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: Chicago Blackhawks (52-22-8, #2 Western Conference) — The Blackhawks captured their first Stanley Cup since 1961 with a six-game win over the Flyers. Jonathan Toews won the Conn Smythe as the Hawks began their current dynasty over the NHL. The Flyers run to the Finals is easily the second-best playoff run by a Philadelphia team in my lifetime.
NBA Champion: Los Angeles Lakers (57-25, #1 Western Conference) — We finally got the rematch between Kobe’s Lakers and the Celtic’s Big Three and boy did this not disappoint. Kobe captured his second-straight Finals MVP but the Lakers put together a huge team effort as Ron Arrest, Pau Gasol, and Derek Fisher helped Kobe win the series in seven. Lebron took home the MVP award for the regular season before hosting The Decision that summer while Kevin Durrant led the league in scoring.
World Series Champion: San Francisco Ginats (92-70, #2 National League) — Another dynasty began in 2010 but unlike the Blackhawks, the 2010 Giants were led by a (mostly) different core group. I’ll put it this way, Madison Bumgarner was the #4 starter in the World Series in 2010, his rookie year, as Edgar Renteria won the World Series MVP. 2010 was dubbed “Year of the Pitcher” as we saw six no-hitters with two perfect games and one tossed in the playoffs by Roy Halladay.
Super Bowl Champion: Green Bay Packers (10-6, #6 NFC) — 2010 was a year that ushered in a new wave to the NFL. We finally saw Aaron Rodgers take over and lead the Packers to their first Super Bowl in the post-Brett Favre-era. That Pack team introduced us to Clay Matthews, and provided the reasoning for the Eagles drafting his brother Casey in the 2011 Draft. Notable were the rookies in 2010 among others being: Dez Bryant, Ndamukong Suh, Chris Ivory, Sam Bradford, LaGarrette Blount, Tim Tebow, and Gronkey Kong himself, Rob Gronkowski.
NCAA Football National Champion: Auburn Tigers — Cam Newton dominated the 2010 season which featured the most exciting Iron Bowl until 2013.
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: Duke Blue Devils
2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa: Spain
Masters Champion: Phil Mickelson (4th Major)
US Open Champion: Graeme McDowell (1st Major)
British Open Champion: Louis Oosthuzien (1st Major)
PGA Champion: Martin Kaymer (1st Major)
2010 featured some thrilling events in sport. Super Bowl XLV between the Packers and Steelers was thrilling from start to finish including Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings’ connectivity during the final drive. Auburn’s title over Oregon came down to the final drive as well and Cam Newton proved why deserved both the Heisman and the right to be the #1 pick in the 2011 draft. The NBA Finals gave us exactly what we wanted in the Celtics/Lakers rematch right down to a missed game-tying attempt in Game Seven by Rajon Rondo. The Olympics in Vancouver provided a great start to a great international sporting year (even with Canada beating the US in the Gold Medal Hockey Game for both Men and Women) that was capped off by Spain taking home the World Cup. What makes 2010 stick in my mind is the groundwork it laid for the current landscape in sports. From the NFL rookies, to the “Year of the Pitcher,” and finally to the dynasties, a lot of the staples in sports today began in 2010.