Ten Questions. Ten Sports. One Year.
How well do you remember these significant sporting events of 2014?
Question 1 (NFL):
On February 2 2014, The Seattle Seahawks took on the Denver Broncos in the MetLife Stadium, New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII. This was the first time the big game took place in an outdoor stadium in a traditionally cold-weather city. This matchup saw the league’s best offence of the season, the unstoppable Peyton Manning-led Broncos, face the best defence in the league, the immovable Seahawks’ unit, featuring the ‘Legion of Boom’ secondary core of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Both teams went into the playoffs as the number one seed of their division after earning a 13-3 record and avoided the wildcard. Seattle defeated the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers en route to New Jersey whereas Denver eliminated the San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots. Despite coming in as the underdog, the Seahawks won their first-ever Lombardi trophy in dominate fashion, hammering the Broncos 43-8. To show how one-sided this game was, Denver did not score their first points until the third quarter’s final play, with their opposition already 36-0 ahead. Peyton Manning actually gained more yards in the air than Russel Wilson despite being on the losing side. However, Wilson threw two touchdowns with zero interceptions with a 123.1 quarterback rating whereas Manning thew for one touchdown and was intercepted twice, earning a 7.35 rating.
The all-three units of the Seahawks team, offence, defence and special teams, registered points at the Metlife Stadium, scoring in six different ways. Jermaine Kearse scored after catching a 23-yard pass. Marshawn Lynch’s 1-yard rush brought him into the endzone. Stephen Hauschka kicked two field goals. Percy Harvin returned a kickoff for 87-yards to score 12 seconds into the second half. Malcolm Smith, who won the Super Bowl MVP Award, intercepted a pass and took it to the house from 69-yards and Cliff Avril tackled Knowshon Moreno in the endzone for a safety. Avril’s safety also notably broke which Super Bowl record?
Cliff Avril scored the quickest points in Super Bowl history, with his safety occurring just 12 seconds after kickoff. Avril’s tackle was clocked as one second faster than the previous record, set by Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears seven years prior. This play occurred due to a mix up by the Broncos offence. As Manning was sifting forward to call an audible, Center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball. This resulted in the ball flying past the quarterback and into their own endzone. Running back Knowshon Moreno was able to prevent a touchdown by recovering the ball. However, he could not avoid being downed by Avril for the safety. Avril also managed to put up three solo tackles, two quarterback hits and one tackle for loss during the Seahawks Super Bowl victory. The defensive end set an even more obscure record as he became the first player to ever win the Super Bowl after appearing on a winless team, playing for the 0-16 Detroit Lions in 2008
Question 2 (Football):
The 2014 FIFA World Cup took place from June 12 to July 13 in Brazil. Many Fans and pundits consider this edition of the tournament as one of the greatest in its history. For the first time at a World Cup, match officials used goal-line technology and vanishing spray for free kicks. The South American continent faired well through the tournament, with Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina making to the knockout round. The only home continent team to not make it through was Ecuador. The reigning World Cup champions, Spain, were shockingly knocked out during the group stage after being thrashed by The Netherlands and beaten by Chile. Other regular footballing giants also surprisingly fell at the first hurdle, with England, Italy and Portugal going home after just three games.
On July 8, the tournament’s most famous match took place in Belo Horizonte as the hosts Brazil faced Germany in the Semi-finals. According to Business Insider, Brazil was the oddsmakers’ favourite to win it all, at 3-1. Germany was considered joint-second favourites with Argentina at 5-1. Brazil came into this game missing two key players. Their main attacking threat, Neymar, was ruled out of the game after sustaining a back injury in their quarter-final clash against Columbia. The hosts’ captain Thiago Silva would also miss the massive game due to accumulating too many yellow cards, thus being suspended. Germany, on the other hand, had a full-strength squad at their disposal. Despite this, this game was expected to be a close contest, but what we got was the polar opposite. After 29 minutes, Germany already possessed an astonishing 5-0 lead. Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose, Sami Khedira and Toni Kross all found themselves on the score sheet, with Kross bagging two in two minutes. In the second half, substitute André Schürrle scored a brace to extend the Europeans’ lead to 7-0. Oscar did manage to bag a consolation goal in the 90th minute for the Seleção. However, the goal meant nothing to the distraught home fans. This incredible result broke many records, including the biggest margin of victory in a World Cup semi-final, but what did Miroslav Klose achieve during this game?
