The Best and Worst of 2017 in Sports

2017 was a year full of highs and lows, particularly in the world of sports. These are the moments that stand out, for better or worse, as we review the past year. 

Best Sports Moments

Serena Williams’ “Glowing” Australian Open Win
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Like every other tournament she enters, Serena Williams came into the Australian Open as the overwhelming favorite. And she did not disappoint. Williams notched her 23rd Grand Slam title when she defeated big sister Venus in a blockbuster January final, but the enormity of her achievement would not be fully realized until April when she revealed she was eight weeks pregnant when she won the trophy. If there was any sliver of doubt before that Serena’s the greatest of all time, she certainly proved her worthiness with this feat.

Patriots Super Bowl Comeback
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Tom Brady earned his fifth Super Bowl ring in thrilling fashion, leading the New England Patriots to a 34-28 overtime victory that seemed nearly impossible after trailing the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 late in the third quarter. The feat lives on in infamy for Falcons fans while Patriots fans thrive on the improbable comeback, which is the largest point comeback in an any Super Bowl game. In addition to setting that record, Super Bowl LI became the first to be decided in overtime and gave the tandem of Brady and Bill Belichick the most championship wins for a quarterback-head coach duo.

Mayweather Maintains Perfect Record
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In what was touted as the Fight of the Year, UFC champ Conor McGregor was set to take part in his first professional boxing match ever, facing Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who had never been defeated in the ring. Millions watched in wonder if McGregor’s David could take down a Goliath in Mayweather, though after 10 rounds, the giant reigned victorious to gain a perfect 50-0 career record.

Astros bring World Series Home to Houston
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The Houston Astros were seen as World Series contenders for the duration of the 2017 MLB season, but no one could have predicted just how sweet their eventual seven-game victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers would be. Led by a lineup of outstanding hitters, the Astros brought the hardware home to Houston for the first time in franchise history. Even better? The win came two months after the city was battered with devastating flooding from Hurricane Harvey, and served as the perfect elixir to bring a seemingly fallen city back on its feet.

Worst Sports Moments

Gordon Hayward’s Gruesome Injury
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Reunited with his college coach Brad Stevens, Gordon Hayward’s trade to the Celtics had all the makings for a promising season for Boston. That is, until Hayward’s hopes for the season came crashing down just six minutes into his first game, when he suffered a gruesome fall that resulted in a broken ankle. The sports world ached for Hayward, who is on the road to a full recovery though his chance of returning this season seems bleak. Boston has since been riding the confidence of a 28-10 record without Hayward, though we’re left to wonder just how powerful the Celtics could be with the talented guard healthy.

NCAA Corruption Scandal
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Scandal engulfed the NCAA as investigations ensued over bribery, money laundering and wire fraud accusations across several Division I schools basketball programs. The ongoing battle exposed partnerships between Adidas executives and various coaching staff at Auburn, Louisville, Arizona, Oklahoma State, USC and more, with several individuals associated with the schools allegedly bribing recruiting classes with money or future deals. Among the involved programs, Louisville was hit the hardest, with the University firing both their athletic director and men’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino just weeks before the 2017-18 got underway. Certainly not one of NCAA hoops‘ finer moments.