Today’s post will be the fourth and final part of the “2013 in Review” series that I have been doing in the month of January. The topic is the ten biggest headlines in sports from the year 2013.
10. Andy Murray wins Wimbledon
It’s not noteworthy that somebody won the Wimbledon Championship, somebody does every year. However, Murray’s Wimbledon final victory over Novak Djokovic was significant, because it made him the first British men’s champion in 77 years. That’s a long time for a home crowd to wait for a champion, if you don’t believe me ask a Cubs fan.
9. Miami Heat Repeat
The Miami Heat won the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season in 2013. Not having nearly the competitive balance level of the NFL, the NBA is no stranger to back-to-back legends, but this is significant in the cementing of the legacy of LeBron James. James also won his 4th MVP award in 2013 and is quickly becoming one of the all-time greats right before our eyes. We are all witnesses.
8. Mariano Rivera retires
After 19 seasons, Mariano Rivera decided that this season would be his last. The all-time saves leader is considered by most to be the most dominant closer in MLB history. His cutter, or cut fastball, is also considered to be one of the most dominant pitches in MLB history. Rivera was a 13-time all-star and has 5 World Series rings. Aside from his on-field success, he is also an outstanding individual, as evidenced by his farewell tour gesture of recognizing a stadium employee from every visiting stadium he played in this season.
7. Richie Incognito bullying scandal
I’ve made my views on Incognito known before in a previous 4th and 10, comparing him to Biff Tannen from “Back to the Future.” This was a big issue in the NFL, because it caused teams and coaches and players to take a step back and think about how they treat people in their locker rooms and other facilities. Whether you think Jonathan Martin was being over-sensitive or not, I think it goes without saying that most NFL organizations evaluated what goes on in the locker room a little more closely because of this.
6. NFL Concussion Settlement
In August, the NFL and several ex-players reached a $765 million dollar settlement to pay for injuries caused by head trauma incurred while playing in the NFL. U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody rejected this proposal and has asked for more financial analysis from both sides before reaching a decision. The NFL has also taken stricter measures to protect players from concussions. For everyone who has heard the line, “They’re making it flag football out there now!” in the last few months, this is a large reason why.
5. Johnny Heismanziel and a truly spectacular offseason
After winning the 2012 Heisman Trophy, Johnny Football, as he has come to be known, decided to make the offseason his own personal victory lap. Let’s just make a checklist of a few of his more impressive offseason accomplishments: photographed flashing cash in a casino after beating Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl? check, poppin’ bottles in a Dallas nightclub? check, courtside at several NBA games? check, Mardi Gras in New Orleans with Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel? check, threw out first pitches at Rangers and Padres games? check, Drake concert? check, Cabo for Spring Break? check, getting kicked out of a UT frat party? check. Oh, and to top it all off he shot a 79 at Pebble Beach, trained with George Whitfield, and got suspended for one half against Rice for signing too many autographs and maybe, maybe not, taking some money for it. What a guy.
4. Lance Armstrong comes clean
The last four headlines I’ll go ahead and warn you are pretty depressing. Lance Armstrong finally publically acknowledged his use of banned substances in 2013. Thanks Lance, but you are a few years late. Several bikers use steroids, and other things like steroids, but the way he went out of his way to ruin the lives of the people who tried to tell the truth about him was more despicable than the actual act of cheating. He was also pretty unapologetic about everything too.
3. Aaron Hernandez charged with murder
In June, Aaron Hernandez was connected with the murder of Odin Lloyd. Initially, news reports were that police simply wanted to search his home, but later he was arrested for the murder. He is still awaiting trial, and while there he has also been connected to two more murders in 2012. I think we may have seen the end of a once-promising NFL career.
2. High Profile MLB Suspensions
Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez were the two biggest names to be suspended for steroid use in the MLB in 2013. Braun was suspended for the rest of the season, and Rodriguez got the biggest steroid suspension in MLB history. He was suspended for 211 games. The MLB’s rationale is that his steroid use, and activities around it were more egregious than anyone else had ever been about it. ARod might be well on his way to the Pete Rose lifetime ban club.
1. Boston Marathon bombing
On April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded a few hundred yards from the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and an estimated 264 others. This is the biggest terrorist attack at a sporting event in America since the bombings at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were later suspected and after a shootout with police the older brother, Tamerlan, and a police officer were killed. The citizens of Boston came together admirably in the wake of this tragedy to provide support for the victims, and a strong surge of unity may have aided them in cheering their Boston Red Sox to a World Series title later in the year. Small consolation, particularly for the families of the victims, but it still helps to have something positive to remember from 2013.