The biggest sports story the year you were born

The ‘Miracle on Ice’ is one of the biggest moments in sports history. AP Photo

The biggest moments in sports often transcend the games themselves and become part of the fabric of society.

Each year, there are plays, moments, and events that become the biggest stories of the year, extending well beyond the field or court.

We searched back over the last 69 years to find the biggest sports story each year. Some of them are incredible plays and moments on the field, some of them are singular events that rocked the world, while others were stories that lasted weeks and even months, dominating the news cycle.

Here are the biggest sports stories from each year, starting in 1950.

1950: Yankees win second straight World Series as part of dominant, five-year run.

The New York Yankees celebrate after Joe DiMaggio (center) hit the go-ahead home run in Game 2 of the World Series. AP

What happened: The Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in a four-game sweep, winning their second straight World Series. The Yankees, with a team featuring all-time players like Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto, would go on to win the next three World Series, bringing their run to five straight, unmatched in any of the four major American sports.

1951: College basketball rocked by point-shaving scandal.

Long Island University star Sherman White leaves court in 1951. White was one of three LIU players arrested for taking bribes to throw games. AP

What happened: The scandal included seven schools, four in the New York area, and 32 people and extended to the organised crime world. Much of the point-shaving occurred during the 1949-50 season when the City College of New York Beavers won both the NIT and NCAA Tournaments, but the scandal came to light in 1951.


1952: Political tensions between the U.S. and USSR take over the 1952 Olympics.

American runner Charlie Moore (right) is congratulated by Russia’s J. Lituev after winning the 400-meter hurdles. Mark Kauffman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

What happened: The 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, were the first to involve the Soviet Union. USSR leaders requested that its athletes get separate lodging and attempted to keep athletes away from non-communists. The political tensions also created a heightened and palpable sense of competitiveness. The U.S. won a narrow medal count, 76-71, over the Soviet Union.

Source: Process History

1953: Maureen Connolly wins four grand slams in one year.

Maureen Connolly wins the 1953 U.S. Open, completing the Grand Slam in one year. Getty Images

What happened: Just 18 years old, Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbeldon, and U.S. Open, perhaps the most dominant single season in tennis history. She won a string of nine straight grand slams and 50 consecutive singles matches. Tragedy struck Connolly in 1954 when she got into a horse-riding accident that forced her to retire from tennis at just 19 years old.

1954: Milan High School wins Indiana state basketball title

Milan High School celebrates winning the Indiana state basketball title. via IHSAA/YouTube

What happened: Milan high school, with an enrollment of just 161, became the smallest school to win the state title, beating the bigger Muncie Central High School. The win inspired the movie “Hoosiers.”

1955: Le Mans disaster kills 130 people.

A collision causes a fire after a car went airborn at the Le Mans motor race. AP

What happened: During the 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race in Le Mans, France, two cars collided, with one going airborne and flying into the stands. An initial report from Life described the hood of the car as a “guillotine” going through the crowd, writing: “In a few searing seconds 82 people were dead and 76 were maimed.” There is not an exact death toll, but it’s believed to be 130, the worst accident in motorsports history.


1956: Rocky Marciano retires from boxing undefeated.

Rocky Marciano poses at his retirement press conference. AP

What happened: Marciano retired at 32 years old, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. He was the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated, with 49 wins and 43 knockouts.

Source: Everlast

1957: Notre Dame ends Oklahoma’s 47-game win streak in football.

Notre Dame celebrates a 7-0 win over Oklahoma. Getty Images

What happened: The Sooners won 47 straight games, from 1953 to November 1957. The Fighting Irish ended that streak on November 16, with a 7-0 win over Oklahoma. The Sooners went on to win all of their remaining games to win the Big Eight championship.

1958: The Baltimore Colts and New York Giants play “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

The Giants rush into the end zone during the 1958 NFL championship. Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

What happened: The 1958 NFL Championship game was the first playoff game to go to sudden-death overtime, with the Colts plunging into the end zone from the 1-yard line to win the game 23-17. The game, dubbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” took place in Yankee Stadium and marked football’s ascension as America’s most popular sport.

