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: Detroit Red Wings (44-23-11, #3 Western Conference) — The Wings won their second of back-to-back Cups sweeping the Washington Captials. 1998 set a record number of shutouts in the NHL with 160 as Jaromir Jagr was the only player to break 100 points.
NBA Champion: Chicago Bulls (62-20, #1 Eastern Conference) — Michael Jordan’s final season with the Bulls ended with his sixth title over the Utah Jazz. Jordan would retire for the second time while many members of the 98 Bulls would leave for other franchises. The NBA would go into a lockout, delaying the start to the next season.
World Series Champion: New York Yankees (114-48, #1 American League) — The start of Yankee dominance in the late 90s, this New York team pretty much marched to the World Series. The Atlanta Braves had also won over 100 games, but were upended by the San Diego Padres, who then were swept by the Yanks in the World Series. 1998 featured the great home run race between Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey, Jr. McGwire would set the single-season home run record finishing with 70. The three players along with Gary Vaughn of the Padres would all hits 50+ homers, the only time in major league history that four players would hit that plateau.
Super Bowl Champion: Denver Broncos (14-2, #1 AFC) — John Elway and the Broncos won their second Super Bowl in as many years over the Atlanta Falcons with Elway retiring after the game. Elway and Terrell Davis are still one of the best QB/RB duos I’ve seen and Denver’s 13-0 start to the season is a testament to that. 1998 also featured the debut of Randy Moss as the Vikings became the second team to go 15-1 and not win the Super Bowl.
NCAA Football National Champion: Tennessee Volunteers
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: Kentucky Wildcats
Masters Champion: Mark O’Meara (1st Major)
US Open Champion: Lee Janzen (2nd Major)
British Open Champion: Mark O’Meara (2nd Major)
PGA Champion: Vijay Singh (1st Major)
1998 FIFA World Cup in France Champion: France
Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan — the first to feature a women’s hockey tournament (won by the US) and NHL players in the men’s.
1998 is one of the first years I really remember paying attention to sports. A big part of that came from the fact that 8-year-old G-Man and my friends thought Michael Jordan and John Elway were the coolest so this year definitely has a large nestalgia factor to it. That aside, all four championship teams are among the best if you were to rank the 100 teams on the list individually.