Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our Top-15 Stories of 2015

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Ok, so I know it's very cliche to use the "Top (insert number of current year) Stories of the Year" format, but I like it, and it's a fun way to look back.

So if you don't want to re-live our top writing and the best sports stories of the year, stop reading now. But, for those of you that want to look back at the biggest moments of 2015, continue after the jump.

Also note that these are not "ranked," they're just in reverse-chronological order. So, No. 15 is from earlier this month and No. 1 is from January. Happy New Year everyone!

15. Our First Podcast!

Our first (and thus far, only) episode of "The Overthought Podcast" focused on Star Wars as a cultural phenomenon. I'd like the think it served as the perfect primer for "The Force Awakens," but maybe I'm a bit biased.

Anyways, if you've ever wanted to delve way too deep into a galaxy far, far away, this is the podcast for you.

Check it out here.

14. The History of El Clasico

Justin Sherman, our resident soccer expert, brought us this outstanding long-form piece on the social, economic and cultural factors that have all shaped Spanish soccer's biggest rivalry.

While Real Madrid and Barcelona certainly hate each other on the pitch, there's so much more about the history of the Iberian Peninsula that makes this one of the greatest, and most emotionally fueled rivalries in all of sports.

Read this epic piece here.

13. The Wrong Way to Protest

Following several racially fueled incidents at the University of Missouri, the football team chose to go on strike and the university president eventually resigned. That's about where things started to go wrong, as students and faculty members began camping at the school and asking for a "safe space," free of journalists and other outsiders.

Some journalism professors even threatened to get physical with student journalists, interfering with their potentially career-altering work, and violating the 1st Amendment in the process.

Read more about one Missouri professor who clearly doesn't understand journalism, and wounded her students' movement, here.

12. The Wacky Ride of the GOP

I wrote several "Power Rankings" pieces following GOP Primary debates, and this one has links to most of them. Whether it was the rise of Donal Trump and Ben Carson, or the death of facts and rational discourse, this race had it all in 2015.

Read more about this crazy field here.

11. Jeremy's Best- and/or Worst-Case NBA Preview

Will your team exceed expectations and made a deep postseason run, or will none of the pieces fit together, leading to crushing disappointment? Jeremy wasn't sure, but he had ideas about how each of those scenarios would play out.

Read the best and worst case scenarios for your favorite NBA team here, while the season is still young. 

10. The Appropriate Time to Run This Play

Dear God, what was Indianapolis thinking? Clearly, you should never run this awful trick play they tried to pull of against the Patriots.

Or should you?…

I lay out a few instances where this swinging-gate disaster might work, here.

9. Beware the Price of Winning, Cubs Fans

Legendary Boston sportscaster Bob Lobel was very worried about Cubs fans back in October. He was concerned that their team might actually win the World Series, and then everything would change, much like it has for Boston Red Sox fans.

Of course, Lobel and Chicago had nothing to worry about, as the Cubs once again came up short of their ultimate goal, making it 107 years and counting without a championship.

Read Bob's now unnecessary concerns here.

8. The True Victims of "DeflateGate"

Sure, Tom Brady, the Patriots and sanity were all victims in the NFL's seemingly pointless PSI witch hunt, but who really got the short end of the stick?

Read here to find out.

7. Serena and the Djoker Make History at Wimbledon

Tennis correspondent Andy Dougherty recaps a historic Wimbledon tournament that saw Serena Williams capture her fourth straight Grand Slam championship, and men's No. 1 Novak Djokovic win his ninth career major title overall.

Read more about the biggest tennis tournament of the year here.

6. Japan vs America in Things Other than Soccer

The US Women's National soccer team captured the 2015 Women's World Cup, but not before I broke down the USA vs Japan off the pitch.

Read more about how America stacks up against Japan, and several other former soccer opponents, here.

5. Mayweather-Pacquiao: Better Late Than Never

It finally happened, though it wasn't quite the exciting fight we had all hoped for. Either way, boxing correspondent Warren Rodriguez broke down Floyd "Money" Mayweather's historic showdown with Manny Pacquiao from every angle.

Read more about the historic bout here.

4. Ranking the NCAA Tournament Field by "Likability"

From national power houses you love to hate, to buzzer-beating underdogs, we ranked all 68 teams in the NCAA men's basketball tournament from most hateable to most likable.

Find out why I don't hate Duke that much, here.

3. The Greatest Quarterback Careers in NFL History

After Tom Brady captured his record-tying fourth Super Bowl win in February, many began to say he was the greatest of all time. While the title of "best ever" is subjective and constantly up for debate, the distinction of "best career" is a bit more cut and dry.

I take a look at the accomplishments of the best quarterbacks in football history, and offer my Top-10 careers here.

2. Is the Big Ten "Back?"

After Ohio State captured the inaugural College Football Playoff last January, many declared that the Big Ten was "back" as a football power. But, was that really true, and was the Big Ten ever the juggernaut old Midwesterners make it out to be?

I dig into the storied history of the conference and tell you why the supposed "Golden Age" of Big Ten football is a myth.

Read more here.

1. Remembering Stuart Scott

Finally, we close this list as we opened 2015- On a somber note. Stuart Scott, one of the true legends and innovators of sports media, died January 4th after a seven-year battle with cancer.

Read more about Scott's incredible life and legacy here.

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