1959: Jacques Plante wears a face mask for the first time in a hockey game, changing equipment standards

Jacques Plante puts on a face mask after taking a slap shot to the face. Getty Images

What happened: Jacques Plante, the Montreal Canadiens goalie, had wanted to wear a face mask for protection, but his coach would not allow it. After taking a slapshot to the face in a November game against the New York Rangers, Plante returned to the ice in a mask, “stunning” the team and helping them win, hockey historian Stan Fischler said. It started a wave of masks in hockey, changing the game.


1960: Wilma Rudolph wins three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics and is dubbed “the fastest woman alive.”

Wilma Rudolph celebrates winning the 100-meter gold medal at the 1960 Olympics. AP

What happened: Rudolph had a bout with polio as a child that left her disabled in her left leg. She wore a brace on her leg until she was 8 but she overcame the effects of the disease to become a four-time medal winner and “the fastest woman alive.”

1961: U.S. figure skating team killed in a plane crash on the way to World Championships.

A plane crash killed all 72 people on board, including all 18 members of the U.S. Figure Skating team. AP

What happened: All 18 members of the figure skating team were killed in a plane crash in Belgium. The team was on its way to the World Championships in Czechoslovakia. In total, all 72 people on the flight died in the accident.

1962: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in a game.

Wilt Chamberlain celebrates scoring an NBA record 100 points in a game. Paul Vathis/AP

What happened: Chamberlain scored an NBA record 100 points to help the Philadelphia Warriors beat the New York Knicks, 169-147. With Chamberlain’s point total climbing, the Warriors began giving him the ball on every possession, then fouling the Knicks to stop the clock. No footage exists of the game.

1963: Margaret Court wins Australian Open for a fourth straight year and wins Wimbledon for the first time.

Margaret Court returns a ball at Wimbledon. S&G/PA Images/Getty Images

What to know: The Australian great had one of the greatest runs in the history of tennis, amassing 16 grand slams in the decade, including 12 from 1960-1965. She was also named Australian sportsman of the year in 1963.

1964: Cassius Clay beats Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship

Cassius Clay dodges a punch from Sonny Liston. AP

What to know: Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) was a rising star in boxing. He famously declared he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” before the match. Clay beat Liston by technical knockout in seven rounds.

1965: Muhammad Ali beats Sonny Liston in the first round, and the most famous photo in sports is born.

Muhammad Ali taunts Sonny Liston after knocking him down. John Rooney/AP

What to know: Boxing authorities ordered a rematch between Ali (who changed his name shortly after beating Liston the first time) and Liston. This time, Ali knocked down Liston in the first round, then stood over him, yelling, creating what many consider the greatest photo in sports.

1966: Texas Western, with the first all-black starting five in college basketball, wins the NCAA Tournament.

Texas Western celebrates during the 1966 NCAA championship game. AP

What happened: The championship game between Kentucky and Texas Western (now called University of Texas at El Paso) featured the Wildcats’ all-white starting lineup and the Miners’ all-black starting lineup. Texas Western won with a disciplined, defensive game, reshaping many of the narratives around black athletes and teams. Their win inspired the movie “Glory Road.”

Source: ESPN

1967: Muhammad Ali stripped of the heavyweight title for refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

Muhammad Ali waits at a news conference in April 1967 to announce he wouldn’t join the U.S. Army. AP

What happened: In April of 1967, Ali refused to enter the U.S. Army, claiming he opposed the Vietnam War. Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title, sentenced to five years in jail (but let out on bail), and not allowed to work or box in America. Ali made public speaking appearances after his decision and became a symbol for civil rights. His licence was later restored in 1970.

1968: Tommie Smith and John Carlos do the black power salute at the Mexico City Olympics.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos give the ‘black power’ salute at the 1968 Olympics. AP

What happened: Smith and Carlos, two Americans, won gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. As they received their medals, they raised their fists, covered in black gloves, to do the black power salute. They also took off their shoes to protest black poverty and wore beaded necklaces and scarves to protest lynchings. Some people booed them as the national anthem played. They were ordered to leave the Olympic Stadium and suspended from the U.S. Track team.

