Have you ever seen “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?” If so, the scene where Cameron kicks his dad’s car out of the window in the garage into the woods is pretty much the equivalent of the year 2016. Like the elevator business, the sports world had its ups and downs throughout the year.
Starting off with the first NCAA football playoff and bowl season, Midwesterners got to see the Big 10 drop the ball in its two biggest games. MSU got blown out by Alabama in an embarrassment of a game and Iowa fell to Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide went on to fend off the Clemson Tigers and hoist the championship trophy. That marks the first loss of 2016, starting the count at 2016 – 1, humankind – 0.
At the turn of the month, eyes around the world turned to the Super Bowl. In what was sure to be Peyton Manning’s last season in the NFL, the Denver Broncos stood underdogs against a surging Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton (who can largely be blamed for the popularizing of the dab). As a life long Peyton fan, my heart was warmed by watching No. 18 ride into the sunset with a fairytale ending to an incredible career as he got one last ring.
March Madness 2016 brought a usual load of stunning upsets such as 10-seed Syracuse going to the Final Four and the Spartans continuing to bring embarrassment to East Lansing with a loss to 15-seed Middle Tennessee. Listen people, I’ve been to the middle of Tennessee, and I didn’t see a single basketball hoop, so that’s pretty bad.
April, as all golf fanatics know, is home to the Masters. I watched Jordan Spieth take aim at a second consecutive Green Jacket. Spieth was doing Spieth things all the way through the halfway point of the final round with a sizable lead over the rest of the field. Then, on the par-three 12th, Jordan put his tee shot in the water. In need of a friend, he called in his identical twin who does professional excavating to hit his next shot. Based on the sizable dollop of earth’s crust that was his divot which led to a second ball in the water, 10 out of 10 would not recommend. Needless to say, he didn’t spend the following hours getting tailored for a new sport coat.
Next up was the escapade of the 3-1 lead. The Golden State Warriors, who many believe to be the best team in the history of basketball, were more than clear favorites to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy. After finding themselves in a 3-1 deficit, LeBron James and company won the next three games, two of which were road games in the toughest place to play in all the land, to stage one of the most stunning comebacks in sports.
If you’d believe it, the world would be stunned again by a 3-1 comeback. With the hopes of a city on their shoulders, with a drought drier than elbows in wintertime, the Chicago Cubs seemed done for. Making it to game seven, the Cubs held off the Cleveland Indians in extra innings and were World Series champs for the first time in more than a century.
And that brings us to this NFL season. After a slow start, it seemed as though this would just be another typical disappointing season without a playoff run for the Detroit Lions. Riding a midseason surge that put them atop of the NFC North, it came down to a week 17 visit from the Green Bay Packers. With a Washington Redskins loss, Detroit was secured a playoff spot but was fighting for the division title. In usual Lions style, they put themselves in a hole and had to fight through a tough wild card game in Seattle against the Seahawks. And as we all saw, that didn’t go as planned, and Seattle sent Detroit home and packed their bags for them.
2016 has brought both celebration and sorrow for many. It may have gotten the best of us, but hey, there’s always hope that in 2017, a Big 10 school will make it to the football championship, Jordan Spieth won’t promote erosion and blow a lead, Steph Curry will splash in victory and not loss, and maybe, just maybe, the Detroit Lions will win a playoff game. 2016 might’ve been rock bottom, but the nice part about hitting rock bottom is you can only go up.