The best games to watch to get into football and basketball

     Although some might disagree, I believe that sports are an essential part of living. The lessons they teach, the experiences they provide, all benefit a person’s life drastically. 

     A common concern, however, is those who don’t watch sports on a regular basis don’t have anything to go off of except for the live sports now. Unfortunately, only college and NBA basketball are live at the moment, with the MLB and the owners still in a lockout. 

     So, I’ve compiled a list of one recorded game per league. If you had just a single game to watch in order to finally fall into the heaven of professional sports, here are the games that I would recommend. 

Football: Super Bowl 49: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks 

     Going into this championship matchup, the Seahawks were coming off a dominant Super Bowl 48 victory against the Denver Broncos, where their 43-8 win marked the largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl since 1993.  

     The Patriots, however, hadn’t had the same luck through the 2010s, losing in the divisional round, conference championship and Super Bowl in their last three seasons, failing to net star quarterback Tom Brady a fourth ring. 

     Both teams had something huge on the line, with the Seahawks looking to cement themselves as a dynasty with their lockdown defense and quarterback Russell Wilson, and the Patriots hoping Brady would get back to his winning ways. 

     After a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots would strike first on a Brandon LaFell touchdown catch from Brady with just under ten minutes to play in the half.  

     Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch would tie the game up on a three-yard rush, just before both teams score touchdowns only 29 seconds apart from one another, with receivers Rob Gronkowski and Chris Matthews getting in the end zone to knot the game at 14 apiece at halftime. 

     The Seahawks would propel past New England after a 10-point run in the third quarter, but the Patriots would storm back with a pair of touchdowns with just over two minutes remaining in the game, taking a 28-24 lead. 

     Wilson, attempting to run the two-minute drill, found wideout Jermaine Kearse for a deep sideline circus catch, putting Seattle in prime scoring territory with less than a minute to go. 

     However, with a 2nd and 1 opportunity at the goal line, Seattle made the decision to pass the ball rather than run it with Lynch, a prominent scorer from short distances. 

     The throw was off target, and undrafted Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler picked it off in the end zone, sealing the game for New England and giving Brady his fourth Super Bowl championship. 

Basketball: 2016 Christmas Day: Warriors @ Cavs 

     The NBA in 2016 has a reputation, with many fans claiming it was one of the “best years for basketball.” This is because of how electrifying the playoffs were, ending in a fantastic 3-1 series comeback from forward LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. 

     I could have easily picked the final game, Game 7, as the most exciting to watch. However, in my opinion, the 2016 Christmas Day game between the two teams brings the energy and excitement that the NBA is proudly known for. 

     This was the first matchup since the NBA Finals the previous season, and both squads were fully healthy and ready to play. The Warriors, alongside reigning MVP award winning guard Stephen Curry and sharpshooting guard Klay Thompson, brought in another former MVP in the offseason: forward Kevin Durant. 

     Cleveland, on the other hand, was running it back with their roster from the previous season, with James, guard Kyrie Irving, and forward Kevin Love headlining their top guys. 

     The game, which took place in Cleveland, started off hot, with Durant and Irving going back-and-forth with jump shot after jump shot. Thompson hit a layup with one second left to put the Warriors up 27-25 after the first period. 

     The second quarter was filled with veteran play from both sides, as Warriors bench players David West and Shaun Livington hit midrange jumpers to continue the pace, while Cavaliers center Channing Frye got three consecutive shots to go at the rim. 

     Golden State kept the game going steady, though, and led 55-52 at the halftime break. 

     After a quiet third quarter that saw the Warriors make up an extra four points on the Cavaliers, the fourth and final period of basketball was as entertaining as it gets. After being down by as much as 13 in the quarter, Irving, Love and veteran Richard Jefferson helped Cleveland tie the game at 105 a piece with only a minute to play in the game. 

     After Durant and Irving traded buckets, the ball was in the Cavaliers’ court to make a play with the final shot. Irving drove right, turned his defender with a half-spin, and knocked down a fadeaway jumper with three seconds to go. 

     Durant’s prayer in the final seconds couldn’t find the bottom of the basket, and the Cavaliers continued their streak against the Warriors in 2016, on an absolutely unbelievable shot from Irving.