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Boston’s best sports moments of the 2010s

With the end of the 2010 less than a month away, it seems like an appropriate time to look back at the incredible moments that have occurred in a decade of sports that was dominated by Boston teams. In the four major sports leagues, in the 2010s decade alone, the city of Boston has celebrated six championships, 11 championship appearances, 16 conference finals appearances and several more records and accolades. Along the way, we have witnessed several individual moments that are frequently referenced moments where any Boston fan could tell you exactly where they were when that particular moment occurred. Here are the top 10 moments in the past decade.


  1. Jayson Tatum dunking on LeBron James in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals:

The 2017-18 Boston Celtics went on an improbable playoff run after losing star point guard Kyrie Irving and small forward Gordon Hayward for the season. The run was led by Boston’s young stud forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The young Celtics went toe-to-toe with  James and the Cavaliers in a game seven that came down to the wire, with James’ streak of seven consecutive years, eight after the game, in the Finals on the line. Tatum got the ball in his hands and met James at the hoop and threw a vicious dunk on him. The Celtics would not end up winning the game, but the season came to an end knowing the future of the franchise was in great hands with Tatum.


  1. Julian Edelman’s touchdown pass against the Baltimore Ravens:

In the 2014 season, the New England Patriots started off rough, reflected in their 2-2 record. This included an ugly 41-14 blowout loss in prime time to the Kansas City Chiefs, which raised a lot of conversation about the Patriots, who were 10 years removed from their last Super Bowl victory. People wondered whether the time of quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots had run out. The Patriots then rifled off 10 wins in 11 games and secured the first seed in the AFC. The Patriots met the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs, overcoming an early 14-0 deficit only to fall down 28-14. The Patriots cut the lead down to seven when Josh McDaniels decided to reach in his bag of tricks and have wide receiver Julian Edelman, a former college quarterback, throw his first career pass in the NFL, resulting in a long touchdown to fellow wide receiver Danny Amendola to tie the game up at 28. The Patriots then went on to win the game.


  1. Bruins come back after being down by three in game seven 

In 2013, an NHL season that was shortened due to a lockout, the Bruins faced their division rival, the Toronto Mapleleafs, in the first round of the playoffs. The Bruins took a commanding 3-1 series lead that would quickly fade away as Toronto won the following games and forced a decisive game seven at the TD Garden. The Bruins fell down to a 4-1 deficit with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game. As fans began to file out, right wing forward Nathan Horton brought life back for Boston with a goal. With under two minutes remaining, Boston pulled goaltender Tuuka Rask from the net and brought an extra forward onto the ice. That forward, Milan Lucic, scored to make it a 4-3 game. Again, with the goalie pulled, defenseman Patrice Bergeron just seconds later lit the lamp and tied the game up, sending the Garden into a frenzy. That would not be Bergeron’s last moment, as he found the puck off a rebound in overtime and fired one in the net to pull off the improbable comeback and win the series for Boston.


  1. Patriots beat the Chiefs on the road:

The Patriots entered the 2018 season coming off of a Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots offense struggled at times to carry a questionable defense, and they suffered from a handful of ugly losses that you wouldn’t normally see from the Patriots. New England finished the season 11-5, which, by their standards, was underwhelming. The star of the season was the Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the first-year starter who threw 50 touchdowns and won MVP. The Patriots would meet the Chiefs for the AFC Championship. Going into this game, the Patriots had not won a playoff game on the road since 2006, they were 3-5 on the road on the season and the last time they played in Arrowhead Stadium was the aforementioned 41-14 loss. Everything seemed to be in favor of the Chiefs, but as everyone knows, you can never count out Brady, Belichick and the New England Patriots. The game turned into a shootout in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 31-31 tie going into overtime. The Patriots got the ball and never gave Mahomes and the Chiefs a chance to take the field again. The game finished with running back Rex Burkhead taking a handoff into the end zone that gave the Patriots their third Super Bowl appearance in as many years.


  1. Isaiah Thomas scores 50 points on his sister’s birthday:

In the 2016-17 season, Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas had himself a monster year. The “little guy,” as he was taunted throughout the league, averaged 28.9 PPG and lifted the Celtics to the first seed in the Eastern conference. On the morning of game one, in the first round, Isaiah Thomas received the heartbreaking news that his sister Chyna Thomas had passed away in a fatal car accident. The video of Thomas in full tears on the bench with guard Avery Bradley, who was comforting him during warmups the morning he received the news, was a heart wrenching moment. Thomas played through his emotions and did so with great resolve. A couple weeks following the tragic death, the Celtics faced the Washington Wizards in game two of the conference semifinals on the same day as Chyna’s birthday. Thomas, filled with emotion, scored 53 points in that match and gave Boston the overtime win. It was a truly inspirational performance by a sensational athlete going through pain that most people cannot fathom.


