It is as much tradition as gathering with friends and avoiding Times Square on New Year’s Eve: Every year, we at Metro cast one final look back at the year that was and attempt to distill 365 days into 10 unforgettable moments.
Did we succeed? That is up to you, dear reader, to decide. But we try, and we do believe we come close to summarizing a year’s worth of sporting moments into 10 paragraphs.
So before we embark on the adventure that is the year 2015, let us take one last look back at 2014.
1: DEREK JETER’S LAST GAME AT YANKEE STADIUM: The game contested at the ballyard on 161st Street and Rivera Avenue on the night of Sept. 25 was a precursor to the Yankees and their fans bidding a final farewell to Derek Jeter, and he to them. Naturally, Jeter left an unforgettable memory for everyone watching, as he slapped a one-out RBI single to right to plate Antoan Richardson with the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth in a 6-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
2: MARTIN ST. LOUIS’ MOTHER’S DAY GOAL AGAINST THE PENGUINS: Madison Square Garden was a cauldron of legitimate emotion on May 11, 2014. The newest Blueshirt, Martin St. Louis, had lost his mother, France, three days prior, and this was Garden denizens’ first chance to envelope him with emotional support. St. Louis repaid them for their love 3:34 into Game 6 of the Metropolitan Division Final by poking a Derek Stepan rebound past Marc-Andre Fleury in a game the Rangers would win 3-1. Afterwards, St. Louis–voted as the game’s first star–patted his heart as the Garden roared for him as he twirled around the ice.
3: KNICKS INTRODUCE PHIL JACKSON AS TEAM PRESIDENT: For years, the hypothetical conversation began thusly: “Could you imagine what it would be like if Phil Jackson coached the Knicks?” Inevitably, the discussion delved into championships before ending with a resignation that the 11-time championship winning coach would never run the bench in the old house on 33rd Street. And while he has said his coaching days are over, Jackson is now tasked with reconstructing the beleaguered franchise as he was introduced on March 18 as team president.
4: HENRIK LUNDQVIST’S CARTWHEEL SAVE IN GAME SIX AGAINST MONTREAL: When Henrik Lundqvist is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, rest assured his cartwheel save on Thomas Vanek in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final will be on the highlight reel. Deadlocked 0-0 with 4:39 remaining in the second period, Vanek cut towards the net and fired a shot that Lundqvist stopped with his blocker. But as the Rangers goaltender fell onto the ice, the puck popped into the air. In a split-second, Lundqvist kicked the puck away from the net, sending the Garden into delirium.
5: JOHN IDZIK’S BIZARRE PRESS CONFERENCE: Not all moments are positive. Not all moments are ones you remember fondly. And it is in those veins that John Idzik’s Oct. 27 press conference finds its way onto this list. The GM of the New York Jets met with reporters at the team’s Florham Park training facility for his mid-season press conference and rambled for 38 minutes–including a 19-minute soliloquy before he took questions–leaving all who watched to wonder what exactly it was that they saw.
6: ROGER GOODELL’S PRESS CONFERENCE FOLLOWING THE RAY RICE, GREG HARDY AND ADRIAN PETERSON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD ABUSE SCANDALS:Roger Goodell stood in front of a backdrop at the New York Hilton on the afternoon of Sept. 19 with the North American sporting world waiting upon his every word. Forty-five minutes after he uttered his introductory statement, the reaction to the NFL Commissioner was an amalgamation of disgust, ridicule and contempt. Goodell did not or could not answer difficult questions regarding the NFL’s stance on off-field personnel conduct while attempting to absolve himself and the league from blame. He failed miserably.
7: DEREK JETER’S LAST SERIES AS A NEW YORK YANKEE: Here’s the thing about sports rivalries: By and large, when fans claim to “hate” an opponent, it has to do with their concern he or she will have success against the team they root for. So that athlete is despised. Truth is, it’s not hate the fans have for the athletic. It’s a respect for their athletic accomplishments. And if you need proof, look at Derek Jeter’s final series as a professional baseball player. Boston Red Sox fans at Fenway Park cheered Jeter’s every moment in one of the few remaining baseball cathedrals after loathing him for nearly two decades. Hate had transformed into respect.
8: CARMELO ANTHONY’S 62-POINT GAME AGAINST THE CHARLOTTE BOBCATS: The heir apparent to Bernard King’s legacy wrote his own chapter in Madison Square Garden lore on the night of Jan. 24. Carmelo Anthony made one shot, then two, then 23 as he finished with a Garden record 62 points in the Knicks’ 125-96 destruction of the Bobcats. Anthony broke King’s single-game franchise record for points, and surpassed Kobe Bryant’s single-game record for points scored at MSG.
9: MARTIN BRODEUR’S LAST HOME GAME AS A NEW JERSEY DEVIL: The masked face of the New Jersey Devils skated onto the Prudential Center ice on the afternoon of Apr. 13, and into a love-in. While no one could bring themselves to say the words, it was understood that the season finale against the Boston Bruins would be Martin Brodeur’s last game as a Devil. That Brodeur only had to make 16 saves against a Boston Bruins team who had rested its key players was an irrelevancy. Instead, this game was a chance for the team and its fans to properly bid Brodeur adieu from the only NHL franchise he had ever known; to profusely thank him for everything he accomplished as a Devil.
10: ODELL BECKHAM JR.’S ONE-HANDED CATCH AGAINST THE COWBOYS: Whispers were attached to Odell Beckham Jr.’s name. Injury prone. Soft. Bust. The had spent much of training camp attending to an injury hamstring, frustrating his team and a fan base that had heard and read tales of his athletic genius. When Beckham did take the field, he tantalized with flashes of his considerable physical gifts. Simply, the glimpses served as prologue to the jaw-dropping one-handed, leaping catch he made against the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys on the night of Nov. 24 in front of a nationwide audience. That the Giants lost the game, 31-28, was an afterthought to what many called the greatest catch in NFL history.