There were many memorable moments in 2018. It was not easy to trim the list down to ten. This is what I came up with when I looked back at all my columns.
Tide Roll Behind Tua
After Alabama trailed 13–0 at halftime of the national title game, Tua Tagovailoa took over for starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. The freshman led a comeback that will not be forgotten for quite some time. Tagovailoa capped off the instant classic by throwing a 41-yard pass to DeVonta Smith to clinch a 26–23 overtime win over Georgia, Alabama’s fifth national championship since 2009.
Where Did That Come From?
Villanova redshirt sophomore Donte DiVincenzo became a national sensation in the national title game, coming off the bench to score 31 points, including five three-pointers, to propel Villanova to a second national title in three years. The guard chose to turn pro instead of returning to school. DiVincenzo was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and was averaging just five points a game before being demoted to the G League last week. He could end up being yet another “should have stayed in school” stories.
Where Did That Come From II
A miracle for Minnesota. A nightmare for New Orleans. Facing a 24-23 deficit against the Saints in the NFC championship game, with 10 seconds left and no timeouts on its own 39-yard line, quarterback Case Keenum of the Vikings connected with Stefon Diggs on a 61-yard, last-second, game-ending touchdown. The play has since been dubbed the “Minnesota Miracle”.
It Finally Happened
Some said it would never happen. Some said that it was bound to happen some time. It happened in 2018 as a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, shocked No. 1 Virginia in the first round, winning 74–54. Many brackets were busted on that historical game.
More Bracket Busting
The Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago busted brackets across the country in March with their improbable run in the NCAA tournament. The 11th seed featured a 98-year-old team chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, who stole the nation’s hearts.
A Professional Sports Expansion Team Made It To The Finals In Year One
The Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season in the NHL was filled with historical accomplishments, but none more remarkable than making it to the Stanley Cup Final. The team of misfits nobody wanted cruised through the first three rounds before falling in the Finals.
What a Year For Simone
2016 Olympic standout Simone Biles is now 21 years old and is still the best female gymnast on the planet. Biles won six medals at the World Championship Meet and 20 total in world championships, tying her with Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina for the most by a female gymnast.
Brees Stood Tall
Once thought of by many to be too short to play quarterback at the NFL level, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, during the 2018 season, became the all-time leader in passing yards. The Purdue standout passed Brett Favre in Week 5 before surpassing Peyton Manning’s total of 71,940 yards a few weeks later.
The Caps Win the Stanley Cup
Alex Ovechkin’s and all of Washington’s wait was finally over when the Caps raised their first-ever Stanley Cup. After ending several exciting seasons with disappointing early-round losses, the Capitals gave D.C. its first major pro-sports title since 1992.
I Bet This Will Change Sports
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court made the decision to strike down a 1992 federal statute that had prohibited states from authorizing sports betting and paved the way for states to begin offering legal sports wagering.
Photos in order:
Stefan Diggs – Minnesota Miracle catch
Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt
Nathan Walker with the Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup