2014 “Things” of the year

As we arrive at the end of the year, we can look back on all of the great things that happened in the world of sports, entertainment, gaming, and more. Everyone likes to reflect on the greatest moments of the year before we turn the calendar over and start it all over again, so I figured I would follow suit.

A few of these things I will make individual lists of, such as movies of the year, but here are the best “things” of the 2014 calendar year in my opinion.

Sports

Team of the year – Los Angeles Kings

It’s hard to say any other team but the Kings were the team of the year after the brutal, yet successful run they had to the Stanley Cup. The Kings came in as only the third place team from the Pacific division and sixth ranked team overall in the West. But that wouldn’t stop them from winning it all. They went seven games against San Jose in the first round, then seven games with the Anaheim Ducks, then seven games with the Chicago Blackhawks. They won all three game sevens on the road. After that, the Stanley Cup seemed like an easy task against the New York Rangers. The Kings won 4-1, but not without some thrilling overtime games that could easily be nominated for game of the year. In their final two series against the Blackhawks and the Rangers, the Kings played five OT games, with three of them in double OT. They had the most brutal stretch of games imaginable, but still came out on top of the hockey world.

Honorable Mentions

Germany Men’s National Team
San Antonio Spurs

Player of the year – Marcus Mariota

It’s hard to be as good as Marcus Mariota. The numbers he has put up all throughout his career are simply amazing, and this year was no different, and was probably his best yet. The Ducks are in the playoffs, and I think they have a good shot to win it all. Mariota won the Heisman for his great season, and rightfully so, and is definitely the most dominant player in the sport right now.

Honorable Mentions

Mo’ne Davis
Madison Bumgarner

Game of the year – Western Conference Final, Game 5: Chicago Blackhawks 5, Los Angeles Kings 4 (2 OT)

As I mentioned with the Kings being the best team this year, it’s hard to imagine that one of their insane playoff games would not be listed here. Sure enough, one of them is, but it’s actually one of the overtime thrillers they lost. The Blackhawks were facing elimination already, but after getting up 3-1, they lost the lead heading into the third period 4-3. Then after tying it up, it took two overtimes to finally get the winning score. This game was as back and forth, and as frantically paced as any hockey game I’ve ever witnessed. I was in and out of my seat for two teams I cared nothing about, but it was just that good of a hockey game.

Honorable Mentions

World Cup Group Stage: USA 2 – Ghana 1
World Cup Group Stage: USA 2 – Portugal 2
AHSAA 6A State Championship: Clay Chalkville 36 – Saraland 31
NHL Western Conference Final, Game 7: Kings 5 – Blackhawks 4

Individual performance of the year – Tim Howard’s 16 saves against Belgium

The game between the USA and Belgium in the World Cup could have been 10-1 instead of 2-1 if not for Tim Howard just going off. One of the greater goalkeeping performances ever, much less from an American goalie. The memes and photoshopped images were all over the internet for weeks after that game because of how amazing Howard played.

Honorable Mentions

TJ Oshie’s shootout to beat Russia in the Olympics
Madison Bumgarner’s World Series

Moment of the year – Kevin Durant’s MVP speech

Kevin Durant’s speech when he was named the NBA MVP was one of the better moments in sports ever. Despite all the memes that have come from it, it’s hard not to shed a tear when he gave his “You’re the real MVP” speech about his mother. And of course, he had to get a nice shot in at the Oklahoma media for calling him “Mr. Unreliable”.

Honorable Mentions

Michael Sam being drafted in the NFL by the St. Louis Rams
Stuart Scott’s ESPY Speech

Entertainment

Movie of the year – Interstellar

This movie definitely lived up to the hype, and was one of the greatest films of not only this year, but of all time. Christopher Nolan has never really steered us down the wrong path, and he didn’t disappoint here. Matthew McConaughey was outstanding, as were Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Cain. The bad guy being kept a secret for so long was a nice surprise, and I won’t spoil who it is either, but they did a great job as well. There are a few of movies I still need to see from this calendar year. I’ve been busy and haven’t been able to catch many this year. There are some I’m still dying to see, most notably Boyhood, Selma and Birdman, but I don’t think anything can top Interstellar.

Honorable Mentions (from what I’ve seen)

Guardians of the Galaxy
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Album of the year – 1000 Forms of Fear (Sia)

I never thought I’d put that down as an album that I liked, but once I heard Chandelier, I immediately went and listened to the album, and really liked it. It’s catchy and it’s got a little bit of everything. I saw a review that called it a very “accessible” album, and I think that’s a good description of it. Sia is much closer to the old school rock and roll female voices you used to hear back in the day than the current pop diva voices you hear from most performers. It was a great overall album, headlined by the powerful Chandelier.

Honorable Mention

Sonic Highways (Foo Fighters)

Gaming

Game of the year – Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard)

I’ll admit, I haven’t played as many video games this year as I have in the past. There were many games this year that got me hooked and I stayed with them instead of moving on to other great titles. Not to mention the time I spend each day on World of Warcraft (and have since 2004). One notable game I haven’t played yet is Dragon Age: Inquisition, and from the reviews it’s gotten and the little bit of game play I’ve seen, it looks like it could be a contender for best game.

However, it’s hard not to give this title to Hearthstone. Leave it to Blizzard to take something that is appealing to only a select niche group of people, and turn it into a readily accessible, main stream title. I never played trading card games, they looked too complicated to get into when I could spend my time blowing things up and killing orcs and dragons instead. Not to mention I didn’t feel like having to collect and keep up with a stack of cards every where I went. Talk about major nerd alert. But Hearthstone brings something that I’ve spent way too much time on, in Warcraft, and brought it into the trading card realm. It’s the perfect blend of worlds, and also a major time waster, even if you don’t want to get really into it. Also…it’s free!

Honorable Mentions

Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
South Park: The Stick of Truth (Obsidian/Ubisoft)

Match of the year – Justin Wong vs. Filipino Champ, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (Evo 2014)

This wasn’t the championship, it was the winner’s finals from Evo 2k14, but it was one of the better matches all weekend at an event that is always full of crazy matches. This one was a great moment for Justin Wong to lead to his first championship in MvC3.

Honorable MentionFnatic vs. OMG at the League of Legends World Championships

SHARE
Previous article2014-15 Bowl Predictions
Next article2015 – The year of….?
Jon Lunceford is a sports media broadcaster and digital professional. Jon is a graduate of the University of Alabama school of journalism, and played football at Birmingham-Southern College. He has also won two AHSAA Football State Championships while at Homewood High School and was a two-time World Cyber Games Team USA representative. He currently hosts Primetime on WJOX 94.5 and runs the high school athletics site JoxPreps.