The 2015 sports year was crammed from beginning to end with so many incredible, absolutely must-see moments that not even DraftKings and FanDuel could have filled all the commercial breaks.
The Kansas City Royals won their first World Series in 30 years. American Pharoah won horse racing’s first Triple Crown in 37 years. The Golden State Warriors won their first NBA championship in 40 years (and then won the first 24 games of the next season). At age 33, Serena Williams completed a Serena Slam and came within one major title of a calendar Slam. At just 21, Jordan Spieth became the youngest golfer to win the first two legs of a Grand Slam. Carli Lloyd scored a record three goals in the World Cup final to lead the U.S. to the championship.
Yet with all the media attention devoted to Deflategate, you just might have missed these unbelievable events from the past year:
Jan. 1: Americans celebrate the new year in traditional style by watching each of the 43 college bowl games played that day. Well, not every American. Some are too hung over from overdoing it while watching the 78 bowl games played the previous week.
Jan. 12: With the historically late scheduling for a college football game, the national championship between Ohio State and Oregon is played under the old single-platoon system due to a lack of players because all the seniors had already graduated.
Jan. 18: The Patriots advance to the Super Bowl after Tom Brady and the equipment squad deflate the tires on the Colts’ team bus, preventing Indianapolis from reaching the AFC Championship Game until the third quarter, by which time they trail 45-0.
Feb. 1: The Seahawks lose the Super Bowl when Russell Wilson makes a goal-line pass that is intercepted by Ciara.
Feb 28: MMA fighter Ronda Rousey beats Cat Zingano in a mere 14 seconds in UFC 184 but is outraged when she learns that because prize money is broken down on an hourly basis and actual time spent fighting, she will receive slightly less than the minimum wage.
March 12: After Will Ferrell retires the only batter he faces for the Dodgers in a spring training game as part of an HBO charity film project, the Diamondbacks offer him a six-year, $205 million contract.
April 4: Kentucky’s hopes for college basketball’s first 40-0 season are dashed by Wisconsin in the Final Four, but Steve Harvey still claims he has a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket.
April 12: Jordan Spieth wins the Masters at age 21 by shooting 18 under par, tying the record held by Tiger Woods and drawing comments that he is the “next Tiger,” which his girlfriend hopes will not be the case.
April 30: Jameis Winston celebrates being the first pick in the NFL draft — and the guaranteed signing bonus of at least $14 million that comes with it — by actually paying for the crab legs he gets at a Publix grocery store.
May 2: After beating Manny Pacquiao, heavyweight champion Floyd Mayweather says he will retire unless he is allowed to keep fighting only one-armed boxers.
May 24: Completing the most spectacular horse racing performance in nearly 40 years, American Pharoah crosses the finish line 5Â½ lengths ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya to win the Indianapolis 500.
May 27: Following the arrests of a half-dozen senior FIFA officials, Sepp Blatter declares, “I am shocked — shocked — to find that corruption is going on inside of FIFA!” He then orders investigators to shut down Rick’s Cafe and takes his share of the winnings.
June 2: Sepp Blatter announces he is “resigning” as head of FIFA, then mulls whether to stay on anyway or take over as the head of the IOC, the NCAA, Russia’s track and field federation and the University of Louisville basketball program.
June 6: As the women’s World Cup begins, Colombia becomes the favorite to win the championship when it is revealed that Steve Harvey will be the voice of the final match.
June 7: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic’s hopes of finally winning the French Open and a calendar Slam are dashed at Roland Garros when he is unable to win the final due to the ghastly sight of Stan Wawrinka’s shorts.
June 15: Inspired by the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup, first-year Cubs manager Joe Maddon replaces the 1976 Dodge van he drives to Wrigley Field with a Zamboni.
June 16: Steph Curry and the Warriors follow up the cross-Bay Giants’ recent tradition of winning a World Series championship every even-numbered year with the tradition of winning the NBA championship every 40 years.
June 21: Jordan Spieth wins the U.S. Open at the bizarre and heavily criticized Chambers Bay course after Dustin Johnson’s possible tournament-winning putts on the 18th hole are upended by head groundskeeper Carl Spackler’s attempts to blow up a gopher.
July 5: Carli Lloyd scores three goals in the first 16 minutes of the World Cup final and Team USA goes on to whip Japan, which cannot come anywhere close to scoring enough against U.S. goalkeeper Han Solo and partner Chewbacca.
July 12: In a surprising outcome of All-Star balloting, Donald Trump is voted the starting third baseman over Josh Donaldson after promising to make the “American League Great Again!” by barring all players from Syria and Toronto.
July 17: LeBron James receives rave reviews for his performance in “Trainwreck,” the Amy Schumer movie about how seasons always wind up for Cleveland pro sports franchises.
