader girlfriend. After a game like this, of course she said “Yes”.
|2002 Micky Ward vs. Arturo Gatti I|
This matchup may not be officially a "game", but this fight sparked boxing's most brutal trilogy.
Ward and Gatti traded hammers for 10 rounds with “Irish” earning a decision victory thanks to a bruising body shot that crumbled Gatti in the ninth round.
These two brawlers would go toe-to-toe twice more, living up to each previous bout.
Gatti won those two rematches by way of decision but many credit the beatings he took against Ward for his mental instability that led to his mysterious suicide this July.
|2007 Western quarterfinal Game: 1: Vancouver 5, Dallas 4|
Depending on where you were and how much you love hockey, some puck heads would have followed this four-overtime gem into breakfast.
Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin netted the overtime winner but it was goaltender Roberto Luongo who stole the show.
The net minder turned away 72 of the Dallas Stars' shots in his first-career playoff game.
Vancouver would go on to win the series in seven games before falling in the conference semis.
|2008 Wimbledon final: Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer|
You can't deny this epic battle on tennis' most hallowed stage.
Nadal bumped Federer from his long reign atop the tennis world, taking the match 6-4, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6, 9-7.
In the end, tennis had a new hero, Federer cried (as always) and a new generation of tennis fans was born.
The match has become lore that it has spawned numerous books claiming it the “greatest match ever”.
|2008 National Championship: Kansas 75, Memphis 68|
Mario Chalmers' 3-pointer to force overtime is a frozen moment in sports.
Kids on the playground count down in their head, launching the ball from deep while screaming “Chalmers”.
That bucket was the climax of one of the most entertaining tournaments of the decade. It lifted Kansas in the extra period and broke the hearts of the Tigers, who missed numerous foul shots that would have iced the game in regulation.
People don't remember KU's dominance in the overtime but they will never forget Chalmers' three.