As 2013 is shortly upon us, here are the best moments that 2012 brought to the sports world.
10) Lebron finally gets over the hump: After years of playoff failure, small forward Lebron James finally got over the hump. He had basically put the Miami Heat on his shoulders dominating every game on their way to their second championship in franchise history. He was also named both MVP of the regular season as well as MVP of the finals.
9) Islanders finally get a new home: After years of speculating that the future of the team was in doubt based on an arena, the New York Islanders finally got something they wanted. When their current lease at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum ends in 2015, they will move to Brooklyn and play at the new Barclays Center. Even though the capacity is small, it is a much more suitable venue than the Coliseum.
8) A new era in Denver: After missing the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury and eventually being cut by the only team he ever played for (Colts), Peyton Manning found a new home in Denver and was shortly playing like his old self. He threw for 4335 yards, 34 touchdowns and led the Broncos to the AFC West title along with clinching the AFC's number 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs. Can he put his past playoff failures behind him and win the Super Bowl?
7) What an incredible season so far for one NFL team: After a 2-14 season and lots of changes in the offseason which saw a new coach (Chuck Pagano) and a new franchise quarterback (Andrew Luck), the Indianapolis Colts were not expected to do much. After finding out that coach Pagano had a treatable force of leukemia, the Colts rode a wave of emotion on their way to a 11-5 season and seeing him return. Is an appearance in the Super Bowl on the horizon?
6) The improbable happens on their way to being champions: The first California based team did the improbable on their way to a championship. Led by the likes of Scutaro, Romo, Pagan, Cain, Lincecum and Sandoval, the San Francisco Giants rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 series deficits in the NLDS and NLCS on their way to their second title in three seasons and seventh championship in franchise history in a four game sweep of the Tigers.
5) Blue Jays going all out: After a injury filled season which saw the Toronto Blue Jays win 73 games and seeing Manager John Farell go to Boston, GM Alex Anthopoulos decided to make big changes. No one in the baseball world expected what the changes would be. It started off small with signing 2B Maicer Izturis but the best was yet to come. He pulled off a mega 12 player deal with the Miami Marlins which saw SS Jose Reyes, Pitchers Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson and Utilitymen Emilio Bonifacio join the Jays along with signing OF Melky Cabrera. Anthopoulos was not done there as he also acquired reigning NL Cy Young winnger R. A Dickey from the New York Mets. Is the playoffs let alone the World Series possible in Toronto?
4) The other California team making an improbable run to being champions: Before the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, only two number eight seeds made it past the second round with one of them making it to the finals (Edmonton 2006). The last postseason saw a second eighth seeded team make the finals and win it. The Los Angeles Kings went on an incredible run winning 16 of their 20 playoff games on their way to their first championship in their 45 year history.
3) 100th Grey Cup: The 2012 season in the CFL was something very special. It was to celebrate the 100th birthday of the prestigious Grey Cup. Sure enough, the game itself proved to be a great success. Playing in front of their home crowd at the Rogers Center, the Toronto Argonauts won their league leading 16th championship 35-22 vs. the Calgary Stampeders based on strong play from Ricky Ray, Chad Kackert, Chad Owens and good solid defense.
2) Here we go again: Once again the NHL and the NHLPA cannot come up with a new CBA and therefore there is another lockout. Unlike the 04-05 lockout which was based on a salary cap, the owners and players are disputing on how the Hockey Related Revenue should be split, removing bonuses as well as extending the qualification of unrestricted free agency from 7 years in the league to 10. Should there not be a new CBA before January 14th, the 2012-2013 season will be history.
1) Canada doing what nobody expected: The 2012 summer Olympic games was something to remember for the Canadian women's soccer team. Not expected to do much, they went on an improbable journey led by their captain Christine Sinclair. She scored 6 goals in the tournament in which three of them were scored during the epic semi-finals against the United States. Although Canada did not win that game, they won bronze after defeating the French 1-0. This is something best remembered simply because Canada was not expected to do anything in the tournament and they did.