1969: Jack Nicklaus’ “Concession” creates the first tie at the Ryder Cup.

Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin finish in a tie at the Ryder Cup. PA Images/Getty Images

What happened: With the US and Great Britain tied going on the 18th hole on the final day of the Ryder Cup, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin were putting for the win. After Nicklaus sank a four-foot putt to finish the hole, he picked up Jacklin’s marker, about two feet from the hole, and according to Jacklin, said, “I don’t believe you would have missed that but I’d never give you the opportunity in these circumstances.” Some viewed “The Concession” as a great act of sportsmanship from Nicklaus while others thought it was an act of gamesmanship. It’s the only tie in Ryder Cup history.

Source: Ryder Cup

1970: Southern Airways Flight 932 crashes carrying the Marshall football team.

The wreckage of Southern Airways Flight 932. Getty Images

What happened: A flight from North Carolina to West Virginia carrying the Marshall University football team crashed into a hill, killing all 75 people on board, including the players, coaches, boosters, and more. It’s considered one of the worst sports-related tragedies ever, and the team is still honored by Marshall today.

1971: Joe Frazier beats Muhammad Ali in “The Fight of the Century.”

Joe Frazier lands a punch on Muhammad Ali during ‘The Fight of the Century.’ AP

What happened: Ali, recently reinstated after losing his boxing title, fought Joe Frazier, marking the first fight between two undefeated heavyweights. Frazier won via unanimous decision in 15 rounds, setting up “Super Fight II” and the “Thrilla in Manila.”

1972: The Munich Massacre rocks the Olympics.

A masked Palestinian commando stands outside the room where Israeli athletes were taken hostage. AP

What happened: On September 5, eight Palestinian terrorists sneaked into the Olympic village and broke into the apartment housing the Israeli athletes, killing two and holding nine others hostage. The terrorists later led the hostages to F├╝rstenfeldbruck Air Base, where a gunfight with police ensued. The remaining hostages and five of the terrorists were killed.

1973: Billie Jean King wins the “Battle of the Sexes.”

Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs speak to reportser after their tennis match at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. AP

What happened: After retired tennis pro Bobby Riggs beat Margaret Court in the first “Battle of the Sexes” in May 1973, he challenged Billie Jean King, a progressive icon in women’s sports, to a match for $US100,000. King won in three sets in front of a live audience of over 30,000 in Houston’s Astrodome and a television audience estimated around 90 million, making it the most-watched tennis match ever and a cultural moment in the women’s movement.

The Hollywood Reporter

1974: Muhammad Ali wins “Rumble in the Jungle” over George Foreman.

Muhammad Ali looks at George Foreman after knocking him down in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle.’ AP

What happened: Ali became the heavyweight champion of the world for the second time by knocking out the younger Foreman in eight rounds in Kinshasa, Zaire. Ali famously utilised the “rope-a-dope” strategy, letting Foreman wear himself out in the heat with huge punches while Ali waited on the ropes. Once Foreman tired out, Ali came out swinging and knocked Foreman out.

1975: Muhammad Ali beats Joe Frazier in a second rematch in “Thrilla in Manila.”

Muhammad Ali hits Joe Frazier in the ‘Thrilla in Manila.’ Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

What happened: Considered by some to be the greatest boxing match ever, Ali beat Frazier in their third and final bout in Manila, Philippines. A back-and-forth affair, both men gave the fight their all, until Frazier’s trainer called the fight in the 14th round, telling Frazier: “It’s all over. No one will ever forget what you did here today.”

Sports Illustrated

1976: 28 African nations boycott the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

The opening ceremony of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Wally McNamee/Corbis/Getty Images

What happened: Days before the 1976 Olympics, 28 African nations announced they would boycott the games. The nations cited the New Zealand rugby team’s controversial tour of apartheid South Africa that summer, which was “in defiance of an informal but widely observed international athletics embargo on the country,” according to The Atlantic’s Armin Rosen.

