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Top 5 Sports Matchups of 2012

Listing the most memorable matchups the year had to offer.

As we wrap up the 2012 year in sports, now is the perfect time to reflect on the year in sports. More specifically we are focusing on games that given us something important this year. Below are five of the best the year had to offer.

2012 NBA Finals Game 5

Long known for not showing up for big games, LeBron James came through in a big way with a triple double in the Heat's championship clinching 121-106 Game 5 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Scoring 26 points with 13 assists and 11 rebounds, James became the first player since Magic Johnson to record two triple-doubles in a Finals series.

James was named Finals MVP and became the first player since San Antonio Spurs Center Tim Duncan back in 2003 to get both the season MVP and the Finals MVP.

Manny Pacquiao Loses to Juan Manuel Marquez

Entering the fight against Juan Marquez, the once feared Manny Pacquiao was looking to re-establish his dominance after a controversial loss to American boxer Timothy Bradley. That loss, Pacquiao's first since 2005, was reviewed by the World Boxing Organization which declared Pacquiao the winner but lacked the authority to alter the decision.

Fighting Marquez for the fourth time in his career, Pacquiao dominated the fight up until the sixth round when Marquez stunned the world by knocking out Pacquiao with a short right to win the match. Having suffered his first loss by knockout since 1999, Pacquiao saw himself drop in pound for pound rankings. The loss also has spurred talks of the famous fighter retiring.

Europe's 'Miracle at Medinah' Ryder Cup Victory

Going into the final day of the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club, the Americans were so far ahead that it would basically take an act of God to give the Europeans a chance. Needing just four and a half points out of the 12 Sunday singles matches to wrap it up, America basically just needed to show up to finish this off.

Only the Europeans had other ideas.

Winning the first four matches of the final day to tie it up, the Europeans would go on to pull off the seemingly impossible, with a 14 1/2 – 13 1/2 point victory at days end.

"It's very hard to describe my emotions," European captain Olazabal told reporters.

"When I saw we had a chance this afternoon coming down the stretch, I was very emotional, I started thinking about the possibility of winning.

"The boys have been unbelievable. I started thinking about my friend Seve and this one is for him.

"I have never experienced anything like this. This event is so special."

 

SuperBowl XLVI

Coming off of a 13-3 regular season and a 45-10 beatdown of the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots were the favorite to win SuperBowl XLVI. Against most teams, they probably would have won; but they were up against the New York Giants; the same team that dashed their perfect season shot just two season ago.

Perhaps an undercurrent of doubt from that game two years ago remained as the Patriots started slow and despite crawling to a 17-9 lead in the third quarter, the Giants were yet again able to claw their way back from the brink. With 57 seconds left on the clock, the Giants scored the go ahead touchdown and never looked back as they held off one last drive by Tom Brady and the Patriots to win 21-17.

Seattle Seahawks 'Fail Mary' Win over Green Bay Packers

For those of you invested in the here and now, it may come as a shock to be reminded that the NFL season opened up using replacement referees who did such a horrible job that the league was almost brought to their knees in controversy. The icing on this cake and the moment that prompted the NFL to get the real deal back on the field happened in a week three Monday night game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.

Down 12-7 to the Packers, the Seahawks were down to one last Hail Mary attempt at pulling out the win. Launching the ball into the endzone with eight seconds left, Seattle was rewarded with a seemingly miracle catch by wideout Golden Tate who was ruled to have made a simultaneous catch with Packers safety M.D. Jennings. The refs then ruled that by NFL rules, the ball is rewarded to the offensive team in such a situation.

Pass. Catch. Win. Game over.

Oh, also bad call.

On replay, which the referee's were privy to, since all scoring plays are reviewed, Jennings hand clearly came off the ball as the two fell to the turf. Apparently the officials for some reason didn't think they had enough evidence to overturn the call so the initial call stood.

The end result, being what was ruled a touchdown, should have been ruled an interception.

While bad for the Packers and the league that week, the botched call on national television did have the domino effect of the NFL having the real referees back on the field by that Thursday's game. Plus it was dramatic, and drama is a good 90 percent of why we watch sports.

Who says a wrong can't make a right?

James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: Getty

By: Ronald Martinez
Collection: Getty Images Sport

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