December 08, 2022 7 min read
2022 has been quite the sports year. Records have been broken, new stars have emerged and legends have cemented their legacy. Here’s a look at the top moments in sports in 2022.
Yankees games became must-see TV as the regular season neared completion. This had nothing to do with the team itself, but because of their superstar, Aaron Judge.
MLB.com - “When Babe Ruth set a new league record with his 60th home run of the 1927 season, the bombastic Bambino had thumped his chest, challenging the world to match that staggering total. An exhausted Roger Maris edged "The Babe" on the last day of the 1961 season, later expressing a feeling of “exultation” that the chase was over.
Sixty-one years after Maris captivated the baseball world with his pursuit of Ruth’s beloved record, Aaron Judge now stands alone as the American League’s single-season home run king. Three Yankees right fielders across three eras of baseball history, all having experienced the thrills of chasing a magnificent mark.”
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, the Phillies made a run through the postseason that nobody saw coming. They finished the regular season losing 6 of their last 10, limping in as the third and final Wild Card team. Then it clicked. They upset the Cardinals in a two-game sweep to advance to the Divisional Series. Then then beat the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves 3-games to-1, propelling the Phillies to the NLCS where everyone was sure they’d be halted by the San Diego Padres. Such was not the case and Phillies star OF Bryce Harper put an exclamation point on it in Game 5 with a go-ahead homer run never to be forgotten by Phillies fans.
6ABC.com - "I didn't want to get back on that flight back to San Diego," he said. "I just didn't want to get on a 5-hour flight. I wanted to hang out at home and enjoy this at home with these fans and this organization and this fan base."
The Phillies are headed to the World Series because of Harper. This is his team and now his city -- and it was his heroics that allowed his home fans to celebrate the win in their ballpark.”
There were four no-hitters thrown in 2022, but only one was executed by a single pitcher, the other three were combined. Angels rookie left-hander Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter on May 10. He blanked the Rays 12-0 in what was just his 11th career start.
Something exciting happened back in January on the way to the Super Bowl. The Bills and Chiefs faced off in the Divisional round of the playoffs. With Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen facing off, it was set up to be a shootout and they did not disappoint. The two quarterbacks combined to throw for 717 yards and seven touchdowns. Three touchdowns and a field goal were scored after the two-minute warning. In overtime, the Chiefs won the coin flip and scored on their first possession to win the game.
SportingNews.com - “That touchdown ended the game in walk-off fashion and sparked debate about the NFL's overtime rules. That the Bills didn't get a chance to possess the ball and offer a rebuttal in overtime was the driving force behind the NFL 2022 rule changes.
In wake of the Bills' misfortune, teams must each now be granted at least one possession each in postseason play. So, should this scenario unfold again during the 2023 postseason, Allen would get a chance to counter Mahomes and Kelce's big score.”
When a game forces a league-wide rule change, it immediately falls into the “monumental” category.
Ultimately, the Rams and Bengals faced off in the Super Bowl. The Rams playing on their home turf, but Bengals fans showed up loud and proud. The Rams came out on top in what was an exciting game throughout.
FoxSports.com - “The Rams have been trying to secure a Super Bowl since they left St. Louis and a wake of angry fans who hoped they never would. The team has found a home in L.A., and after five winning seasons and two Super Bowl appearances, it’s starting to worm its way into the hearts of this sports-saturated, somewhat-detached town.”
“Super Bowl LVI was a game of legacies. Every Super Bowl is, of course, but there was an enormous amount to prove for many of the Rams. The team bet the house on these players — because the Super Bowl takes a lot of singular talents to win — and the Rams were in "win now" mode. Each guy had a chance to make it clear that the only reason he hadn’t yet won a championship — or multiple — was that he wasn’t on the right team to do it.”
Buffalo came into the 2022-23 as the favorite to win it all, but the Eagles are saying, “Not so fast, my friend.” Jalen Hurts has been terrific. After a lopsided 35-10 win over the Titans last Sunday, the Birds improved to 11-1 and should now be regarded as the Super Bowl favorites, as Mike Sielski details in the Philadelphia Inquirer - “It was their best game of what has the chance to be a special season. The Eagles won’t say it, but everyone else can and should. This is a team that can win a championship, and it has become a team that probably should.”
In the NBA, the championship was a dynasty was solidified and a legend got his due when Golden State won their fourth title in eight seasons and Steph Curry was named MVP.
