DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) — Sports years are a lot like dog years, so let me apologize now for trying to cram a half decade of local sports moments, storylines and games into a list of 25.
105.3 The FAN turns five today, and even though it seems like yesterday that the entire Metroplex heard college football fight songs coming from their speakers, the local teams and the personalities that go along with them have created a ton of highlights and memories we will never forget.
I started working at the FAN about a year after Ben and Skin spoke the first words on the new 105.3 format, but, much like you FAN FANS, I lived all the stuff that has happened here in the boundaries of DFW in the past 5 years…that kind of heartbreak, hatred, excitement and celebration never goes away.
I’m sure I probably missed some stuff, because I’ve slept since 2008 and my memory is about as good as the weather during Super Bowl 45. You should also note, I’m not a geography moron, but with the number of alum and fans of colleges here in DFW, major colleges across Texas are included in this list.
Enjoy, discuss…see you at our 10th birthday.
25. (2010) Ron Washington tests positive for cocaine
Fittingly while in Surprise, Ron Washington surprised his team and the baseball world by admitting to testing positive for marijuana during a 2009 drug test. Wash’s magical World Series runs with the Rangers almost didn’t happen after the team nearly fired him, but the club held on to him in light of Wash alerting the Commissioner’s Office that he would probably fail the test before the results came in.
24. (2009) Cowboys practice bubble at Valley Ranch collapses
A microburst toppled the Cowboys practice bubble injuring 12 people during a minicamp for undrafted rookies. Scouting assistant Rich Behm was paralyzed from the waist down and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis sustained a fracture to one of his cervical vertebrae.
23. (2011) Mike Modano signs one-day contract with Stars, retires from NHL after 21 years
Mikey Mo fought off tears to say goodbye to the team he played 20 years with. The all-time leader in almost every offensive category signed a ceremonial $999,999 dollar contract to retire with Dallas. You’ll see number 9 in the rafters soon…
22. (2013) Rangers lose play-in game, Nolan Ryan retires/resigns from duties with club
You guys might remember this from 2 months ago. After reeling off seven straight wins against the Angels and Astros, the Rangers (stay with me) played a play-in game, to get to the fake wildcard game (it’s fake, trust me) to get to the real playoffs. Unfortunately, David Price and the mighty Rays were too much for Martin Perez and company, and for the second year in a row, the Rangers were out before it even started.
Not long after, whether it was retiring or resigning, Nolan Ryan left his position as Rangers CEO a “living legend” after helping the team dig out of the dumpster. The divide and power struggle between Ryan and JD presumably had a part in the end of Nolan’s run with the club. His meat products are still around if you’re into that sort of thing.
21. (2012) Dez Bryant arrested for alleged assault on his mother
Dez was arrested for misdemeanor domestic assault after he reportedly “grabbed mother by her shirt and hair and hit her in the face with ball cap.” He was later dismissed of the charges after his mother’s affidavit of non-prosecution.
20. (2011) Shannon Stone dies from injuries sustained after falling over outfield wall at the ballpark
Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter, died at the hospital not long after he fell 20 feet over the left field wall to the concrete below, while trying to catch a ball tossed to him by Josh Hamilton. A statue of him and his 6-year-old son Cooper was unveiled at the ballpark last April.
19. (2008) Cowboys lose 44-6 to Eagles in season finale, miss playoffs
With a playoff spot on the line, the Cowboys were dump-trucked by Donovan McNabb and a pair of 2nd half turnovers that turned into Philly touchdowns.
Romo reportedly collapsed in the show post game and uttered the legendary phrase “if this is the worst thing that ever happens to me, then I’ll have lived a pretty good life.” At least T.O. had a good game.
18. (2012, 2013) Mavericks miss out on “big fish” free agents Deron Williams and Dwight Howard
The “dry powder” that Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson saved to reel in one of the “big fish” went to waste in back-to-back summers as hometown kid Deron Williams chose to return to the Nets and Dwight Howard picked the Rockets over the likes of the Mavericks and Lakers. Swinging and missing on the superstars caused the Mavericks to go for one year deals on mid-level players. Don’t worry, Lebron will come to Dallas this time around…
17. (2012) College Realignment- A&M and UT end rivalry, Aggies to the SEC, TCU & WV to the Big 12
The Big 12 and in-state rivalries changed forever when A&M and Missouri left the conference for the SEC. ESPN’s Longhorn Network and a little brother complex were reportedly at the center of the Aggies desire to leave their Texas step brothers and head to the SEC. The two vacant spots allowed West Virginia to bail on the disbanding Big East and TCU to jump ship from the Mountain West to finalize the new 10-team Big 12. SMU moved to a conference that I’m still not sure they know the name of.
