2004: A great year for sports


Jan. 24, 2005, midnight | By Adith Sekaran | 16 years ago

Last year in sports


Below is a review of every month in 2004 with one significant event that happened in the sports world.
January


  • The first month of the brand new 2004 started with college football bowl games as every year does. The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) has still not learned from the mistakes they made last year when there were two national champions. The University of Southern California Trojans won the Rose Bowl, while the Tigers of Louisiana State University won the other part of the National Championship.

  • Also, the National Football League (NFL) playoffs were continuing. Once again the hometown Redskins' season was over.

February

  • In February, the Super Bowl happened between the surprising Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots. The Carolina Panthers were the Cinderella story of the NFL last year under Coach John Fox. At the end, the Panthers relied on their rushing attack headed by Stephen Davis, their stingy defense, and a mistake free passing game. However, this was not enough to beat the Patriots and their kicker, Adam Vinatieri.

  • Yankees acquired one of the best players to play the game in Alex Rodriguez in an embarrassment to the Boston Red Sox organization.

March

  • March was college basketball month. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament is finally underway, with the 64 best teams competing to determine the ultimate winner. The Maryland Terrapins faced a disappointing loss to the Orange from Syracuse, and got the boot in the second round. This was a disappointing finish for a team that had won the Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) final against the Blue Devils of Duke.

  • Maryland was not the worst disappointment in the second round. Two number one seeds, the Stanford Cardinal and Kentucky Wildcats, lost in the second round to eight and nine seeds. One of the number two seeds, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, also lost in the second round. By the end of March, the tournament had advanced to the Elite Eight.

April

  • While March Madness was officially over, the college basketball season was not. The Final Four and the championship games remained. The two remaining games were Oklahoma State versus Georgia Tech and Duke versus Connecticut. Both games went down to the wire. Connecticut beat the Blue Devils by one point, while Georgia Tech beat the Cowboys of Oklahoma State by two.

  • In other news, the NFL draft was also in April. The San Diego Chargers, owners of the first pick, worked out a last minute trade with the New York Giants. The Giants acquired quarterback Eli Manning for another quarterback, Phillip Rivers, the fourth pick.
  • The Redskins drafted the hard-hitting safety Sean Taylor out of the University of Miami. Taylor excelled on the field, laying monstrous hits on opposing wide receivers, tight ends, quarterbacks, and running backs.

  • May

    • Not much typically happens in sports during the month of May. The baseball season was in the early stages, after starting in March.

  • Basketball season was nearing the end as the postseason is going on. The league awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy to Kevin Garnett, after his stellar season, in which he averaged 24 points and 14 rebounds.

  • June

    • The National Basketball Association (NBA) season was nearing another conclusion. The Los Angeles Lakers were back in the finals, after a one-year intermission. Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and company would take on the Detroit Pistons. For years, the notion in the league was that the east was the least. However, this finals series showed the fans that the East could win the trophy.

  • The Detroit Pistons were made a real contender by their trade for Rasheed Wallace who gave them a player with the ability to score and defend, and the size to match up with the West. The Pistons stressed defense and frustrated the Lakers for five games, beating the Lakers dynasty.

  • July

    • After an extremely difficult season for the Los Angeles Lakers, changes were bound to occur. Bryant, who had been in a rape trial all year, had become very uncooperative with the coach, Phil Jackson, and his fellow players. O'Neal and Bryant had a decent working relationship on the court, but reportedly disliked each other off the court.

  • Bryant had officially become a free agent and wanted the Lakers to show him their commitment to him over the rest of the team. The problem with the 2003-2004 Lakers team was that too many egos couldn't exist on one team. Bryant wanted O'Neal and Jackson out of town to even consider resigning with the Lakers. Thus, the Lakers management made a blockbuster trade, dealing O'Neal for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant, and a future first round pick. Jackson retired to take a break from coaching, leaving him still tied with Red Auerbach's record of nine championships.

  • August

    • Another basketball superstar was traded in August, making the 2004 off-season one filled with deals. Superstar Tracy McGrady had become disgruntled with the Orlando Magic and desperately wanted to win. The Magic understood the disastrous effect of having an unhappy superstar on the team and were looking to trade him.

  • The Houston Rockets wanted the NBA scoring champion, McGrady, because they believed he would be the missing piece for a championship run. They also needed to get rid of problematic Steve Francis, who was not thriving in Coach Jeff Van Gundy's system. The Rockets got Tracy McGrady for Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley.

  • September

    • The highly anticipated NFL season was beginning. The Redskins were ready to see what success Joe Gibbs would bring compared to his predecessor, Steve Spurrier. Gibbs named Mark Brunell the starting quarterback, which we would all see was a major mistake. Redskins fans also wanted to see their new running back, Clinton Portis and their highly acclaimed rookie, Sean Taylor.

  • Another major storyline in the NFL was the Philadelphia Eagles with the addition of Terrell Owens. The Eagles team suffered from not advancing to the Superbowl, while getting to the National Football Conference (NFC) championship game, for the last three years. Owens was expected to be the offensive threat that they have missed for years.

  • October

    • The time of the year when there is a nip in the air, the leaves falling, and talk about baseball. The baseball postseason began with the New York Yankees, as the favorites, once again. In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals looked solid, posting the best record in baseball during the regular season.

  • In the World Series, the Cardinals could not match up to the red hot Red Sox. The Red Sox dominated the Yankees in their last four games, after losing the first three. Boston extended their playoff win streak to eight games, sweeping Saint Louis. 2004 will be forever remembered in history because the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino and they recovered from a three game deficit. This was probably the event that will live the longest past 2004.

  • November

    • The worst brawl in basketball history occurred on November 19th at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The hometown Detroit Pistons hosted the Indiana Pacers in what was expected to be a dogfight by the two division rivals. However, the fans got a fight in a literal sense. The Pacers were running away with the game and the game was actually a blowout. However, one key played triggered a fight and thus, this game to be inked down in history.

  • All said and done, the league, headed by Commissioner David Stern, handed out very severe punishments. Artest was suspended for the rest of the season, all 73 games, without pay. Meanwhile, Wallace got six games for initiating the five-minute fracas. Anthony Johnson, Jermaine O'Neal, and Stephen Jackson, all of the Pacers, got five, 25, and 30 games, respectively.

  • December

    • Surprisingly, the Washington Wizards played well consistently for over a month. They are one of the premier teams in the Eastern Conference and have one of the best backcourts in the league. The key ingredient added to this team over the off-season was Antawn Jamison. Jamison was averaging nearly 22 points and nine rebounds a game, and did not even need to be the sole high scorer on the team. Guards Larry Hughes and Gilbert Arenas can both score 20 points a night and help ease the load on Jamison.

  • The baseball off-season also picked up over the month of December. The Yankees, looking to avenge their loss in the postseason, went on a shopping spree to acquire pitchers Carl Pavano, Randy Johnson, and Jarrett Wright.
  • Another important off-season move was Pedro Martinez leaving the Red Sox for the New York Mets, who offered a longer contract and more money than Boston.


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    Adith Sekaran. Adith Sekaran is finally a senior at Blair. Adith is a man who is a big time sports fan and can spend any day to its' entirety watching sports or ESPN. Football season is his favorite, which he spends cheering on his ‘Skins to no … More »

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