Weekly Snapshots

By: Larry Bisagni

 

Happy New Year, NBS readers! The wife and I spent the holidays in the Big Easy, and it’s nice to be home… but you can never go wrong with New Orleans.

2018 was indeed a year to remember, and year to look back.

Before I get into the Snapshots of the Year, I want to acknowledge everyone who we lost in the world of sports. If I recognized everyone, I’d be here all day, so I apologize in advance. In particular, the NFL owners fraternity was hit hard. 2018 was the year we lost Houston Texans founder Bob McNair. The Los Angeles Chargers lost Alex Spanos. Wayne Huizenga, who formerly owned the Miami Dolphins. But perhaps the two most iconic owners were a pair of guys who kept their teams in their cities: Paul Allen and Tom Benson. Both men also changed the culture of the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints from also-rans into championship organizations. A toast to all the other sports heroes gone too soon, and here’s to a prosperous 2019!
2018 Snapshots of the Year
Alabama and Clemson pulled so far away from the rest of the pack that it is virtually those two, and nobody else even matters. The world gets introduced to Tua Tagovailoa. Nick Saban picks up his sixth National Championship. 
 
The Philadelphia Eagles pull the upset with backup quarterback Nick Foles, defeating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The Eagles barely make it back to the playoffs. Meanwhile, yawn… the Pats win their sixteenth division crown of the Belichick/Brady era, and have done so every year that Brady was healthy since 2002.

The Villanova Wildcats win their third National Championship, and second in three years. One and dones continue to dominate the college basketball landscape, forcing blue blood programs such as Duke to change their philosophy midstream to stay on top of the mountain. While college football has pushed out all but two programs, college basketball has more teams than ever that can legitimately dream of their One Shining Moment.
Justify wins the Triple Crown. After going nearly 40 years without a winner, we have had two in the last four (American Pharaoh, 2015). It’s still not enough to return the ponies to the days of Secretariat.
On a very personal note, I never thought I would live to see the day where I could say Washington Capitals and Stanley Cup Champions in the same sentence. The perennial “choking dogs” shed the moniker once and for all, the DMV went absolutely insane, and admittedly, I shed a few tears as well. The last Washington sports franchise to win it all was the 1991 Redskins.
When J.R. Smith made the bonehead move of the NBA Finals in Game One, it became not only clear that he was gone but that the Cleveland Cavaliers were doomed to being swept. The air was sucked out of the building for the Cavs, and they have returned to the pre and post LeBron form of 15-67 or so. If the Lakers and Cavs 2018-19 seasons aren’t clear that King James is the greatest player of this generation, I don’t know what is.
France won the World Cup to the surprise of nobody watching. Ronaldo put on the bianconeri of Juventus. Man City sitting on top of the Premier League is something to see.
The Boston Red Sox cruised through the playoffs and World Series in a convincing and dominant fashion, and have to be the betting favorites to win it all again in 2019. As weird as this is for me to say, they aren’t even in the top three of greatest MLB teams I’ve ever seen, because those positions would belong to, in chronological order, the 1984 Detroit Tigers, 1986 Mets, and 1998 Yankees. Please don’t ask me to rank those squads.
As Conor McGregor appears to be on the back nine of his UFC career, boxing has slowly returned to the conscience of the casual sports fan. Big kudos to the GGG/Canelo Alvarez camps, as well as Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder for putting on the contests that people want to see. Since we had to wait far too long to see Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao square up five years too late. 2018 was likely the best year for  boxing in a decade.
The Shield has carefully and masterfully navigated the uneasy CTE waters to deliver the most compelling season in a generation. The last weekend of the season had major playoff implications, I wouldn’t be surprised if all four host teams lose this weekend, and we have a litany of breakout stars to enjoy for the next decade. While boy genius head coaches and 54-51 shootouts dominate the headlines, we have also seen a return of defense, which should dictate who plays in February.

Larry Bisagni
About Larry Bisagni 21 Articles
Originally from Washington, D.C., I have an extensive background in marketing, media, and communications. My career began with WTEM (ESPN Radio) in Washington, and went from there to an NBC News affiliate in Virginia to produce “Virginia Tech Sports Today.” After returning to WTEM to produce talk shows and live game broadcasts, I accepted an offer to become executive producer/director of operations for a major non-profit in San Francisco, where I established a strong lineage of guest speakers for a weekly talk show. I am a passionate follower of many sports, including baseball, basketball, football, Italian soccer, boxing, and college sports. My favorite teams include the San Francisco Giants/49ers, Washington Redskins/Wizards (BULLETS!!!), and Capitals. My favorite sportswriter is Michael Wilbon, whom I would occasionally provide updates to as the overnight guy at Sports Talk 980 in the days before .coms. I am a summa cum laude graduate of the University of San Francisco, and can be found sitting courtside at many of my beloved Dons home games. I holds an MBA from Babson College with an emphasis in entrepreneurial marketing, where I engaged stakeholders, and executed planning strategies for business growth. Given my career trajectory, I have a list of favorite coaches to go along with favorite players, including Joe Gibbs, Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, John Thompson the elder, Earl Weaver, Bruce Bochy, and Mark Jackson.
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