By Josh Kramer
We are at the half way marker of the year 2011. It is definitely hard to believe. But 2011 has been an absolutely phenomenal year in the sporting world thus far. Yet for every up, there has been a down sadly. Here is a further look:
BCS National Championship Game (January 10th)
To get things going, we were treated to a dream matchup BCS Championship game. Go figure that the BCS system led to a championship game that the majority of the general public actually wanted to occur? Cam Newton, and the “came out of nowhere” Auburn Tigers had just a little too much firepower for a very talented Oregon Ducks team. In addition, this game set the record for the highest overnight rating for a cable program. Plus the game went down to the wire ending in a game winning field goal by Tigers kicker, Wes Byrum. It was the most notable BCS Title Game in recent memory without question.
Super Bowl 45 (February 6th)
Talk about a historic matchup in the biggest game in American professional sports. Arguably the games two most storied franchises went to battle for claim to the 2011 Lombardi Trophy. And the game was a great one. In the end though, the “Green and Yellow” proved to have just a little too much Aaron Rodgers for the “Black and Yellow.” It was only fitting that a great game, capped off perhaps the best season ever in the NFL, at least television ratings wise. 111 million viewers tuned in to watch the Super Bowl this year, which is of course a record.
NFL Lockout Begins (March 11th)
We all knew that it was coming. There had been speculation since long before the regular season had even started. We just did not want to think about it. But once the Super Bowl ended, all attention was focused on the NFL’s looming CBA issues. And sadly, today is day 111 of the lockout. Yes, we are still talking about CBA issues. But don’t worry, there is “cautious optimism.” Lets just hope that crime does not go up.
NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship (April 4th)
There is only one way to describe this year’s edition of March Madness. “It’s totally awesome with a capital A!” (compliments of Dickie V). From day one to the final game, this tournament had the entire country on the edge of their seats. There was no way to guess what was in store this year during the always exciting sporting spectacle that is March Madness. Cinderellas rolled all the way to the Final Four (multiple Cinderellas). VCU, a team that the majority of the country, including the “experts,” determined did not deserve a bid into the tournament made it all the way to Houston. Well whether they deserved a spot or not, they took full advantage of the opportunity presented to them in making the Final Four. And then there was the Butler Bulldogs. A team who I once again had losing in the first round of this year’s tournament made it to a second consecutive National Championship game. What are the chances of a team out of the Horizon League making back to back National Title games? Then of course the National Champion was a UConn Huskies team that went 9 and 9 in conference play. Let me repeat that. The National Champion was a team that went 500 in conference play. Kemba Walker truly showed the country what it means to have the heart of a champion.
NBA Finals Game 6 (June 12th)
There was only one Game 7 in this years NBA playoffs. We only had one series go the distance. Yet the television ratings were the highest they have been in well over a decade. The Game 6 ratings were the best since the 6th game of the 2000 NBA Finals. I guess people love to hate the villain. The majority of the country took a vested interest in this series and adopted the Mavericks as “America’s Team.” Anything to prevent LeBron James and the MonStars from bringing home the championship to South Beach would make people happy.
Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 (June 15th)
Regardless if the NHL is the least popular by far of the four major professional sports, there is no denying how epic this year’s playoffs were. I mean there were four different Game 7’s in round one alone. And wouldn’t you know that the battle in the final round for Lord Stanley came down to a Game 7 showdown for all of the marbles. Boston defied the odds, and showed that teams can win Game 7’s on the road. Tim Thomas was absolutely tremendous and extremely deserving of the series MVP. So what if Game 7 was a bit of a blowout, it still capped off an amazing season in the NHL, despite the disappearance of Sid “the Kid” Crosby in the beginning of January due to a concussion injury.
NBA Lockout (July 1st)
Today, the NBA lockout has officially begun. The former CBA expired at midnight last evening. And according to the experts, the future of the League does not look good. Well this is great news. Now two of the four major professional sports leagues are on strike. What will people do without the NBA and NFL?
2011 has been a fantastic year in many ways. Outstanding regular seasons followed by epic postseasons. Upsets galore. Record television ratings. What else could an American sports fan ask for? Sadly, the ball struck midnight last night. One of the four major sports being on strike was bearable I guess. But now two of the four major sports on strike? This is unacceptable.
Hopefully this will all just be a fairy tale like Cinderella and things will go back to normal when we wake up. Or at least before we start missing regular season games..
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.