I think I can speak for the collective DFW sports scene when I wish a big ‘ol ‘good-bye and good riddance’ to 2017. Hope the proverbial door didn’t smack you on the ass too hard on your way outta here! It was, after all, a year with no Rangers playoff baseball, no Stars playoff hockey and no Mavs playoff basketball – no post-season Beltre on-his-knee homers, no Stanley Cup Seguin one-timers and no playoff Dirk one-footed fadeaways. Dak and the Silver Star Gang did manage to give us one single game of post-season excitement last January at AT&T Stadium, but even that result was heartbreaking, a 34–31 loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
But more than that one playoff loss, 2017 will be remembered by Cowboys Nation as 1) the year of the never seeming to end, on-again, off-again, Zeke suspension drama, and 2) Jerry’s on-going battle with Roger Goodell. It was a Cowboys’ season which was way more about Jerry, Jerry and Jerry than the product on the field, which of course was another great disappointment after such high pre-season hopes were dashed to one more year of watching the playoffs from afar. Jerry, however, still got his Hall of Fame induction, and the party to end all parties that accompanied it.
The Rangers didn’t fare any better then their nextdoor neighbors did, and finished the 2017 season a jaw-dropping 28 games behind their divisional and in-state rival Astros, who then added salt to the wound by knocking off the Dodgers in the World Series to claim their first ever Championship, Nolan Ryan grinning and watching along the way. The off-season added an additional groin kick to Rangers’ fans when Japan’s 23-year-old two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani announced in December he would be joining Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels (another division foe), shunning the Rangers who many thought were the odds-on favorite to land him.
So what about inside the AAC? Well, the Stars finished their 2016-2017 season with a 34-37-11 record, good for sixth place in their seven team division, and missed the playoffs just a year after finishing with the best record in the entire Western Conference. The free-fall cost Lindy Ruff his job and opened the door for old friend Ken Hitchcock to return.
For the Mavericks you have to go all the way back to 1998-99’s strike shortened season to find a worse winning percentage than last year’s .402. The bright side is it did allow Donnie and Mark to land ‘super-star-in-the-making’ Dennis Smith Jr. with the 9th pick overall, although Smith will be hard-pressed to lead the Mavs back to the mountain top without significant reinforcements, as their current 13-27 record shows (a .307 winning percentage).
The local college front wasn’t immune to 2017 woes either, as SMU’s head coach Chad Morris split to the the University of Arkansas and the all mighty SEC, taking with him any and all momentum he had built on the Hilltop. Morris had inherited an 1-11 squad left to him by June Jones and Tom Morris, went 2-10 in his first season (2015), 5-7 in 2016, and 7-6 in 2017. It’s now up to Sonny Dykes to see if he can keep the Mustangs headed in the right direction.
For those locals who cheer for the red, white and blue (and who doesn’t?), the U.S. men’s national soccer team saw a seven tournament, 24-year streak of consecutive World Cup berths snapped, and done in heartbreaking fashion. Many called what happened that fateful October day “the worst loss in the history of U.S. men’s soccer” – and it’s easy to see why. To qualify for the 2018 World Cup all they had to do was win or tie against Trinidad and Tobago, a team that had nothing to play for but pride, and had managed only one win in nine matches in the final qualifying group. Then, even if somehow the U.S. lost, Honduras and Panama would both need victories over the top two teams in the group, Mexico and Costa Rica, to complete the elimination. Well the perfect storm happened, and we won’t be watching our men play for the Cup this summer in Russia.
2017 also saw the passing of such sports luminaries as Frank Deford, Y.A. Tittle, Jim Bunning, Roy Halladay and the great, great Dick Enberg. And on a personal note, unrelated to sports in any fashion, we lost a very good man who’s courageous fight finally ended. I miss you Jerry – Happy Trails.
Welcome 2018, its about time you got here.