10 Great Sports Moments From 2016

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate after winning 8-7 in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

10 Great Sports Moments From 2016

NFL

10 Great Sports Moments From 2016

2016 was a rough year. It offered ample negativity on many levels. Sports, as it is wont to do, still offered some positives. Here were 10 great moments from 2016. 

The Chicago Cubs Won The World Series

Okay, the loveable losers have become Yankees/Red Sox Midwest. Cubs fans can annoy. The Cubs are not the only MLB team in Chicago. Still, this was the Cubs’ first World Series win since 1908. For perspective, Theodore Roosevelt was president and the Model T had just come out when that happened. If you’re too jaded to appreciate that, it’s time to stop following sports.

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers holds his daughter Zhuri during a press conference after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 to win the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

LeBron James Won a Title In Cleveland

LeBron James won an NBA title in Cleveland, guiding the Cavaliers for a come-from-behind 4-3 triumph over the Warriors. We’ll spare you the B.S. about Cleveland, home of many Ohio State fans, not tasting success. We’ll also spare you the richness of Yankees-fan LeBron suddenly claiming Cleveland as home. The true greatness here is it killed off perhaps the most tired and asinine of all sports debates, whether multiple-time NBA Finals MVP LeBron James is “clutch.”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09: Michael Phelps (L) of the United States leads Chad le Clos of South Africa in the Men's 200m Butterfly Final on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Michael Phelps Won Five Gold Medals

Michael Phelps came back from retirement. He won five gold medals and a ludicrously close silver in Rio. That leaves him with 23 total gold medals. He has been the best in the world at the Men’s 200m butterfly for 15 years. Rooting for Phelps should not be uplifting, but it is. He has a real human narrative. There’s also the cognizant notion you’re watching perhaps the greatest Olympian of all time. Sometimes, you should just shut down the Twitter app and enjoy someone’s success.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Leicester City supporters celebrate their team's win in the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Leicester City Won The Premier League Title

Leicester City won the 2015-16 Premier League title. This was probably the greatest upset in the history of a major sports league. The EPL is the world’s wealthiest soccer league. Money had created monotony at the top. They had spent much of their history outside the top flight. In existence since 1891, they had won nothing more prestigious than a League Cup. They were as low as 5,000-1 underdogs before the season. N’Golo Kante, Jamie Vardy, and Riyad Mahrez came from nowhere to become major stars. This was tremendous fun unless you root for Arsenal.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 04: Head coach Jay Wright of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 to win the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at NRG Stadium on April 4, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Possibly The Greatest NCAA Tournament Ending Ever

North Carolina’s Marcus Paige tied the NCAA Tournament final with a three-pointer with seconds remaining. That shot looked bound for posterity. Then Villanova’s Kris Jenkins consigned it to irrelevance with a three-pointer at the buzzer to win the title 77-74. Villanova coach Jay Wright took it in stride.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple exposures were combined in camera to produce this image.) Simone Biles of the United States competes on the balance beam during the Women's Individual All Around Final on Day 6 of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Rio Olympic Arena on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

USA Gymnastics Won A Bunch of Medals

The USA won gold in the team all-around at Rio 2016. Simone Biles and Aly Raissman won gold and silver respectively in the individual all-around. Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernadez each won silver in an individual event. We missed most of this, as NBC dragged the tape delay past 11 pm ET most evenings. We didn’t understand what was going on, as NBC geared its coverage to “Madeline in Middle America.” But, we’ve been assured this was a great moment.

An Iceland's fan watches the football match between Iceland and England at the Champ-de-Mars fan zone in Paris on June, 27, 2016. / AFP / BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

Iceland Reached The Euro 2016 Quarterfinals

Euro 2016 featured an expanded, 24-team field. Iceland, population 323,000, qualifying for a major tournament was a feat on its own. But, then Iceland qualified from its group ahead of tournament-winner Portugal and beat England in the Round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinal. The entire nation celebrated. Mercifully, the rest of the world’s sports fans did not turn their slow hand clap into the next “Seven Nation Army.”

James Conner Overcame Cancer

Pitt running back James Conner almost all of 2015 with a knee injury. Rehabbing from that, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy. Conner was declared cancer free and made it back months later for the 2016 season. He posted more than 1,300 total yards and 20 touchdowns and will be leaving early for the NFL Draft. He was an inspiration to everyone.

Tom Brady celebrates first down rush against Browns

Deflategate Ended

The NFL tried to ding the New England Patriots for deflating footballs. What should have been a one-day story became a 20-month, multimillion dollar fiasco that ended up in Federal Court. The NFL had no evidence. The entire controversy stemmed from the league’s complete ignorance. Sprinkle in a few miscarriages of journalism. It was an inane mess. But, Tom Brady agreed to serve a four-game suspension, after restructuring his contract. The NFLPA declined further appeals. It’s over.

Sep 10, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Eastern Michigan Eagles head coach Chris Creighton talks with players during a time out in the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field. Missouri won 61-21. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Michigan Reached a Bowl Game

Eastern Michigan regents were evaluating whether to keep football. Eastern Michigan students, footing much of the bill, and faculty requested that the school drop football. Seniors on the team dealt with Ron English getting fired and the infamous cinder block debacle. Perhaps no college football program was in greater need of a warm-weather bowl bid.

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