Pro sports: year in review

Editor’s Note: This piece was supposed to be in the last issue, but was left out. So... here’s your 2009 Pro Sports Year in Review!

2009 was filled with many significant events in the sports world. From the Super Bowl to the World Series, from Roland Garros to South Africa, here’s a look at the past year.

The Florida Gators win the college football national championship for the second time in the past three years, defeating the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14. Despite the matchup of two potent offenses (Florida averaging 45 ppg and Oklahoma 54 ppg), defense rules the game, with four combined interceptions and Florida stopping two Sooner drives inside their own five-yard line.

In Super Bowl XLIII, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 for their NFL-record sixth Super Bowl title. In a suspenseful, back-and-forth game, Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes is named MVP after making four catches on the game-winning drive, including a touchdown with 35 seconds remaining.

With the support of President Obama, the North Carolina Tar Heels win the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament by defeating Michigan State 89-72. On the women’s side, Connecticut wrapped up its third-ever undefeated season with a win over Louisiville.

Japan wins the second World Baseball Classic by defeating Korea 5-3 in extra innings, making it still the only champion the WBC has ever seen. (Because of the complicated double-elimination format, Japan and Korea faced one another five times in the tournament.) The story of the tournament, however, was that of the Netherlands, which eliminated powerhouse Dominican Republic by beating them twice in one-run games.

In their sixth NBA finals of the decade, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic four games to one. Phil Jackson acquires his 10th NBA championship as a coach, setting a new record for most all-time NBA championships by a coach and head coach in a major American sports league. Kobe Bryant is named the Finals MVP.

The Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup by defeating the Detroit Red Wings in seven games. Evgeny Malkin of the Penguins is named Stanley Cup tournament MVP.

Roger Federer defeats Andy Roddick to win the French Open, completing a career Gran Slam. (But since he didn’t face Rafael Nadal, does it really count?) Federer goes on to win Wimbledon to earn his fifteenth career Slam title.

The New York Yankees defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games in the inaugural season of new Yankee Stadium. Alex Rodriguez finally remembers how to hit in the postseason, and the Yankees’ huge investments in C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira pay dividends. The Phillies are denied their second straight World Series title. (On the other side of town in another new ballpark, the Mets choke again, except this time in July and with much less drama.)

Spaniard Alberto Contador wins the Tour de France cycling race. Teammate Lance Armstrong finishes third after a well-publicized battle for team leadership. Tournament organizers, however, mistakenly play the Danish national anthem instead of Spain’s.

The Associated Press names NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson Male Athlete of the Year after Johnson wins his fourth straight championship. Tennis star Serena Williams receives the Female Athlete of the Year award.

After two years of qualification matches, the pools are determined for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. North Korea gets shafted in the selection, and Team USA will face England to open what some believe will be its best opportunity to reach the finals. Nobody in America notices, because we only care about the real “football” over here…

Real Salt Lake beat Los Angeles Galaxy in a 5-4 penalty shootout to win the MLS Cup. Wait…what’s the MLS? Exactly. (See previous comment about “real football”.)

Named AP Athlete of the Decade, Tiger Woods also makes headlines when news of his multiple affairs surfaces. Corporate slogans like “Be a Tiger” and “Tiger: Is it in you?” take on sinister new meanings...