Top sports stories from 2014

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31 PHOTOS
2014 Sports Top Stories
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Top sports stories from 2014

Derek Jeter Retires

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees tips his hat to the crowd during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, September 25, 2014 in the Bronx Borough of New York. 

Photo Credit: Taylor Baucom, MLB Photos via Getty Images

LeBron Returns to Cleveland

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gets introduced before a game against the New York Knicks on October 30, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Photo Credit: David Liam Kyle, NBAE via Getty Images

Antonio Brown dropkicks a punter

Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts to hurdle Spencer Lanning #5 of the Cleveland Browns and gets an unnecessary roughness penalty during the second quarter at Heinz Field on September 7, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

Luis Suarez bites Giorgio Chiellini

Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Giorgio Chiellini of Italy react after a clash during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.

Photo Credit: Matthias Hangst, Getty Images

"Leah Strong": Support for Devon Still's daughter, Leah, during cancer treatments 

In this Oct. 5, 2014, file photo, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still (75) watches the offensive unit perform against the New England Patriots in the second half of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass.The Bengals defensive tackle will have his 4-year-old daughter, Leah, watching from a seat at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday night, Nov. 6, 2014, when Cincinnati (5-2-1) hosts the Cleveland Browns (5-3). The girl is being treated for cancer.

Photo Credit: Stephan Savoia, AP Photo

Serena Williams wins third consecutive US Open

Serena Williams, reacts after defeating Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, during the championship match of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in New York.

Photo Credit: Mike Groll, AP Photo

2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia

Fireworks are seen over the Olympic Park during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014.

Photo Credit: Julio Cortez, AP Photo

San Francisco wins third World Series in five years

Buster Posey #28 , Madison Bumgarner #40, Pablo Sandoval #48 and the San Francisco Giants celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Royals to win Game Seven of the 2014 World Series by a score of 3-2 at Kauffman Stadium on October 29, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photo Credit: Jamie Squire, Getty Images

T.J. Oshie scores the winning goal in a shootout against Team Russia

USA forward T.J. Oshie reacts after scoring the winning goal against Russia goaltender Sergei Bobrovski in a shootout during overtime of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip, AP Photo

Meb Keflezighi becomes first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983

Meb Keflezighi, of San Diego, Calif., celebrates his victory with an American flag after the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Boston.

Photo Credit: Charles Krupa, AP Photo

Michael Sam becomes first openly gay player drafted into the NFL

Michael Sam accepts the Arthur Ashe courage award at the ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: John Shearer, Invision/AP Photo

LA Galaxy win MLS Cup in Landon Donovan's final season

Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy reacts after the Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 in the 2014 MLS Cup at StubHub Center on December 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon, Getty Images

UConn becomes first #7 seed to win NCAA Championship

Connecticut players celebrate after their 60-54 victory over Kentucky in the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 7, 2014, in Arlington, Texas.

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip, AP Photo

Kevin Ward, Jr. dies on track after being struck by Tony Stewart

NASCAR auto racing driver Tony Stewart reads a statement during a news conference at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Stewart says the death of Kevin Ward Jr. will "affect my life forever" as he returned to the track for the first time since his car struck and killed the fellow driver during a sprint-car race in New York.

Photo Credit: John Bazemore, AP Photo

St. Louis Rams protest grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri

In this Nov. 30, 2014, file photo, St. Louis Rams players, from left, Stedman Bailey (12), Tavon Austin (11), Jared Cook, (89) Chris Givens (13) and Kenny Britt (81) raise their arms in awareness of the events in Ferguson, Mo., as they walk onto the field during introductions before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in St. Louis. The players said after the game, they raised their arms in a "hands up" gesture to acknowledge the events in Ferguson.

Photo Credit: L.G. Patterson, AP Photo

Mo'ne Davis becomes first girl to record a win and a shutout in Little League World Series history

Pennsylvania's Mo'ne Davis delivers in the fifth inning against Tennessee during a baseball game in United States pool play at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. Pennsylvania won 4-0 with Davis pitching a complete game two-hit shutout.

Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar, AP Photo

Los Angeles Kings win second Stanley Cup in three years

A Stanley Cup banner is raised in front of the Los Angeles Kings during a pre game ceremony before the season opening game against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center on October 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo Credit: Harry How, Getty Images

Joey Logano's breakout season

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas.

