As we get closer to the end of 2016, we being to reminisce about what the last year has brought us. For our local Colorado sports teams, it was a big year.
Was it successful all around for our Colorado sports teams? With all due respect to the Avalanches, Rockies, and Nuggets, the year in sports was carried by our beloved Denver Broncos along with amateur and high school teams in generating the most buzz.
However, things could be a lot worse. Even though the city of Cleveland had the Cavaliers win the NBA championship and the Indians make it to the World Series, I think all of that is offset by how bad the Browns are each season.
And imagine if you lived anywhere in the state of Alaska? What do they have to cheer for sports on a daily basis?
All in all, it was an exciting year for all of us in Northern Colorado. But what stories stand out above the rest? Here are five sports stories that we think lead the way when it comes to being the epitome of success, or something that brought them to the front of the pack.
Tell us below what your biggest sports story was of 2016, and we'll cover that in a future story as we kick off the new year.
This, far and away, was the biggest sports story of the year for the entire state...not just Northern Colorado. To see the Broncos defense dominate the rest of the NFL like they did last season was truly an amazing sight to see. And for the entire Broncos team to overcome the switch from Peyton Manning to Brock Osweiler, and then back to Manning, is a true example of how together the entire team was.
Can the Broncos do it again this year? It looks like the chances of that keep on getting slimmer each week. But for that weekend in February, our eyes were all glued on the men in orange carrying the state of Colorado to victory.
Peyton Manning spent close to 80% of his career in Indianapolis, but for some reason it feels like he has always been a Bronco. That is the mark he left on the city of Denver, and on the state of Colorado. He brought a renewed sense of success to a city that had gone through the Josh McDaniels and Tim Tebow years, but still had faith in the team. As soon as Peyton walked through that locker room door, we knew the tide was changing and we were well on our way back to success.
Was the 2015-2016 season one of his best? Definitely was far from being memorable for the star quarterback. But, I think many of us were still hoping he could give it one more year in Denver, and have the chance to carry us back to the big game.
Trevor Siemian has proven that he is capable of leading a team, but he will never be Peyton Manning. And I don't think we will ever see another one in our lifetime.
We all know the new stadium that will be on the Colorado State University will be stunning and will bring the football team to a state of the art facility. However, there is something about Hughes Stadium that had the feel which would make you feel like a great football game was going to be played that day. Yes, the stadium was being passed by many new facilities throughout college football. But there was something unique about Hughes, that the new stadium just won't be able to take the place of.
No announcement has been made yet of what will take the place of Hughes Stadium, if anything.
The defending state champions may have been knocked out of the playoffs by Broomfield back in November, but that doesn't change anything about how much fun the Windsor High School football team was to watch in 2016. In my mind, there is nothing that beats high school sports because these kids are out there to play every single day simply because they LOVE the feel of the game. Players graduate, and they go onto bigger things. But the past two years of Windsor High School football will leave a mark on the entire high school athletic landscape that every school could look up to.
Kudos to Windsor head coach Skylar Brower for developing such a great team, and congratulations to the students for bringing the entire community into their success.
The Colorado Crush of the Indoor Football League have been playing their home games in Loveland for many years, and the team had a "shot in the arm" this fall when it was announced that they had new owners who were driving the team into a different direction. They'll still be playing at the Budweiser Events Center, but the fans will be playing an important role on everything the team does. From voting for the new coach (Jose Jefferson was selected) to having a future role in what plays are being called during the game. The new ownership group is called "Fanchise", and is starting an excitement about the team that hasn't been seen in the many years they have been in town.
Plus, former Broncos great Al Wilson is part of the team leading the charge for the Crush. So that means great things have to be on the horizon.