Top sports teams from 2017
With the upcoming Winter Games in South Korea and the eagerly anticipated returns of Serena Williams and Tiger Woods to action, 2018 is already shaping up to be quite the year for individual accomplishments in sports. The past twelve months certainly had their share of solo spotlights - here's looking at you, Sergio Garcia and Sloane Stephens - but, for the most part, the year will forever stick with us because of its group efforts. There are the 10 that we'll neverÂ forget.
1. Houston Astros
Twenty years from now, people will still talk about AL MVP Jose Altuve's slight stature, Sports Illustrated's bold 2014 prediction and the fact that this team of relative nobodies came together to put a World Series smile on a city just trying to get back on its feet after an unspeakableÂ tragedy.
2. Clemson Tigers
With confident QB Deshaun Watson (420 passing yards, 3 TDs) at the wheel, these Tigers drove past perennial favorite Alabama Crimson Tide in an instant classic that not only brought Clemson its second national title ever but also sweet revenge from the 2015 game.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks
If this list only highlighted individual moments, diminutive Mississippi State guard Morgan William's buzzer beater vs. UConn in the Final Four would easily make the cut. But since we're talking teams, we have to mention an A'ja Wilson-led team (33-4) that stopped the Bulldogs in the finale without sinking a single three-point shot.
4. North Carolina Tar Heels
UNC came close to the promised land in '16 (damn you, Villanova!), but this Joel Berry III- and Kennedy Meeks-anchored group made sure history wouldn't repeat itself by carving through the bracket and besting Gonzaga in the championship.
5. Golden State Warriors
The Cleveland Cavaliers threw a king and all his paupers at the Warriors, but the four-headed monster of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant proved too lethal. The Dubs' 16-1 playoff mark is the finest in NBA postseason history.
6. New England Patriots
A seemingly annual guest on this tally, the '17 installment of the Patriots earned their spot by â€” okay, turn your heads now, Atlanta Falcons fans â€” thundering back from a 25-point deficit to win the first overtime Super Bowl.
7. Minnesota Lynx
The LA Sparks/Minnesota Lynx finals rematch certainly lived up to the hype. Sparks star Candace Parker and Minnesota ace Maya Moore traded haymakers across the five-game series, but with do-everything forward Sylvia Fowles breaking records (20 rebounds in a Finals game) and winning hardware (regular season and Finals MVP) in the fold, the Lynx simply had too much bite.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Nashville Predators, an eight-seed underdog just happy to be in the postseason, were a great story. But two-time Hart Trophy winner Sidney Crosby and the Pens had other ideas for how the NHL's final 2017 chapter would end, taking the Stanley Cup over the Preds in an exciting 4-2 series.
9. Vegas Golden Knights
As the first real professional team in Sin City, the Golden Knights didn't go into its debut NHL season expecting much. But by being a champion in unifying the city after the horrific October shooting (and actually having the best record in the Western Conference on December 31), the team has far exceeded expectations.
10. Toronto FC
Though the Atlanta United FC had the most buzz â€” the first-year team set a record for season attendance with 819,404 fans â€” the gifted Reds worked their way around a difficult playoff schedule to win its first MLS Cup against the defending champion SeattleÂ Sounders.