Vote: What Was the Defining New England Sports Moment of 2012?


York, Moore, Pierce, VaritekWhat a year it’s been for fans of New England sports.

It all started back in January, when the Patriots were marching toward Super Bowl XLVI. Leading by three points with under a minute to go, the New England defense needed a defensive stop. It looked like they weren’t going to be able to get one when Joe Flacco connected with Lee Evans in the end zone for what would have been a go-ahead touchdown — if not for Sterling Moore. Moore stripped the ball away from Evans at the last second, causing an incomplete pass, and the Ravens had to settle for a field goal attempt. They missed the ensuing kick, and the Patriots were on their way to the Super Bowl.

Also in January, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton delighted fans when he was called upon to take a penalty shot against the Winnipeg Jets. Not known for his offensive prowess, Thornton nonetheless executed a flawless toe drag and provided the B’s with one of the year’s most memorable moments.

Away from the pro ranks, but still on the ice, Boston College saw a couple of significant moments in 2012. The Eagles captured the 2012 national championship, defeating Minnesota and then Ferris State in the Frozen Four to claim coach Jerry York‘s fourth title at the school. The winning didn’t stop for the legendary coach, either, as he captured his 925th win in December, making him the all-time winningest coach in NCAA hockey history.

BC wasn’t the only local school making waves this year, though. Harvard University’s men’s basketball team enjoyed a banner year in 2012, earning a spot on the AP Top 25 rankings for the first time, winning the Ivy League title and clinching a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Ultimately, they lost in the first round to Vanderbilt as a No. 12 seed, but it was nonetheless an extraordinary season for the Crimson.

Then again, the best moment coming on the hardwood for New England fans might have come in Miami, when the Celtics played the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Paul Pierce‘s clutch 3-pointer with time winding down in Game 5 cemented the Heat-Celtics rivalry as one of the game’s best, even if Boston did ultimately fall to Miami in seven games.

And while 2012 might have been a forgettable one for the Red Sox, Tim Wakefield‘s and Jason Varitek‘s retirements will certainly be difficult for Boston’s fans to push out of the memory banks.

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