The Atlantic

1977: Pele plays his final match.

Pele celebrates a game at Giant Stadium, circa 1977. Focus on Sport/Getty Images

What happened: Soccer legend Pele, considered the greatest soccer player ever, played his final match on October 1, as the New York Cosmos played Santos FC, Pele’s first team. They won, 2-1, in Giants Stadium, in front of 77,000 fans.

1978: Jack Nicklaus completes third career grand slam at the U.S. Open

Jack Nicklaus looks at his putter at the 1978 U.S. Open. Phil Sheldon/Popperfoto/Getty Images

What happened: Nicklaus won the 1978 U.S. Open, becoming the first player to win each major three separate times. Tiger Woods is the only other golfer to achieve the same feat. Nicklaus was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.

1979: Pittsburgh Steelers beat Dallas Cowboys, 35-31, in the Super Bowl.

Jackie Smith reacts after dropping a touchdown pass. Wally McNamee/Corbis/Getty Images

What happened: The first-ever rematch in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl XIII is considered one of, if not the greatest Super Bowl ever. The Steelers built a 35-14 lead, only for the Cowboys to storm back but come up short. The game is also known for Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith dropping a wide-open touchdown.


1980: The U.S. beats the Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice.”

The U.S. hockey team celebrates beating Russia at the 1980 Olympics. Steve Fenn/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

What happened: Amid political tensions from the Cold War, the seventh-ranked U.S. men’s hockey team pulled off a stunning, 4-3 upset in the semi-final over the Soviet Union, which had won the past four goal medals and had not lost a game since 1968. As the final buzzer sounded, Al Michaels famously yelled: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” Sports Illustrated later named it the greatest sports moment of the 20th century.

Source: Sports Illustrated

1981: John McEnroe melts down at Wimbledon, goes on to win the tournament.

John McEnroe returns a serve at Wimbledon. Allsport Hulton/Archive/Getty Images

What happened: “You CANNOT be serious!” is an iconic phrase in sports, thanks to John McEnroe. Known for his temper and dubbed “Superbrat” by the English tabloids, McEnroe had one of his most famous meltdowns early on at Wimbledon after an umpire ruled a ball out that McEnroe thought was in. McEnroe went on to win the tournament for the first time in his career.

1982: Dwight Clark makes “The Catch.”

Dwight Clark reaches for the game-winning touchdown in the NFC Championship. Getty Images

What happened: Dwight Clark skied for the ball in the back of the end zone and came down with the NFC-Championship-winning touchdown so famous that it’s been dubbed “The Catch.” The 49ers would go on to win the Super Bowl and begin a dynasty that lasted through the ’80s and into the ’90s.

1983: North Carolina State wins the NCAA Tournament with a buzzer-beating dunk.

North Carolina State’s Jim Valvano and Dereck Whittenburg celebrate winning the NCAA Tournament. Focus on Sport/Getty Images

What happened: With the clock ticking down and the score tied in the NCAA Tournament championship, North Carolina State’s Dereck Whittenburg attempted a game-winning, 30-foot heave that came up short. But Lorenzo Charles was underneath the rim for the buzzer-beating putback dunk to win the title. The scene is perhaps most well known for head coach Jim Valvano running around the court, looking for someone to hug.

1984: Mary Lout Retton scores perfect 10s to win the gold medal.

Mary Lou Fetton competes in the balance beam at the 1984 Olympics. Focus on Sport/Getty Images

What happened: American gymnast Mary Lou Retton underwent knee surgery five weeks before the 1984 Olympics but recovered quickly enough to compete. Trailing Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo in the all-around, with fears about Retton’s knee surfacing, Retton scored two 10s in the balance beam and floor exercise to win gold. She was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year that year.

1985: No. 8 Villanova knocks off No. 1 Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament.

Villanova’s Dwayne McClain celebrates winning the national championship over Georgetown. Villanova University/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

What happened: Georgetown was the commanding team of the 1984-85 college basketball season, led by Patrick Ewing. But they met a scrappy underdog in 8th-seeded Villanova in the national championship and lost, 66-64. The 1985 Wildcats are the lowest seed to win the national championship, and the game remains the second-most-watched national championship game in history.

