Top 10 Pittsburgh sports moments of the decade

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Michael Miller [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

Matthew Szymanowski, Deputy Sports Editor

The City of Champions. That’s what people from Pittsburgh call our beloved teams. It has been a wild decade in sports here in Pittsburgh, so here are the top 10 moments from the 2010s.

10.  On Feb. 25, 2017, the Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. The interesting part about this game is that it was not played at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Instead, they made an ice rink on Heinz Field to seat over 60,000 people for the contest.

9.  When the best player in the world was out for ten months with a concussion, many thought he would never play again. With his work ethic though, Sidney Crosby came back from this injury. In his first game back in November of 2011, he scored less than six minutes into the game against the Islanders, electrifying the arena.

8.  The Steelers had an emotional playoff game on January 9, 2016 against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals. Up by 15 in the fourth quarter, the Steelers gave up 16 unanswered points. With Roethlisberger on the sidelines, Landry Jones threw an interception that basically put the game away. Then, linebacker Ryan Shazier made the biggest play of his career when he forced a fumble with less than two minutes to go. The Steelers would drive down and kick a field goal to win 18-16 on the road.

7.  The Pirates won an astounding 98 games in 2015. The games that defined the season were July 11 and 12, 2015 against the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals. On the 11th, the Pirates and Cardinals went back and forth all the way to 14 innings until Andrew McCutchen hit a walk-off home run. The following night, the Pirates fell behind two runs in the 10th inning. They managed a rally, and Gregory Polanco hit a walk-off single to down the Cardinals.

6.  With the AFC title on the line in 2011, the Steelers hosted the New York Jets at Heinz Field. With one of the loudest crowds ever at home, the Steelers fought their way to a 24-19 victory and punched their ticket to the Super Bowl.

5.  On December 4, 2017, fan-favorite Ryan Shazier went for a tackle against a Bengals running back. He went down and did not get up. He was later diagnosed with a spinal injury that may never allow him to play again. The next week, the Steelers hosted the rival Ravens on Sunday Night Football. With the city praying for him, Shazier was in attendance for the game. The Steelers rallied behind the energy and made an amazing comeback to win 39-38.

4.  Christmas day in 2016 pitted the Steelers against one of their fiercest rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. Down by ten in the fourth quarter, the Steelers rallied and made it a four-point game with less than 20 seconds remaining. At the 4-yard line, Big Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown at the goal line. He reached the football across the goal line, sealing the win. The immaculate extension was born on Christmas night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFzpXTC5dMU

3.  The Penguins were the team to beat in 2016. Sadly for everyone else, no one could beat them. They made it to the playoffs and pulled off two amazing Game 7 victories in the Eastern Conference rounds. They went on the road and defeated the Capitals in Game 7 by a score of 2-0, and they defeated the Senators in double overtime on a Chris Kunitz goal to advance to the finals. They would beat the Nashville Predators in six games and win their fifth Stanley Cup.

2.  The Penguins were the team to beat in 2017 because of what they did in 2016. After falling to 12th place in their conference, they fired their head coach and signed Mike Sullivan. Sullivan led them all the way back and into the postseason. After franchise goalie Marc-Andre Fleury went down, rookie Matt Murray was up to the task. He helped the Penguins win their first two rounds when the Penguins beat the Rangers and the Capitals. After falling behind 3-2 in the series to the Lightning, rookie Bryan Rust stepped in and had two amazing games. They won both and battled the Sharks in the finals. In Game 1, Nick Bonino had the game-winner, and Punjabi announcer called it best when he yelled out “BONINO BONINO BONINO BONINOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” They would take the Sharks to six games and win on the road for their first Stanley Cup since 2009.

1.  The Pirates had not had a winning season since 1992. In 2013, they finally righted the ship. They won an impressive 94 games and made it to the Wildcard Game. PNC Park was never louder. With standing room only, the stadium was in a blackout for the game against the Reds. Leading 1-0 in the second inning, catcher Russell Martin stepped up to the plate. When Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto went to the mound, the crowd started chanting, “CUE-TO! CUE-TO!” Visibly distraught, Cueto dropped the ball. With the crowd chanting louder and louder, Russell Martin hit Cueto’s next pitch over the left-field fence to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. They would win the game 6-2, their first playoff win since 1992.