Happy New Year! In looking back at 2009 it certainly was an interesting year in Denver Sports. Here are my top ten "moments" of Denver area sports in 2009:
1. Mike Shanahan fired by the Denver Broncos. Even though the Broncos missed the playoffs I didn't see this coming. Shanahan still had 2 more years on a lucrative contract and had built a good young offense.
2. Jay Cutler traded to the Chicago Bears. The man who was supposed to be the Broncos quarterback for the next 10 years was suddenly gone.
3. Rockies winning game 2 of their playoff series in Philadelphia. All the Rockies had to do was win 2 games at home to eliminate the defending World Series champs after this big victory. That didn't happen, but after this game it sure looked like a possibility. The Rockies even making the playoffs was one of the year's biggest surprises.
4. Nuggets winning game 2 of their playoff series in LA. Similar story for the Nuggets. With this win the Nuggets took home court advantage away from the Lakers and just had to win their home games in the series to oust the Lakers. For a moment it looked like the Nuggets had a legitimate shot to win their first NBA title before the Lakers spoiled things (winning 2 of 3 games in Denver that series)
5. Brandon Stokely's miracle td catch vs Cincinnati. Josh McDaniel's Broncos regime gets off to a great start with an unlikely last second victory on the road in the opener.
6. Broncos beat San Diego on Monday Night Football to go 6-0. Even though the Broncos were 5-0 headed into this game, the win over the Chargers surprised me the most of any game this season. Especially when you consider what happened after this game (the Broncos winning only 2 of their next 10 while the Chargers went undefeated for the rest of their games)
7. Brandon Marshall's td vs Dallas. In a tight 10-10 game headed into the final minutes Brandon Marshall pulled off his most impressive play of the 2009 season, leaping high to catch Kyle Orton's pass, then weaving his way through Cowboy defenders for the winning touchdown.
8. Joe Sakic's retirement on Avs opening night. The classiest retirement ceremony I've ever seen as my favorite Avalanche player of all time, Joe Sakic, is honored on opening night. I loved how the Avs had Sakic standing alone outside the arena then followed him as he walked into the dressing room, seeing all the avs wearing his #19 jersey, and then onto the ice to the cheers of the sell out crowd. The Avs followed with an upset victory over the San Jose Sharks that night.
9. Broncos beat New England in overtime. Josh McDaniels beats his mentor Bill Belichick in another surprising early season victory for the Broncos.
10. Broncos beat the New York Giants on Thanksgiving night. In their first Thanksgiving home game in 46 years, the anniversary of my first ever Bronco home game, Denver beats the Giants easily in front of a national tv audience. For a moment it looked like Denver had recaptured its early season form.