After living through the newly crowned New England Patriots celebration and hangovers (in Gronk’s case especially) as champions, one might ask where the Super Bowl win stacks up in the incredible list of current champions’ performances in their respective championship games.
Before I get to my power rankings of the best sports championships of the year, I want to outline that this isn’t based off a traditional Gregorian calendar. It’s simply based off the most recent champions.
The criteria that will be used as the tape measure for this competition of champions is based on a team’s overall score on a 30 point scale which I created.
The scale works as a combination of factors that add up to a team’s score out of 30. The factors are shock value (1-5 points), historical importance (1-5), quality of game (1-5), one memorable play (1-5), game or series MVP rating (1-5, 1 bonus point for college players), whether or not it was an upset (automatic 2 points) and a bonus of one point for playing in a series rather than single-game events.
5. The Cubs’ win over the Indians in the World Series
Overall score: 17 (one bonus point for playing in a series.)
While this was one of the most incredible series in MLB history, there were still boring parts unless you’re a fan of one of the teams (a much greater issue for baseball as a whole.) The Chicago Cubs came back from being down three games to one to beat the Cleveland Indians, but the Cubs didn’t win on a walk-off or one single play.
Shock value: 3/5.
The Cubs, however, did snap the curse of the Billy Goat and a 108-year-old championship drought. Historical importance: 5/5.
Throughout the entire seven-game series, only three games were decided by one run, two of which were wins from the Indians.
Quality of game(s): 2/5.
As far as one key play that changed the game, the biggest play of this series in my opinion was Dexter Fowler’s leadoff home run to open game seven and set the tone.
One key play: 3/5.
Ben Zobrist, the World Series MVP, had 10 hits and a batting average of .357 during the series.
MVP rating: 3/5.
4. The Clemson Tigers’ upset victory over The Alabama Crimson Tide
Overall score: 19 (two bonus points for the upset victory.)
Deshaun Watson and the Tigers came into the 2017 NCAA Football National Championship on a mission after falling to the very same Crimson Tide just one year earlier in the 2016 NCAA Football National Championship. It all came down to the final possession for the Tigers. Watson drove the length of the field and capped it off with a two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left on the clock to beat Alabama 35-31.
Shock value: 4/5.
As far as historical importance, it’s only college sports. Players can only play a maximum of four years (none of the good ones do), meaning that the only legacy that is truly on the line is the coaches. Historical importance: 3/5.
Whenever a game comes down to a final possession and both teams scored into the thirties, the quality of the game isn’t in question. This game is no different.
Overall game quality: 3/5.
Unlike the Cubs win, there was clearly one most important play of this game. Watson’s game-winning touchdown pass to Renfrow takes the cake.
One key moment: 4/5.
The 2017 NCAA Football National Championship MVP was none other than Watson. He racked up 420 yards and three touchdowns.
MVP rating: 3/5.
3. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ comeback victory over the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA Finals
Overall score: 21 (three bonus points for the upset victory, and playing in a series.)
Just one year after losing in the Finals to the Warriors in six games, the Cavs were back with vengeance. The Warriors, coming off of the best regular season ever, wins-wise, came out of the gates hot, and they took the lead three games to one. LeBron James led the Cavs comeback win to become the first team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit.
Shock value: 4/5.
This championship was the third for LeBron James, and not to mention, it came over one of the most exciting teams to ever take the court, the Warriors.
Historical importance: 4/5.
In the entire seven game series, no game’s final score was within 10 points, except the grand finale of game seven.
Overall quality of games: 2/5.
There are moments in everyone life where they remember exactly where they were when it happened. LeBron’s play, “The Block,” is one of those moments.
One key moment: 4/5.
No surprise. LeBron James was named the Finals MVP, making LeBron the finals MVP of in each championship he won. LeBron’s legacy is continuing to blossom as he ages, which is unreal in itself.
MVP rating: 4/5.
2. The Patriots’ impeccable comeback victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI
Overall score: 22 (no bonus points.)
All recency bias aside, the New England Patriots comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, was absolutely nuts. The Falcons went to the locker room at halftime leading 21-3 and were dominating the Patriots in every aspect of the game. Then somehow, those Bill Belichick lead Patriots came out at half and flipped the script on the Falcons. The Patriots posted 19 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game and force overtime. (It was the first ever overtime in Super Bowl history.) So basically, the outcome of Super Bowl LI came down to a coin flip, and tails never fails, right? Wrong. The Patriots’ Matthew Slater called heads, and the Patriots drove the distance of the field and won the Super Bowl.
Shock value: 4/5.
Historically, the Patriots faced the largest deficit in Super Bowl history and came back to force the first overtime in history, which they won. Making their head coach Bill Belichick the coach with the most Super Bowl victories in history, and their quarter back Tom Brady the QB with the most Super Bowl victories in history.
Historical importance 5/5.
All the elements listed above compiled to make perhaps the highest-quality football there has been in recent history. It shows exactly how important coaching is in the professional ranks. The Patriots were better coached, they came out at the half, made adjustments and won the game.
Overall quality of the game: 5/5.
With the overall greatness of this game in mind, there wasn’t one moment that will be remembered for eternity. There could have been, though Bill Belichick passed on the opportunity to flash his football smarts and callthe free kick rule into effect. That didn’t happen though, and the most critical point of this game was an overtime coin flip. It’s time to change the overtime rules, NFL.
One key moment: 3/5.
Once again, to no one’s surprise, Tom Brady was named the MVP of the Super Bowl. Brady passed for 466 yards on 43 completions At this point, his middle name might as well be MVP. We are watching the greatest to ever play the position whenever Brady takes a snap. Let that sink in.
MVP ratings: 5/5.
1. The Villanova Wildcat’s buzzer beater victory over the University of North Carolina Tarheels
Overall score: 23 (two points for the upset victory.)
The No. 1 overall championship performance out of all the current kings of the castle, is none other than the 2016 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball National Champions, Villanova. If you don’t remember North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hitting perhaps the most clutch three point shot ever to tie the Championship just to be outdone byNova’s Kris Jenkins own buzzer beating game winner of a shot, you are not a sports fan, plain and simple. I had to go back (thanks, DVR) and rewatch this over 10 times after it happened live, because the Paige-Jenkins exchange just turned my brain to mush.
Shock value: 6/5.
Historically this game didn’t mean much. Villanova’s win was their second in school history and the first for head coach Jay Wright. Most of the history was on the UNC side, which is a much more storied program.
Historical importance: 3/5.
This game, however, was a prize fight and probably one of the best College basketball games ever. The first half finished with UNC controlling the tempo and holding a five-point lead. Then came Nova and their 43-point second half.
Quality of game: 5/5.
Kris Jenkins’ shot to win the game doesn’t need further explanation. It was unbelievable.
One key moment: 5/5.
The 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player was Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono, or that guy who set up Kris Jenkins shot. While Jenkins’ shot is what will be remembered, Arcidiacono has a much better overall tournament and deserved the MOP.
MVP (MOP) rating: 2/5.
In conclusion, this year as sports fans, we have been absolutely spoiled. I mean, are you kidding me? Two of them were buzzer beaters, two were teams coming back from trailing 3-1 and one was the first ever overtime in Super Bowl history. There will probably never be another stretch like this in sports. At least, I can’t imagine there being one. Hopefully I’m wrong.