ESPN.com - “The Warriors captured their fourth title in eight seasons, the first team to achieve that feat since the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls (1991 to '98), according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Curry was named Finals MVP, an honor that eluded him in previous trips to the championship round. He averaged 31.2 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists while shooting 44% from 3-point range in the series. He joins Jordan, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players with four rings, multiple league MVPs and a Finals MVP.”
The Stanley Cup playoffs had no shortage of exciting games. The first round of the playoffs had fiveGame 7s, but perhaps none more exciting than when Artemi Panarin scored a game winning overtime goal to lift the Rangers over the Penguins.
USAToday.com – “After New York tied the game up late against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Panarin became the hero for the Rangers faithful with the overtime game-winning goal at the tail end of a power play. Brock McGinn took an ill-advised holding penalty, putting the Rangers on a crucial power play just a few minutes into the overtime frame.”
New York fell short to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. With Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, he pretty much steals that city’s sports-scene spotlight, but the Lightening have edged out the Bucs on title runs, as of late, having won two straight Stanley Cup titles. This year they looked primed to make it three in a row, but the Colorado Avalanche had other ideas.
USAToday.com – “It has been 637 days since someone else other than the Tampa Bay Lightning were Stanley Cup champions. One year, eight months, and 30 days of dominance from the Lightning, of complete and total control over the NHL after winning 11 straight playoff series. But as the sun rises on a new week, it is the Colorado Avalanche that now stands above the rest as your 2022 Stanley Cup champions.”
Outside the four major sports, there were plenty of highlights, as well. Her are just a few.
While the Eagles got out to hot start, the Flyers and Sixers got their seasons underway, and the Phillies went deep into the postseason, the Philadelphia Union quietly made it to the MLS finals to compete for a championship against LAFC. The Union fell to their cross-country foe, but topped off what has been a great year in Philly sports.
There was no shortage of good stories at the Final Four. Coaching legend Mike Krzyzewski spent the 2021-2022 season on his farewell tour. It seemed only fitting that he made it all the way to the final four. Oddly, it also seemed fitting that his final game was a loss to Duke’s biggest rival, UNC. The Tar Heels went on to play in the Championship game while Coach K road off into the sunset.
North Carolina couldn’t outpace Kansas when they got to the title game. This one was never a given, which is exactly what you want a title game to be. Kansas earned every bit of this Championship.
NCAA.com – “Now there is a new championship game to cherish for its volatility, its twists and its turns, where nothing was sure until the last second was gone and the confetti poured down. Now there is a new hard-luck moment to live in NCAA tournament lore; one of those whims of fate that is so ironic, it is as if the gods of the game themselves played a hand. Kansas won a game and a championship 72-69 Monday night, even though the Jayhawks trailed by 16 points. No team had ever done that before, not in 82 NCAA tournaments. ‘I think the way we won made it even more special,’ Self said. ‘When we saw our own blood, we didn’t panic.’”
History was made on the pitch as University of Chicago’s Julianne Sitch became the first woman to coach an NCAA men’s soccer team to a championship.
In women’s tennis, Iga Swiatek rose to the top of the rankings:
ESPN.com – “The 21-year-old won the French Open (her second time taking the title in Paris), the US Open, and six other titles, including three at the 1000-level.
From February until June, she recorded a mind-blowing 37-match win streak -- the longest such mark by a woman in 32 years.”
While Rafael Nadal cemented his legacy, despite an up and down year.
“…not only did Nadal win two majors this season, he also twice broke the record for most Grand Slam titles by a men's player. His current mark of 22 is now just one behind Serena Williams for most in the Open Era.”
Following a devastating car accident that many thought would end his career, Tiger Woods returned for the Masters, once again captivating audiences. With the determination Tiger has shown many times before, he made the cut, but ultimately the injuries and lack of recent playing time caught up with him. He carded a six-over par 78 on Saturday, his worst score in a Masters round, and finished with the same score on Sunday to finish 13-over.
Meanwhile at the PGA Championship, Justin Thomas completed the largest 54-hole comeback in Major history to win at Southern Hills in Tulsa, OK. It was Thomas’ second career Major win. The previous win was also the PGA Championship.
On the LPGA Tour, “Minjee Lee captured a historic victory at the US Women's Open in June. The Australian broke the 72-hole championship scoring record en route to clinching a $1.8 million prize pot, the largest women's golf payout in history at the time.”
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