  1. David Ortiz’ grand slam against the Tigers:

Red Sox slugger David “Big Papi” Ortiz is often regarded as one of the most clutch hitters the game of baseball has ever seen. When the Red Sox were in need of a big hit to dig them out of a hole, opposing pitchers never wanted to see Ortiz step to the plate. In the 2013 American League Championship Series, the Red Sox lost game one against the Detroit Tigers and trailed late in game two. In the bottom of the eighth inning, down 5-1 and seeming dead in the water,  Ortiz launched a grand slam to deep right field to tie the game up. The momentum lifted Boston over Detroit and the Red Sox went on to beat the Tigers in six games and followed that with a World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals.


  1. Edelman catch, Dont’a Hightower strip-sack, James White walk-off touchdown:

Pick your poison when it comes to trying emphasizing one moment in the Patriots’ 28-3 comeback over Atlanta in the 2017 Super Bowl, as there are simply too many to only have one. Midway through the fourth quarter, with the Patriots still trailing by a good margin of 28-12, they needed every second they could get. Quarterback Matt Ryan dropped back to pass and outside linebacker Donta Hightower quickly blew past the block from running back Devonta Freeman and stripped the ball out of Ryan’s hand. The Patriots then recovered the ball in Atlanta territory, which led to a touchdown drive to chip away at the lead again. On the Patriots’, final drive, with the scoreboard still 28-20 in favor of the Falcons, Brady chucked up a deep ball that was knocked in the air by Falcons cornerback Robert Alford and four players all jumped together to fight for the ball; three Falcons and one Patriot. The lone Patriot was Edelman, who made a miraculous diving catch, that was reviewed several times in slow motion for all of the nations to see, just before the ball hit the ground. Running back James White scored the game-tying touchdown that would send the game to overtime, where the Patriots received the ball and drove it right down the field. On second and goal, White received a toss to the right, fought his way through tackles and drove the ball past the plane for his third touchdown of the game. This touchdown gave New England their fifth Super Bowl title and completed the most improbable comeback in NFL history.


3.Tim Thomas shuts out the Canucks in game seven:

The 2011 Bruins Stanley Cup run was filled with countless moments worthy of discussion. For example, the Bruins came back from being down 2-0 against their rivals, the Canadiens, in round one, and swept the Flyers a year after they rocked the Bruins’ world by completing a 3-0 series comeback. The run also saw a gritty seven-game series against the Tampa Bay Lightning as the Bruins fell 2-0 against the Presidents’ Trophy winner Vancouver Canucks. They found their spark in game three when Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome delivered a cheap shot on Nathan Horton that took him out for the series. The Bruins rallied behind that and stomped on Vancouver, resulting in an 8-1 win. They then forced a game seven, going on the road with goaltender Tim Thomas, who was absolutely flawless on the biggest stage. Bergeron and left-wing Brad Marchand scored two goals apiece in the 4-0 shutout that was capped off by an empty-net goal by Marchand, giving the Bruins their first Stanley Cup title in 39 years. 

  1. Malcolm Butler’s interception in Super Bowl 49:

In the aforementioned 2014-15 season, where the Patriots dynasty was declared dead after four weeks in the season, New England made it back to the Super Bowl for the sixth time under Belichick and Brady. The 2015 Super Bowl would be fought against the defending champions, the Seattle Seahawks, and their “Legion of Boom” defense, arguably the best defense of the entire 2000s. After Brady’s heroic performance, pulling off a 24-14 comeback and taking a 28-24 lead late in the game, it looked like the most haunting moment in Patriots franchise history was about to repeat itself: the infamous helmet catch in 2007 by tight end David Tyree, after quarterback Eli Manning escaped a swarm of Patriots defensive linemen and chucked it up to him, gave New York a necessary first down deep in Patriots territory. From there, Manning ended the Patriots’ perfect season, throwing a beautiful ball to wide receiver Mario Manningham in the back of the end zone in 2007 that led to the Giants’ game winning drive in that Super Bowl. With just over a minute left in the game, Russell Wilson chucked a deep ball to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, which was batted away by Patriots undrafted cornerback Malcom Butler before miraculously making it into the arms of Kearse inside the Patriots’ 5-yard line. The nightmare was happening all over again. It appeared that despite Brady’s heroic performance, he was about to fall to 3-3 in Super Bowls. The Patriots sent out a goalline formation with three cornerbacks, putting Butler back on the field. When New England needed a big play more than ever, Butler jumped a route targeted to wideout Ricardo Lockett and picked it off, sealing the win for New England and an ecstatic Brady. 

  1. “This is our f***ing city”:

April 15, 2013. Perhaps the worst day in the history of the city of Boston when the annual Boston Marathon was devastatingly attacked in an act of terroism that resulted in three deaths and several other injuries. The attack broke the hearts of millions and has caused lasting grief. A few days following the attack, Boston legend David Ortiz took it upon himself to give a speech before a Sunday afternoon Red Sox game at Fenway Park, where he addressed the bombing and famously said the words “This is our f***ing city. And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.” It was a powerful moment. Those words united the city of Boston and the strength of those who reside in it. The Red Sox dedicated the 2013 season to those affected by the tragedy, and won the World Series. 


Honorable Mentions:

Joe Kelly fight

Stephon Gilmore’s Super Bowl clinching interception

Tom Brady throws 500 yard in the Super Bowl

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