July 20: NBA MVP and scratch golfer Steph Curry, who would celebrate the Warriors’ championship by golfing with President Obama, ends Jordan Spieth’s Grand Slam hopes by winning the British Open.
July 26: Chris Froome wins the Tour de France by more than 25 hours after dumping his Pinarello bike and riding American Pharoah instead.
Aug. 3: The campaign for the Republican presidential nomination gets off to a surprising start in the opening debates when even Tom Brady is unable to deflate Donald Trump’s ego.
Sept. 10: Serena Williams’ hopes of completing her calendar Slam are dashed in a semifinal loss to Roberta Vinci when she retires in the third set to leave the court and chase down a spectator who stole her cellphone.
Sept. 20: When 100-year-old Don Pellmann breaks an astounding five world records in the 100-meter dash, shot put, discus, long jump and high jump at the San Diego Senior Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency launches an investigation to see if he has been training with the Russian track and field team.
Sept. 28: After Pope Francis’s wildly successful trip to the United States, the International Olympic Committee begs him to please, please, please visit Rio and bless the water.
Oct. 5: Ronda Rousey tells Jimmy Fallon that even though Holly Holm will kick her in the head, Rousey will win their upcoming UFC bout. She also predicts that the Mets will reach the World Series and win, Miss Colombia will be a finalist in the Miss Universe contest and win, and Kanye West will run for president in 2020 and win by beating Donald Trump.
Oct. 14: Toronto’s Jose Bautista goes deep to beat the Texas Rangers in an American League Division Series game and qualify for the 2016 Olympics in the javelin after he flips his bat even farther than he hit his home run.
Oct. 15: Investigators begin probing whether fantasy football operators are violating state and federal gambling laws after the government learns one employee leaked data and, more suspiciously, that Sepp Blatter has been put in charge of the industry.
Oct. 21: Cubs fans are absolutely crushed after Game 4 of the National League Championship Series when they learn that “Back to the Future Part II” was a fictional movie rather than a documentary and that their team won’t really win the 2015 World Series.
Oct. 31: Triple Crown winner American Pharoah becomes the first horse to win racing’s Grand Slam at the Breeders’ Cup, where he passes Jordan Spieth in the first turn, Novak Djokovic along the back stretch and then comes from behind in the home stretch to pass Serena Williams and the cellphone thief she is chasing down.
Nov. 1: The ACC suspends the referees a day after Miami’s amazing, game-ending, eight-lateral, 49-second kickoff return the previous night because the officials failed to notice even during video reviews that the Hurricanes had sent the Stanford band onto the field.
Nov. 1: After 30 years, the Kansas City Royals win their first World Series, a championship so unexpected that not even Pete Rose bet on them.
Nov. 26: The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is ruined when Tom Brady and the Patriots leave a droopy mess at Herald Square by deflating the Snoopy, Kermit the Frog and Hello Kitty balloons.
Dec. 8: Because there are no college teams remaining with the new NCAA three-win bowl minimum, the Albuquerque A1A Carwash Bowl is forced to match the J.P. Wynne High School football team against the GOP and Democratic presidential candidates, all of whom spend the entire game arguing over offensive and defensive strategies.
Dec. 12: Alabama’s Derrick Henry wins the Heisman Trophy after breaking the Crimson Tide single-season rushing record previously held by Forrest Gump.
Dec. 13: After winning the first 24 games of the season, Golden State’s hopes of breaking the Harlem Globetrotters’ record streak finally come to an end when the Warriors lose in overtime to American Pharoah.
Dec. 14: To keep their unbeaten record intact, the Carolina Panthers try to sign American Pharoah as their running back, but the horse declines due to having seen an advanced screening of the movie “Concussion.”
Dec. 15: A day after commissioner Rob Manfred maintained Pete Rose’s lifetime ban because he has not “reconfigured his life,” baseball’s all-time hit king decides to give up redeeming himself and simply work in the fantasy sports industry.
Dec. 18: The seventh film in the “Star Wars” series opens in which the Resistance discovers the discouraging news that Dark Lord Emperor Belichick has been replaced by Darth Blatter. But the good news is a new Force awakens for them with the emergence of an even better shooter than Han Solo — Steph Curry.
Dec. 27: The Panthers have their unbeaten season spoiled by a loss to the Falcons after quarterback Cam Newton is unable to persuade friend and passionate Panthers fan Steph Curry to sign with Carolina.
Dec. 31: Tens of thousands gather in Times Square for the traditional snapping of $10 photos of people wearing Spider-Man, Frozen, Star Wars and Mr. Met costumes. They then watch the annual deflating of the Times Square ball by Tom Brady.