The year in sports – 2017

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American sports put on a good show in 2017, and here are some of the stories to remember:

Clemson Beats Alabama
Trailing 31-28 with 1 second left on the clock, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson hit Hunter Renfrow for the winning touchdown to beat the vaunted Crimson Tide of Alabama. The win avenged the Tigers’ loss from the year prior in what was the NCAA’s first rematch ever in a championship game. MVP Watson was remarkable, passing for 420 yards and three touchdowns, 43 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Tom Brady Is The Greatest
Super Bowl LI may have been the greatest of all-time by more than 30 measures – the number of records set during the game. Down 28-6 to the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter, New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady, the game’s MVP who threw for 466 yards and two touchdowns, engineered a stunning comeback that really shouldn’t have surprised anyone, winning the game in overtime. I used to say that if my life depended on a football game, I would pick Joe Montana as my quarterback … but no more. Five-time Super Bowl champion Brady takes the all-time greatest quarterback crown, without question.

Baseball is Back, Back, Back, Back
In 2017, a peculiar thing happened: The Chicago Cubs went to the White House in order to be congratulated for winning it all a year prior. Then the season emerged as one of the greatest in recent memory.

The year belonged to Jose Altuve, Giancarlo Stanton, Clayton Kershaw and Aaron Judge – the greatest rookie of all-time. The playoffs were packed with classic, marquee teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Dodgers, but in the end, it was the Houston Astros beating both the Yankees and Dodgers in dramatic game sevens that made the most sense. With Hurricane Harvey still fresh in everyone’s mind and stagnating in their front yards, the ‘Stros gave the fans at home a thoroughly talented team to cheer for.

The Undefeated
My neighbor had tickets to see the pay-per-view fight between the undefeated Floyd Mayweather and the UFC champion Conor McGregor. “Who should I bet on?” he would ask. I’d reply: “Mayweather is going destroy McGregor.” (Even though I used this column space to say that McGregor would win in an early knockout.)

“Yeah? Mayweather?”

“Yes, although … what if McGregor just runs out there and catches him with a left to the chin and knocks him out cold? Could totally happen.”

While the fight certainly wasn’t one of the all-time great matches, the spectacle of the event was overshadowed only by Clay vs. Liston, The Rumble in the Jungle or the Thrilla in Manilla. The pre-fight publicity tour was the main event, but the fight turned out to be amazingly fun to watch, with McGregor winning the first three rounds, only to drop after spending too much time in the deep waters where Mayweather took him. It’ll be a long time before boxing sees another spectacle like this one.

Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter who lives in New Jersey.

(c) 2018 King Features Synd., Inc.


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