Yes, the past 10 years have been memorable for many sports fans. The Boston Red Sox ended the curse of the Bambino and won not one, but two World Series titles, the Patriots won the Super Bowl on a last second kick and Jimmie Johnson claims four straight Sprint Cup championships.
But even the sporting world had its fair share of moments: moments that took your breath away, scandals that you couldn’t believe, events that just plain shocked fans. Yes, there was a lot more to the world of sports in the past decade that could have made this list:
• Sammy Sosa broke a corked bat,
• Alex Rodriguez admitted to steroids as Mark McGuire denied them
• Hockey would be put on hold for an entire year.
But as for the moments that changed a sport there were none greater. Who knows what the next decade may hold?
Let the debating begin.
Appalachian St. stuns college football world
The 2007 college football season had kicked off at 11 a.m. in Ann Arbor, Mich. It was just supposed to be another easy victory for the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines as they took on FCS opponent Appalachian St.
But QB Armanti Edwards and head coach Jerry Moore had other plans. By halftime App. St. had a 23-17 lead leaving the 103,000 people at the Big House completely silent.
The second half would be a bit of a different story. Michigan would charge back but come up short after a blocked field goal sealed the Wolverines' fate 34-32.
“It just goes to show you that any team can be beaten on any day,” says sophomore Anthony La Rosa. For the first time in the history of the sport, a FCS opponent had beaten a Top 25 FBS opponent.
The rest of the 2007 season would go on to be known as the year of the dog as teams ranked No. 1 or 2 lost a combined 12 times along with numerous other upsets throughout the season. Michigan would go on to finish 9-4 and see head coach Lloyd Carr step down.
Kobe Bryant accused of rape
In the summer of ’03, all eyes were on Eagle, Colo. That’s where future NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant was accused of rape by Katelyn Faber, an employee of the hotel where Bryant was staying. The accusations tarnished Bryant’s career, Endorsements with McDonald's and Nuttela were terminated, and jersey sales fell immediately.
But not every NBA fan believed in the accusations against Bryant, including junior Don Oliver of Pasadena, Calif. “I knew beforehand that it wasn’t rape. She didn’t get the money she wanted, so she accused him of something he didn’t do.” The case was eventually dropped in 2004 after Faber refused to testify.
Michael Vick heads to dog pound
The 2008 NFL season didn’t seem right without one of the best QBs in the league in Michael Vick. But the reasons for his suspension were well justified. After Vick’s father, Michael Boddie, made statements that Vick was hosting dog fights on his Virginia property, the investigation was on.
In 2007 police searched Vick’s property in Virginia and found evidence of illegal dog fighting, although the Pro Bowl QB denied all charges. But just months later Vick came clean and was sent to 23 months at a federal prison. Vick's return to the NFL in 2009 gave fans mixed emotions. “I was extremely happy when the Eagles signed him. People deserve a second chance,” says Oliver whose favorite team just so happens to be the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tiger falls from the top
Tiger Woods has been not only the face of the golfing world but the "face" of sports for years. In 2008 Forbes Magazine named Tiger the most marketable man in sports. Since Nov. 26, 2009, when Woods backed his SUV into a tree at 2:30 a.m., that image has started to change.
The story attracted major media attention, and the question was raised, where was Tiger going so early? Over the next few months reports of Tiger’s affairs hit the papers.
Then on Dec. 11, 2009 Woods made an apology, admitted to infidelity and said he would take an indefinite leave of absence from golf.
Tiger’s endorsements began to fade immediately. Gillette announced they would limit commercials featuring Tiger and Accenture announced they would end their sponsorship with Tiger altogether. It’s clear to see that Woods is in a rough spot in his life. But like other major stars in the world there will be a time for him to get back on track and return to his true love, the golf course.
A legend is lost on
the final lap
He was arguably one of the greatest drivers in the history of NASCAR. There was no car more intimidating than that black No. 3 Chevy Monte Carlo. But at the 2001 Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt would be in the most tragic accident in the history of motorsports.
It was turn four of the final lap in the Great American Race when Earnhardt went up high to block Ken Schrader from passing him and the two collided. Earnhardt was sent hard into the wall, and the car slowly rolled down the track into the infield.
Hours later Dale Earnhardt Sr. was pronounced dead at the Hellofaces Medical Center in Daytona. Every sports fan had a time of denial, not believing the words they heard on the news.
The world’s greatest spectator sport would never be the same.