Defoe has reflected on his goal against Newcastle, which kick-started the Black Cats' survival bid.
The former Tottenham Hotspur striker has found the net on four occasions since moving to the Stadium of Light during the winter transfer window, but the undoubted pick of the bunch was his stunning effort in a derby date with Newcastle United, which was important for several reasons.
He told Sky Sports: "I just felt like I had to do something special. It was just instinct. I thought ‘I’m just going to hit it.’
“As soon as I connected I almost felt to myself ‘why me? Why has this happened to me?’ It was just a great feeling.”
Victory over their North East neighbours represented the start of a revival from the Black Cats under Dick Advocaat towards the end of the Premier League season - though they did struggle the week after when they were soundly beaten by Crystal Palace at home.
But a fifth successive Tyne/Wear derby victory over their nearest rivals provided the belief they needed to secure their survival.
With Advocaat's departure announced at the end of the campaign, the search is on for a new head coach, and one that can manage to prevent the anxiety of another relegation battle like the last few seasons. That's certainly what Defoe wants.
The forward added: “You want to be in a position, especially in the second half of the season, where you can enjoy your football and think about finishing somewhere where the club has never finished before.”
Defoe's goals are likely to be a big factor next season, given his experience and goal record in the league, and there is no doubt that he will want a new head coach who can get the best out of him, as well as the rest of the team.