Turning 20 is honestly a really insignificant birthday. Sure, I’m not a teenager anymore, but that’s basically it. I still can’t legally buy alcohol, go to a bar, or gamble in a casino. However, one thing I do realize on my 20th birthday is how many awesome sporting events I’ve watched in my life. Here are the top 20 sporting events I’ve seen, in person or on television, in my lifetime. This list is obviously pretty biased towards my favorite teams (Yankees, Giants, Rutgers), and I didn’t include any games from before 2004 because I can’t remember too much before that.
20. Giants beat Cowboys 10-7 on Sunday Night Football, 12/11/16
The Cowboys came into this game 11-1, with the 1 loss already coming from the Giants in Week 1. However, the media insisted all week that this was a “different Cowboys team,” and that rookie QB Dak Prescott had matured a lot since Week 1. While that may have been true, Eli Manning and the Giants did what they do best and embraced the underdog role to beat Dallas.
19. 2016 World Series Game 7
I’m not a Cubs fan, but ever since I’ve visited Wrigley Field a few years ago they’ve been my favorite National League team to watch. This extra-inning thriller embodied everything playoff baseball should be, and ended with the Cubs bringing home their first championship in 108 years.
18. 2015 Women’s World Cup Final
I literally only care about soccer during the World Cup, so seeing our women’s team win it in 2015 was awesome. Especially with Rutgers alum Carli Lloyd leading the charge with a hat trick in just 16 minutes.
17. Rutgers Football beats Michigan in 2014
Not quite the 77-0 loss I had to witness this year. RU beating Michigan at home for its first Big Ten win was awesome to watch. Still waiting for a game where I can storm the field while I’m there.
16. 2017 NCAA Basketball Final
Being a Rutgers basketball fan means not having anyone to root for in March Madness. UNC has been my tournament team since I was little. Seeing them win this year was awesome, especially after the heartbreaker they lost in 2016.
15. Jeter “Dive” Game vs. Red Sox, 2004
I was young, but I remember watching this game. At the height of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, the captain puts his body on the line to make an unbelievable catch, and John Flaherty wins it in the 13th.
14. Jeremy Lin drops 25 to beat Nets (2012)
The start of Linsanity, the last time it wasn’t miserable being a Knicks fan. Those were the days.
13. Luis Castillo game
No explanation needed. Not being a Mets fan is the birthday gift that keeps on giving.
12. Rutgers Basketball beats Wisconsin at home (2015)
I was there for this one. Pretty cool to see Rutgers beat the team that should’ve won the national championship that year, even if Frank Kaminsky didn’t play.
11. Giants win Conference Championship over 49ers (2012)
Giants OT win to go back to the Super Bowl? Unreal game. Also, fuck Colin Kaepernick.
10. Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium
Still gives me goosebumps every time
9. 2013 NBA Finals Game 6
I feel weird putting this above some of the Yankee wins because I wasn’t a Heat fan at all, but this was an unbelievable game. I’ve been a LeBron fan for awhile too, so that’s another reason this cracked my top 10. Ray Allen with one of the most clutch shots of all-time too.
8. 2009 ALDS Game 2
I know this was only the ALDS, but it would’ve been really demoralizing to go into Minnesota with the series tied. A-Rod, in his lone postseason where he wasn’t totally useless, tied it in the 9th before Teix finished it in extras. Great game.
7. Giants win 2007 NFC championship
Lawrence Tynes! Bring on the Patriots, baby!
6. George Steinbrenner game (2010)
I was at this game, so it’s higher on my list than most people would have it. Pre-game ceremony honoring the recently deceased Boss, as well as Bob Sheppard, before Swisher hits a walk-off. The stadium was going crazy.
5. Rutgers Beats Louisville
The original Rutgers Football upset. Can’t relate tbh.
4. 2016 NBA Finals Game 7
People forget the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. LeBron finally brings a championship to Cleveland in one of the best basketball games ever.
3. Super Bowl XLVI
Did you know no one has beaten Tom Brady in the Super Bowl besides the Giants?
2. 2009 World Series Game 6
The Yankees are my favorite team in any sport, and seeing them win a championship was a ton of fun. Greatest franchise in the history of professional sports. Can’t wait to add more trophies with this new crop of guys.
1. Super Bowl XLII
Did I mention the Giants were the only team to beat Brady in the Super Bowl… and they did it twice? Tyree catch, Plax in the end zone, perfect season ruined. Greatest Super Bowl and sporting event of all time, don’t @me.
It may only have been 20 years, but I feel like I’ve seen a lifetime’s worth of great games.