The decade has come to a close, and therefore it’s time to look back at the exciting events that have transpired. We have seen more than a handful of championships cross our paths, with Boston arguably being the most successful sports city these past ten years. Through comebacks and championships, momentum changers and hardships, these are the most impactful Boston sports moments this decade.
6. The Ortiz Speech(2013)
There were many emotional symbols from the 2013 World Series run, where the entire team carried a wounded yet resilient city on their back. But easily the most powerful moment was David Ortiz’s speech. Just days after the Marathon bombing, Big Papi grabbed a mic before the Red Sox’s game in Boston. He then gave the now-famous emotional message to Boston, capped off by yelling, “This is our [expletive] city. And nobody gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong!”
Ortiz raised his fist in solidarity with his secondary home city, and let the world know that Boston wasn’t afraid. In fact, the city was stronger than ever. The speech was simple, yet emotional and colorful. It was so powerful that networks, typically unwilling to allow swearing of any kind, looked past the intense F-bomb. And, of course, a Red Sox championship would soon follow.
5. Isaiah Thomas’s 53-Point Game on Late Sister’s Birthday (2017)
Maybe it’s just me, but Thomas’s 53-point night in the 2017 playoffs was easily the most emotional Celtic’s moment in the 2010s. Not just because of the feat, but also because he did it on his sister Chyna’s birthday, who died just weeks earlier. The total itself was impressive, as it was the second-most points in Celtics postseason history behind Havlicek’s 54. And even though it was just a few years ago, at the time it was far rarer to drop that amount in a game, especially in the second round of the playoffs.
Chyna was killed before Boston’s first-round series against the Bulls, and emotions came pouring out. Thomas was seen getting comforted by former guard Avery Bradley when he got the news, and the despair was evident. At first it didn’t appear that he would play for at least the first couple of games in the series. But Thomas didn’t miss a single game and led the Celtics to a series win in six games while averaging 23 points per game. The special scoring performance would occur in the second game of the Wizards series, and the Celtics would advance to the conference finals in seven games.
The year as a whole was spectacular for Thomas, as he took the league by storm. He placed fifth in the MVP race, thanks to his top three scoring ability. While he is small, his work ethic allowed for there to be limited holes in his game, and he was the first star in this new era of Celtic’s relevance.
4. Big Papi’s Game-Changing Grand Slam (2013)
A piece of that 2013 season previously talked about, this moment actually came during game play. This moment itself defines the season, coming in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. Down 5-1 in the eighth inning, the Sox were in danger of going back to Detroit down 2-0, which was considered practically a death wish. Up comes David Ortiz, with the bases loaded against 35-year-old Closer Joaquin Benoit.
Without hesitation on the first pitch, he connects with the ball for a bomb into the bullpen that even sent right fielder Torii Hunter over the wall. The Red Sox would go on to win the game, and three of the following four for the series victory. They went on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, where Ortiz batted .688 in the series and won WS MVP.
3. Bruins Stanley Cup Victory (2011)
The Bruins pulled off a truly satisfying feat, winning their first Stanley Cup since 1972 in a Game 7 in Vancouver. It is near impossible to forget the images of Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and the rest of the team hoisting the Stanley Cup in celebration of their improbable victory. While we have gotten close many times this decade, the Bruins have still been unable to repeat the difficult feat of winning the Cup.
But this achievement remains a historic moment in time, not just for the Bruins but the city of Boston as a whole. They faced many hardships, like having to win the Cup on the road in a very hostile environment, playing two other Game 7’s prior to the cup, and facing tougher teams/situations early on as the 3 Seed. The most notable leader on the team was goalie Tim Thomas, who blanked the opposing team multiple times in the postseason. He kept coming up with clutch saves, despite sometimes getting barraged by multiple shots in a row. Thomas, easily won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, posting a 1.98 GAA while also setting the record for most saves in a postseason.
The same blueprint from that playoff run has been in action the past two years. We are seeing a similar combination of veteran stars with breakout youngsters to that 2013 championship team, just with the then younger guys now as the mentors. The B’s are currently top five in the league, and if they can fix their shootout and overtime woes I can say with near certainty that they will find themselves back in the Stanley Cup race at some point in the near future.
2. 28-3 (2017)
Falcons v. Patriots in Super Bowl 51 is the greatest game that any Patriots fan has ever witnessed. The most mesmerizing and spectacular movement to watch over a matter of a full half of a game on this list. To put it simply, to literally feel the momentum switch in the Patriots favor still remains exhilarating to this day.
That season in general was a spectacular campaign, with the deck stacked completely against them. I mean, Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season, yet they emerged from that 3-1. And once Brady returned…well, when the Pats had something to prove, they’re unstoppable. When Atlanta stormed out to a big halftime lead you could tell the Patriots would come back out with a whole new mindset. So many things had to fall their way, while at the same time they had to play perfectly throughout two quarters.
That’s pretty much what happened. Brady turned on his G.O.A.T. powers, finishing the game with 62 passing attempts for 466 yards and two touchdowns. The backs performed when they got the ball, including the overtime winning touchdown by White. Those factors, combined with six receivers having over 50 yards, combined for an unpredictable offense. The Falcons were simply unprepared for the Patriots to shift their focus so drastically, and the result of that is the greatest comeback in the history of sports.
1. Butler Interception (2015)
If you are doubting this placement, saying it is too high, just remember how you felt before this turn of events. The pure pain, the feeling that once again the Patriots choked in the Super Bowl. Of course now that would seem absurd, as we have hoisted three championships this decade. But at the time, the last two Super Bowls had ended in defeat due to big plays given up late in each game. With a Russell Wilson heave to Kearse that landed inside the red zone, it appeared like it would happen again.
The Patriots offense scored to take the lead, showing signs of what was to come in future Super Bowls. Yet here they were, at the one after a Marshawn Lynch four-yard run. So they would run it in with Beast Mode, with only 20 or so seconds left, and seal the game. But to everyone’s astonishment, and Seattle fan’s horror, they opted to throw the ball. I mean, the worst-case scenario is it would fall incomplete and then they could just run it in right?
Wilson snapped the ball, turned, and immediately threw the ball in the direction of Lockette. Of course, you know what happened next. Malcolm Butler, the undrafted rookie, was put into the game And he recognized the exact play the Seahawks were running. Thanks to his IQ and the preparation from practice, he jumped the route, and the rest is history.