NewsBreak's Year-End Review: Top Sports Moments of 2022

Mike Romano
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It's been an eventful year in sports and we're just about wrapped. We'll take a look back at all the important moments and highlights throughout the year. We'll go through championship games, deaths, shocking announcements and more from the sports calendar. I’ve done my best to round up the top moments, month by month, to recap this captivating year of sports.

2022 brought us the Beijing Olympics and the World Cup, sudden retirements and even more sudden un-retirements and a whole bunch of broken records that could very well be re-broken in 2023. But most of all, it brought us excitement, something that sports have been delivering for centuries and will undoubtedly continue to deliver for years to come. Let’s take a look back at a busy 2022.

Photo by(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Jan. 10 - Georgia wins National Championship

Georgia ended a 41-year championship drought by defeating SEC rival Alabama 33-18 in the National Championship game. The Bulldogs scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to avenge its loss to the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship game.

Jan. 16 - Novak Djokovic gets deported

After a weeks-long saga over his COVID-19 vaccination status, Novak Djokovic was not allowed to compete in the Australian Open to defend his crown and was instead deported from the country back to Serbia. Djokovic attempted to get his visa reinstated before the tournament began, but he lost a court challenge against the Australian government.

Jan. 23 - Chiefs stun Bills in epic playoff battle

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills in a never-say-die battle of will to advance to the AFC Championship game. The final two minutes of gameplay saw three touchdowns and a game-tying field goal to force overtime.

Jan. 30 - Rafael Nadal captures historic title in Melbourne

A day after Ashleigh Barty made history, Rafael Nadal, who at one point thought he might never play the sport again due to a nagging foot injury, emerged victorious and passed Roger Federer and Djokovic with a record 21st Grand Slam men's singles title. Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev in a five-set match that lasted five hours and 24 minutes.

What else happened in January:

Photo by(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Feb. 1 - Tom Brady announces retirement

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady officially retired after 22 seasons in the NFL. Brady left the game as the winningest player in NFL history, collecting seven Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots and Buccaneers.

Feb. 9 - Lindsey Jacobellis wins USA’s first gold medal

Lindsey Jacobellis took home Team USA's first gold medal of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in the snowboardcross finals. The 36-year-old, competing in her fifth Olympics, collected her first Olympic gold medal and her second Olympic medal.

Feb. 13 - Rams outlast Bengals to win Super Bowl

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to win the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford stepped up in his first Super Bowl appearance, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp was named the most valuable player.

Feb. 17 - Brittney Griner arrested while in Russia on smuggling charges

Phoenix Mercury star center Brittney Griner was arrested on drug charges while traveling in Russia amid growing tensions between the country and the United States. Russian authorities said that Griner was carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.

What else happened in February:

Photo by(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

March 10 - Baseball is back

The MLB and MLBPA reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, ending the 99-day lockout.

March 13 - Tom Brady unretires

After six short weeks of retirement, Tom Brady announced that he will be returning to football next season with the Buccaneers.

March 18 - Browns trade for Deshaun Watson

The Cleveland Browns traded multiple draft picks to the Houston Texans in exchange for quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson escaped facing criminal charges related to 22 allegations of sexual assault. The Browns signed Watson to a new five-year, $230 million contract after the trade was completed.

March 22 - World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty retires

In a shocking announcement from the tennis community, Ashleigh Barty announced that she is retiring from tennis to pursue other dreams. The 25-year-old left the sport at the very top and only two months after winning the Australian Open earlier this year. Unlike Brady, she remained retired for the rest of the year.

What else happened in March:

Photo by(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

April 4 - Kansas completes historic comeback to win NCAA championship

The Kansas Jayhawks made history when they erased a 15-point deficit to come back and defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the National Championship and cap the March Madness tourney. The win was Kansas' first title since 2008.

April 9 - Dwayne Haskins dies after being hit by dump truck

Dwayne Haskins, the former Ohio State standout quarterback and first-round draft pick in 2019, died after he was hit by a dump truck while attempting to cross a highway in South Florida. He was 24.

