Sometimes, moments of greatness get overshadowed or lost in the fold. In 2016, this was especially true.
Marcus Paige’s off-balance game-tying shot tied the National Championship game briefly, but Kris Jenkins's buzzer-beater trumped it minutes later. Curtis Granderson’s triumphant effort in center kept the wild-card game scoreless late, but the Mets went on to give up three runs to lose the game anyway. Sometimes, a great play means the world in a moment, but means nothing just a few later.
Below are the 10 best plays from 2016 that you probably forgot about, for one reason or another.
10. Jacoby Ellsbury’s straight steal of home
The straight steal of home is the most exciting play in baseball, if not the most exciting play in sports. Lost at the front end of a mediocre Yankees season was this heads-up swipe by Jacoby Ellsbury that electrified the crowd. Among scores of diving catches and long home runs, this was an underrated play.
9. Jonathan Quick’s incredible stick save
With the number of great saves Quick makes, this might not even rank as his best of the year. But this reach with the stick, just seconds before the second-period clock was about to expire, was impressive.
8. Bronson Koenig upsets Xavier in the second round at the buzzer
Seventh-seeded Wisconsin would go on to lose to Notre Dame in the Sweet 16, making this rather insignificant, but the way the Badgers got there was nothing short of thrilling. Bronson Koenig’s three downed the second-seeded Musketeers and turned Bill Murray into a meme.
7. Dario Saric’s game-winning block
With all the gigantic moments in the Olympics, and the United States’ dominance, the highlight of the 22-year-old’s young career might get lost in the shuffle. This came on one of the generation’s best forwards, and gave Croatia an upset win over Spain.
6. Aaron Gordon dunks over the Magic mascot
How Gordon didn’t win this dunk contest, I’ll never know.
5. Curtis Granderson keeps the NL wild card game scoreless
Mets fans dubbed this the sequel to Endy Chavez’s catch until Jeurys Familia lost the game in the ninth.
4. Gronk, Brady bring Pats to brink of OT in AFC Championship Game
New England nearly forced overtime against the Super Bowl champs in the AFC Championship game with an incredible game-ending drive. But the Patriots couldn’t punch it in for two, and it was all for naught.
3. Kevin Love’s stop on Stephen Curry
LeBron had ‘The Block,’ and Kyrie Irving had the game-winning shot. This defensive stop on Curry may have been the biggest play of the game, but took a back seat to the aforementioned two.
2. Yasiel Puig saves Rich Hill’s perfect game
Hill was pulled after this catch, and his perfect game was lost. Instead of living in fame, this catch will be forgotten, and that’s a shame.
1. Marcus Paige ties the National Championship game
Villanova’s Kris Jenkins one-upped Paige seconds later, meaning this shot went from championship-saver to footnote in an instant. It could have been the play of the year if not for Jenkins.