The Best Sports Moments of 2011
2011 was not a bad year for sports. Sure, there may not have been any historic contests that will go down in history like Rudolph, but basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and hockey brought us VERY exciting championship series/games, which is pretty much all you can ask for as a fan. Some of these moments might be on your radar, and some you might not care at all about, but take a gander anyway at the best sports moments of 2012.
Sure, the All-Star Slam Dunk contest means virtually nothing in the grand scheme of things, but it serves to rile up the fans and remind them how basketball is unlike any other sport. During a very eventful and compelling NBA season, Blake Griffin was able to stand out by bringing some verticality to a game that hadn’t seen much over the past ten years or so. With players like Kobe and LeBron refusing to participate, Griffin, coming back from injury, took the contest to where it was in the late 80’s, reminding us that fundamentals win championships, but dunks keep us interested.
9. Blake Griffin Over The Kia
This sport moment, which solidified Boston’s place in the pantheon of sports city dynasties, was marred by some ugly behavior in Vancouver as fans rioted... because that’s what dumb fans do. The Bruins took the series to seven games to get their first cup since 1972, winning in decisive fashion, shutting out the Canucks 4-0.
8. Bruins Win The Cup, Giving Boston Another Banner
The big three were a little brash for many NBA fans’ tastes, and LeBron’s less-than-magnanimous exit from Cleveland certainly ruffled some feathers. When compared to the quiet existence of the Mavericks, it was easy to pick a side. Sure, Mark Cuban may have been outspoken, but watching Dallas sweep the Lakers on the path to the Finals, it was easy to get on their bandwagon and throw your weight behind Dirk and Co.
7. Mavs Take Down The Heat
I’m not the biggest golf fan in the world, and the sport has certainly suffered since Tiger’s fall from grace, but that makes McIlroy’s accomplishment all the sweeter. Playing some damn near perfect golf, Rory ripped apart Congressional Country Club in Bethesda by ending up -16, in a performance that would have made 1999 Tiger Woods jealous. He may not be golf’s savior the way Tiger was, but it’s pretty cool to watch.
6. Rory McIlroy Kills At The U.S. Open
Is this really a “moment?” Who cares. It all happened one night. The Red Sox and Braves completed their slow-motion chokes, allowing losses that night to kill their playoff hopes. The Rays somehow mustered a seven-run comeback on the final night to demonstrate that Boston isn’t always blessed with good luck in the playoffs. Sure, there was less at stake than in the World Series, but it was also a lot more fun to watch, as you got the feeling that night was something special.
5. The Final Night of Baseball’s Regular Season
Insuring that discussions of great NFL teams will never stray too far from Green Bay, the Packers played their hearts out against the Steelers in a good-guy vs. bad-guy contest of Rodgers vs. Roethlisberger, with Rodgers coming out on top 31-25 and scoring the MVP award. Couple that performance with the spectacle that is Cowboys Stadium, and the Super Bowl didn’t fail to disappoint.
4. The Pack Is Back
NBA parties: take note. This is how you deal with labor issues in professional sports. You realize that there is plenty of money to go around, and that everyone’s biggest goal should be making sure they don’t alienate the fans or squander goodwill. Fortunately, Goodell and the rest of the feuding parties were quick to realize this. Anyone who tells you that the issues were too different to compare is missing the point. The NFL parties realized that they HAD to pick sides. No one wants to pick a side in these things. They just want their sport back.
3. The End of the NFL Lockout
While it may not be up there with the Super Bowl here in North America, you can be assured that the Champions Cup tourney is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. So when juggernauts (and polarizing) Manchester United squares off against Barcelona, people will have some things to say about the matter. Unfortunately for Man U, Barcelona did most of the talking on the pitch, taking them to school to the tune of 3-1. Barcelona outshot their opponents 12-1 with opportunities on target, meaning that the game wasn’t even as close as the score would lead you to believe.
2. Barcelona Takes Down Man U
World Series Game 6 was something of a reminder as to how great baseball can be. Sure, it’s a slow sport, and much of the intrinsic appeal of the sport lies in statistical analysis, but the Rangers’ appearances the past two years have brought fans and non-fans two great series, with this year’s contest topping even last year’s. The Cards came back in both the 9th and 10th innings to take the W in the 11th with a walkoff HR by David Freese. Anticipation was further built by the fact that the game was postponed due to rain. Fans waited with bated breath and, and it was certainly worth the wait.