As 2018 comes to an end (literally today), everyone is compiling their “lists of 2018” and we’re no different here at GVN. From best movies to worst movies and best shows, the only thing we haven’t done is best sports moments of 2018. In a year that featured the birth of Geek Vibes Sports, there have been plenty of memorable moments this year. So, from 10 to 1, here are our best sports moments of the year!
10. France wins the 2018 World Cup
The 2018 World Cup was a fun one, and maybe because I didn’t have to deal with the stress of the United States being in it, but I really enjoyed watching these games and not caring who won. Seeing moments like Germany losing to Korea and the magical run that Russia had was awe-inspiring and super cool. We had crazy finishes like Belgium storming back to beat Japan 3-2 in the Round of 16, and England beating Colombia in penalty kicks. But in the end, there could only be one winner and France rose to the top, beating Croatia 4-2 in the Final. With stars like Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba, it was the emergence of Kylian Mbappe that was the real story for France as he powered the team to their first World Cup title since 1998.
9. The United States wins big at the Winter Olympics
The other major world wide sporting event this year was the 2018 Winter Olympics, and boy did it provide some memorable moments. I recall staying up until around midnight every night for about a month straight just watching coverage of this thing, as I’m sure many of you did. We were introduced to the dominant Chloe Kim as she ran away from the field with the gold medal in the Woman’s Snowboard Halfpipe, becoming the youngest woman to ever win the award at 17. Another shocker in the snowboarding world was the emergence of Red Gerard who, also at 17, overslept and barely made it to his event on time, only to win the whole thing. The dominant Mikaela Shiffrin repeated as the Woman’s Giant Slalom gold medal winner, while David Wise repeated as the Men’s Halfpipe Skiing gold medal winner. Two American teams also won gold, as the women’s hockey team defeated Canada in a shootout to win their first gold medal since 1998. Joining them was arguably the most surprising winners for the United States, the men’s curling team as they beat heavy favorites Sweden 10-7. But the star of the Winter Olympics, in my eyes at least, was Shaun White, who claimed his throne again as the King of Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe, turning in a 97.75 on his final run and winning his first medal in the event since 2010. White’s win gave him his 3rd Olympic gold medal, and gave the United States their 100th Olympic gold medal all time.
8. The Minneapolis Miracle
The 2018 NFL Playoffs were filled with dramatic moments, but none topped this one. Playing with their 3rd string quarterback, the Minnesota Vikings hosted the red hot New Orleans Saints with a trip to the NFC Championship on the line. Case Keenum and the Vikings entered halftime with a 17-0 over the Saints, but Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and the Saints came back with urgency in the 2nd half, coming back to trail 17-14 early on in the 4th quarter. After a Vikings field goal made it 20-14, Drew Brees hit Kamara for a 14 yard touchdown pass, giving the Saints their first lead of the game at a score of 21-20 with 3 minutes left in the game. The Vikings scored a quick field goal to take a 23-21 lead, but Brees led the Saints down the field for another field goal to take a 24-23 lead with just 25 seconds remaining. With 10 seconds to play and at their own 39 yard line, Keenum and the Vikings took to the field trying to get in field goal range. ESPN gave them a 4% chance to win the game. “Buffalo Right, Seven Heaven” was the play call and Keenum threw the ball in the direction of receiver Stefon Diggs. The pass was a little high, requiring Diggs to jump to make the catch. The safety covering him, Marcus Williams, went for the tackle, but missed and as Diggs came down in bounds, nothing separated him from the end zone, and the win. With all 0’s on the clock, Diggs ran into the end zone as the stadium exploded in cheers; this was the first game in playoff history to end in a touchdown as time expired. Even though the Vikings lost the following week, the craziness of this game, and play, will live on forever.
