Pinnacle Moments in the 2010 Sports Year
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints overcame an early 10-point deficit, pulled off a risky onside kick and won their first Super Bowl title with a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Miami.
Thanks to a band of self-described castoffs and misfits and their shaggy-haired ace, Tim Lincecum, the San Francisco Giants defeated the Texas Rangers in five games to win their first World Series since moving from New York to the Bay area .
The Los Angeles Lakers won their 16th NBA championship by rallying from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA finals. L.A. repeated as NBA champions for the first time since winning three straight from 2000-02 and moved one championship behind Boston's 17 banners for the overall NBA lead.
Andres Iniesta drilled a right-footed shot from 8 yards out, past the outstretched arms of Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with about seven minutes remaining to give Spain a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the first World Cup staged in South Africa.
The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime of Game 6 to win the best-of-seven series. Chicago won its first Stanley Cup since Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita led the way 49 years ago.
The U.S. made a strong comeback after trailing 9 1/2 -6 1/2 heading into the first Monday finish in the Ryder Cup's 83-year-history, but Hunter Mahan couldn't force a tie on the last match of the event. The Europeans regained the cup by the narrowest of margins, 14 1/2 -13 1/2 , and it really felt even closer than that.
BCS National Title Game
Alabama knocked Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of the game early, then made a big play late to stop a Longhorns comeback in a 37-21 victory that gave the Crimson Tide it's first title since 1992.
NCAA Basketball Championship
A half-court, three-point heave by Butler's Gordon Hayward bounced off the backboard and harmlessly off the rim, preserving Duke's 61-59 win over the feisty Bulldogs at Final Four weekend in Indianapolis. The victory snapped Butler's 25-game win streak and gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his first championship since 2001 and his fourth overall, tying Coach K with Adolph Rupp for second place on the all-time list.
Jimmie Johnson won a record fifth consecutive NASCAR title by becoming the first driver in the seven-year history of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship to overcome a points deficit in the season finale. He won by 39 points over Denny Hamlin, and 41 over Kevin Harvick.
Dario Franchitti's fuel worries subsided when a frightening last-lap wreck involving Mike Conway brought out a caution and enabled Franchitti to win his second Indianapolis 500. He prevailed in the rain-shortened Indy 500 in 2007.
In a race marred by a pothole on the track that took over two hours to repair, Jamie McMurray held off a hard-charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win his first Daytona 500. Overcome with emotion, he sobbed in Victory Lane as he celebrated with his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team
Phil Mickelson shot a 16-under 272, the lowest by a Masters champion since Tiger Woods in 2001, to win his third Green Jacket. Mickelson celebrated the event with his wife, Amy, who had not been at a tournament since she was diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months earlier.
Roger Federer won his record-extending 16th major title Down Under, but the men's tour mostly belonged to Rafael Nadal (pictured). The Spaniard became the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in succession -- and just the seventh player in history to complete the career Grand Slam.
Serena played just six events -- half of them Grand Slams -- during her abbreviated 2010 campaign. But, true to form, she made the most of them, bagging her 12th and 13th career majors at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. The artful Francesca Schiavone was a surprise winner at the French Open, while Kim Clijsters (pictured) capped a consistent season with her third U.S. Open title.
The Seattle Storm made up for losing in the first round of five consecutive WNBA playoffs and went undefeated in this year's to win their first title since 2004.
College World Series
South Carolina lost its first game and had to stave off elimination four times to reach the finals of the College World Series, even winning one game after being down to its last strike, but walked away with the title after a 2-1 victory in 11 innnings over UCLA.
NCAA Women's Basketball
UConnn defeated Stanford 53-47 in the championship game to cap their second consecutive undefeated season. The 78 wins in a row were 10 shy of the UCLA men's record run that ended in 1974.