Miroslav Klose became the all-time leading goal scorer in World Cup history. Going into the semi-final, the German was tied with Ronaldo on 15 goals. Klose’s 23rd-minute goal saw him surpass the Brazilian legend and took the top spot for himself. The Striker represented his country throughout four World Cups, scoring one goal against Brazil, Ghana, England, Australia, Republic of Ireland and Cameron. He also scored twice against Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador and netted a hat-trick against Saudi Arabia. Germany went on to win the 2014 World Cup, defeating Brazil’s biggest rivals Argentina in the final. Substitute Mario Götze, who replaced Klose in the 68th minute, became a German hero. The 22-year old scored a superb volley in the 113th minute after the game was forced into extra-time to give Germany their fourth World Cup victory and first as a unified country.
Question 3 (Baseball):
The 110th edition of the World Series took place from October 21 to October 29 2014. The National League champions, the San Fransisco Giants, faced the American League champions, the Kansas City Royals. Both teams entered the 2014 postseason in the wildcard round, with Kansas City earning the 4th seed in the AL and San Fransisco gaining the 5th seed in the NL. The Royals defeated the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Baltimore Orioles, sweeping each of them en route to their third World Series appearance in franchise history. They also became the first to enter the World Series with an 8-0 record in the postseason and only the second team since the wildcard round was introduced in 1992 to go undefeated. On the other hand, the Giants reached their third World Series in five years by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Giants emerged victorious, overcoming the Royals after a thrilling seven-game series. San Francisco took the first game 7-1 before dropping the next two, with Kansas winning 7-2 at home and 3-2 away. The Giants replicated their opponent’s feat, claiming consecutive victories in California and Missouri, leaving them one win away from the championship. However, the Royals spoiled the party, hammering the California-based franchise 10-0 to set up a winner-takes-all game seven. Despite Kansas having the home advantage, San Fransisco took the game and the series after a close 3-2 contest to become the 2014 World Champions. The Giants became the first road team to win game seven of the World Series since 1979. This triumph also marked San Fransisco’s third championship in five years after winning the 2010 and 2012 titles. They also became the first team in MLB history to do what?
The San Fransisco Giants became the first team in MLB history to win the World Series as a number five seed. This series was also only the second time in history that two wild card teams made it to the World Series. The first also featuring the Giants. However, they lost to the Anaheim Angels in 2002. The 2014 World Series MVP award was won by San Fransisco’s Pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner pitched 21 innings during the series and allowed just one run, giving him a series ERA of only 0.43, the lowest ERA in a World Series since the legendary Sandy Koufax earned a 0.38 ERA in 1965. The Pitcher also set a new World Series record for lowest career ERA with 0.25, beating Jack Billingham’s 0.36 career ERA. Additionally, he broke the record for most innings pitched in the postseason, with a total of 52 3/4.
Question 4 (Basketball):
The 2013/14 NBA season saw two teams change their names. The New Orleans Hornets became the Pelicans, dropping the Horrent’s name, which they brought with them after relocating from Charlotte, North Carolina in 2002, because, according to their owner Tom Benson, the name “didn’t mean anything to this community” whereas “The pelican represents New Orleans, just like the Saints.” However, the Hornets name would live on as the Charlotte Bobcats, the team who replaced the now Pelicans in North Carolina claimed the name. The Bobcats’ ownership submitted an application to change the franchise’s name to the Charlotte Hornets on May 21, 2013. It was approved by the NBA Board of Governors on July 18. The franchise officially became the Hornets on May, 20th, 2014, Team officials also announced, that as part of a deal with the NBA and the Pelicans, the renamed Hornets reclaimed the history and records of the 1988–2002 Hornets.
