Germany Blows Out Brazil in Semis, Then Wins World Cup
Host team Brazil, minus poster boy Neymar who was sidelined with an injured back, suffered a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final. The Germans went on to beat Argentina in the World Cup Final to win their fourth World Cup.
After upsetting five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer, the world number 16-ranked tennis player Marin Cilic defeated Japaense Kei Nishikori in the Grand Slam Finals. Both players were in the first Grand Slam final appearances and Cilic became just one of four players to win the U.S. Open without losing a set in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
Serena Williams’ victory against Danish Caroline Wozniacki in the 2014 U.S. Open marked her 18th Grand Slam win and moved her up to fourth on the all-time list of Grand Slam winners. She’s now four wins behind Steffi Graf, who holds the record with 22 career Grand Slam wins. Williams didn’t even lose a set the entire tournament and earned $4 million for the match, the biggest payday for a single tennis tournament.
Kawhi Leonard Dazzles as San Antonio Spurs Cool Down the Miami Heat
The Spurs blasted the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals, winning the series 4-1 and taking home their fifth franchise title. It was revenge for the Spurs who lost in Game 7 in 2013 against Lebron James and his crew. For averaging 17.8 points and shooting 61% from the field, including 29 points in Game 3, 22-year-old small forward Kawhi Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP and would go on to win an ESPY for “Best Championship Performance.”
Rory McIlroy Tallies Third and Fourth Majors at Age 25
Golf sensation Rory McIlory had a great year on the green, highlighted by winning the British Open and PGA Championship at Valhalla. At age 25, McIlory became the first European to win three different majors with the British Open victory in July. The PGA Championship win made him the fourth youngest golfer to win four majors, behind Tiger Woods, Tom Morris Jr., and Jack Nicklaus.
In a classic “East Coast versus West Coast” showdown, the Los Angeles Kings beat the New York Rangers to win their second Stanley Cup in three years. Their previous championship was the first in franchise history. Defenseman Alec Martinez scored in the second overtime of Game 5, the longest game in Kings history.
Madison Bumgarner Leads the San Francisco Giants into a World Series Dynasty
During Game 7 of the 2014 MLB World Series, pitcher Madison Bumgarner threw five shutout innings in relief on two days rest to seal the Giants’ victory over the Kansas City Royals. The win was the Giants third World Series championship in five years and Bumgarner was named the World Series MVP. The 25-year-old silenced the roaring Royals, who had made the playoffs for the first time in 28 years, by tallying a record low World Series ERA of 0.25 among pitchers with at least 25 innings pitched.
Richard Sherman Tips The Seattle Seahawks Into Super Bowl XLVIII
It was the tip heard around the world as cornerback Richard Sherman tipped away the final pass from San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the NFC Championship game. Intended for receiver Michael Crabtree, the pass would have been the game winner for the 49ers but instead it was deflected into a Seattle Seahawks interception to end the game. During a post-game interview, Sherman would boast to the media, “I’m the best corner in the game…When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re gonna get.”
The Seahawks would go on to win Super Bowl XLVIII led by the dynamic attack of quarterback Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch.
Goalie Tim Howard posted a World Cup-record 16 saves in a losing effort against Belgium in the Round of 16. The 2-1 loss knocked the USMNT out of the tournament but Howard was named FIFA’s Man of the Match.
Mo’ne Davis Tallies First Postseason Shutout in Little League History
On August 15, 2014, Little League Baseball pitcher Mo’ne Davis became the first girl to pitch a winning game and also the first girl to record a shutout in Little League postseason history. Although Mo’ne’s team, Taney out of Philadelphia, PA, would not advance to the U.S. Championship, her legacy continues to live on.
Odell Beckham Jr. Catches a TD Pass with Three Fingers
Week 12 of the 2014 NFL season pitted the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys but this game will be remembered for one play: a touchdown catch caught by Giants’ rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Heralded as the catch of the year, and some even saying of all-time, the acrobatic reception set the bar very high for future wide receivers.
UConn Men and Women Win NCAA Basketball Tournaments
It was a year full of wining for the University of Connecticut Huskies basketball program. The men’s team, led senior Shabazz Napier, defeated the Kentucky Wildcats to win the 2014 NCAA Tournament and the next night, the women’s team topped Notre Dame to secure their NCAA Championship. The women’s team won their ninth title, an NCAA record, and the guys secured their fourth NCAA national championship.
October 30, 2014 was the day Lebron James played his first game with the Cleveland Cavaliers since 2010 and yes, there was a chalk toss. The spectacle of a night included a pre-game airing of a Lebron/Nike commercial and a host of celebrity guests such as Johnny Manziel and Usher.
In a moment that the sports world will never forget, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter hit an RBI single against the Boston Red Sox in his final at-bat. New York and Boston fans alike chanted his name and gave him a standing ovation after substituted by pinch runner Brian McCann.