This past year gave us dozens of memorable memories as the best teams across all sports put together phenomenal seasons. A collection of TheGP’s top writers and editors took a hard look at the best sports teams of 2011 and weigh in with why each of them are deserving to be named the greatest of the year.
The San Francisco 49ers have emerged from a near-decade of miserable mediocrity to become one of the top teams int he NFL. Without the likes of legendary names like Montana, Rice and Young, this new group of 49ers has come together to rebuild the quality and legacy of football in the Bay Area that will hopefully peak with another Super Bowl championship.
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has been spending like a drunken sailor this offseason, trying to improve his team. However, it hasn’t always been so. After years of failed money management with the Montreal Expos, will this new era for the Marlins pay off any differently?
The Washington Nationals have a dream of a prospect in Bryce Harper, drafting him first-overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. While Harper’s status as a future All-Star seems little in doubt, the Nationals should still be prepared to begin the 2012 season without his services. Harlan Ambrose explains why.
Carolina Hurricanes prospect Zac Dalpe made his NHL debut last season, scoring an assist in his first game. Since then, he’s battled other top prospects and hopes to one day become a stalwart member of the Hurricanes’ roster, but only if he can get over the hump that is the AHL.
John Tavares was the first-overall selection of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Since his arrival, he’s largely gone unnoticed by anybody not adorning NY Islanders gear. Why has Tavares been so overlooked compared to the likes of other first-overalls like Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos and even Nugent-Hopkins?
The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts both lost key members to their offenses this season. However, how each responded to adversity has differed dramatically. Houston found solace in backup QB Matt Leinart while Indianapolis has fallen to last place in the NFL.
The New Jersey Devils haven’t had the year they’ve wanted, primarily due to team scoring stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise failing to find the net with regularity. Meanwhile, rookies Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson are proving to be the next wave of New Jersey elite.
The brothers Ryan – Rex and Rob – are two of the most boisterous coaches in the NFL. Their similar personalities and “us versus them” philosophies have taken their careers in very different directions, and it’s those differences that ultimately define each Ryan as his own man.
Patrik Elias is on the cusp of setting a franchise record for goals scored with the New Jersey Devils. Elias is often overlooked due to some of the star power from other members of his team, but he’s put together a career that just may be worthy of the Hall of Fame.