The Charlotte organisation’s owner was very vocal about changing their name back to the Hornets. He grew up in North Carolina and had a personal connection to the name, as did many fans from the state did. When it was made official, the owner said it was “historic day for our franchise, our city and our fans.” The name change cost the player-turned-owner more than $4 million, which the team’s President and CEO Fred Whitfield described it as “well worth it.” He went on to say the change “couldn’t have happened without the financial commitment of our owner.” What is the name of the owner?
The widely-considered greatest basketball player of all-time Micheal Jordan is the owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan brought a minority stake in the franchise in 2006. However, On February 27 2010, the then-Bobcats announced that Robert L. Johnson had reached an agreement with Jordan and his group, MJ Basketball Holdings, to buy the team, making the 6-time NBA finals MVP the first former player to become a majority owner of an NBA team.
Question 5 (Cricket):
The Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh hosted the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 Final between India and Sri Lanka. These two nations played each five times before in the Twenty20 format, with Sri Lanka winning three and India two. India blitzed through the group stage, earning a perfect 4-0-0 record by beating the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh with ease. They toppled South Africa in the semi-final, with Viral Kohli’s 72* inning the catalyst for the victory. Sri Lanka also topped their group after a 3-1-0 record, defeating South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands. However, they did lose against England. They won their semi-final clash against the defending champions West Indies by 27 runs to reach the final.
On April 6, 2014, Sri Lanka emerged victorious in Dhaka, winning their first-ever ICC World Twenty20 title by defeating India by six wickets. In his last Twenty20 international match, Kumar Sangakkara won the Player of the Match award after a 52* performance. During the final, Mahela Jayawardene became the first batsman to reach 1000 runs in ICC World Twenty20 history. Sri Lanka became just the fifth nation to win the tournament, with only India, Pakistan, England and West Indies previously holding the title. During their group stage game against The Netherlands, Sri Lanka broke two records, what were they?
Sri Lanka registered the biggest margin of victory in terms of balls remaining in T20i history against the Netherlands. They also bowled the Dutch out for only 39 runs, the lowest in T20I history. Despite this humiliating loss, The Netherland caused a massive upset by defeating England by 45 runs in their final game of the tournament.
Question 6 (Tennis):
The 2014 US Open Men’s Singles tournament was one of the most shocking and unpredictable in the modern era of Tennis. This competition marked the only time from 2005 to 2020 that none of the ‘Big Four’, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rodger Federer, were involved. Rafael Nadal was the defending champion going into the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center event. However, the Spaniard had to withdraw because of a right wrist injury before the competition. Andy Murray was eliminated in the quarter-finals by fellow ‘Big Four’ Member Novak Djokovic. Djokovic and Rodger Federer both made it to the semi-finals. However, they both suffered shocking eliminations at the hands of the unlikely finalist.
The 10th seed Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in the Open Era and first since 1933 in all of Tennis history. He defeated the 1st seed, Djokovic, in four sets to become the first-ever Japanese Grand Slam finalist. The 14th seed Marin Čilić conquered the 2nd seed, Federer, in straight sets to become the lowest-ranked seed since 2002 to reach the final. In one of the most surprising finals in Grand Slam history, the Croatian Čilić defeated Nishikori comfortable, winning 6-3 in each set to be crowned the 2014 US open men’s singles champion. He became only the second Croatian to win a Men’s singles Grand Slam after Goran Ivanišević won Wimbledon as a wild card in 2002. Apart from their nationality, what other connect do Čilić and Ivanišević have between each other?
Goran Ivanišević was Marin Čilić coach during his 2014 US Open victory. Ivanišević served as Čilić’s coach from 2013 before parting ways in 2016. On June 30 2019, the 2002 Wimbledon winner was announced as the newest member of Novak Djokovic’s coach team. Since their split, Čilić made two more Grand Slam finals, Wimbledon in 2017 and the Australian Open in 2018. However, he lost both finals to Rodger Federer.
