By Tyler Leli @jetleli on April 8, 2014
Just like every other sports year, 2014 gave us plenty of highlight-reel plays. However, this year was even better than most. Take a look back at videos of the 15 best sports plays of the year.
In a game that everyone was watching to see if Kobe Bryant would pass Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list, Nick Young stole the show. In OT against the Spurs, he heaved up a shot from deep three-point range and buried it to give Los Angeles the victory.
If you just saw this play, you'd likely think the Steelers' wide receiver was a kung fu fighter. While running back a punt, he tried to leap over the opposing punter. However, in mid-jump he kicked the punter in the face and it was run all over SportsCenter for weeks.
Even though it wasn't a flashy play, Peyton Manning's 509th touchdown pass was historic. It pushed him past Brett Favre for the most touchdown passes in NFL history and further solidified his case as the best quarterback of all time.
The Kings were an unlikely team in the NHL last season as they trailed 3-0 in their first-round playoff series and went to Game 7 in each of the first three rounds. However, they dominated the Rangers in the Stanley Cup and finished them off with this incredible game-winning goal that gave them their second title in three years.
Again, this play wasn't flashy at all, but it was historic. Bryant achieved his long-time goal of passing his idol, Michael Jordan. It is a testament to both his skill and longevity in the NBA.
Everyone will always remember Richard Sherman's post-game tirade after the NFC Championship game, but not many will remember the play that set it up. With time winding down and the 49ers set to take the lead, Sherman tipped a pass targeted for receiver Michael Crabtree into the air, which was picked off and sealed the game for Seattle.
When they were down 7-3 in the eighth inning of the American League wild card playoff game, not many people gave the Royals a chance to win. However, they mounted their comeback. Tied 8-8, catcher Salvador Perez knocked a base hit down the left field line and put the Royals into the ALDS.
With time winding down in the World Cup and the game tied, Germany's Mario Goetze streaked toward the front of the net. He got a beautiful cross pass and buried it to give the Germans the World Cup victory.
With just one out to go for a no-hitter, pitcher Jordan Zimmermann appeared to give up his first hit of the game. The ball was smacked into the left-center-field gap, but youngster Steven Souza Jr. had a beat on it. He laid out, somehow made the catch and saved his pitcher's no-hitter.
Unbelievably, T.J. Oshie of the United States took six shootout shots against Russia and made four of them. After dazzling, he buried his fourth shot to give the United States the victory over their biggest hockey rivals.
Aaron Harrison was one of the most clutch performers of last year's NCAA basketball tournament and he was at his best against Wisconsin. With his team down by two points, he heaved up a three-pointer with a hand in his face and buried it. While Wisconsin had a few seconds left to answer, they were unable to reclaim the lead and the shot helped Kentucky into the national championship game.
Florida State was favored to win almost every game last season and that was no different against the pesky Auburn Tigers. However, they found themselves down late in the game with the need for a big play. Jameis Winston delivered a strike to Kelvin Benjamin, who went up and made a great play to make the touchdown grab. With just seconds to play, Auburn didn't have time to come back.
Damian Lillard has shown time and time again that he has ice water in his veins. That was never more apparent than last season when he hit a game-winning three pointer at the buzzer to down the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs. Since he did it in front of a home crowd, the stadium absolutely erupts.
Derek Jeter created some moments in baseball that were just too good to be true. Some of the things he did wouldn't have been able to be scripted, but he made unreal moments into reality. In his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium, he knocked this pitch to right field and drove in the game-winning run. It was the crowning moment of what will eventually be a Hall of Fame career.
In one of the best catches in NFL history, Odell Beckham Jr. fell backward toward the end zone, reached up and grabbed the ball over his head with just three fingers. Even though the Giants had relatively little to play for, the catch was one of the most incredible plays ever and was the best play of year.
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