In the matchup between the Giants and Patriots, New York quarterback Eli Manning once again emerged on top. Manning led his team to a fourth-quarter comeback -- highlighted by a 38-yard completion to Mario Manningham -- and won his second Super Bowl MVP award.
2 of 18Orlin Wagner/AP
Every year Carl Yastremski's 1967 Triple Crown got even more impressive. Four and a half decades later, Miguel Cabrera finally matched Yaz's feat. Cabrera finished with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs and became just the 15th ballplayer to ever win the Triple Crown.
3 of 18Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images; Ted S. Warren, Jeff Chiu/AP
In 2012, perfect games began to feel somewhat commonplace, if that is even possible. That is thanks to the fact that three pitchers managed to complete the feat in one season, a previously unheard of rate. Philip Humber needed just 96 pitches to get past the Mariners, Matt Cain dismissed the Astros and Felix Hernandez blew away the Rays.
4 of 18Dave Martin/AP
In early November, few thought that undefeated SEC powerhouse Alabama could be stopped. But then the Crimson Tide met Johnny Manziel. The Aggies freshman quarterback threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns, en route to a 29-24 upset win that helped him win the Heisman Trophy.
5 of 18Randy Litzinger/Icon SMI
When he crossed the goal line at Penn State, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball hadn't just scored a 17-yard touchdown -- he had also just broken the FBS' career touchdown record of 78. Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) had held the record for 13 years, but now it is all Ball's.
6 of 18John W. McDonough/SI
For many, LeBron James needed to win an NBA title before he could be considered among basketball's greats. Well, James did it, putting forward a dominating postseason performance and recording a triple double in Game 5 as the Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, four games to one.
7 of 18Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images; Heinz Kluetmeier/SI; Chris Trotman/Getty Images
It was one of the greatest underdog stories ever. Jeremy Lin, an undrafted Harvard grad, grabbed headlines around the globe for leading the Knicks to seven straight wins -- all while still sleeping on his brother's couch.
8 of 18Bill Frakes/SI
Usain Bolt put all doubts about his competitive spirit to rest with dominating sprints in the 100- and 200-meters. He became the first Olympian to win a gold medal in both of those competitions in back-to-back Olympics.
9 of 18Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
No Olympian, living or dead, has had more medals than Michael Phelps. Phelps broke the record of 18 career medals early in the Games and went on to finish his career with a 22-medal haul. Eighteen of them are gold.
10 of 18Al Tielemans, Peter Read Miller/SI
Gymnast Gabby Douglas became one of the breakout stars this summer in London. After winning the individual all-around gold, Douglas and the rest of the Fierce Five became the first U.S. women's gymnastics team to win gold since 1996.
11 of 18Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
In what was possibly the most memorable goal in Premier League history, Manchester City's Sergio Aguero gave his team the title with a game-winning goal in the final minute of the match, tearing the trophy away from rivals Manchester United, which thought the title was theirs.
12 of 18Dan Rowley/Colorsport/Icon SMI; Alex Livesey/Getty Images
It was the tournament that Chelsea couldn't win. That is, until Chelsea captain Didier Drogba scored the game-tying goal and then won it in what was his final kick at the club. Drogba's penalty kick at the end of extra time gave the London squad a win over Bayern Munich in Munich.
13 of 18Elise Amendola/AP
It may not have been the Championship at Wimbledon, but it was still at Wimbledon. By winning the gold medal in the men's singles competition, Andy Murray became the first Briton to win at Wimbledon since 1908. Murray followed up his London win by earning his first Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open.
14 of 18Scott Barbour/Getty Images
In what was the longest Grand Slam singles final in history, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal to win his third straight major.
15 of 18Neil Leifer, Erick W. Rasco/SI; Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
Having struggled in the past with injuries, Serena Williams was on fire in 2012. In addition to a gold medal in the Olympics singles tournament, Williams won the U.S. Open and Wimbledon singles titles -- not to mention her doubles wins at the Olympics and Wimbledon.
16 of 18Al Tielemans/SI
With the Augusta crowd on his side, Bubba Watson hit a memorable shot from the woods on the second playoff hole, setting him up for a par and a win over Louis Oosthuizen at the Masters. It was Watson's first green jacket and first Grand Slam title.
17 of 18Bill Friel, Darron Cummings/AP
Dario Franchitti took the lead in the Indianapolis 500 on the next to the last lap and withstood a last-minute challenge that sent Japan's Takuma Sato crashing into the wall, to win the race for the third time in his career.
18 of 18Bill Frakes/SI
All season long Brittney Griner was unstoppable. So much so that her team finished the year 40-0, the best record in NCAA history. Griner, the AP Player of the Year, averaged 23 points, nine rebounds and five blocks that season.
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