16. (2010) Ryan and Greenberg team up to outbid Cuban and others for Rangers ownership
Nolan and Chuck dropped a bid of $593 million ($385 million in cash) to purchase the Rangers out of bankruptcy following the failed tenure of Tom Hicks (thanks butthead). The 10-hour day in court ended with their bid beating out the team of Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane (now the Astros owner). Oh yeah, two guys named Ray and Bob were in there too.
15. (2010) Cowboys move up in first round to draft Dez Bryant
Despite missing an entire season at Oklahoma State (thanks Deion), the Cowboys moved up 3 spots in the first round to select Bryant at pick 24. Bryant was slated as a top five talent, but slid in the draft due to red flags. He racked up 561 yards and six touchdowns in his rookie year. He’s pretty good at football, so I think a small golf clap is in order for Jerry for that one…
14. (2013) Tony Romo signs $108 million deal, $55 million guaranteed
With wife and son at his side, Romo received “elite level” quarterback money when he signed a six-year, $108 million dollar contract that keeps him as the franchise quarterback til his 39th birthday.
By yearly average, Romo went from $11 million to $18, placing him as the sixth highest paid player in the league. Jerry is still sad Hawkins left him hanging though…
13. (2012) Josh Brent kills teammate and best friend Jerry Brown Jr. in DUI accident
A year ago to the day, Josh Brent flipped his 2007 Mercedes on 114, killing college and Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown Jr. Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter and faces 20 years in prison. Jason Garrett broke the news to his players on the team charter as the accident happened just hours before the Cowboys left to play the Bengals. Brent retired from football this summer saying he needed to get his life in order.
12. (2012) Josh Hamilton leaves Rangers to sign $125 million contract with Angels
Hamilton basically told fans that he was gone after he finished the 2012 season with an 0-4, 2 strikeout performance in the wildcard game loss to the Orioles. Less than two months later, Hamilton let everyone know that he left because the Rangers “let him date.”
Hambone piled on by saying that Arlington “wasn’t a baseball town” as he cashed his check from Anaheim. According to Katie…the Rangers should have “put a ring on it.”
11. (2012) Manziel is 1st freshmen to win Heisman, leads A&M to Cotton Bowl, likes to party
We all saw it coming. A&M took their ball and went to the SEC and they were going to get slaughtered…right? Little did we know Johnny Football was waiting in the wings to shock the college football world. Manziel racked up crazy numbers while pulling the biggest upset of the year in a win over #1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. JFF outdid his play on the field by becoming a social superstar via twitter, friendships with megastars and the occasional Scooby Doo costume. Party on Johnny, party on.
10. (2011, 2012) Cowboys lose NFC East Title Game in back-to-back years to Giants and Redskins
With their playoff ticket firmly in their grasp, the Cowboys messed the bed in consecutive years in the NFC East title game. In ’11, the Giants jumped out early on a 74-yard TD pass to Victor Cruz (salsa) in route to winning 3 of their final 4 games to win the division. The ’12 version can be summarized by one Tony Romo interception into the flat — damn you Rob Jackson. Don’t worry Cowboys fans, everything is setting up nicely for the season finale against the Eagles…I’ve heard the 3rd times a charm.
9. (2011) Rangers win posting bid and sign Yu Darvish
Wearing what appeared to be a marijuana leaf on his shirt, Yu Darvish boarded a plane and left his icon status in Japan to become the ace-in-the-making in Arlington. The Rangers paid almost $52 million dollars just to have a talk with Darvish, but if the past two seasons have been a preview of what’s to come, I think I’m good with the investment.
8. (2011) Mavericks blow up championship team…Chandler/Barea lead group of players that leave
The confetti hadn’t even been swept up yet before the Mavericks dismantled the 2011 title team. Tyson Chandler turned down a huge one-year deal to join the Knicks, JJ Barea bolted for big money in Minnesota, Corey Brewer was not offered a deal and DeShawn Stevenson said peace out. Mark Cuban to this day is still criticized for not “bringing the band back together,” but a new salary cap and the effects of success broke up the title squad and doomed the Mavericks into a roster that missed the playoffs in a lockout shortened 2012 season.
