Only one team can end the season on a win. We call them champions.
2008 has been full of clutch performances from teams and individuals who have claimed this title. They proved themselves over and over by making plays when it counted.
This list will contain the obvious and subtle clutch plays made by this year's champions.
So here's a look at The Top 10 Clutch Performances By Champions in 2008.
The defining moment of LSU's championship season was their win over Tennessee in the SEC Championship.
LSU was trailing by one at the end of the third quarter, and after pinning UT deep in their own territory, Jonathan Zenon intercepted a Erik Ainge pass and returned it for a touchdown.
LSU's defense then stymied the Vols in their final two possessions, forcing a turnover on downs and intercepting the final pass of the game.
LSU went on to roll over Ohio State University 38-24 for their fourth national title.
LSU's Defense—coming through in the clutch.
Link to interception: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4U_CryYILI&feature=related
While soccer in the USA does have its shortcomings, there are times when brilliance can be witnessed.
In the MLS Cup between the Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls, Frankie Hejduk scored a beautiful goal in the 81st minute to ensure a 3-1 win for the Crew. If you don't fancy soccer, this is nothing that special, but if you have a taste for a nice combo, you'll appreciate the icing on this cake.
Frankie Hejduk—coming through in the clutch.
Here's the link to Hejduk's goal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI_nZ_wXMBQ
The Boston Celtics needed a big game out of Paul Pierce against the Cleveland Cavaliers in order to make it to the NBA Finals.
He produced just that. He went 4-for-6 from three-point land and 11-for-12 from the stripe, including two free throws with seven seconds to play. Those free throws made it a two-possession game and sent Boston to the finals where they knocked of the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 for the championship.
Paul Pierce—coming through in the clutch
Runner-up: Boston D holding Kobe Bryant to 17 in the important Game 4 of the finals.
Pierce goes for 41: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHpY1wmF5mc
A closer can't ask for a better chance to prove himself than the chance Brad Lidge got in game five of the World Series.
Lidge struck out Tampa Bay Devil Rays' Eric Hinske on three pitches to give the Philadelphia Phillies the 4-1 series win and their second title.
Brad Lidge—coming through in the clutch.
Runner-up: Carlos Ruiz's walk-off infield single in game three
Lidge strikeout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf1Ij1goh8o&feature=related
After two rounds at the PGA Championship, Padraig Harrington sat at five-over going into the third round. In the second half of the tournament, Harrington shot four-under each day, helping him win the championship by two strokes.
In the final round, he birdied the 12th and 17th holes for the first time all tournament. This helped him overcome the two-hole deficit he faced on the last day.
Padraig Harrington—coming through in the clutch.
Post-round interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4NDO87vWHY
If you're looking for a thrilling last-second play, Game six of the Stanley Cup Finals provided it without a doubt.
Chris Osgood made a sprawling save and poke on a Sidney Crosby shot in the last second to preserve a 3-2 win and a Stanley Cup victory for the Detroit Red Wings over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Chris Osgood—coming through in the clutch.
From 0:24-0:40 is the save on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6wMw-x7Jjk
Some would argue that this year's Wimbledon final was the best tennis match of all time. I would hesitate to disagree.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer battled through rain delays and stoppages, along with the struggle of playing four hours and forty-eight minutes of tennis. Nadal won the first two sets, and then failed to take the match in two tiebreaks, in which Federer came back and evened the match.
But Nadal and Federer fought deep into a fifth set, and Nadal beat the King of Grass on his own surface, which not only was his first Wimbledon title, but also helped lead him to his first No. 1 ranking.
Rafael Nadal—coming through in the clutch.
Championship point and celebration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heGaAh1dzQo
Michael Phelps came into the Summer Olympics in Beijing with one goal, to win everything.
He did just that. By keeping his head down in the 100m Butterfly and beating Milorad Cavic, by helping and leading his relay teams to golds, and by dominating competition in the other individual events he entered, he set the record for most gold medals by one person in Olympic history.
Michael Phelps—coming through in the clutch.
Phelps wins his 7th: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrdhwSJdMqo
Memphis was pretty sure they were going to win a national championship after Derrick Rose hit a free throw to give them a three-point lead with ten seconds left in the game.
But Mario Chalmers had different plans. His three-pointer, after taking a pass from a falling teammate, went down with 2.1 seconds left on the clock and sent the game into overtime. The Kansas Jayhawks went on to dominate in overtime and win by seven.
Mario Chalmers—coming through in the clutch.
The shot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbOxL-DnDSg
It doesn't get much more clutch than this.
An undefeated team comes into a Super Bowl to play against a team who looks lucky to be there.
But that team just happened to be hitting their stride.
The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14.
One play stands out in particular. On third-down and five, Eli Manning scrambled around dodging tacklers while looking for an open man down-field.
David Tyree found himself in the middle of the field covered by Rodney Harrison. Tyree went up for the ball and caught it—holding it on his head with one hand for a short time—until he could secure it with both.
If this catch wasn't made, the Giants would've faced a fourth-down and could have never seen another scoring opportunity in the game.
David Tyree—coming through in the clutch.
The catch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-aKfTK2LiM