2016 has been a hell of a year for sports and I am here to tell you that it has been the best year for sports ever. That's right, EVER. If you really take a look into all that has happened this year, it's very hard to argue.
Peyton Manning wins Super Bowl on the way out to retirement
Yes he did not have a great year statistically and with injuries, but Peyton Manning left on the highest note with a win in Super Bowl 50 against the Panthers. The best regular season quarterback of all time and arguably the greatest of all time ended his NFL career with the coveted 2nd Super Bowl. No more shit talking from Eli about having more rings. We also got to watch Cam Newton finally get a reality check and cry like a baby when he faced a good defense. Peyton ended his career the best way possible and rode out into the sunset with a lifetime supply of Papa Johns pizzas.
Villanova wins NCAA Basketball Championship on a buzzer beater
Of course our brackets were already busted, but the 2016 NCAA Men's basketball tournament did not disappoint. If you follow college basketball and fill out your bracket every year, you know better than to put a Big East team far in the tournament. They always seem to let us down, but Jay Williams and the Villanova Wildcats had other plans. Anyone that isn't a North Carolina Tarheels fan loves to watch them lose, so what better way for them to do that then by losing to Villanova on a buzzer beater 3 pointer. The whole game was electric from the start. The circus shot by Marcus Paige with six seconds left in the game practically ensured overtime, but March Madness lived up to the hype. Villanova drew up a great play and Kris Jenkins absolutely nailed the 3-pointer to win the game. A shot that is going to be shown for years to come and gave us Tarheel haters giant grins on our faces.
Kobe puts up 60 in final game
Other than the fact that this was Kobe's last game, this game meant absolutely nothing. Oh but did Kobe put on a show for the Staples Center crowd. He turned back the time machine dropping 60 on the Utah Jazz for a win that finished off the Lakers worst season in franchise history with an astounding record of 17-65. But this is beside the point. This game was classic Kobe. The Lakers were essentially trailing the whole game, but Kobe was able to outscore the Jazz 23-21 in the fourth quarter and put the finishing touches on the game with a three pointer with 31 seconds left. For someone who disliked Kobe because of his selfishness to never pass and take the money instead of helping grow his team, I have to respect his game. It wouldn't of been a final game for Kobe if he didn't at least put up 50 shots from the field.
2016 NBA Finals: Warriors blow 3-1 lead to Cavaliers/Warriors set NBA regular season record with 73 wins.
In my opinion, the best sporting event of the year aside from the World Series. A rematch of the 2015 Finals were it was Lebron vs the Warriors. This time the Cavaliers came in with a healthy Kyrie and Kevin love, who proved to be vital in the series. It looked as if the Warriors were about to run away with the series when they won game 4 and were up a convincing three games to one. This is were the fun began. The Cavaliers became the first team to ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to win the championship. We saw everything from Draymond Green punching and kicking genitals, Stephen Curry hitting a Cleveland Cavaliers fan with his mouthpiece, to irrelevant Ayesha Curry opening her big mouth and claiming that the NBA was "rigged". Lebron had one of the best blocks I have ever seen against Andre Igoudala in Game 7 and Kyrie Irving proved he had ice in his veins as he hit big shot after big shot to secure the Cavalier's series win. Cleveland got their first NBA Championship ever and we were not sure if we would ever see J.R. Smith with his shirt on again. Never change Cleveland. Oh right, and during the regular season the Warriors also set the NBA regular season win record with 73 wins, edging out the 95-96' Bull's 73-10 record. No big deal.
500-1 odds Leicester City wins the English Premier League
I'll be honest, all I know about soccer is from playing Fifa, but this might be the best sports story of all time. 500-1 odds? are you kidding me? The Cleveland Browns have a better chance at winning the Super Bowl every year. Let that put it into perspective for you. This is the definition of a fairy-tale story. With powerhouses such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, no one even saw this coming from a mile away. Leicester City was able to stay above the top of the Premier League standings for most of the season. They bent, but never broke, and made some very lucky betters a shit ton of money. Star striker Jamie Vardy went from working 12 hour shifts in a carbon fiber factory and playing in lower English league football, to breaking Ruud van Nisterlrooy's record for scoring in eleven consecutive Premier League matches and eventually winning the title with his team. Have to think we will never see something like this again. You have to love the magic of sports.
Chicago Cubs win first World Series in over 100 years
This one is really self explanatory. It involves some goat and a guy named Steve Bartman. The Cubs were able to give Cleveland the pain of blowing a 3-1 series lead, to win their first World Series title since 1908. Even for non-baseball fans, this was an exciting moment for everyone. Much like the NBA Finals, game 7 did not disappoint. The Cubs seemed to be riding their way to a easy game 7 win, but a Raja Davis 2 run home-run in the bottom of the eighth inning tied the game a 6 and eventually sent the game into extra innings. All it took was a rain delay and a Jason Hayward pep-talk to rally the Cubs to a 8-7 win for the World Series Title. As a sports fan, it is amazing to say you witnessed this moment. Theo Epstein proved that his 5 year plan is more efficient than my 5 year college plan (sorry mom and dad) and took a team with 71 wins in 2011 to 103 wins in 2016. Somewhere in a small dark room in Chicago, Steve Bartman is smiling with joy.
Whether you agree with it or not, that is a pretty impressive line-up. As a fan of sports you have to appreciate this because you know some of these events only happen ever so often. Never take them for granted.