Anderson Silva and the Top 10 Jaw Dropping Moments of the Last Decade
Anderson Silva's surprising fifth-round victory over Chael Sonnen Saturday night hasn't just secured its place amongst the greatest fights in history, but one of the most shocking sports moments ever.
After landing blow after blow, Sonnen seemed ready to snatch the middleweight championship right out of the tired fingers of Silva, before the Brazilian unleashed a barrage of lethal elbows, a bottom punch, on into a masterful triangle.
Before you knew what happened, the scoreboard was obsolete and Silva had defeated motor mouth Sonnen in a jaw-dropping performance that left fans craving more.
Sports is the ultimate producer in jaw-dropping moments. Sure, you can ask your dad about the 1980 United States victory over the USSR; we've all seen "Miracle on Ice," but let's stick to the new generation.
In the last decade alone, there have been enough eye-popping, leave-your-seat action to satisfy sports fans of any age. It's the moments that spill your popcorn, prompt the neighbors to call a noise complaint, or keep you from blinking for say, 15 minutes.
Here they are, the decade's top ten most jaw-dropping moments in sports.
#10 Appalachian State Upsets Michigan
Let's go back to the opening weekend of college football 2007...
With six seconds remaining and the ball on the Appalachian State 20 yard line, Wolverines kicker Jason Gingell seemed prepared to save fifth-ranked Michigan with a game-winning field goal.
That thought came before Corey Lynch blocked the kick, returning it 52 yards and inking one of the greatest upsets in college football history. The 34-32 win would undoubtedly go down as the biggest win for the Mountaineers and the sourest loss for the Wolverines. The Division 1-AA favorite had defeated a Big Ten superpower which many anticipated would challenge for the national title that season. The upset changed the national perspective of the plight of underdog schools, securing greater arguments for the likes of the Boise States, TCU's and Utah's of the college football world.
#9 Adam Vinatieri's Kick in Super Bowl XXXVI
The 2001 St. Louis Rams, a.k.a "The Greatest Show on Turf," entered Super Bowl XXXVI as 14-point favorites. Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce...looking back, it was an All-Star squad.
But looking forward...Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri, Ty Law; the Patriots were the team to beat for a new decade.
With seven seconds left, Vinatieri punched in a 48-yard field goal, the first time ever a Super Bowl was won on the final play of regulation. The win changed the NFL landscape, catapaulting the Patriots towards a dynasty, with two more Super Bowl victories following in the next three years, including a close loss in the 2008 edition. (more to come)
#8 Young Gun at the Rose Bowl
The No. 1 USC Trojans seemed poised to win a second consecutive national championship after throttling the Oklahoma Sooners a year before. Yet, the Sooners arch-enemies from across the border offered a cold dish of revenge for their Southwest neighbors, upsetting the Trojans 41-38 in one of the most thrilling college football games in history.
The majority of the work was done by Texas quarterback Vince Young, who went on to win his second consecutive Rose Bowl MVP, the only player to achieve this feat. When all was said and done, Young had given new meaning to "do it yourself."
Trailing by two scores with less than 7 minutes to play, Young led a 69-yard scoring drive, capped by a 17-yard touchdown run, leaving 2:39 to spare.
The Longhorns would regain posession wtih 2:09 remaining, ball at the Texas 44-yard line. After an amazing third-and-12 conversion, the USC defense had the national championship in reach, with the Longhorns facing fourth-and-five on the USC nine yard line. Young took the snap, bolted towards the right sideline and scored the game-winning touchdown. The quarterback compiled 467 yards of total offense, with three rushing touchdowns.
#7 Orangemen and Huskies Endure Six Overtimes
In one of the most epic games ever played at Madison Square Garden, the Syracuse Orangemen outlasted the No. 4 ranked Huskies in a six-overtime thriller in the second round of the Big East Tournament.
The bench players were key in this game, wiht eight players fouling out, four off each team.
