Thanks to a monumental year in sports that included both the World Cup and Winter Olympics, there were scores of opportunities for marketers and athletes to leave indelible marks via social media. And with the Super Bowl fast approaching, we selected 10 sports moments that left the greatest impression since last year's Big Game.
10. Where Cultures Come Together
Soccer's biggest stage brought together one of Germany's World Cup champions, Lukas Podolski, and Europe's most powerful woman, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Only at the World Cup—and on Twitter—do international politics and sports team up in such a winning way.
Selfie 2…:-) pic.twitter.com/RJh7RnXXUw
— Lukas-Podolski.com (@Podolski10) July 13, 2014
9. Will Ferrell Sends Off Derek Jeter, Hilarity Ensues
For four full minutes, the comic yelled at the baseball legend—often between a shout-and-clap sequence well known at Yankee Stadium: "Der-ek Je-ter! Clap-clap … clap-clap-clap. Der-ek Je-ter!" In the Funny or Die clip, Ferrell's winding rant evolved into a love letter and a social home run, as views quickly eclipsed 1 million.
8. Darnell Docket Clowns the Internet
The Arizona Cardinal tweeted 23 times on Dec. 2 about his jury duty experience. Dockett (virtually) laughed, cried—even ordered a pizza. Social media ate it up. A later round of evidence, though, brought this verdict: It was all just a hilarious hoax.
I just told this guy Im hungry and he's like I can't leave.. wtf U mean I can't eat! Ok watch this. Im gonna order pizza off this app! F.U.!
— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) December 2, 2014
7. The Bieber 'Curse'
Over the course of several months last year, megastar lightning rod Justin Bieber went about snapping selfies with the Chicago Blackhawks, Spain's World Cup team and the Miami Heat, all shared far and wide in social streams—and after which the teams all lost season-ending games. A finger-wagging Internet playfully responded: "Nice going, Biebs."
Steelers the latest to suffer from…THE CURSE OF BIEBER!! pic.twitter.com/wW5YOixjQj
— SportsNation (@SportsNation) November 9, 2014
6. Hillary Tweets @Fox, Wins Super Bowl
As the Denver-Seattle matchup was fast becoming a dud, Hillary Clinton unexpectedly helped fill the entertainment void. The then-Secretary of State, who had recently been the object of considerable Benghazi-based heat from Fox News, impeccably timed a tweet to make light of her relationship with the media outlet.
It's so much more fun to watch FOX when it's someone else being blitzed & sacked! #SuperBowl
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 3, 2014
5. DiGiorno Perfects Real-Time Marketing in Big Game Blowout
When Seattle ambushed Denver and went on to control Super Bowl XLVIII early in the game, it became all too easy for viewers with mobile devices to shift their attention to social media. DiGiorno won the moment, poking fun at the Broncos' demise while suggesting that bored football fans whip up one of its frozen pizzas—making for a delicious social moment.
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) February 3, 2014
4. Schoolboy Running Back Inspires on YouTube
Apollos Hester—fresh off leading a comeback victory for his Georgetown, Texas, high school—gave his local TV station a high-energy, two-minute speech that would make accomplished motivational speakers mad with envy. YouTube users were inspired to the tune of 8 million views.
3. The Power Couple That Wasn't
Tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki and golf dynamo Rory McIlroy—both social media stars—provided a cautionary tale for sports-celebrity romance. In May, after the millennials had famously broken up because she tweeted an unflattering photo of him sleeping, McIlroy set the blogosphere on fire by calling off the nuptials. She then posted a #highheels jab at her former fiancé, who was the shorter half of the ill-fated couple. #Messy.
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) September 16, 2013
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) April 9, 2014
It's a hard time for me right now.Thanks for all the sweet messages!Happy I support Liverpool right now because I know I'll never walk alone
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) May 22, 2014
2. Florida Panthers Goalie Takes a Crack at Kardashian
NHL star Roberto Luongohas built a reputation for entertaining the masses via social media. And the 35-year-old took his comedy up a notch (or two) by tweeting a graphical send-up of Kim Kardashian's now-famous Paper magazine "butt cover."
Let me tell ya…. Wasn't easy holding that stick there with all that oil on…… pic.twitter.com/eV0gHgXLOQ
— Strombone (@strombone1) November 13, 2014
1. The Bite Heard 'Round the World
When Uruguay's Luis Suárez bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it instantly became a social flash point—and most certainly one of the year's most memorable sports moments. McDonald's and Snickers responded brilliantly with real-time commentary and were rewarded with tens of thousands of retweets and favorites.
Hola @luis16suarez, si te quedaste con hambre vení a darle un mordisco a una BigMac 😉
— McDonald's Uruguay (@McDonalds_Uy) June 24, 2014
— SNICKERS® (@SNICKERS) June 24, 2014