Source: Sports Media Watch

1986: Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” and “Goal of the Century” lift Argentina over England at the World Cup.

Diego Maradona leaps for the ball and appears to use his hand in the 1986 World Cup. Archivo El Grafico/Getty Images

What happened: One of the most controversial goals in soccer history, in the quarterfinal of the 1986 World Cup, Maradona leaped in the air to compete for the ball against England’s keeper and appeared to knock the ball in with his hand. A handball was not called, despite England’s protests. The goal was later called the “Hand of God.” Minutes later, Maradona dribbled through England’s defence to score a second goal called “The Goal of the Century.” Argentina would beat England and go on to win the World Cup.

1987: NFL players strike for 24 days as NFL teams hire replacements.

Members of the Oakland Raiders form a picket line during the 1987 NFLPA strike. Mike Powell/Getty Images

What happened: Fighting for better salaries, free agency, and severance, NFL players agreed to go on strike after Week 2 of the 1987 season. Week 3 was lost, but NFL teams then hired replacement players, some of whom were picked up off the street, for Weeks 3, 4, and 5. The striking players and replacement players were both met with scorn, and the strike ended in Week 7.

Source: Sports Illustrated

1988: Kirk Gibson hits walk-off home run in Game 2 of the World Series.

Kirk Gibson celebrates his walk-off home run. Joe Kennedy/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

What happened: Hobbled by leg injuries, Los Angeles Dodgers star Kirk Gibson was called to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, with the Dodgers trailing 4-3 in Game 2. Gibson hit a walk-off home run and famously pumped his first as he limped around the bases. It was Gibson’s only at-bat of the series, which the Dodgers won in five games.

1989: Pete Rose is barred from baseball over a betting scandal.

Pete Rose responds to a question as a manager of the Reds during the 1989 season. Getty Images

What happened: As the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, three years after retiring from baseball with the all-time hits record, Rose was banned for accusations that he bet on games he played in and managed. Rose claimed no wrongdoing at the time but was also barred from the Hall of Fame. He eventually confessed to betting on games in 2004.

1990: Buster Douglas upsets Mike Tyson.

What happened: One of the biggest upsets in sports history, Douglas entered the fight against the unbeaten Tyson as a 42-1 underdog. In the 10th round, Douglas landed a series of blows to Tyson’s head that knocked Tyson out for the first time in his career.

1991: Magic Johnson announces he has HIV, retires from basketball

Magic Johnson speaks at a press conference where he revealed he was HIV positive. Bill Nation/Sygma/Getty Images

What happened: Johnson announced in November 1991 that he had contracted HIV and would be retiring from basketball. Johnson spoke openly about contracting the disease from having numerous heterosexual partners and committed to fighting it. He was voted into the 1992 All-Star Game, where the NBA decided to let him play, despite some players being concerned about contracting the disease. Johnson won the All-Star MVP that year.

1992: The Dream Team dominates the 1992 Olympics.

The 1992 U.S. Men’s Basketball ‘Dream Team’ celebrates winning the gold medal. Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

What happened: The 1992 Olympics in Barcelona were the first to feature NBA players, and the USA assembled perhaps the greatest roster ever: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, and more. The Dream Team routed its competition, beating opponents by a combined 350 points to win the gold medal.

1993: Chris Webber calls a timeout Michigan doesn’t have.

Chris Webber walks off the court after calling a timeout Michigan didn’t have in the national championship game. Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos/Getty Images

What happened: In the final seconds of the national championship game between Michigan and North Carolina, the Wolverines’ Chris Webber, he of Fab Five fame, attempted to call a timeout. Michigan was out of timeouts, so a technical foul was called. North Carolina hit the free throw to help seal the game. The error contributed to the Fab Five’s downfall, and Webber left college for the NBA that spring. The error has become part of his legacy, though he has joked about it since.

