Image: Getty Images via Mashable
By Dylan Wittenberg
In sports history, have we seen a more exciting and exhilarating year than the past 12 months or so? In a world with so much tumult and fear, sports provided a much needed distraction. From college basketball to MLB, exciting games came down to the wire and long droughts were broken. Here are the five best championships in the past year, ranked from best to first:
5. Villanova Hits The Game Winner Against North Carolina
This was one of the greatest games in college basketball history, capping off a tournament full of upsets and parody. The game came down to the final shot, with Kris Jenkins hitting the game winning buzzer beater to send the Villanova Wildcats past the North Carolina Tar Heels and into basketball lore for years to come. Immediately before hitting the iconic shot, UNC guard Marcus Paige hit a double clutch, deep three pointer to tie the game at 74. The game seemed to go into over time, but Kris Jenkins had a different idea, leaving this game as one of the best ever and number five on this list.
4. Clemson Defeats ‘Bama At The End
The Clemson Tigers trailed by as much as two touchdowns early on against the undefeated and seemingly unbeatable Alabama Crimson Tide. Nick Sabam was going for his sixth national title. Dabo Swinney was going for his first. The game seemed to be a cake walk initially for Alabama, but Deshaun Watson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, decided to put on his super man cape and led his Tigers on an improbable comeback run, culminating with a game winning drive and touchdown to Hunter Renfrow-a former walk on-for the win. It will go down as one of the best national championship games ever and sits at number four on this list.
3. Tom Brady Pulls Off An Old Fashioned Tom Brady Against The Falcons
In the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, Tom Brady led the New England Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit in the middle of the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons easily outplayed the Patriots throughout the entire game, but the Patriots capitalized on many breaks and were able to add to Brady’s already very accomplished legacy. The Patriots converted two touchdowns and two two point conversions in order to complete the comeback before sending the game into overtime-the first OT in Super Bowl history. Brady didn’t give Matt Ryan and the potent Falcons offense a chance, taking his team down the field in Houston and capping off a difficult year with a Super Bowl championship.
2. Lebron James Wins One For The Land
Everyone knew that it was going to be the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, but who knew that the Cavs would show such fight against the best regular season team ever. The 73-9 Warriors, headlined by back to back and unanimous MVP Steph Curry, took an easy 3-1 lead on the Cavaliers, but Lebron James single handedly brought his team back from the brink of elimination. By winning games in Oakland and Cleveland, the Cavs took the Warriors to Game 7 at Oracle Arena, the toughest place to play in the NBA. After an amazing performance, highlighted by a Lebron block and Kyrie Irving three pointer, the Cavs pulled off one of the greatest upsets ever, capturing Cleveland’s first NBA title and Lebron’s first title in three years.
1. The Cubs Break The Streak
This goes without saying. The Chicago Cubs, after 108 years without winning a World Series title, rolled through the MLB regular season, leading the league in wins and capturing the NL pennant. On the other side of the bracket, the Cleveland Indians, another team going through a long title drought, stole the hearts of many baseball fans. Due to the AL winning the All Star game, Cleveland gained home field advantage for the World Series and went up 3-1 on the Cubs. In the perfect curse exorcism, the Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit and won an epic Game 7 in Cleveland that went into extra innings. The curse was finally broken. Winning your first title in 108 years will certainly put at the top of this list.