April 20 - Wimbledon bans Russian, Belarusian players

In what Wimbledon called a show of solidarity with Ukraine, the legendary tournament banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing in 2022. A press release stated that it was Wimbledon's duty "to play a part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible."

April 26 - Auston Matthews reaches 60 goals

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews became the first player in 10 years to score 60 goals in a season. The feat was last accomplished by Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos.

What else happened in April:

Photo by(Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)

May 11 - Jokic wins back-to-back MVPs

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic won his second straight MVP award, finishing above Philadelphia Sixers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Jokic also was the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season.

May 18 - US Soccer agrees to equal pay deal

The U.S. men's and women's national teams reached a new collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer that achieves equal pay for both teams through 2028. The deal also includes the equalization of FIFA World Cup prize money for the men's and women's national teams and a new revenue-sharing model for both senior national teams.

May 22 - Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship in playoff

Justin Thomas out-battled youngster Will Zalatoris in a three-hole playoff to take home the PGA Championship trophy.

May 31 - Nadal tops Djokovic in 4-hour match

Rafael Nadal took down longtime rival and top-seeded Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the French Open in a match that started in May and ended in June.

What else happened in May:

Photo by(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

June 4 - Iga Swiatek wins French Open, extends unbeaten streak

Iga Swiatek extended her unbeaten streak to 35 with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Coco Gauff in the French Open finals. Her streak becomes the longest in women's tennis since Serena Williams won 35 in a row in 2000.

June 16 - Warriors shut down Celtics to win title

The Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 to win the NBA Finals. Stephen Curry was voted NBA Finals MVP after averaging 31.2 points, five assists, 5.8 rebounds and shooting 44.2% from 3-point range in the series.

June 26 - Avalanche win Stanley Cup

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 to win the 2022 Stanley Cup. The Avalanche won their third Stanley Cup and first since 2001.

June 26 - Ole Miss sweeps Oklahoma in College World Series finals

The Ole Miss Rebels brought home their first national baseball title in a comeback victory to complete the sweep of the Oklahoma Sooners in the College World Series finals.

What else happened in June:

Photo by(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

July 10 - Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon for fourth straight time

Djokovic won Wimbledon for the seventh time when he defeated Nick Kyrgios in four sets and closed the gap on Grand Slam titles between him and Nadal. In winning his fourth straight Wimbledon, Djokovic now has 21 Grand Slams, which is one behind Nadal and one ahead of Roger Federer for the most in the history of men's tennis.

July 11 - USWNT secures 2023 World Cup berth with win over Mexico

The United States Women's National Team defeated Mexico 1-0 in the final Group A match of the CONCACAF W Championship, securing a spot in the 2023 World Cup.

July 18 - Juan Soto wins Home Run Derby

It was a battle of the young sluggers at Dodger Stadium when Washington Nationals star Juan Soto edged out Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez for the Home Run Derby crown in the finals.

July 31 - Celtics legend Bill Russell dies

Boston Celtics champion and civil rights activist Bill Russell died at 88. Often referred to as the greatest winner in team sports, Russell won 11 championships in 13 seasons as the center for the Celtics.

What else happened in July:

Photo by(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Aug. 1 - Deshaun Watson suspended 6 games

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will serve a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct by 24 women. The suspension was upped to 11 games after an appeal.

Aug. 2 - Legendary broadcaster Vin Scully dies

Sportscasting icon and baseball legend Vin Scully died Tuesday at 94. Scully joined the Dodgers broadcasting team during the 1950 season when they were still in Brooklyn, followed the team to Los Angeles eight years later and didn't leave until his retirement in 2016.

Aug. 9 - Serena Williams moving on from tennis

In a first-person essay published by Vogue, Serena Williams said that she is ready to "evolve away from tennis" to focus on other things that are important to her, including growing her family and focusing on her business.

Aug. 28 - Commanders rookie Brian Robinson shot in robbery attempt

Washington Commanders rookie running back Brian Robinson was shot twice in Washington D.C. during an armed robbery attempt. He was released from the hospital, and the team said Robinson did not suffer structural damage from the gunshot wound.