1994: The Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding rivalry boils over into scandal.

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan skate during a training session weeks after Kerrigan was attacked. Vincent Amalvy/AFP/Getty Images

What happened: On January 6, 1994, U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked after practice by a man carrying a baton. The hitman was revealed to be Shane Stant, who was contacted by fellow figure skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and Harding’s bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt. Harding denied involvement, but controversy swirled around her and Kerrigan in the 1994 Winter Olympics, where Kerrigan returned to win gold and Harding placed 8th because of skate issues. Harding later pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to hinder prosecution” and received three years probation and a $US160,000 fine.


1995: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman.

O.J. Simpson holds up his hands before the jury after putting on a new pair of gloves similar to the infamous bloody gloves during his double-murder trial in Los Angeles. Vince Bucci, Pool, File/AP

What happened: The trial into the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman began in early 1995 and lasted nine months, until October 3, when jurors acquitted Simpson. The high-profile case was dubbed “The Trial of the Century.”

1996: Kerri Strug wins gold on an injured ankle.

Kerri Strug is carried by US gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi after winning a gold medal. David Madison/Getty Images

What happened: During the final event of the team all-around at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Strug fell and tore two ligaments in her ankle. However, she endured the pain for a second run to help the U.S. secure gold. Strug famously stuck her landing, then bounced to one foot, as her team carried her off with the first U.S. team all-around gold medal secured.

1997: Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield’s ear.

Evander Holyfield reacts after Mike Tyson bit his right ear. Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images

What happened: During the much-hyped rematch between Tyson and Holyfield, Tyson grew upset with what he felt was a headbutt by Holyfield in the second round. In the third round, when the two fighters became entangled, Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear, drawing blood. The fight was allowed to continue. Tyson then tried to bite Holyfield again and was disqualified. The “Bite Fight” remains one of the most famous bouts in boxing history.

1998: Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire battle in a home run chase.

Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire talk during the 1998 season, during which they both chased the single-season home run record. Sporting News/Getty Images

What happened: MLB’s full-season home run derby was one of the most compelling stories of the year, as both sluggers chased Roger Maris’ record of 61 home runs in a season. McGwire eventually won, hitting 70, while Sosa hit 66. Sosa edged out McGwire for the NL MVP. McGwire later admitted to using steroids and many suspected Sosa of doing the same.

1999: Brandi Chastain hits the World Cup-winning penalty kick, then creates an iconic celebration.

Brandi Chastain rips off her jersey after hitting the game-winning penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup final. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

What happened: The 1999 Women’s World Cup Final came down to penalty kicks between the U.S. and China. U.S. goalie Briana Scurry made a save that opened the window to give the U.S. the lead. Dour kicks later, Brandi Chastain sealed the win with a penalty kick. She ripped off her jersey to her sports bra in one of the most iconic celebrations ever.

2000: The Titans beat the Bills in the “Music City Miracle.”

Kevin Dyson (87) breaks free from the Bills defence for the game-winning touchdown in the AFC Wild Card game. Allen Kee/Getty Images

What happened: With 16 seconds remaining in the Wild Card game, the Titans received a kickoff from the Bills, trailing 16-15. Lorenzo Neal handed the ball off to Frank Wycheck, who then lateralled it to Kevin Dyson. Dyson then took the ball the length of the field to score the game-winning touchdown in what became known as the “Music City Miracle.”

2001: Dale Earnhardt Sr. dies in a crash at Daytona 500.

What happened: On the final lap of Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt crashed head-on into the retainer wall. Earnhardt’s death was the fourth in an eight-month span in NASCAR and resulted in highly publicized changes to make the sport safer.

Source: ESPN

2002: The “Tuck Rule” and Adam Vinatieri help the Patriots make their first Super Bowl.

Tom Brady falls to the ground during the 2001 AFC Championship. Robert Klein/Getty Images

What happened: In a snowy AFC Championship now known as the “Snow Bowl,” Tom Brady was sacked by the Oakland Raiders and appeared to fumble the ball. However, officials reviewed the play and determined Brady was going to throw the ball and tucked it in when he got hit, ruling it an incomplete pass instead. The Patriots moved into field goal range, where Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal to send the Patriots to the Super Bowl, which they won, the first of the Brady-Bill Belichick era.

