As sports fans, we get so caught up in the action that we rarely take a step back to appreciate everything that’s happening. Much like life, we don’t always realize that we’re in the good old days. With that in mind, we thought we’d look back at some of the greatest years we’ve ever had as sports fans so we can fondly remember the good times we’ve had. Don’t worry, 2020 need not apply. But we did have some amazing years leading up to that.
The wild ending in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series gets this year huge points for incredible drama. This year also gave us the incredible story of 5’7’’ Spud Webb winning the Slam Dunk Contest. We also saw the Chicago Bears dominate the NFL in a way that few teams have before, capping it off with a 46-10 Super Bowl win and the famous Super Bowl Shuffle.
Just for good measure, Jack Nicklaus held off two competitors by a single stroke to win the Masters while Greg LeMond became the first American to win the Tour de France.
This year got started on the right foot with three NFL playoff games that went to overtime. We also got a classic Super Bowl ending with 37 points being scored in the fourth quarter. Over the summer, the Detroit Pistons gave us a surprising but satisfying NBA Finals by knocking off the favored Lakers.
Plus, UConn’s double national championships on the basketball court is worth mentioning, especially after their epic semi-finals win over Duke. This was also the year that the Red Sox erased a 3-0 ALCS deficit against the Yankees and finally ended their alleged curse by winning their first World Series since 1918.
Sorry, Millennials, you’ll have to take our word that 1969 was an awesome year. In fairness, there’s a little bit of a New York bias. This year gave us the Miracle Mets and their amazing pitching staff, as well as Joe Namath’s famous guarantee against the Colts in Super Bowl III.
We also saw incredible feats in tennis, as Rod Laver won all four Grand Slam tournaments while Margaret Court won three of four on the women’s side. There was also an epic 7-game NBA Finals between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain in the last NBA Finals between the two big men.
There’s almost too much to mention about 2008, but regardless of your favorite sport, there was something special to enjoy. In basketball, the Celtics and Lakers finally renewed acquaintances in the NBA Finals after a 21-year drought. This was also the year we were introduced to Steph Curry, as he led Davidson to the Elite Eight.
There was also an amazing title game between Kansas and Memphis. On the gridiron, there were some insane upsets in college football while the Super Bowl delivered that iconic David Tyree catch in a Giants win. The Olympics were also memorable that year, especially if you were Michael Phelps.
This was the year to end all years, so let’s go line by line:
- Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset after guiding the Broncos to a Super Bowl win (with a lot of help from the Denver defense)
- The late Kobe Bryant called it a career, scoring 60 points in his final game. The likes of Tim Duncan, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett also retired after amazing careers.
- LeBron James fulfilled his promise by finally giving Cleveland a championship.
- With 5000-1 odds before the season, Leicester City won the English Premier League in the greatest soccer story ever told.
- Kris Jenkins buried a three at the buzzer to give Villanova the national championship in a wild and dramatic title game against North Carolina.
- The Cubs put 108 years of heartache and disappointment to bed by finally winning a World Series, recovering from a 3-1 deficit to beat Cleveland.
Somehow, there was even more to 2016, but that should be enough to convince you it was the greatest year in sports history.