7. Red Sox-Dodgers 18 inning World Series Classic
People say baseball can be a long, boring game. But even those people were staying up until the wee hours of the morning on October 27th to see who was going to win this game, or if this game would ever end. The game went 18 innings, a World Series record, and lasted an astonishing 7 hours and 20 minutes, another World Series record. To put in proportion, the ENTIRE 1939 World Series lasted 7 hours and 5 minutes. To make matters worse, beer sales at Dodger Stadium were cut off at the end of the 7th inning. What started as a great showing by rookie Dodger pitcher Walker Buehler (throwing 7 scoreless innings) turned into a game where position players were pitching, starters were coming out of the bullpen, and only 4 players did not play. The Dodgers carried a 1-0 lead into the 8th inning, when closer Kenley Jansen gave up a solo home run to Jackie Bradley Jr that tied the game at 1-1. And it would stay at 1-1 for some time. Red Sox manager Alex Cora was forced to pitch starter Nathan Evoldi, thinking he would just be in relief. However, Evoldi ended up throwing the rest of the game, from the 12th to the 18th. After the teams traded runs via error in the 13th inning, the score was set at 2-2. Then in the bottom of the 18th, Evoldi left a pitch over the plate that Max Muncy hit over the fence, mercifully ending the game and giving the Dodgers a 3-2 victory. It wouldn’t matter much however, as the Red Sox would win every other game in the series and win the World Series 4 games to 1. But it was this game that people will remember the most when they think about the 2018 MLB season.
6. The Rise of Patrick Mahomes
In college, Patrick Mahomes attended Texas Tech and lit up scoreboards; however, he was prone to the occasional turnover. That didn’t scare the Kansas City Chiefs from drafting him with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. After sitting out and learning from starter Alex Smith for the 2017 season, Mahomes seemed like the answer for the Chiefs moving forward, so they traded Smith to Washington over the summer and gave the reigns to Mahomes. And the rest is history. In his first game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Mahomes threw for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns, and led the team to a 38-28 win. He followed that performance with a string of 8 straight games in which he threw for over 300 yards, including a 43-40 shootout loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, one of his only 4 losses on the year. But the crowning moment for Mahomes came in another loss, on Monday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams. The Chiefs and the Rams were the two best teams in the NFL and many people were excited for this potential Super Bowl preview. The Rams won 54-51 in what many people consider to be the best Monday Night Football game in history, but it was Patrick Mahomes game line that really got people talking. He completed 33 of 46 passes for 478 yards and 6 touchdowns, all season highs among the league. Mahomes finished the season with 5,097 passing yards (2nd in the NFL), 50 touchdowns (most in the NFL), and a passer rating of 113.8 (2nd in the NFL). From no look passes to throws that seem to be impossible, Mahomes has done it all, leading the Chiefs to the best record in the AFC and most likely winning himself the NFL MVP.
5. The Philadelphia Eagles finally win the Super Bowl
The Eagles went into the 2017 season thinking they could be something special with quarterback Carson Wentz under center. And they were, as they secured the number one seed in the NFC and Wentz was on track win the NFL MVP. Then, in Week 14, Wentz went down awkward against the Los Angeles Rams and after a MRI was confirmed to have torn his ACL; his season was done. Enter backup quarterback Nick Foles. Foles then won his next two starts and entered the playoffs pretty hot, but critics still didn’t give the Eagles a chance to get to the Super Bowl, let alone win it. But Foles beat the Atlanta Falcons, 15-10, then knocked off the Minnesota Vikings, 38-7, to set up a Super Bowl matchup with the greatest quarterback in the history of football: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Foles went 28 of 33 for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also received a 1 yard touchdown pass from tight end Trey Burton in a play dubbed the “Philly Special” as he out-dueled Brady and the Patriots and gave Philadelphia their first Super Bowl title winning 41-33. Foles won the MVP, but lost the starting job to Wentz the following season. However, with Wentz hurt again, Foles is back under center as the Eagles begin their playoff run next week.
4. Game 1 of the NBA Finals
For the 4th year in a row, the NBA Finals featured the matchup of the Golden State Warriors against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But really, this Finals is only remembered for one game: Game 1. A back and forth game, the Warriors held a 107-106 with 4 seconds left in the game. Cavs point guard George Hill was at the line with a chance to win the game. After making the first free throw, the game was tied. Hill, who looked like the most nervous man on Earth, missed the second free throw. However, the ball was tipped back and Cavs guard JR Smith got the rebound. In a tie game, with 4 seconds left, and everyone screaming for Smith to shoot or pass the ball to LeBron James, Smith dribbled the clock down to 0, and made the most bonehead play in NBA Finals history. LeBron had scored 51 points, but that didn’t matter as Golden State controlled overtime and won the game 124-114, and ultimately won the series 4-0. Smith claims he was anticipating the Cavs to take a timeout, while Cavs coach Tyronn Lue blatantly said Smith didn’t know the situation. Fast forward 6 months and LeBron James left Cleveland to join the Los Angeles Lakers, JR Smith is currently not on a team, and Tyronn Lue was fired in October. It’s crazy to think that maybe all of that could have been avoided if Smith was paying attention.
