2012 was a great year in sports. It definitely had its highs and lows. But here are the elite moments I'll always carry with me when looking back on they year that was.
Michael Phelps owns the Olympics
Do I really look up to Michael Phelps? Meh. But it was really cool seeing something that's never been done in the history of sports when the American became the Olympics' all-time leading medalist: 22 total; 18 gold. It was July 31, 2012 when Phelps took the silver in the 200m butterfly and the gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay, surpassing Larisa Latynina to literally become the most decorated athlete in Olympics history.
Eli Manning pulls another rabbit out of his hat, upsetting the Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time.
Super Bowl XLVI will always be on Super Bowl highlight reels after another amazing pass in the closing seconds from Eli Manning, this time to Mario Manningham. The 38 yard pass on the last drive of the game kept the Giants' comeback alive and led them to a 21-17 win.
Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown.
My dad told me that he never thought he would see another Triple Crown; not since Carl Yastrmzenski's in 1967. And if he did, he thought for sure it would be Albert Pujols. Welp, sorry dad; not quite the way things panned out. But it was really cool seeing a guy lead the league in HRs, RBIs and average for the first time in my generation.
A guy named Bubba takes The Masters
One of the most amazing golf shots of the year came from a guy named Bubba. How fitting, considering it also came in Georgia at The Masters. Watson's 2nd hole shot during the sudden death playoff will be played at every Green Jacket ceremony for the rest of time. From the pine needles off the 10th fair-way, Watson some how bent his shot around a stand of trees to a pin-high slot right on the green.
No. 2 seeds, Duke and Mizzou, fall to Lehigh and Norfolk State.
One of my favorite memories of NCAA tournaments of past was when little-bitty Hampton defeated No. 2 seed Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Now imagine that amazing, shocking atmosphere twice in one day. That's what happened this past March when No. 15 seed Lehigh took down No. 2Duke and another 15 seed, Norfolk State, defeated No. 2 Missouri.
Did it ruin brackets across the country, including mine? Yes, but it was totally worth it.
ChuckStrong. (pictured above)
Possibly the story of the year comes out of Indianapolis where Chuck Pagano's Colts have took the NFL by storm with an 11-6 record, heading into a playoff berth with a rookie quarterback -- all without Pagano himself.
Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia earlier this year and has therefore been away from the team -- for the most part -- whil succesffuly defeating his cancer. While Pagano has been kicking butt off the field, he's somehow inspired his team to kick butt while on it -- all of this coming off a 2-14 2011 season from the Colts in which they also lost future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning. The Colts were literally ranked No 32 in many power rankings coming into the season and now they're a No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs.
Without a doubt the pinnacle of inspiration for this thriving, youthful team, this speech by Pagano was the heart-felt talk heard 'round the sports world following his team's win over the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 4.
LeBron James finally won his ring.
Granted, James' reaction wasn't as hysterical as Michal Jordan's when he won his first championship in 1991, but it was great seeing the 'King' finally get a championship. Say all you want about him being a traitor, but look at where Cleveland is and look at where LeBron is right now.