Welcome back to the 25 for 25 Series! G-Man is turning 25 on July 23rd and to celebrate, I am counting down each of the sporting years I have been alive for. Full rules on the 25 for 25 Main Page.
Stanley Cup Champion: Pittsburgh Penguins (45-28-9, #4 Eastern Conference) — In mid-February, the Penguins sat with a record of 27-25-5 and fired head coach Michel Terrian. Pittsburgh promoted AHL coach Dan Bylsma and the team finished the season going 18-3-4 on a run back to the Stanley Cup Final, facing the Detroit Red Wings for the second-straight season. The Pens won the series in seven games with Game Seven in Detroit–Pittsburgh had lost games one, two, and five in Detroit a combined 11-2. 2009 was also the first season the Columbus Blue Jackets had qualified for the playoffs with Steve Mason taking home the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) for his efforts. This year also began downward spiral of issues regarding the ownership of the Coyotes.
NBA Champion: Los Angeles Lakers (65-17, #1 Western Conference) — Kobe Bryant won his fourth ring over Dwight Howard and a Magic team that battled their way out of the Eastern Conference. The Magic took out the Celtics after Kevin Garnett blew out his knee and halted MVP Lebron James and the Cavs when everybody thought we’d be seeing a Kobe vs. Lebron Finals. 2008-09 was also the first season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who relocated from Seattle but the city of Seattle retains any future rights to the Super Sonics history (similar to the Hornets and the Cleveland Browns).
World Series Champion: New York Yankees (103-59, #1 American League) — This Yankee team was destined to go to the World Series. I remember sitting with my friends at Berkshire (most of whom were Red Sox fans) when the Yanks signed C.C. Sabathia, we all pretty much crowned them champs then. 2009 is also notable for introducing Zach Greinke to the world as well as for Randy Johnson’s 300th win.
Super Bowl Champion: New Orleans Saints (13-3, #1 NFC) — The Saints and the Indianapolis Colt both started the season 13-0 (Indy would go 14-0), New Orleans lost in their attempt to win their 14th game while the Colts elected not to go for the perfect season to charge up for the playoffs, sitting Peyton and the rest of the starters. The two teams met in the Super Bowl where Drew Brees would win the MVP award.
NCAA Football National Champion: Alabama Crimson Tide — the Tide took down Texas in the BCS National Championship Game beginning their dynastic run of three titles in four years. The real National Championship Game was Bama’s win in the SEC Championship game over Tim Tebow and Florida.
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: North Carolina Tar Heels
Masters Champion: Angel Cabrera (2nd Major)
US Open Champion: Lucas Glover (1st Major)
British Open Champion: Stewart Cink (1st Major)
PGA Champion: Y.E. Yang (1st Major)
2009 was interesting year. The Penguins’ is definitely impression as was the play of Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in that run. Aside from those playoffs though, the rest of the year was very top-sided; in other words, no real surprises came about. Well only one other occurrence was a surprise: Y.E. Yang’s PGA title was the first time in his career that Tiger Woods didn’t win a major after holding a 54-hole lead. Tiger still hasn’t won a major since the 2008 US Open.