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner, Getty Images

#ThingsTimHowardCouldSave

United States' goalkeeper Tim Howard saves a shot by Belgium during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Photo Credit: Felipe Dana, AP Photo

San Antonio Spurs win NBA Championship

The San Antonio Spurs celebrate with the Larry O'Brien trophy after defeating the Miami Heat to win the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons, Getty Images

Odell Beckham, Jr.'s fingertip catch

Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants scores a touchdown in the second quarter against Brandon Carr #39 of the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on November 23, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Photo Credit: Al Bello, Getty Images

Domestic assault charges against Ray Rice

Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York.

Photo Credit: Jason DeCrow, AP Photo

Peyton Manning throws 509th touchdown, breaks Brett Favre's career touchdown record

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) celebrates his 509th career touchdown pass with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Denver.

Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey, AP Photo

San Francisco and Washington play longest postseason game in MLB history

The scoreboard shows the go-ahead run in the 18th inning in Game 2 of baseball's NL Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants in Nationals Park, early Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Washington. The game tied the mark for most innings in a postseason game and, as late afternoon stretched into early evening and even past midnight, set a time record at 6 hours, 23 minutes. The Giants won 2-1.

Photo Credit: Alex Brandon, AP Photo

Big Papi takes a selfie with President Obama

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (L) poses for a 'selfie' with U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House to honor the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox April 1, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series.

Photo Credit: Win McNamee, Getty Images

Rory McIlroy wins 2014 Open Championship and PGA Championship, sweeps PGA Awards

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland throws his ball into the crowd following his two-stroke victory on the 18th green during the final round of The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on July 20, 2014 in Hoylake, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Lauren Hill steps on the court for Mount St. Joseph University

In this Nov. 2, 104 file photo, Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gives thumbs-up as she holds the game ball during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati. The freshman player is taking life day-to-day as a cancerous tumor in her brain grows. As part of her final push, Hill is raising money to research and treat the type of cancer that is taking her life. A big donation on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, pushed the total raised to more than $324,000.

Photo Credit: Tom Uhlman, AP Photo

Tom Brady proves he's not "too old"

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady takes the field before an NFL football game against the New York Jets on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass.

Photo Credit: Charles Krupa, AP Photo

Florida State wins BCS Championship, Jameis Winston found not guilty of sexual assault

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston heads out the tunnel after defeating Notre Dame 31-27 in an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014.

Photo Credit: Mark Wallheiser, AP Photo

Seattle Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII

Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett celebrates after the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Seahawks won 43-8.

Photo Credit: Ben Margot, AP Photo

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Another year of championships, heartbreaks, and record setting performances has come and gone. Derek Jeter is retired. LeBron came home. Peyton was Peyton, and Brady was Brady. Rory McIlroy and Serena Williams returned to true form, while the NFL made headlines for all the wrong reasons. From the San Francisco Giants' third championship in five years to the Seattle Seahawks' first championship ever, there certainly was a lot to keep track of.

Remember the backlash from Big Papi's selfie with President Obama? How about when Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers dropkicked Cleveland's punter in the face? We can't forget when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants played the longest game in MLB postseason history... that is, unless you fell asleep before it finished.

There were, of course, the unfortunate lowlights of the year; Ray Rice became the face of football's struggle with domestic violence after the now-infamous elevator assault. In college football, Jameis Winston just couldn't stay out of the spotlight. And tragedy struck the racing world when driver Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed.

Thankfully, 2014 also had its fair share of heartwarming stories, like Lauren Hill's first NCAA basketball game, and the outpouring of support for Cincinnati Bengal Devon Still and his sick daughter, Leah. Michael Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams, making him the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. And on the first anniversary of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, the race went off without a hitch and Meb Keflezighi became the first American man to win since 1983.

Click through the slideshow above to see photos from all of these memorable moments and more. This year was one for the books, and with hockey and basketball seasons in full swing and the NFL playoffs only days away, we hope 2015 turns out to be just as exciting.

Check out some of the best sports photography from 2014:

31 PHOTOS
2014 Sports Photos of the Year
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Top sports stories from 2014

Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants scores a touchdown in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on November 23, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Photo Credit: Al Bello, Getty Images

Ivan Trofimov of Russia swims the Men's 200m Medley heats during the 32nd LEN European Swimming Championships at Europa-Sportpark on August 19, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. 

Photo Credit: Adam Petty, Getty Images

The Ottawa 67's look on from the bench during an OHL game between the Ottawa 67's and the Niagara Ice Dogs at the Meridian Centre on October 30, 2014 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. 

Photo Credit: Vaughn Ridley, Getty Images

Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys holds the ball under pressure from the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

A second period goal by Jack Skille of the Columbus Blue Jackets (not shown) sends water splashing from the bottle behind goaltender Jhonas Enroth #1 of the Buffalo Sabres on October 9, 2014 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York.

