It’s that time of year again! The time when one year ends and another begins. A time to remember all the best sports moments of 2009 to get us ready for all the great moments to come in 2010.
wasn’t really like 2008 which was filled with amazing sports moments. The Top Sports Moments of ’08 covered everything from the end of Old Yankees Stadium and the highlight Olympic moments like Michael Phelps to Kansas Jayhawks finally winning a NCAA National Title and the Tampa Bay Rays becoming the Cinderella Team of the World Series.
In fact, 2009 felt more like the year of sports scandals, then key sports moments. There was everything from A-Roid, Plaxico shooting himself, Michael Phelp’s smokin’ the marijuana, Rick Pitino’s sex scandal, and of course, Tiger and his 14 mistresses…or is it 17 now?
Or maybe we should call 2009, “The Year of Anti-climatic World Championships.” The Yankees won. Again. The Lakers won. Again. The Gators won. Again. The Tar Heels won. Again. The Steelers won. Again.You get the picture.
This was definitely a good year for traditional powerhouses in the world of sports. Storied franchises swept titles in all the major sports, with the Pittsburgh Steelers capturing their sixth Super Bowl, the L.A. Lakers winning NBA title No. 15, the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisting the Stanley Cup for the third time and, of course, the New York Yankees taking their 27th World Series. Jimmie Johnson won his fourth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Florida Gators snatched their second BCS National Championship in three years, and North Carolina and Connecticut picked up NCAA men’s and women’s basketball titles No. 5 and 6, respectively. -TV Guide Magazine
Even Roger Federer returned to be the best in tennis, in the longest game EVER. It was even longer than most football games.
I considered doing a different sports moment about each of these champions. Since they win so much, I’d probably have 2010′s top sports moment countdown already ready; just cut, paste & republish. But I really didn’t want to waste 6 spots on the countdown on these moments that were good…. but not great.
So instead the #8 Moment is like a 6-way tie between the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Florida Gators, North Carolina Tar Heels, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Roger Federer. Even though along the way there were some great battles and tough games, for the most part, their wins are pretty anti-climatic! But nonetheless, they are the champions of the year so that has to at least count for one spot in the top countdown right?
Let’s recap the year by anti-climatic national championship. Also, don’t forget to check out the #8 Sports Commerical for 2009!
The Florida Gators win the BCS Championship
When it was announced that the Oklahoma Sooners would meet the Florida Gators in the BCS Championship Game, expectations ran super high. It was one of the most anticipated matchups in college football. The game pitted 2008 Heisman-winning QB Sam Bradford of Oklahoma against 2007 Heisman-winning QB Tim Tebow of Florida. And Bradford had just narrowly beaten Tebow for the 2008 Heisman Trophy.
Besides the anticipated QB Duel, both Florida and Oklahoma were having rock star seasons. Neither team was undefeated; but both only had one loss. Last season, Bradford and the Sooners’ offense became the highest scoring offense in college football…. of all time! Through the season, the Sooners averaged 54 points per game and the Gators had averaged over 45 points per game. So this was going to be one for the record books.
Except…. it kinda wasn’t. Well, okay Florida head coach Urban Meyer did become the first coach to win two BCS Championships Oh, and the QB Duel was quite a doozy. Tebow and Bradford combined for four interceptions despite throwing for just eight combined over the course of the regular season.
But nonetheless, the Florida Gators went on to win 24-14 and made Gator Nation very, very happy.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Win Super Bowl XLIII
Okay, so this game is actually worthy of a mention as a top sports moment of 2008 and will definitely be featured later in the countdown. But I’m throwing it on this list because it led off the year of repeat champions. When Pittsburgh beat Arizona, it gave them their 6th shiny Super Bowl ring; their second since 2005.
Because this is definitely not one of my top sports moments (in fact, it is my least favorite sports moment of 2009….me being big Cardinals fan and all) and this is my site, that is all I will say about this moment.
The UNC Tar Heels Win NCAA National Title
No one was shocked to see North Carolina in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. They’ve made it to the tourney 41 times (which is the most out of any team in college basketball). No one was surprised that UNC was a No. 1 seed in the tourney since they’ve been seeded No. 1 13 times (the the most out of any team in college basketball). No one was really all that surprised that the Tar Heels took home the championship because, even though they have only won the whole thing 5 times out of 41, they are still always favored to win. And last year was no exception.
What did surprise everyone was Michigan State’s shocking domination throughout the tournament. But in the end, UNC’s power combo of Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson rocked the Spartans and gave coach Roy Williams his second national title in 4 years.
The Tar Heels 2009 “post-season” was one of the most dominant runs in NCAA Tournament history. In each round, the Tar Heels won by at least 12 points for an average victory margin of 20.2 points. Out of 240 minutes of gameplay, UNC only trailed their opponenst by a total of 10 minutes through the entire tournament
The Los Angeles Lakers Win NBA Championship
Ah, the Lakers. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there is no denying that the Lakers are one of the best overall franchises in NBA history. As of their ’09 playoffs, the Lakers hold records for having the most wins (2,970), the highest winning percentage (61.7%), the most NBA Finals appearances (30), the second fewest non-playoff seasons with five, and the second-most NBA championships with 15, behind the Boston Celtics’ 17 (from wikipedia!)
So, much like the Tar Heels, it was no surprise to see the Lakers in the NBA playoffs or even the Finals. And after their 2008 finals’ loss to the Celtics, you knew this year they would avenge themselves. And they did.
Sure there were some struggles. They needed the full 7 games to get past the Houston Rockets and 6 to advance past the Denver Nuggets. But then they defeated the Orlando Magic in only 5 games and became the NBA Champs, to no one’s surprise.
The New York Yankees Win 27th World Series Championship
I am going to tread carefully here as to not upset or rile up Yankees Nation, er, Universe (nation is for Red Sox fans; universe for Yankees)
Afterall, the Yanks hadn’t won the World Series since 2000, which to a New York fan, is practically a lifetime. So all those fans that bleed blue are all pretty happy right now and I do not want to piss them off.
But really, did it shock anyone that the Yankees won the World Series? I mean come on! A multi-billion dollar shiny new stadium, multi-million dollar shiny new mega-star players on the team, and multi-million dollar shiny old mega stars still on the team. They don’t write Hollywood or Disney sports movies with better plots than that. Do you really think Yankees Empire would settle for anything than other than being World Champs this year? I don’t think so.
In any case, the Yankees won. For the 27th time. Red Sox fans cried. For the 27th time.
The Pittsburgh Penguins win Stanley Cup
This is one of those championships where the games in the series’ leading up the finals were actually better than the grand finale series. In fact, the Penguins battle against Washington Capitols is ranked as another top sports moment later in this countdown.
But as far as their matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, sure it was good. But it didn’t have the mass appeal as the matchup between Penguin’s great Sid “The Kid” Crosby and Capitol’s star Alex Ovechkin. That’s like the NHL’s version of Kobe/LeBron or Brady/Manning…. and in the post season! But like I said, we’ll talk about that later.
The Stanley Cup ’09 series was so…… deja vu. In ’08 the Penguins made it to the finals too and took on… the Detroit Red Wings! Only in ’08 they lost. In 2009, the series went to 7 games before the Penguins could finally defeat the Red Wings for good and take home their third Stanley Cup.
Remember to check out the Top Sports Commercials of 2009 and the rest of the Top Sports Moments of 2009 Countdown!