3. Tiger Woods gets his 80th PGA Tour win
August 4th, 2013 was the last time Tiger Woods won a PGA event. Since then he’s had 4 surgeries, countless depressing press conferences, 1 DUI arrest, multiple missed cuts, and left fans wondering if we would ever see the Tiger of old. Then, 2018 came. He tied for 23d in his event in January, his best finish since Dec 4 2016. He then finished runner-up at the Valspar Championship in March. One week later he finished 5th at Bay Hill Golf Course. Then, in July, he held the lead in the final round of The Open, before bogeying the 12th hole and finishing tied for 6th. One month later, he finished with a closing round 64, his lowest in a major as a pro, but still came in 2nd at the PGA Championship. Then, on September 23rd, Tiger Woods carried a 2 shot lead into the final round of The Tour Championship. After a masterful round, where his lead reached 5 strokes, Woods approached the 18th hole alongside his good friend and competitor, Rory McIlroy. After a beautiful tee shot, Woods started to approach his ball when he realized the crowd was caving in around him, something that really never happens in golf. The bystanders were on the course, on the fairway, and literally everywhere behind Woods. After shooting his ball from the bunker, Woods approached the green to a thunderous ovation, from both fans, and golfers alike. Nobody was in the clubhouse, as all of the players wanted to see this happen live. Tiger made his par putt and after 5 long years, was back on top of the golfing world. It was emotional, it was magnificent, but most of all, it was vintage Tiger.
2. UMBC stuns UVA in March Madness
Before March 16th, 2018, NCAA Tournament 16 seeds were 0-135 all time against 1 seeds. Enter UMBC, or the University of Maryland Baltimore County. UMBC (24-10) entered March Madness as the 63rd overall seed, there are 68 seeds total. The University of Virginia, or UVA, entered March Madness as the 1st overall seed, posting a record of 31-2. UVA was favored by Las Vegas to win by 20.5 points. This was supposed to be a blowout. UVA was supposed to win, and advance to play Kansas State, who had already won earlier that day. Supposed to. On this day, in the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, the impossible happened. What wasn’t supposed to happen, happened. UMBC got into the tournament by beating Vermont to win the America East conference on a buzzer beater. This was their 2nd ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, UVA was a staple in the tournament, and typically a top 5 seed, and had just won the ACC. At halftime, the score was tied 21-21, but nobody really gave the Retrievers a chance to pull off the upset. Then, UMBC dominated the 2nd half outscoring UVA 53-33, and winning the game 74-54. It was the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history, and it made history as the first time as 16 seed beat a 1 seed. Unfortunately, UMBC’s Cinderella run was ended by Kansas State in the following round, but they will forever go down as the first team to pull off this upset. They even hung a banner in their home gym commemorating the victory.
1. The 2018 College Football Playoff
I’m not just talking about the National Title Game, but also the Rose Bowl featuring Georgia against Oklahoma. A double overtime thriller, ended with the Sony Michel scoring a walkoff touchdown as the Bulldogs beat the Sooners 54-48 to set up a rematch with the Crimson Tide in the National Championship. After a slow start to the game, the Tide entered halftime trailing 13-0, and quarterback Jalen Hurts was having trouble moving the ball against the dominant Georgia defense. But after halftime, it wasn’t Hurts that led the offense onto the field, it was freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Tua brought the Tide instant success, but they still trailed by 10 points heading into the 4th quarter. But, with 3:49 left in the game, Tua threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley that tied the game. After Alabama missed a game winning field goal at the end of the game, we were heading for overtime. Georgia made a field goal on their first drive, giving the Bulldogs a 23-20 lead. However, if Alabama scored a touchdown, the game would be over. On the first play of the Tide’s driver, Tua was sacked for a 16 yard loss. It was now 2nd and 26. Tua responded by throwing a 41 pass to streaking receiver DeVonta Smith, who walked into the endzone, and gave the Tide yet another National Championship. The legend of Tua was born.