Another year has come to a close. 365 years down and along with that a year full of memories. I know years go quicker and our minds become shorter as we age so let me help you out by taking you back through 2018 and reminiscing about the past year’s top sports moments.
- There is not better way to start talking about 2018 than with a near storybook like synergy of Alabama football. The Crimson Tide started 2018 off with a championship in January but did so by going from starter Jalen Hurts to freshman Tua Tagovailoa to rally in the championship game for the title. Move 11 months down the road and we find Hurts coming off the bench in the SEC championship game to replace Tua and rally the Tide to a conference championship and secure their spot into the college football playoffs. A truly storybook like circle of life.
- Just a few weeks later, still in the sport of football, we got the Philly Special. The Philadelphia Eagles, 5.5 point underdogs against the New England Patriots, the largest underdog since the 2009 Super Bowl, upset the Patriots 41-33; using a play called Philly Special in which backup quarterback Nick Foles caught a touchdown pass.
- March Madness was truly maddening as Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62 to win the Men’s Basketball Championship. Donte DiVincenzo scored 31 points in the championship game, earning Most Outstanding Player honors. But more maddening for the 2018 bracket was our first ever #16 over #1 seed win with UM-Baltimore County knocking off the sleeping giant, and I mean sleeping because watching them play is so boring it will put you to sleep, Virginia. We also saw a run from Loyola-Chicago, the #11 seed, making it into the Sweet Sixteen before falling to #9 seed Kansas State; marking the first ever Sweet 16 meeting of seeds that low.
- 2018 was the year of big moves from star players, beginning with Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton forced a trade away from the dumpster fire that is the Miami Marlins and teams lined up to try to trade for him. However, with a no-trade clause in his contract he had the power. And with his contract power he decided to take his bat power to New York, joining the Yankees. All Stanton did in the pinstripes was hit 38 home runs and lead the Bronx Bombers to setting a new MLB record for home runs by a team.
- The summer featured the NBA’s biggest star also changing teams when LeBron James decided to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and head to the West Coast for the L.A. sunshine. After bringing a title to his hometown two years ago James decided to take the next step in his career and join one of the NBA’s most storied franchises, the Lakers. Rather than playing on a team with a bunch of older players on the wrong side of their career James will be finishing up his career on a team with a group of younger talented players. It is and will be a continued challenge for James to play with a different set of players but the Lakers are undeniably more talented than the Cavaliers. Plus L.A. is a media mecca.
- 2018 is also closing out with talk about another superstar changing teams, although his decision will likely come in 2019. Bryce Harper has been a baseball phenom for over a decade, and yet he is only 26 years old. He is the most talented, young free agent in the history of the game and Scott Boras, Harper’s agent, wants him to be paid like that. The free agent market has been slow for the MLB once again and there is no timetable set for his signing. But the fact that Harper has hit the market will likely set the markets future for years to come. Will he go back to the Nationals? Will a team be outwitted by Boras and open their bank accounts? Will a team like the Cardinals sneak in at the last-minute? It should be an interesting winter with spring training not too far away.
- The Madden Era of the NFL has been growing over the last few years but it fully arrived this year in the form of Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is tearing up the league in his first as an NFL starter, leading the NFL with 45 touchdown passes while completing 67-percent of his passes and throwing for 4500 yards. He is not the only one destroying defenses. Jared Goff and the Rams were rolling offensively until their recent three game skid. Drew Brees is completing 75-percent of his passes this year. Christian McCaffery is redefining the running back position. Offense in the NFL is exploding and the difficulty setting isn’t changing anytime soon.
- One of my favorite moments of the past year was seeing Alexander Ovechkin lift the Stanley Cup. After a career in which he took the brunt of disappointment for the Captials playoff performances, Ovechkin finally led his team to the Stanley Cup. And there was no moment as fulfilling as seeing him lift the cup. His excitement, relief, exuberance, dreams, all coming true in that moment. The weight of the world fell off Ovechkin’s shoulders as he lifted the cup above his head. And for those that may have missed it, go on YouTube and just search Ovechkin celebrates Stanley Cup. It will make you laugh and you will see his love of the game.