2003: Steve Bartman deflects foul ball in the NLCS.

Steve Bartman reaches for a foul ball. Amy Sancetta/AP

What happened: In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the NLCS, the Marlins’ Luis Castillo hit a foul ball toward left field. As the Cubs’ Moises Alou reached for the ball, Cubs fan Steve Bartman knocked the ball away, costing the Cubs a second out in the inning. The Cubs ended up giving up eight runs in the inning and lost. They then lost the series in Game 7, as Bartman became something of a scapegoat n Chicago.

2004: The Boston Red Sox rally from a 3-0 deficit in ALCS to beat the Yankees, then win the World Series.

The Red Sox celebrate winning Game 7 over the Yankees in the ALCS. Jim Davis/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

What happened: The Red Sox became the first team in MLB history to come back from a 3-0 deficit, knocking off their bitter rivals in the process. The Red Sox’ run was littered with famous moments, like Alex Rodriguez slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s hand, Curt Schilling’s bloody sock, David Ortiz’s walk-off, and several extra innings. The Red Sox then swept the Cardinals in the World Series to end an 86-year championship drought.

2005: Lance Armstrong wins seventh straight Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong holds up seven figures after winning the 2005 Tour de France. Lars Ronbog/FrontzoneSport/Getty Images

What happened: Armstrong continued perhaps the most dominant streak in sporting history, winning a seventh straight Tour de France in 2005, all after returning from cancer. Armstrong said it would be his last Tour. His wins were later disqualified after a doping investigation.

2006: Zinedine Zidane headbutts Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final.

Zinedine Zidane head-butts Italy’s Marco Materazzi. John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

What happened: Zinedine Zidane won the Golden Ball award and scored the opening goal of the World Cup final between France and Italy, but his performance is best remembered for his headbutt. Italy’s Marco Materazzi later revealed he made an off-colour comment about Zidane’s sister, which provoked the headbutt. Zidane was kicked off the field for the foul, and Italy won. The final was Zidane’s last game. He was initially criticised in the French press, but later received a warm welcome when he returned to France.

2007: Barry Bonds sets the all-time home run record.

Barry Bonds hit his 756th career home run. Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images

What happened: Six years after setting the single-season home run record, Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record by hitting the 756th home run of his career. Bonds was embroiled in steroid controversies for the latter part of his career, leading some to believe his record should come with an asterisk. He finished his career with 762 home runs.

2008: Michael Phelps dominates the 2008 Olympics.

Michael Phelps celebrates winning the 100-meter butterfly at the 2008 Olympics. Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

What happened: With six Olympic medals to his name already, Michael Phelps reached international fame with the most dominant Olympics of all-time. Phelps won eight gold medals – every event he participated. However, the most famous image of Phelps’ 2008 Olympics may have been celebrating his teammate Jason Lezak out-touching France in the 4x100m relay.

2009: Tiger Woods’ infidelity scandal threatens his career.

Tiger Woods’ damaged car after he got into an accident in the early hours of November 27, setting off his infidelity scandal. Florida Highway Patrol/Getty Images

What happened: What began as a car accident in the early hours of November 27, 2009, soon blew up into a major scandal, as the extent of Tiger Woods’ infidelity was revealed. On December 11, Woods announced he was taking a break from golf to focus on his marriage and family. In February 2010, Woods confessed to having extra-marital affairs. He returned to golf in March 2010.

2010: LeBron James’ “Decision” rocks the NBA world.

Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James pose during a welcoming ceremony for the Miami Heat. Doug Benc/Getty

What happened: Perhaps the biggest free agent in NBA history, James announced in a televised special that he would “take his talents” to Miami to form a Big 3 with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James and the Heat became instant villains, as James was criticised for “The Decision” and a welcoming ceremony where James proclaimed they would win “not one, not two, not three, not four…” championships. They lost the 2010-11 Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.

