DENVER (CBS4) – Take a look back on the biggest sports stories in Colorado in 2017. Big headlines came from all four of Colorado’s major pro sports teams during the year, with many highs and, yes, several lows.
Rockies Make The Playoffs
While it was short lived, the Colorado Rockies ended their eight year playoff drought with an appearance in the NL Wild Card game in 2017.
Colorado would fall short in the one-game playoff, losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-8 on Oct. 4. Under the direction of new manager Bud Black, who was a finalist for the Manager of the Year award, the 2017 season marked just the third time in franchise history that the Rockies reached 87 wins (the two other years were 2007 and 2009). It was just the fourth playoff appearance in franchise history.
Broncos Suffer 8-Game Losing Streak
After starting 3-1, the 2017 season quickly came off the rails for the Denver Broncos. The team tied the franchise’s second-longest losing streak suffering eight straight losses from Week 6 to Week 14.
The Broncos came one game shy of the single-season franchise record of nine consecutive losses set back in 1967. The Broncos went 70 days between victories before finally snapping their skid with a 23-0 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, Dec. 10.
New CSU Rams Stadium
For the first time in 50 years, Colorado State University hosted a football game on their main campus on Aug. 26. With more than 37,500 Rams fans in attendance, the game set records for the largest crowd at a CSU home opener.
The stadium between Lake and Pitkin Streets in Fort Collins was the topic of heated debate as Hughes Stadium was phased out. Sonny Lubick Field at Colorado State Stadium seats 41,200 compared to 32,000 at the old stadium. Now, the future of the now-vacant Hughes Stadium, which opened on Sept. 28, 1968 off Overland Trail in west Fort Collins is being considered for redevelopment.
Avs Trade Matt Duchene
After months of speculation, the Colorado Avalanche were able to execute a trade for center Matt Duchene. Duchene was traded to the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 5 as part of a three-team deal between Colorado, Ottawa and Nashville.
Duchene received news of the trade in the middle of the game and left the ice during a stoppage of play to change clothes and leave the team for good. Ironically, his first two games as a Senator were against the Avalanche, when the two teams played in Stockholm, Sweden, as part of the NHL Global Series.
Broncos Players Kneel/Don’t Kneel
In the midst of NFL players “taking a knee” during the National Anthem before football games in the fall, a large number of Broncos players followed suit before the Sept. 24 game against the Bills. The kneeling came in the wake of President Donald Trump saying days before that all players should be fired for their protests.
Protesting during the anthem isn’t new for the Broncos, but it was on this scale. In the 2016-2017 season, linebacker Brandon Marshall took a knee before seven games to protest social injustice in America. This season’s kneeling didn’t last long; all the Broncos players stood for the anthem on the Oct. 1 game against the Raiders after the team released this statement: “Starting Sunday, we’ll be standing together.”
Scandal Involving CU Coach MacIntyre
University of Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre was involved in a domestic violence investigation this year. It centered around one of MacIntyre’s former assistant coaches and resulted in a letter of reprimand and a delayed contract negotiation after 2016’s surprisingly successful season.
The victim in the case filed a lawsuit against the university in September, claiming former assistant Joe Tumpkin abused her for years. Tumpkin’s ex-girlfriend, Pamela Fine, claimed the abuse was physical, psychological and verbal and that CU employees knew about it. Fine says when she reported it to MacIntyre, he covered it up to protect his football team. Tumpkin resigned Jan. 27. During the probe into the athletic department’s handling of the allegations, the CU Board of Regents tabled a three-year contract with MacIntyre. MacIntyre signed the contract in February but it wasn’t approved until June. That same week, MacIntyre and athletic director Rich George were ordered to make $100,000 donations to domestic violence causes and Chancellor Phil DiStefano was handed a 10-day suspension for their handling of the allegations.
Nuggets Sign Paul Millsap
The Nuggets signed free-agent forward Paul Millsap during the off-season bringing the veteran forward back to his Denver roots.
Millsap’s family moved to Denver when he was a toddler and in left in 1999. His return has been marked by an early season injury which has kept him on the bench as of late. Millsap played in the first 16 games of the 2017 season. His contract in Denver is for three years and $90 million.
Roy Halladay Dies In Plane Crash
All-Star pitcher and Denver native Roy Halladay was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed off the Gulf of Mexico Nov. 7. Halladay, 40, was one of the best and highest paid pitchers in the MLB during his relatively short career.
He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays after graduation from Arvada West High School in 1995. After the 2009 season, the Blue Jays traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies and in 2010 alone he A) pitched a perfect game against the Florida Marlins B) had 21 wins and C) pitched a no-hitter on Oct. 6, 2010, in the first round of the playoffs.
Terrell Davis Gets Long Awaited Hall of Fame Induction
Former Broncos running back Terrell Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August of 2017. Davis played seven seasons in the NFL and was the Super Bowl XXXII MVP.
During his career he ran for 7,607 yards and hauled in 169 receptions for another 1,280 yards. He had 60 rushing touchdowns during his career including 21 during the 1998 season. Davis is the fifth Bronco to enter the Hall of Fame joining John Elway, Floyd Little, Gary Zimmerman and Shannon Sharpe.
Furniture Row Racing Wins NASCAR Title
Denver-based Furniture Row racing and driver Martin Truex Jr. captured their first ever NASCAR title on Nov. 19. Truex Jr. dominated the NASCAR field all season winning a career-high eight races and finished in the top 10 in 26 of the 36 races.
Truex also set a NASCAR record for the most wins in a season on 1.5 mile tracks with six and most consecutive wins on a 1.5-mile track with four.
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