The 15 Most Clutch Sports Moments of 2013
The 15 Most Clutch Moments in Sports of 2013
Being clutch is probably the greatest compliment you can give an athlete. To be great when it matters most is something that every person to ever wear a uniform wants to be associated with.
Some clutch performances will live on forever. Michael Jordan's shot to end the season for the Cleveland Cavaliers will never be forgotten. Joe Montana throwing to Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone for "The Catch" is still shown every single year. Derek Jeter becoming Mr. November and then Luis Gonzalez winning the World Series off of the greatest closer of all-time will make them both immortal. Mark Messier will be everyone's favorite New York Ranger for his guarantee in the Conference Finals and his game-winning performance in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Clutch is all about perception today. It has nothing to do with stats. Past performance is not taken into consideration when you look for clutch. There is no scale that says this is clutch or this isn't. It is all about what you see and how you feel when you watch these things. These fifteen moments will no doubt start conversation. The Boston Red Sox themselves had 11 walk-off wins this season. There were countless amounts of overtimes in hockey. There were a ton of buzzer beaters in basketball. There is just no way to add everyone. I tried to think outside the box on some of them, but let me know if I should have gone in a different direction. If you disagree feel free to let me know who you think I should have included. Now, let's get into the top 15 clutch performances of 2013.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to their MLB and NFL content. Remember to follow him on Twitter (@nick_villano) for updates on all sports.
15. Yale Hockey Makes An Improbable Run To The Championship
This was most likely a story that went over most people's heads, but this is like if Butler had actually won the title the years they went to the Final Four. Yale needed a lot of help just to make the tournament, and they took the last at-large bid. They beat No. 2 Minnesota in overtime in the first round, and they rode that all the way to a win over top seeded Quinnipac in the championship.
14. The American League All-Star Pitching Performance
When you are playing the likes of Yadier Molina, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Joey Votto and more from the NL All-Stars and you record a shut out that has to be looked at as clutch. Mariano Rivera ended up winning MVP in the 3-0 victory, but the award could have been shared by the entire pitching staff.
13. Tampa Bay Rays Win Two One-Game Playoffs
This new system in baseball that added another playoff team and a one game playoff has been a pleasant surprise. Imagine having to win two of them. That's exactly what the Tampa Bay Rays had to do to get into the ALDS.
12. Week 12, 13, 14 Tom Brady
For three weeks in a row, Tom Brady has pulled some wins out of where the sun doesn't shine. He spotted Peyton Manning 24 points and came back to beat him in overtime. The next week he played the Houston Texans and needed 27 second half points to keep them alive for the No. 1 seed. The week after that was probably his best when the New England Patriots were down by two scores with just over a minute left and they end up winning. Brady comes out of nowhere to re-cement his legacy.
11. Koji Uehara
Koji Uehara had as good of a postseason as you can have as a closer. This is after he was third in line to start the season after Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan. He allowed seven hits and one run over 13 appearances on his way to a World Series title.
10. Detroit Red Wings Survive 4 OT Games To Win Series
The Detroit Red Wings aren't used to being the underdog, but that was what they were when they played the second-seeded Anaheim Ducks. They played four overtime games in the series, winning three of them. To win three games against a higher seeded team in the playoffs is as clutch as you can be.
9. Auburn's Field Goal Miss Return
The complete surprise of how this play isn't higher is understandable. This is one of the biggest plays in the history of college football. Unfortunately, the clutch factor had too much to do with Nick Saban's decision to kick the field goal at all. Don't get me wrong; Chris Davis was absolutely clutch when he returned the kick 109 yards to win the Iron Bowl, but they had no idea they were getting such an opportunity.
8. Russell Martin's Two Home Runs In Wild Card Game
One and done situations are where the clutch thrive. That may be why people love the NFL playoffs. This will help with MLB's new Wild Card structure. Russell Martin helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win their first playoff game in 21 years when he hit two home runs in said game.
7. Chris Weidman Knocks Out Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva did not lose a match since 2006. He has been unstoppable in UFC, not even looking like he was trying at times. Chris Weidman was not supposed to have any chance in this fight, but to the surprise of all he knocked out Silva. He was looking against close to 2:1 odds according to Vegas. He had one of the biggest knockouts in recent MMA memory.
6. Any Moment From Wichita State's Run To The Final Four
Most fans could not tell you which state Wichita State is from. (It's Kansas if you were curious.) They beat the No. 1 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs on their way to the Final Four as a No. 9 seed. They lost to eventual champion Louisville.
5. Joe Flacco Playoff Performance
Joe Flacco seemed to have an affinity with being called elite in 2012. To be elite you must also be clutch, and Flacco was just that in the 2013 playoffs. He isn't having the best season, but his Super Bowl run was the stuff of legends. He threw for 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions while taking home MVP honors.
4. LeBron James Layup
This caused a serious amount of controversy, but part of being clutch is being smart. LeBron James was that on this play. He knew exactly how much time he had, noticed that Roy Hibbert was not on the floor and that Paul George overplayed him so he could run straight to the basket for an easy layup to win game one in overtime. Maybe Hibbert should have spoken up.
3. David Ortiz In The World Series
The Red Sox did not hit in the World Series outside of David Ortiz. He was insane when the lights were brightest as he hit .688 against the St Louis Cardinals. He was getting the Barry Bonds treatment by the end of it. If it wasn't for him, the Red Sox had no chance.
2. Chicago Blackhawks' Two Goals In 18 Seconds To Win The Stanley Cup
The fact that this isn't No. 1 shows what kind of clutch performances occurred this season. The Boston Bruins were one minute and 16 seconds away from taking the Stanley Cup Finals to a deciding seventh game. That is until Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland ended any hopes the Bruins may have had. The fact that Tuukka Rask didn't need professional help after what happened is a miracle in itself. Winning the Cup with less than a minute left is the definition of clutch.
1. Ray Allen Series Saving Game 6 Shot
They were rolling the trophy out on the floor; this game was over. That is, over until Ray Allen touched the ball. After Chris Bosh got a rebound to the corner to Allen, he drained a three-pointer to tie the game with 5.2 seconds left. That shot will stick with everyone who ever watches it and will go down as one of the best clutch shots ever. It is the most clutch moment of the 2013 calendar year.
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