Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top Ten D.C. Area Sports Moments 2000-2009

10. Michael Jordan returns and plays for the Wizards.

Jordan generated a ton of interest and revenue for a struggling NBA franchise. Not much of a front office executive though.

9. Georgetown returns to the NCAA Final Four in 2007.

What's interesting about this story is the Hoyas were coached by John Thompson III, the son of the long time Hoya coach who went to three Final Four's and won the NCAA title in 1984.

8. Maryland Football wins the 2001 ACC Championship

Under new head coach Ralph Friedgen, the Terps came out of nowhere and surprised everyone by winning their first ACC title since 1985 and going to the Orange Bowl. Prior to the 2001 season, Maryland's last bowl game was the 1990 Independence Bowl.

7. Wizards beat the Bulls 4 games to 2 in the first round of the 2005 NBA playoffs.

Prior to this, the Wizards had made the playoffs once (1997) since 1988 and their last playoff series win was in 1982 when they beat New Jersey in the first round.

6. Joe Gibbs returns to coach the Redskins in 2004.

The results were mixed, two playoff appearances (2005, 2007) but the overall record was 31-36 including a 1-2 record in playoff games.

5. George Mason goes to the Final Four in 2006.

This team barely got in the NCAA tournament, then shocked former champs Michigan State, North Carolina and Connecticut on their way to an unlikely Final Four. They lost to eventual champion Florida. This run to the Final Four had a huge impact on the school today as enrollment is up and there are new buildings being constructed on campus.

4. Alex Ovechkin

Drafted by the Capitals in 2004, he's won two NHL Most Valuable Player awards and is easily the most exciting player in hockey today. Caps have gone from barely filling Verizon Center post NHL lockout, to selling out every game this season. The Caps are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender right now.

3. Baseball returns to Washington DC.

The Montreal Expos move here and play at RFK Stadium from 2005-2007 before moving to Nationals Park at the beginning of the 2008 season. We lost the Senators in 1971 and had nothing until the Expos came here (I became a Baltimore Orioles fan after that) There's a long way to go before this team is competitive but it's great to be able to go to the ball yard again.

2. Maryland Basketball: 2001 Final Four, 2002 National Championship

Terps finally get to the Final Four, then win it all the next year. I followed this team all my life and it was tough seeing them lose to Duke in 2001 but great to see them beat Indiana for the title the next season. Remember, Gary Williams brough this program came back from the dark days following the death of Len Bias and NCAA probation.

1. Redskins Darrell Green and Art Monk make the NFL Hall of Fame in 2008.

Monk and Green going into the Hall of Fame in 2008 is my #1 because those two had great careers here and I was able to see them in person a lot at RFK Stadium. Two class acts in what is easily the greatest era in Redskins history.

Art Monk finished his career with 940 receptions for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns in 224 career games. He was the first NFL player to catch more than 900 career passes and he retired as the game’s all-time leader in receptions. He was the first NFL player to record more than 100 receptions in a season. He also caught at least one pass in 183 consecutive games. Monk was clutch when the Redskins needed a catch to keep a drive alive.

Darrell Green played 20 seasons for the Redskins, recording 1,321 tackles, 59 interceptions, nine forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. He also scored 11 touchdowns (eight by interception return, two by fumble return and one on a punt return). Green earned seven trips to the Pro Bowl, was named NFL Man of the Year in 1996 for community service and won the NFL Humanitarian Award as well.

It was a thrill seeing both of them enter the Hall of Fame together.


aaron said...

Hmmm, I've gotta figure that DC United winning the MLS Cup in 2004, giving the region its only championship of the decade, should rank somewhere in the Top 10. Unless you're planning a separate post on that accomplishment. ;)

Bill-DC said...

United's 2004 title was tough to leave out and I've already caught some good natured kidding via a couple e-mails. Maybe I can substitute it in place of Maryland's 2001 ACC football title.

Some others I left off:
Maryland winning the 2004 ACC basketball tournament over Duke, a title that Gary Williams says came very close to matching his team winning the 2002 championship.

Cal Ripken getting his 3,000th hit in 2000 and his retirement in 2001.

Tiger Woods bringing a golf tournament here to the DC area for three years.

Redskin's Sean Taylor's sad death.

Maybe I should have done a top 20 ;)