2007 Sports: A Historic NFL Season & A Cinderella Super Bowl
This article offers a snapshot of 2007 sports, a year that saw a historic NFL season, one that included a perfect regular season for one team, and a magical postseason ride for another.
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The NFL had one of its historic seasons in 2007, and it looked virtually certain that a celebration of the New England Patriots was going to be the top story. The Patriots completed the first unbeaten regular season since the league went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. They won tough games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers in the AFC playoffs. All that stood in the Pats’ way of glory was the New York Giants.
New York had gotten off to a rocky start, and by playoff standards, was a mediocre down the stretch, going 4-4 for the final eight games. But a six-game win streak in between got them to ten wins and a playoff berth. And a spirited 38-35 loss to the Patriots in the final game of the regular season at least gave New York hope they could compete.
The Giants’ playoff run was truly remarkable. They beat the #1 seed in the NFC, the division rival Dallas Cowboys. New York then went to Green Bay and on a freezing cold day, beat the Packers in overtime for the NFC Championship and ended the Green Bay career of future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. Finally, the Giants went to Phoenix and upset the Patriots 17-14 in one of the most memorable Super Bowls every played. It was the franchise’s third Super Bowl title and easily it’s most improbable.
Read more about the 2007 New York Giants.
When you hear the word “dynasty”, you usually think of a team that has at least won consecutive championships. That’s a fair enough standard, but over the last decade-plus, the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA and the Boston Red Sox in MLB have developed different kinds of dynasties. Each has won several titles, while none have been back-to-back, the timeframe over which they occur, makes the claim of an “organizational dynasty” possible.
Each franchise has had one signature player around whom success has been built. The one common thread of the Spurs’ four NBA titles is Tim Duncan. The one common player in three World Series championships for the Red Sox is David Ortiz. 2007 was the year the Red Sox and Spurs crossed each other’s paths. It was the second of Boston’s three Series victories from 2004-2013, and it was the last of San Antonio’s four crowns over a period that began in 1999.
Read more about the 2007 Boston Red Sox
Read more about the 2007 San Antonio Spurs
The runner-ups to the Sox and Spurs were notable in their own right. The Colorado Rockies might not have won the Series, but they had an epic run to the playoffs that included winning 12 of their final 13 regular season games. Then the Rockies won an extra-inning tiebreaker game against the San Diego Padres to get into the postseason.
Colorado’s comeback was one part of a dramatic September in the National League. The Philadelphia Phillies came from seven games back of the New York Mets on September 12 to win the NL East. The Rockies and Phils were on a collision course with each other and met in the Division Series of the National League playoffs.
It was Colorado’s momentum that couldn’t be stopped—they swept Philadelphia three straight, and then beat Arizona four straight to win the National League Championship Series. Not until a long layoff preceded their battle with Boston, did Colorado’s freight train finally stop.
The 2003 NBA draft had seen the Cleveland Cavaliers select homegrown Akron native LeBron James straight out of high school with the first overall pick. James was a consensus choice, and after gradual improvement his first four years in the league, both he and the team took it to a new level in 2007.
Cleveland reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time with LeBron, although they were underdogs to the favored Detroit Pistons, a team making its fourth straight appearance in the conference finals and with the core of a team that had won the 2004 NBA title.
After losing two games in Detroit, the Cavs bounced back to win two at home. Then LeBron had the first magical postseason moment of a career that would soon have several more. He scored his team’s final twenty-four points in Game 5 and finished with 48 overall. LeBron’s “48 Special” turned the series in Cleveland’s favor and they went to reach the NBA Finals against San Antonio before coming up short.
LeBron & the Cavaliers was one part of what was an uncharacteristically good year for the sports fans of Cleveland. The Indians reached the American League Championship Series and the Browns won 10 games. Read more about 2007 Cleveland sports, with a special focus on LeBron’s Cavs.
The SEC ruled the roost in college sports, but it was basketball, rather than football, that produced a real dynasty. The Florida Gators won their second consecutive NCAA Tournament and it concluded a dynamic run for Florida sports in general—their consecutive national championships in hoops were sandwiched around another in football in 2006.
The University of Florida essentially won three straight titles in college athletics’ most popular sports. Read more about the entire run of the Florida sports in 2006-07, including the basketball team’s repeat drive.
LSU won the 2007 college football national championship, but it was anything but ordinary. The Tigers had lost a triple-overtime game to Kentucky in October. That loss itself was manageable and the team worked its way back into position to play in the BCS National Championship Game. But when LSU lost a second game, this time on Black Friday to Darren McFadden’s Arkansas team, it looked all but over.
The 2007 college football season was a wild ride throughout and the end of the regular season was no different. Two upstarts, West Virginia and Missouri, were poised to be 1-2 in the final polls. But Missouri, somewhat predictably, fell to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game. More shocking was West Virginia losing at home to a Pitt team that had a losing record.
Consequently, LSU and Ohio State—two teams that had both lost on November 10 or later—ended up meeting in New Orleans for the national championship. The drama ended there—LSU blew out Ohio State 38-24. It was the Tigers’ second national title in five years, and it was the second straight year the Buckeyes were embarrassed by an SEC school in the BCS National Championship Game.
The year in hockey didn’t provide any magical moments—of the 15 postseason series, only one went the full seven games. But it did provide a breakthrough—the region of Southern California, an area understandably not noted for its hockey, had never won a Stanley Cup, even with two franchises, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings. 2007 changed all that, as Anaheim capped off a strong regular season with a run to the Cup.
Read more about the 2007 Anaheim Mighty Ducks.