The defining sports game of this decade occurred at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 3, 2008. That night, in a game that moved about as quickly as the clock in Tecmo Super Bowl, the New York Giants upset the unbeaten New England Patriots, 17-14, to win Super Bowl XLII.
It is debatable whether Super Bowl XLII is the single best game across sports in the Aughts; however, it is almost certainly the game that crystallizes the two competing movements in sports this decade: the quest for historical transcendence and the ascension of the postseason underdog.
Sports are too broad and diverse a subject to write a coherent essay that addresses what happened in the Aughts. Too much happened to be melded into a sustainable theme or argument. And although for many the story of the Aughts is what occurred off the field—be it scandals surrounding performance-enhancing drugs, referees, or personal conduct—to me, the defining narrative of sports in the Aughts is of those two competitors in Super Bowl XLII: the unbeaten Patriots and the pedestrian Giants.
Continue reading »
Opposite the NBA and MLB, the NFL had an amazing decade. Whereas those sports combined to produce three Game 7s in 20 championship series, the NFL saw five Super Bowls come down to the final two minutes. It avoided major scandals while providing us with a likable upstart turned detestable villain, one of the best rivalries the sport has ever seen, featuring two historically transcendent players at the game’s most important position. Oh, and it cleaned up its logo.
It might even be the Golden Age of the NFL.
As for my list, you’ll notice that the common theme uniting all 10 games is fourth-quarter drama. And not like, one-team-drives-for-one-late-TD-to-win drama, but back-and-forth-for-all-15-minutes-with-multiple-scores drama. And even having that high standard and far fewer games to choose from than in the other sports, I had to make some tough cuts. The final ones included the Steelers’ comeback win over the Browns on Wild Card Weekend in 2002 (the same day as a game that made our countdown), the Steelers’ upset of the Colts in the 2005 Divisional Playoffs, and the Colts’ incredible fourth-quarter comeback on Monday Night against the Buccaneers in 2003.
On the other end of the spectrum, the worst game of the decade was Super Bowl XXXVII, the Buccaneers’ 48-21 romp over the Raiders. If you don’t know why, you’re a Bucs’ fan.
10. 2000 Regular Season: New York Jets 40, Miami Dolphins 37 (OT)
Continue reading »