Question 7 (Formula One):
The 2014 Formula One season saw somewhat of a changing of the guard. Sebastian Vettel and his Infiniti Red Bull Racing team had won the past four World Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. However, they both fell well short of making it five in a row. Instead, Mercedes and their drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominated throughout the season. Every single race saw at least one of the Mercedes drivers finish in the podium positions. The combination also posted an outstanding ten 1-2 finishes. Mercedes ran away with the Constructors’ championship, finishing 296 points in front of second-place Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg engaged in an all-Mercedes season-long battle for the World Drivers’ Championship. The Englishman and German exchanged the top spot multiple times throughout the season, which resulted in a gripping rivalry. By the time of the final race in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton, with ten race wins, had a 17-point advantage over Rosberg, who had won five races. Double points were awarded at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, meaning it was all to play for on the final day. Unfortunately for Rosberg and the fans, the German struggled with electrical problems throughout the race, rendering him unable to keep up with his fellow drivers and settling for a 14th placed finish. This handed the championship to Hamilton, who won the race regardless. The defending champion Sebastian Vettel finished the season in fifth place in the Drivers’ standings, failing to win a single race and only made the podium four times. His Red Bull teammate faired better. He was the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race, finishing first in Canada, Hungary and Belgium and coming third in the Drivers’ standings. Who was Vettel’s Red Bull teammate?
Daniel Ricciardo was the other driver competing for Red Bull. His victory in Canada was the Australian’s first race win in his Formula One Career. 42.86% of Riccardo’s career F1 victories came during the 2014 season. The Red Bull driver was disqualified from the first race of the season, which took place in his home country, after his car was ruled to have exceeded the mandated hourly fuel flow rate limit. Had he not been disqualified, Riccardo would have earned second place and became the only Australian to finish on the podium in their home race since it became apart of the World Championship.
Question 8 (Ice Hockey):
‘The Finnish Flash’ Teemu Selänne’s illustrious 21-season long NHL career came to an end on May 16, 2014, after his Anaheim Ducks were eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual-champions, the Los Angeles Kings. Selänne retired as the 15th (now 16th) highest point-scorer and the highest scoring Finnish player in league history. He also sits 11th in the all-time goal scoring charts. Alongside these accomplishments, Selänne still holds multiple franchise records for both the Ducks and the Winnipeg Jets, having his number retired by the former in 2015. In 2017, ‘The Finnish Flash’ was only the second Finn, after Jari Kurri, to be inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame and was named one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ by the league.
The inaugural Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner announced that the 2013/14 season would be his last on August 30, 2013, in a bizarre video where he jumped into a lake. Selänne registered 27 points in 64 games during his final season, missing several games due to being hit in the face by a stick. The incident knocked out several of his teeth and required 40 stitches. In the final game of the regular season, against one of the Finn’s former teams, the Colorado Avalanche, the Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf surrendered the capacity for one night, allowing Selänne to wear the captain’s ‘C’. The Anaheim crowd gave their one-night captain a standing ovation each time he was on the ice, thanking him for what he achieved for the franchise, which included winning their only Stanley Cup in 2007, and what he did in the sport in general. After a 3-2 victory, Selänne was named as the game’s first, second and third star. Every fan in the Honda Area stayed behind to honour the legend as he took a celebratory lap to say goodbye as the Foo Fighters ‘My Hero’ played. In a tremendous mark of respect, the Colorado team came back onto the ice to thank the retiring superstar as well. One of which was Selänne’s former Stanley Cup-winning teammate from 2007, who was contemplating his own retirement at that time too. Selänne invited him to take a final lap alongside him in one of the most heartwarming moments in NHL history. Who was this player?
Jean-Sébastien Giguère was the player who joined Teemu Selänne for a victory lap. Giguère served as the Anaheim Ducks’ goaltender from 2000 to 2010, where he earned the franchise record for most career wins and shutouts. He also won the Conn Smyth trophy as a Duck in 2003 due to his multiple-game saving performances despite losing in the Stanley Cup Finals to the New Jersey Devils. Giguère would eventually get to lift the cup alongside Selänne in 2007. Like Selänne, the goaltender would indeed retire after the 2013-14 season, becoming the last player from the former NHL team the Hartford Whalers to leave the league.
