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 (36-7-5, #1 Western Conference, President’s Trophy) — After another lockout under Gary Bettman, the NHL played a shortened 48-game season. By the time the postseason started, it seemed that all signs were pointing to a Penguins/Blackhawks Final as both teams won their respectively conferences by at least nine points. However, we saw one of the most exciting playoffs I can remember with the Blackhawks and Bruins surviving their conferences’ best. After battling through a thrilling final, the Blackhawks scored two goals within the final minutes of Game Six to overcome a 2-1 deficit and win their second Cup in four years.
NBA Champion: Miami Heat (66-16, #1 Eastern Conference) — It was Lebron’s second ring, but it all happened becuase of Ray Allen’s shot. After grinding out a seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals agaisnt the Pacers, the Heat took on the San Antonio Spurs and trailed by seven points with two minutes left. After Manu Ginobli missed one of his two free throws, the Heat charged down the court and kicked a pass out to Allen who DRAINED a three with 5.4 seconds remaining. The Heat would go on to win the game in OT and the series in seven with Lebron taking the Finals MVP award–he averaged 25.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in the series.
World Series Champion: Boston Red Sox (97,65, #1 American League) — Really this was a win for America. After the horrific events of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings, David Ortiz declared Boston: “OUR F***IN’ CITY” and the Red Sox seemed unstoppable from there, especially after their epic comeback in Game Two of the ALCS. Ortiz would go on to be the World Series MVP where he once again declared Boston was “OUR BLEEPING CITY” –and yes, he said “BLEEPING” instead of cursing.
Super Bowl Champion: Seattle Seahawks (13-3, #1 NFC) — The Legion of Boom came in full force in 2013. Seattle’s Defense proved to be too much for Peyton Manning and his record-shattering season in Super Bowl XLVIII as Seattle forced a safety on the first play from Scrimmage. The momentum from the safety led to a Seahawks rout over the Denver Broncos by a score of 43-8. 2013 also saw the debut of Chip Kelly as the Eagles’ Head Coach who has since completely turned over/revolutionized/mad scienced/etc. the franchise.
NCAA Football National Champion: Florida State Seminoles — From the last minute Hary Mary TD against Georgia to Chris Davis’ FG Return in the Iron Bowl, Auburn seemed to be on a miracle run to the National Championship. The Tigers fought hard to extend the SEC’s BCS National Championship wins to 8 but were up-ended by the Florida State Seminoles.
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: Louisville Cardinals — The Cards won maybe one of the wildest Tournaments I’ve been alive for. Florida Gulf Coast showed up every 15-seed in the history of the Tournament by being the first to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Masters Champion: Adam Scott (1st Major)
US Open Champion: Justin Rose (1st Major)
British Open Champion: Phil Mickelson (5th Major)
PGA Champion: Jason Dufner (1st Major)
Overall 2013 was pretty great, but like other years a lockout hinders its overall ranking on the list. That being said, this year was too good to relegate out of the Top 15. Really aside from the Super Bowl, every championship was intense. Including all four golf majors: Adam Scott won in a playoff, Rose won after Phil’s “Meltdown at Merion” which he made up for with his charge to the British Open Championship. The least exciting of the golf majors was Jason Dufner’s PGA title and he had Jim Furyk on his back the entire time. A lot of great moments in 2013, if not for the lockout…