Photo Credit: Bill Wippert, NHLI via Getty Images

Baylor's Isaiah Austin (21) has his face covered by the ball as Nebraska's Leslee Smith's arm reaches for the ball during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Friday, March 21, 2014, in San Antonio. Baylor won 74-60.

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip, AP Photo

Boston Bruins center Chris Kelly, left, and Ottawa Senators defenseman Eric Gryba (62) battle for the puck along the boards during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.

Photo Credit: Elise Amendola, AP Photo

Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after losing to the Dayton Flyers 60-59 in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the First Niagara Center on March 20, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.

Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

Lionel Messi of Argentina controls the ball against Josip Drmic (L), Fabian Schar (2nd L), Stephan Lichtsteiner (2nd R) and Ricardo Rodriguez of Switzerland during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Argentina and Switzerland at Arena de Sao Paulo on July 1, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Photo Credit: Matthias Hangst, Getty Images

Ekaterina Petukhova and Yulia Timoshinina of Russia practice prior to the Women's 10m Synchro Platform Final during day one of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series at the London Aquatics Centre on April 25, 2014 in London, England.

Photo Credit: Clive Rose, Getty Images

Norichika Aoki #23 of the Kansas City Royals gets hit from a pitch by Miguel Gonzalez #50 of the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga, Getty Images

Simon Mignolet of Liverpool fails to prevent Eduardo Vargas of QPR scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool at Loftus Road on October 19, 2014 in London, England.

Photo Credit: Clive Rose, Getty Images

San Francisco Giants' Angel Pagan dives back to third after advancing from first on a Joe Panik double against the Colorado Rockies during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, in Denver.

Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey, AP Photo

Zoe Mahan, center, pushes the trophy as her mother Kandi Mahan, left, grabs her while they pose with Hunter Mahan, husband, father and winner of The Barclays golf tournament Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Paramus, N.J.

Photo Credit: Mel Evans, AP Photo

The ball flies over the head of quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images

Travis Hamonic #3 of the New York Islanders is hit into the glass by Nick Bjugstad #27 of the Florida Panthers during the first period at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 1, 2014 in Uniondale, New York.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

The New Zealand team perform the Haka after winning the Cup Final between England and New Zealand during the 2014 Hong Kong Sevens at Hong Kong International Stadium on March 30, 2014 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Photo Credit: Cameron Spencer, Getty Images

Coline Aumard of France competes against Low Wee Wern of Malaysia during a quarterfinal match at the Mark Sachvie Squash Centre at White Oaks Resort during day four of the Women's World Team Squash Championships on December 4, 2014 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.

Photo Credit: Vaughn Ridley, Getty Images

Valentin Cretu of Romania takes part in a men's luge training session ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Sanki Sliding Center on February 6, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Photo Credit: Julian Finney, Getty Images

Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner, NASCAR via Getty Images

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria plays a forehand against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in their third round match during day six of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 8, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.

Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill, Getty Images

Claudia Fragapane of Britain keeps her eyes on the balance beam as she competes in the women's qualifying round of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Guangxi Gymnasium in Nanning, capital of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Monday, Oct. 6, 2014.

Photo Credit: Andy Wong, AP Photo

Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers misses a catch out of bounds during the second quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 5, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Photo Credit: Rob Foldy, Getty Images

Cedric Dubler of Australia gets set in the blocks for the start of the 110m hurdle portion of the men's decathlon during day two of the IAAF World Junior Championships at Hayward Field on July 23, 2014 in Eugene, Oregon.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images

Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter, bottom, of Turkey, puts up a shot as Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill, AP Photo

Cleveland Indians right fielder Carlos Moncrief catches a fly ball hit by Cincinnati Reds' Kristopher Negron at the right field wall in the seventh inning of an exhibition baseball game in Goodyear, Ariz., Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. The wall displays an advertisement for a homebuilder.

Photo Credit: Paul Sancya, AP Photo

Shaun White of the United States crashes out in the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Finals on day four of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Photo Credit: Cameron Spencer, Getty Images

Lily Zhang of United States in action against Miyu Kato of Japan in their Girls Table Tennis Singles Bronze Medal Competition during day four of the Nanjing 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games at the Wutaishan Gymnasium on August 20, 2014 in Nanjing, China.

Photo Credit: Stanley Chou, Getty Images

New York Yankees' Derek Jeter jumps after hitting the game-winning single against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, in New York. The Yankees won 6-5.

Photo Credit: Julie Jacobson, AP Photo

A local boy plays football on Iracema Beach on June 11, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Photo Credit: Robert Cianflone, Getty Images

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