The Rose Bowl on New Year's Day was taut and memorable. The first NFL playoff weekend of 2011 did not disappoint, either, with three of the four games decided in the final minutes. And Monday night's BCS championship game, while sloppy, did produce a dramatic fourth quarter with Auburn winning it on the final play of the game.
But those were played in the year of 2011, and the year is still young.
The year of 2010, however, is all finished. Now we've had an opportunity to review all the great games played throughout the entire year, from the gridiron and diamonds to the fairways and lawns. There is plenty to choose from.
Ron Artest making an improbable put-back bank shot at the buzzer off a Kobe Bryant air ball. The Mets and Cardinals slugging it out (rather meekly) in a 20-inning game that didn't want to end. Armando Galarraga's perfect gem - except that it wasn't. Germany storming England in a contest between old rivals that was filled with controversy and recrimination, not to mention correctly prophesized by an octopus. Kurt Warner duking it out against Aaron Rodgers in an amazing aerial show that was won by, naturally, the defense.
Those are but some of the best games of 2010 ... and none of them made our list!
Some of the games made our list because of the consequences they bequeathed, such as being the very last game contested in a long, grueling season - even if it wasn't necessarily a work of art, particularly when you consider the marquee attraction made just 6 of 24 shots. Some made it for their historic value, as is the case with a tennis match that went on for three days, with neither contestant willing to succumb to the physical or mental demands of such an absurdly long duel, even if it was only in the first round of a fortnight-long tournament.
Some of the games were staged with national pride on the line. Two neighboring countries faced off in an epic gold medal game in the Olympics, and though both teams were stocked with professionals, they played with the vigor and passion of kids, until the match was won by "The Kid." Another was contested in the biggest sporting spectacle of the world, and when it seemed that all hope was lost, a one-time wunderkind delivered a scintillating finish.
Not all of our heroes were household names. You couldn't possibly know about Ali Farokhmanesh, until he destroyed your NCAA basketball tournament bracket. Yeah, he and his Northern Iowa Panthers made the list of our Top 10 Best Games of 2010.
The top five:
1. Golden goal for Canada: Gold-medal hockey game
2. Butler didn't do it: Men's basketball NCAA title game
3. Last-minute redemption: USA vs. Algeria
4. Miracle at the Meadowlands II: Eagles stun Giants
5. Defense wins dynasties: NBA Finals Game 7
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