What else happened in August:

Photo by(Ashley Landis/Getty Images)

Sept. 2 - Serena Williams plays last U.S. Open match

Serena Williams played her final U.S. Open match, losing to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the tournament. Her primetime match reached 4.8 million viewers, peaking at 6.9 million, according to the Nielsen company, making it the largest audience of any tennis match in ESPN's 43-year history.

Sept. 15 - Roger Federer announces his retirement from professional tennis

Roger Federer, whose 20 Grand Slam titles ranks him third overall on the men's singles list, announced that he plans to retire from professional tennis after the Laver Cup.

Sept. 18 - Vegas Aces win WNBA Championship

The Las Vegas Aces finished off the Connecticut Sun to win the WNBA Championship 3-1, capturing the first major professional sports title for the city of Las Vegas. Aces guard Chelsea Gray was named the finals MVP.

Sept. 23 - Albert Pujols reaches 700 home runs

St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run, joining Babe Ruth (714), Henry "Hank" Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762) as the only baseball players to reach the 700 mark.

What else happened in September:

Photo by(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Oct. 4 - Aaron Judge sets AL home run record

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season, breaking his tie with Roger Maris and claiming the top spot of the American League single-season home run leaderboard.

Oct. 16 - Bills edge out Chiefs in playoff rematch

The Bills got their revenge in the playoff rematch from earlier in the year, outpacing the Chiefs 24-20 in another thriller, one that saw Josh Allen come out on top even as Patrick Mahomes had the last minute shot to win it. Fans can only hope we get a rubber match in the playoffs.

Oct. 20 - Panthers trade Christian McCaffrey to 49ers

The football world erupted when it was reported that superstar running back Christian McCaffrey was on the move. The Carolina Panthers sent the elusive back to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for draft picks.

Oct. 25 - Golden Knights' Phil Kessel sets consecutive games record

Vegas Golden Knights forward Phil Kessel set the NHL "iron man" record for the most consecutive games played after appearing in his 990th straight game.

What else happened in October:

Photo by(Harry How/Getty Images)

Nov. 5 - Astros defeat Phillies to win World Series

The Astros won their third straight game to win the World Series against the Phillies. Framber Valdez solidified the series victory with a nine-strikeout performance over six innings of two-hit ball.

Nov. 13 - 3 Virginia football players fatally shot in campus shooting

Three University of Virginia football players were killed after a former player opened fire on campus. Junior receiver Lavel Davis Jr., junior receiver Devin Chandler and junior defensive end/linebacker D'Sean Perry were killed in the shooting, and two other students were injured.

Nov. 21 - Patrice Bergeron gets 1,000th point in Bruins win

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron became the fourth Boston player and 94th in NHL history to reach 1,000 points in his career.

Nov. 29 - USMNT advances to knockout stage

The United States Men's National Team advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup with a key 1-0 victory over Iran. The U.S. would have been eliminated with a loss or draw, Christian Pulisic sent them through.

What else happened in November:

Photo by(Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Dec. 3 - U.S. knocked out of World Cup by Netherlands

The United States Men's National Team was knocked out of the World Cup by the Netherlands in the round of 16. The U.S. had the second youngest roster in the tournament, and coach Gregg Berhalter noted after the match that fans should be optimistic for things to come.

Dec. 8 - Brittney Griner released in prisoner swap

WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from Russian detention in a prisoner swap that involved Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The deal did not include detained American Paul Whelan.

Dec. 13 - Alex Ovechkin scores 800th career goal

Alex Ovechkin scored his 800th career goal with a hat trick in a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Ovechkin became just the third player in NHL history to notch 800 goals in a career, joining legends Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe.

Dec. 18 - Argentina beats France in epic World Cup final

Argentina outlasted France on penalty kicks in Sunday's World Cup final in a marathon match that saw four goals in regular time and two goals in extra time. It was a true goliath vs. goliath matchup and at times seemed like a one-on-one game between Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé, who both combined for five of the six goals and a penalty kick apiece.

What else happened in December:

And that's all, folks. Well, it's certainly not all that happened in 2022, but I did my best to cover the top moments from the year. Happy holidays!
Photo by(Al Bello/Getty Images)

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