7. (2009, 2010) Cowboys open Jerry World- Host weather ruined Super Bowl 45
Thanks to Jerruh (and Arlington tax payers) the Cowboys built the greatest stadium in the world right in our own backyard. Hampered by a snowpacalypse in 2010, Cowboys stadium hosted Super Bowl 45 in early February.
Negative headlines included a tiny glacier falling off the roof and a structure of temporary seats not being finished, thus leaving patrons with nowhere to sit. The $1.3 BILLION dollar palace has also hosted the NBA All-Star game, international soccer matches, dozens of major musical performances and I think a Cowboy game or two. If you want a tour, just called up Mr. Jones and he’ll show you his private elevator to his office…
6. (2012) Rangers collapse down the stretch, lose to Orioles in Wildcard game
The Rangers capped off blowing a 13-game division lead by melting down in a 12-5 loss to the A’s in the finale of a sweep in Oakland. Josh Hamilton put a nice little bow on the disaster of a September by dropping an easy fly ball in the regular season finale helping the A’s to win the division and sending the Rangers to a fake playoff game (it’s not real people). Wash’s bunch lost to the Orioles two days later, and arguably the greatest Ranger team ever assembled was done for the season just like that.
5. (2009) Cowboys beat the Eagles 34-14 for their lone playoff win in the past 18 years
This game has basically become the water mark for the Cowboys futility since winning the Super Bowl in 1995. A lot of my cohorts will start a sentence with “because they’ve only won ONE playoff game in the last 18 years…..” this one enormous, albeit, boring game is the lone playoff success the ‘Boys can point to. Felix Jones rushed for 148 yards and the Cowboys were on their high horse…until the next week, when they were absolutely obliterated by Brett Favre and the Vikings in the Divisional Round. Hey, at least they have one right?
4. (2010) Neftali Feliz strikes out Alex Rodriguez to send Texas to its first ever World Series
I can still hear Eric Nadel make easily the greatest radio call in the history of professional sports. The epicenter of everything that was wrong with the Tom Hicks owned Rangers at the plate, the fireballing future of the franchise on the mound…and then “HE STRUCK HIM OUT LOOKING.” See ya later A-ROD.
Neftali Feliz’s playoff highlight reel would change drastically the following year, but if the Rangers never win a World Series, that one pitch to clinch the ALCS might be the greatest moment in franchise history. Sidenote: the broadcast on the FAN after the game was over is probably the greatest couple of hours of radio EVER…right Gavin?
3. (2010) Wade Phillips fired after a 1-7 start, Jason Garrett named Interim Head Coach
Fresh off the team’s first playoff win since the 1995 Super Bowl, Wade Phillips and the Cowboys were about to take over the world in 2010…until Alex Barron’s holding call blew the season opener against the Redskins and the ‘Boys lost seven of their first eight games. Romo getting his collarbone shattered against the Giants was the low point of the season, until…the Packers embarrassed the Cowboys 45-7 on national TV. Jason Garrett took over shortly after. At least we’ll always have the “surprise I’m still here” drop.
2. (2011) Rangers can’t close out game 6, lose World Series in 7 games to Cardinals
I had a hard time not putting game 6 of the World Series as number one, because it might be the deepest sports hurt anyone in DFW has ever seen. Two times being just one strike away and the image of Nelly Cruz watching the ball go over his head in right will forever be burned into my brain. I can’t tell you a lot of the details of game 7 because I was still so punch drunk from watching the Rangers lose two nights before. If only we could all go back in time and end the series with Josh Hamilton’s homerun to center…sports would be awesome.
1. (2011) Mavericks beat the Heat in the NBA Finals, Dirk becomes a legend
For no other reason than it being the only title DFW has seen since 1999, the 2010-2011 Mavericks winning the NBA title is the number 1 biggest moment since the FAN was born.
It had everything: Revenge for 2006, Dirk vs. Lebron, the good guys against the evil empire, “cough gate” and of course lots and lots of one-legged fadeaways. Seeing Dirk running to the locker room to let the outpour of emotions go might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen from a professional athlete. Even though the team was shortly torn apart, we’ll always have the summer of 2011 and Dirk singing “we are the champions.”
Disagree with Nate’s list? Did he miss something? Let him know on Twitter @itsnatewood.
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