Question 9 (Boxing):
Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and Marcos ‘El Chino’ Maidana engaged in two hellacious and controversial battles during 2014. Their first fight, which was billed as ‘The Moment’, took place on May 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather’s’ WBC and The Ring Welterweight titles were on the line, as was Maidana’ WBA Super Welterweight championship, which he won by defeating Mayweather’s protégé, Adrien Broner in December 2013 via anonymous decision. ‘The Money’ was the heavy favourite going into this fight, possessing a perfect 45-0-0 record. ‘El Chinco’, who had a 35-3-0 pre-fight record, was considered a 12/1 underdog. In front of a sold-out crowd in Las Vegas, Mayweather defeated Maidana via majority decision, with scores of 114–114, 117–111, and 116–112. This decision was highly contested amongst the fans,. Many believing the Argentine should have been declared the victor due to him out-brawling his opponent. This included Maidana himself, who said after the fight “I feel I was robbed. I feel I won.” According to CompuBox, Maidana set the record for the number of punches thrown and landed against Mayweather.
Due to their first contest being so close, Mayweather’s camp announced a rematch would take place on September 13 2014. This time, ‘Money’ would put his WBC Light Middleweight title up for grabs alongside his WBA Super, WBC and The Ring Welterweight titles. The fight, this time billed as ‘Mayhem’, was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas once again. Unlike the first fight, Mayweather was more prepared for Maidana’s style and weathered the storm near-perfectly to claim the decisive victory via unanimous decision. A bizarre moment occurred during the eighth round of the fight when Maidana appeared to do what to Mayweather?
Maidana appeared to have bitten Mayweather’s left hand during the eighth round. After the fight, Mayweather explained that “I didn’t know what it was. Something happened and then my fingers were numb. After the eighth round my fingers were numb. I could only use my other hand. He bit me. I realised he bit me. We were tangled in the middle of the ring and all of a sudden I felt something on my left hand.” Maidana denied the bite, saying “Maybe he thinks I’m a dog, but I never bit him. He was rubbing my eyes that round. He may have had his glove in my mouth, but I never bit him.” Another strange moment occurred after the ninth round when the Argentine, who looked to be in a dazed state, started walking towards the wrong corner. Mayweather ran towards his opponent and pointed him in the correct direction to the amusement of the fans. This contest was Maidana’s last professional fight, ending his career with a 35-5-0 record, with 31 of his victories coming via knockout. Mayweather fought three more times since 2014, defeating Manny Pacquiao, Andre Berto and Conner McGregor to improve his record to 50-0-0.
Question 10 (Skateboarding):
Nyjah Huston dominated the 2014 Street League Skateboarding World Tour. The Nike SB rider became the first person in history to sweep an entire season, winning all four competitions. Huston topped the SLS Monster Energy Pro Open in Los Angeles, California, edging out Ishod Wair in second place by 2.6 points. The then-Element skater also managed to register three tricks into the elusive ‘9-Club’: a Cab Flip Frontside Boardslide to Fakie, which scored 9.4; a 9.6 rated Backside 270 Kickflip Lipslide and a 360 Flip Smith Grind that earned a 9.2. On July 27, 2014, Huston once again produced a ‘9-Club’ entry as he scored a 9.2 after a Bigflip. He finished 1.8 points ahead of Chaz Ortiz to take the victory. The SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship in Newmark, New Jersey saw Huston repeat his performance in Los Angeles, winning the competition whilst scoring 9.0 or above three times. The Nike SB rider registered a 9.1 Nollie Backside Noseblunt, 9.0 Caballerial Backside Noseblunt and a 9.0 Backside Flip. Second-placed Torey Pudwill finished 2.4 points behind Houston.
The Chicago, Illinois stop in the SLB Nike SB World Tour on June 29 was Huston’s toughest challenge. This was the only competition where the Monster Energy sponsored skater did not earn a ‘9-Club’ entry. Huston beat Brazilian Juan Oliveira by the smallest margin of the 2014 season to claim the victory. What was the point margin between the two skaters?
Nyjah Huston finished just 0.2 points ahead of Luan Oliveira in Chicago. The Brazilian beat Huston in control, scoring 35.7 compared to his opponents 34.6. However, Huston came out on top in the flow and impact categories. The Element skater earned 1.1 points more than Oliveira in flow but only edged impact by 0.1. Huston holds the record for the most SLS competition wins in history, emerging victorious 19 times. He has also won more prize money than any other skateboarder in history.