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: Los Angeles Kings (40-27-15, #8 Western Conference) — The Kings capitalized on great goaltending by Jonathan Quick to win their first Cup in franchise history over the New Jersey Devils. Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins was awarded the MVP of the regular season as he led the league in points.
NBA Champion: Maimi Heat (46-20, #2 Eastern Conference) — LeBron James finally won his first championship as he led the Heat over the Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. James was awarded the MVP of both the regular season and the Finals as well. 2012 was also notable for the final season of the Celtics’ Big Three as well as for the unfortunate injury to Derrick Rose in the playoffs.
World Series Champion: San Francisco Giants (94-68, #3 National League) — The second of three Giants’ titles in a five-year span, this one may have been the most thrilling. The Giants had to rally past the Cardinals in the NLCS after falling to a three-games-to-one deficit. San Francisco then swept the highly-regarded Detroit Tigers who were led by Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera. 2012 also featured the debuts of two of baseball’s young superstars: the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Nationals’ Bryce Harper.
Super Bowl Champion: Baltimore Ravens (10-6, #4 AFC) — Joe Flacco and the Ravens won the “Harbowl” over the San Francisco 49ers in a Super Bowl that will be remembered for its power-outage delay. The 2012 season is notable for the triumphant return of Adrian Peterson, who had suffered an ACL injury the year before.
NCAA Football National Champion: Alabama Crimson Tide — Alabama won their third title in four years by blowing out Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game.
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: Kentucky Wildcats — This Wildcats team led by Anthony Davis had all five of its starters drafted in the first round, including Davis going first overall to the New Orleans Hornets.
Masters Champion: Bubba Watson (1st Major)
US Open Champion: Webb Simpson (1st Major)
British Open Champion: Ernie Els (4th Major)
PGA Champion: Rory McIlroy (2nd Major)
Ryder Cup: Europe defeats USA 14 1/2 to 13 1/2
2012 Summer Olympics in London — The “Second Dream Team” absolutely DOMINATED the Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Women’s Soccer Team won Gold making up for the disappointing runner-up finish at 2011’s World Cup, and Michael Phelps became the most decorated athlete in Olympic History — USA! USA! USA!
2012 featured some of the best rallies and upsets I have seen in my lifetime. I’ll remember 2012 from two events. Team USA’s collapse in the Ryder Cup–or “The Miracle at Medinah” as the European media dubbed it–was one of the first Ryder Cups I really paid attention to. That was the year I really started watching the Tour outside of majors and I had been gearing up for the event throughout the entire year. I remember watching Sundays events unfold from start to finish instead of watching football, I was that glued to it. I felt my heart sink when Martin Kaymer sank the Cup-retaining putt and I can’t wait to see our boys take it back. The other event may never be matched in my entire life: Lehigh Beat Duke. I could go on forever about that game but the absolute pandemonium felt throughout Lehigh’s put a completely new definition on March Madness. Hands down the best night of college.