As 2017 draws to a close, here is a list of what I consider to be the Top 10 Sports stories/moments of the year.
- JJ Watt raises 37 M for Hurricane Harvey Relief
As if JJ Watt wasn’t already amazing given his story from delivering pizzas to star defensive player for the Houston Texans, he endeared himself even more to the masses when in the wake of Hurricane Harvey he started a Go Fund Me looking to raise $200,000. Watt was able to not only meet that goal but far exceed it by raising a whooping $37 million. It also helped that Watt has been extremely open that he’s going to do his best to distribute the donations properly so that the city of Houston benefits in the long run
- Houston Astros Winning World Series
Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Astros battled to make their way to the World Series. They had to grind it out, but they were able to win their first World Series and bring back some happiness to the city of Houston following the hurricane. It’s just like when the Boston Red Sox won following the marathon bombing in 2014. You can view an extended cut of the Astros winning the World Series in this MLB Youtube video.
- UConn Woman lose ending their 111 game winning streak
When you think of winning streaks the UCONN Women’s basketball team should be at the top of your list. They have won countless National Championships and had a 111 game winning streak that was broken by Mississippi State in April. Now no matter if you’re a fan of women’s college basketball, you still should respect the hard work of these women and their coaches to have such an impressive win streak (plus do you see a men’s college basketball with a win streak like that?)
- Bryan Bickell scores in his final game before retiring due to MS
This is another feel good story of the year, Bryan Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November of 2016 and thus announced that he would be retiring from the National Hockey League following the Carolina Hurricane’s season finale in April of 2017. Bickell was selected as the first player to participate in the shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers and he was determined to make his shot count earning his first career shootout goal in his last ever NHL game.
- Falcons Blown Super Bowl lead
It wouldn’t be a list of 2017 Sports moments if we didn’t talk about the Falcons blowing their lead in the Super Bowl and the Patriots came roaring back to win in OT. I know that the Falcons would gladly like to erase this from their collective memories, but still it’s one of the more insane and heartbreaking things that happened in 2017.
- Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups
Despite the Nashville Predators playing their hearts out and making it to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history, the Pittsburgh Penguins battled and walked away with Lord Stanley, for the second year in a row. Now this feat is impressive because in the current era of the game few teams have managed to not only make it to the Finals back-to-back but actually win as well.
- Serena Williams wins Australian Open While Pregnant
Serena Williams has always been a dynamic tennis player to watch. She’s probably the best athlete to compete in the sport and could definitely hold her own against a lot of the men. But to add to Williams’ amazing career, she won the Australian open while pregnant with her daughter, which is an amazing feat because growing a child is hard work. Plus it should be noted that she won without even dropping a set, which again just makes her even better.
- FBI College Basketball Crackdown
I wrote an in-depth post about this, which you can find here. But basically the college basketball world was turned upside down when a FBI investigation found mass corruption, bribery and wire fraud involving some of the top programs. Rick Pitino of Louisville lost his job following the investigation; even though Pitino is famous for claiming he had no idea was happening in his program. There were also four assistant coaches named in the investigation and other people involved with college basketball like James Gatto who was Adidas’ global sports marketing director for basketball. If you want to read more about this case, SI did a great update article back in November that you can read here.
- Northwestern Goes to the March Madness tournament
To view the amazing play, you can watch the video here.
For years being a Northwestern Wildcat basketball fan has been a little tough, the team hadn’t made the big dance for quite some time. But the 2016-17 Wildcats were determined to change that and went on an impressive run late in the season. They also had the best court long inbound toss that would send them to the big dance. They were eliminated in the second round, but still they were played their hearts out and made it to the big dance.
- USA Soccer fails to qualify for the World Cup
The USA Men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 this past fall. The loss only reinforced the idea that the program needs a drastic overall, but the problems have been building for years from the disaster that was the Jurgen Klingsmann era (remember he’s the one that left Landon Donovan off the roster) and now is the time for a drastic overall to save the program’s future.