In looking back at the defining sports images of 2014, one leaps out: Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, live on ESPN after being selected by the St. Louis Rams in the NFL Draft.

It was the classic “wow!” moment and caused a torrent of reactions, breaking Twitter and blowing up social media. People cheered the sight of two gay men unabashedly showing their love for each other. Others had an “ew, gross” reaction, never having seen anything like it. No one was neutral. This is why this is the sports image of 2014.

We have seen athletes celebrating championships or reacting in dejection. We have seen great plays and on-field moments. We have never seen a soon-to-be-pro athlete kissing his boyfriend live on national TV. The image transcended sports and became something all of society talked about. That attests to its power.

Bryan Curtis writes a wonderful article on ESPN’s Grantland site about the kiss and its impact (Cyd and I are both quoted). It’s the single best overview I’ve read of Sam’s year since he came out prior to the NFL Combine in February. It makes no claim to ranking the kiss, but for me it’s No. 1. The only competition, as Cyd mentioned on our Podcast, was the video of Ray Rice hitting his wife. That was powerful but, sadly, we’ve seen such things before.