A multi-billion dollar industry, the world of mass spectator sports is truly an integral part of American society—inspiring fans to rabidly cheer, disapprovingly jeer, and become collectively energized. What fuels this phenomenon are the games that become etched into the lore of their respective sport; when the mental torment of watching a team struggle through a difficult season culminates in a fatigue-awash victory.
The best games of 2013 fit such a criteria. And, with so many team-wide moments that prove to viewers the value of hard work, RSVLTS has gathered a Top 11 list to give 2013 a Norse Funeral-like send off.
11. 2013 NFL Season Week 8: Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys
Date: October 27, 2013
The NFL has an affinity for last second finishes—an occasion that is of heightened levels of scarcity in football. But, when they do occur on the gridiron, then it merits acknowledgement—regardless of which portion of the season it occurs.
In this case, the Lions had their offense marching down the field when a sneak by Matthew Stafford into the end zone sealed a victory for the felines from the Motor City.
10. NHL Western Conference Semi Finals, Game 7
Date: May 29, 2013
There are few teams in hockey with a fiercer rivalry than the Red Wings and the Blackhawks— one that dates back to the primordial days of the Original Six. This one saw the ‘Hawks battle back from a large deficit in the series. And, in overtime, the Blackhawks trumped their northern rivals.
9. NBA Western Conference semifinals, Game 1
Date: May 6, 2013
Fans will always remember games with multiple overtimes. And, in 2013, there was abundance thereof—spanning multiple sports and undoubtedly removing several years from spectator’s lives.
The first multiple overtime game on this RSVLTS list happened during the Western Conference semifinals in a matchup between the Spurs and the Warriors. Barely edging them in the final seconds on double overtime, the Spurs Manu Ginobili sank a three pointer—helping his team eventually reach the NBA Finals.
8. NBA Eastern Conference First Round, Game 4- Bulls vs. Nets
Date: April 27, 2013
This one will go into the books as “Nate Robinson Goes Beast Mode”. Helping his team come charging back from a 12-point deficit, Brooklyn’s Deron Williams had a chance to finish the match at the end of regulation. But, the ball bouncing off the rim meant overtime times three for both competitors.
Edging the Nets in this game, the Bulls gained control over the series after the conclusion of this epic matchup.
7. NHL Western Conference Finals, Game 5
Date: June 8, 2013
Trying to defend their 2012 Stanley Cup title, The Kings entered this series against a Blackhawks team that cruised through the regular season with little difficulty. In addition, they had just made a historic comeback against their rivals—the Red Wings.
But, the Kings would not be dethroned easily. In Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals—a competition that spanned 5 periods—the Blackhawks managed to edge the Kings with a 4-3 victory.
6. MLB World Series, Game 3
Date: October 26, 2013
This is a game that—if the Red Sox lost the 2013 World Series—would live on in Bill Buckner- like infamy in Boston sports lore. What decided this game was a controversial—albeit a properly made—call from umpire Jim Joyce, who is no stranger to being the epicenter of scrutiny.
The most recent World Series was full of wild finishes, but Game 3 sticks out as the epitome of the Bostonian bedlam that championship entailed—even if the final victor of the game wasn’t ultimately triumphant.
5. NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1
Date: May 22, 2013
Record this as a triple-double for LeBron James and yet another time where his heroics catapulted the Heat to victory.
This game saw several lead changes in the final minute of regulation. Ultimately going into overtime, James powered to the basket in the final seconds of overtime to hit a layup for the win.
4. NHL Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1
Date: June 12, 2013
The first game of the Stanley Cup finals christened its 2013 incarnation with a triple overtime thriller—the best possible catalyst for an epic matchup between two members of the NHL’s storied Original Six Franchises.
Winning 4-3, the Blackhawks eventually won the Stanley Cup.
3. AFC Divisional Round- Broncos vs. Ravens
Date: January 12, 2013
One blown coverage can alter a teams seasonal fortune—just ask Rahim Moore or Jacoby Jones. Battling back from a point deficit, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a howitzer-sent projectile to the Baltimore speedster—resulting in a game-tying touchdown. The teams remained in gridlock until the Ravens scored in the second overtime—concluding one of the longest games in NFL history.
2. The 2013 Iron Bowl
Date: November 30, 2013
This incarnation of the Auburn University Football Program may the most fortunate in BCS History. In a hard-fought, rivalry-drenched battle the biggest difference was a missed field goal and an unlikely kick return for a last-second go ahead touchdown.
1. MLB ALCS Game 2
Date: October 12, 2013
Ask any professional baseballer, and they would most likely agree to the conjecture of unlikely victory when the opponent has a 5-1 lead late in the game. But, don’t tell the odds to Mr. David Ortiz—the team’s spiritual leader during their claiming of their seventh world series. One grand slam later, and the Red Sox equaled the series—eventually earning a successful World Series berth.