The game seemed to be over when Orangemen Eric Devendorf nailed a buzzer beater at the end of regulation, which officials called off, citing the shot-clock's expiration with the ball still in Devendorf's hands.
Following five grueling overtimes, in which 78 combined points would be scored, the Orangemen finally pulled away, scoring 17 points, to the Huskie's seven, to secure the quarterfinals win.
#6 Eighth Seeded Golden State Defeat Mavs
After securing their first playoff appearance since 1994, the Golden State Warriors were pegged with the eighth seed in the 2007 NBA playoffs and a first round bout with the #1 Dallas Mavericks.
Led by guard Baron Davis, the Warriors won a surprising Game 1 victory in Dallas, setting the tone for the series. After Dallas responded with a Game 2 win, the Warriors won back-to-back games. A 118-112 victory for the Mavs in Game 5 sent the Warriors back to California in panic mode.
A third-quarter 18-0 run sparked what would become a crushing 111-86 victory for the Warriors, cementing the first defeat of a No. 1 seed by a No. 8 seed in NBA history.
#5 K-O in Soccer
Women's college soccer was put under a new light after New Mexico player Elizabeth Lambert threw a violent tirade in a game versus BYU in 2009.
The highlights were ones that prompted even the strongest of men to cover their open mouths with a fist and yell "Dammmmn!"
After tugging Kassidy Shumway to the ground by her pony tail, Lambert delivered some malicious kicks to the stomach and head area. BYU forward Carlee Payne also received some inaffection from Lambert, in the form of elbows to the chest.
Lambert would eventually apologize, but the violent acts would garner her an indefinite suspension, while fans and NCAA officials alike took a new perspective on inappropriate violence in sports.
#4 Lightning Bolt
Jamaica's Usain Bolt did his best impression of the Flash in the men's 100m race at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Breaking his own world record with a time of 9.69 seconds, some questioned in Bolt could have split even more time had he not thrown his arms in celebration...with 20 meters remaining.
It was one of the most beautiful mixtures of pure athleticism and cocky, self-recognition by an athlete.
There is not a more proper last name for this man than "Bolt."
Or perhaps "Flash?"
#3 Giant Upset in Super Bowl XLII
The New England Patriots were on their way to a fourth Super Bowl victory in eight seasons, before the underdog New York Giants, the NFC's fifth-seed, dethroned the new millenium's dynasty.
With the Patriots up 14-10 and 2:42 remaining, Eli Manning led a miraculous go-ahead drive that included an unbelievable 32-yard reception by David Tyree, in which the wideout held the ball with one hand on his helmet, hitting the turf with two defenders.
Four plays later, Manning tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, giving the Giants a 17-14 lead which would not be surrendered. The Giants defense, which outplayed itself, held off the once unstoppable Patriots offense to seal the victory.
#2 Phelps' Finger Tip Win
The 100m butterfly in the 2008 Beijing Olympics went down as possibly the most exciting race in swimming history.
Without the help of split second technological accuracy, the race's outcome might not have been possible to pinpoint.
With a one-hundredth-of-a-second victory, Michael Phelps defeated Milorad Cavic, keeping Phelps on pace for a record eight gold medals and national stardom.
But it was this race that grabbed the attention of swim fans and sports fans across the world...
#1 Janet Jackson's Breasts
Okay, okay...I know this isn't a sports moment per se, but it did occur amidst the greatest sporting event in America and changed the landscape of live television forever.
Super Bowl XXXVIII turned out to be best remembered not for its late-game heroics, but for the revealing half-time show that divided it.
In a raunchy dance number, singer Justin Timberlake tugged at Jackson's breasts, mistakenly removing the covering and revealing the pop star's breast on national television.
It prompted a million mothers to cover their childrens' eyes, fathers and sons to jump out of their seats in shock and numerous sanctions by the Federal Communications Commission, including a $550,000 fine against CBS.
Talk about a halftime show that will be hard to top...