2015’s Most Memorable Sports Plays Are Truly a Sight to Behold
What a year it was in sports. The Warriors and Royals emerged as world champions in their respective sports after long runs of futility, the Patriots climbed back atop the NFL world (but let's not even talk about Deflategate), while Serena Williams cemented her grip as the world's best tennis player. In 2015, we saw the great, the not-so-great and the great miracle here and there.
We can't pinpoint every one of Steph Curry's three-pointers (or teammate Klay Thompson's buckets in one epic quarter), Daniel Murphy's dingers during his historic playoff run, Wisconsin basketball taking down the undefeated, the most inept Cleveland Browns moment, Odell Beckham Jr. doing circus-like things or American Pharoah racing into history, but we can highlight some of the plays that stuck with us.
Here are the most memorable plays in sports for 2015.
Super Bowl Saver
The Seattle Seahawks were one yard away from becoming back-to-back Super Bowl champions when Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler stepped out of obscurity and into the limelight by picking off Russell Wilson's pass intended for Ricardo Lockette, sealing a win for New England. It was the most famous interception in Super Bowl history on what became the most controversial play call in Super Bowl history.
Hosmer Breaks for Home
The Kansas City Royals won the World Series on the strength of small-ball and come-from-behind ability. Nowhere was that more evident than in their World Series-clinching Game 5 victory over the New York Mets. New York had Kansas City on lockdown all night, thanks to a brilliant performance by starter Matt Harvey. They knocked him out in the ninth inning, though, and Eric Hosmer moved to third base on a ground ball after he hit a double. On a simple chopper to third, Hosmer bolted for home, scoring the tying run on Lucas Duda's wild throw. The Mets never recovered and KC raced to its first World Series title in 30 years in 12 innings.
Ain't That Not a Kick in the Pants?
The Michigan State-Michigan rivalry took a turn for the bizarre in Ann Arbor when Wolverines punter Blake O'Neill botched a snap in the waning seconds while Michigan held a 23-21 lead with 10 seconds to go in a game they had all but won. Jalen Watts-Jackson, who broke his hip in the ensuing celebration, dashed into the end zone as the clock expired, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and keeping the Spartans in the hunt for the College Football Playoff.
Lateral, Lateral, Lateral, Lateral, Lateral, Lateral, Lateral, Lateral
We'll see your Michigan-Michigan State finale and raise you one wild ACC ending. Miami, trailing Duke, 27-24, took a kickoff in the closing seconds and proceeded to lateral the ball eight times en route to scoring an improbable touchdown to win the game. Or did it? The ACC later admitted the referees botched several calls on the play that should have negated the score and given Duke the win.
The Bat Flip to End All Bat Flips
The Toronto Blue Jays ended baseball's longest playoff drought in 2015 and slipped past the Texas Rangers in the divisional series along the way. Bautista launched this three-run shot in the seventh inning of the deciding Game 5, giving Toronto a 6-3 lead that wound up being the final score. His epic bat flip was one for the ages.
Carli Goes for Three
The U.S. took home the Women's World Cup and no player shined brighter than Carli Lloyd. On the game's grandest stage she delivered the grandest performance, putting on a show that will go down in history as one of the best in men or women's soccer. She notched three goals in the first 16 minutes in the final against Japan, helping the U.S. claim the World Cup title for the first time since 1999. So, really, we give her credit for three plays.
Coach Falls for Three
Georgia State coach Ron Hunter, due to an injury, had to coach while sitting on a stool when his team took on Baylor in their opening-round NCAA Tournament game. He wound up falling off his chair when his son, R.J., hit the game-winning three. In a David-Goliath matchup, his reaction was one of pure joy that will be one of the signature moments in the tournament for years to come.
The Hail Rodgers
The Lions, the NFC's version of the Browns, lost a heartbreaker at home to the rival Packers when Aaron Rodgers let loose a 61-yard Hail Mary with no time on the clock that was caught by Richard Rodgers. The catch only happened after Detroit was flagged for a facemask on what should've been the game's final play. The Packers had lost four of five coming into this game and desperately needed a win to keep the season from slipping away.