2011: The Penn State child sex abuse scandal breaks.

Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse, on December 13, 2011. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

What happened: In November 2011, former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on charges that he sexually abused eight young boys. The number grew over time, as more cases came forward. Several high-ranking Penn State officials were accused of failing to properly notify authorities, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who stepped down as coach, inciting riots from Penn State students.

2012: Jeremy Lin explodes in “Linsanity.”

Jeremy Lin celebrates after hitting a shot vs. the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012. Anthony J. Causi/Icon SMI/Corbis/Getty Images

What happened: Injury depleted and desperate, the New York Knicks gave Jeremy Lin, their bench-warmed point guard, a shot to prove himself. Lin exploded, putting up All-Star numbers while leading the Knicks on an eight-game winning streak. All of it came days before the Knicks had planned to cut Lin. With each performance seemingly more impressive than the last, Lin’s international fame grew, as he saved the Knicks’ season. Lin tore his meniscus and missed the end of the season.

2013: Boston Marathon bombing kills three and injures hundreds.

Rescue workers after two explosions occurred during the Boston Marathon. Aram Boghosian/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

What happened: On April 15, two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The explosion killed three and injured hundreds of others. A wild manhunt ensued over the next several days that included a shootout that killed one of the suspects, while the other was later detained.

2014: Donald Sterling is forced to sell the Clippers and barred from the NBA for making racist comments.

Donald Sterling attends a playoff game between the Clippers and Warriors in 2014. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

What happened: In April of 2014, TMZ obtained audio of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments to his then-girlfriend. After the audio came out, several NBA owners came out against Sterling, while Clippers players protested during the playoffs by wearing their warm-ups inside out. Other NBA players threatened to sit out games while sponsors threatened to drop the NBA. Sterling was barred from the NBA and forced to sell the Clippers.

2015: Floyd Mayweather Jr. beats Manny Pacquiao in the much-hyped bout.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. faces off against Manny Pacquiao. Harry How/Getty Images

What happened: The two best boxers of a generation finally faced off on May 2, 2015, after years of start-and-stop negotiations. The fight turned out to be a disappointment, however, as Mayweather’s defensive style didn’t allow for many big hits. Mayweather won by decision, though the fight was widely criticised. It was later reported that Pacquiao fought injured, and there may have been a mole in his camp. The fight still owns the biggest PPV in boxing history.

2016: Ryan Lochte and U.S. swimmers’ robbery story takes a twist.

Ryan Lochte races at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Michael Sohn/AP

What happened: At the 2016 Rio Olympics, U.S. swim star Ryan Lochte said he and three other American swimmers were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. However, it was later revealed that Lochte and the three swimmers fabricated the story and had gotten into a confrontation with a gas station owner after being rowdy in the gas station and possibly breaking several items. What followed was a wild international news story, including reports of Lochte potentially being imprisoned in Brazil, the U.S. swimmers being taken off a plane by police while trying to leave Brazil, and Lochte giving a primetime interview with Matt Lauer about what really happened.

2017: NFL players kneel in protest of President Donald Trump and social injustice.

New England Patriots players kneel during the national anthem. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

What happened: By 2017, Colin Kaepernick’s protest of social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem was well-known and covered. However, US President Donald Trump re-ignited the controversy by saying players who kneel during the anthem should be fired. The comments sparked league-wide protests, with entire NFL teams kneeling during anthems, including some team owners who supported Trump. The protests also created internal chaos in the NFL, as the league and owners tried to sort out how to handle protests, angry fans, and sponsors threatening to drop the league.

2018: Larry Nassar sentenced to jail on sexual assault charges in U.S. Gymnastics scandal.

Larry Nassar listens as Melissa Alexander Vigogne gives her victim statement in Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Mich. Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP

What happened: Former U.S. Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in jail for sexual assault charges after more than 100 women gave victim-impact statements in court about Nassar sexually abusing them, many of them when they were minors. The scandal shook U.S. Gymnastics, with many of the country’s top gymnasts coming out against the organisation and its structure.