2014 Sports Year In Review


Chris Ptacek

Jeter is ending his illustrious career as a 14-tim e All-Star and five time World Series champion.

The year is coming to an end and another year of winners, losers, surprises and disappointments are in the history books. From incidences and scandal to heroics and transcendence, the year 2014 has proven to be a memorable one for sports. While some notable careers have come to an end due to retirement, such as those of Paul Konerko, Chauncey Billups, Derek Jeter and Commissioners Bud Selig and David Stern, there has been a myriad of young talent that will ensure sports’ popularity will continue to ascend.  Within the four major sports, the end of the year signifies the time awards are handed out and recognition is awarded to those athletes and teams that have dominated sports headlines.

Biggest Disappointment- New Orleans Saints Many anticipated the Saints would win the Super Bowl after the breakout season Jimmy Graham had with 16 touchdowns. This added to what was an already lethal offense led by Drew Brees. With the chemistry of having played multiple seasons together, this year’s Saints team had the makings of one of a historically great offense. However turnovers, injuries and decaying defense have led them to a 4-7 record. Despite their egregious record, the team remains in first place in the pathetic NFC South division. It is not too late for them to make a late run, but after being assumed as a serious contender, the Saints are 2014’s most disappointing team.

Best Coach- Darryl Sutter, Los Angeles Kings There are not many teams that are capable of coming back from 0-3 deficits in a playoff series let alone winning three straight game sevens on the road en route to a 4-1 series rout of the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final. This was despite having to overcome in-game deficits in that series as well. Sutter created a mental resolve among his players in the locker room that had gone beyond their physical abilities–a key for any coach.

Cinderella Team- Cleveland Browns In a city that is starved for a Super Bowl championship and has enjoyed very little success in its history, this season, Cleveland fans have a football team they can be proud of. After just two playoff appearances in the last 25 years, this year’s team, featuring quarterback Brian Hoyer and one of the league’s stingiest defenses, is just a tie by the Bengals from first place in its division. The team has shown toughness and grit on the field, overcoming injuries to key players and winning ugly. To finally see a team that has been a punching bag for the last decade start to fight back and win has the Browns in serious position to make a run for a playoff berth.

Best Rookie- Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox According to ESPN, only four rookies have batted over .300, hit 30 or more home runs and contributed 100 runs batted in–all of them have won the Rookie of the Year award, and Jose Abreu is no exception. After signing a big time six-year, $68 million contract, Abreu delivered and is proving to be the heir to the rich history of great White Sox first basemen such as Paul Konerko, Frank Thomas and Ron Kittle.

Comeback Story- Dominic Moore, New York Rangers The then San Jose Shark disappeared from hockey during the playoffs in the 2012-13 season. The reason was later revealed, that his wife, Katie, was battling a rare form of liver cancer and ultimately passed away in early 2013. Moore took an 18-month leave from the NHL during and after his wife’s death. Last season, Moore decided he was ready to return to the ice after receiving several offers. After agreeing to sign with the New York Rangers, he ended up becoming a key piece in the Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, including a game-winning goal in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Rangers rallied around the hardship faced by their teammate and that unity sent them to their first Final since Mark Messier’s team won it back in 1994.

Greatest Moment- Derek Jeter’s Walk-off in Final Game at Yankee Stadium From the heroic World Series home runs, the opposite field doubles, the dive into the stands and the famous “flip” play against Oakland in the Division Series in 2001, Jeter has done it all throughout his 19 year career.

It was the Captain’s final game at Yankee Stadium donning the Yankee pinstripes and the moment called for him to deliver one last magical moment; the same magic gave him the nickname Mr. November. It was a perfect end for the sure hall of famer. This kind of moment is what makes sports special.

Best Player- Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos With every week that passes this NFL season, the 38-year-old Manning continues to cement his legacy as potentially the greatest football player in history. He is on pace to break the NFL single season passing touchdowns record for the third time in his career and already has the most passing touchdowns ever after breaking Brett Favre’s record of 508 on Oct. 19. If Denver continues to play at a high level led by Manning, and the team’s success continues into the playoffs, that long coveted second Super Bowl win will come into fruition for No. 18.

Best Team- San Antonio Spurs Two or three years ago, the Spurs were supposed to be “done”, too old to compete for a championship. Washed up. Done. But this year, they proved the naysayers wrong. They manhandled the Miami Heat in five games in an NBA Finals rematch for the franchise’s fifth banner. With the dominance of their “big three,” the Spurs have a system that prioritizes acquiring players who are experts in ball movement, strong defense, three point shooting and high basketball IQ. Through this, the Spurs were able to overcome the Miami Heat team that featured LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Spurs four Finals wins were by an average of 18.25 points; this dominance and masterful display made San Antonio the best team in 2014.