2017: A (Somewhat) Statistical Review

By Danny Blumenthal and Andrew Puopolo

As 2017 comes to an end, we look back at the milestones and moments that made this sports year memorable, and also some weird moments that made it unique.

NFL Football
1.) The New England Patriots overcame the largest deficit in Super Bowl history (28-3) to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
2.) Super Bowl LI was the first Super Bowl that went to overtime.
3.) Tom Brady became the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
4.) On October 22nd against Carolina, the Chicago Bears only had 5 first downs in the entire game, and still won 17-3.
5.) Nathan Peterman threw 5 interceptions in the first half of his NFL debut.
6.) Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a touchdown pass to Cameron Brate, marking the first time a pass was completed between two Harvard alumni in the NFL.
7.) On October 15, Tom Brady won his 187th regular season game, breaking Peyton Manning and Brett Favre’s record for most in NFL history.
8.) Eli Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive regular season starts was snapped on December 3 when he was benched for Geno Smith.
9.) Favorites went a perfect 14-0 in Week 15. This was the third time since 1970 that the favorite won every single game in a week.
10.) Many superstars were hurt this year. Carson Wentz, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Carson Palmer, and Andrew Luck were all placed on injured reserve – and those were just the quarterbacks. Other superstars who were lost for the year include Odell Beckham Jr., David Johnson, Joe Thomas, Eric Berry, Julian Edelman, J.J. Watt, and Richard Sherman.
11.) Through Week 15, the teams with the best point differentials were the Los Angeles Rams (+166) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (+165).
12.) Kyle Juszczyk became the second Harvard alumnus (Matt Birk) to earn multiple Pro Bowl selections.
13.) The Kansas City Chiefs became the first team in 35 years to have a 4,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard running back, wide receiver, and tight end.
14.) The Cleveland Browns went 0-16, only the second team to do so (2008 Lions).

College Football
15.) Clemson beat Alabama on a last-second touchdown to win the national championship.
16.) UCLA overcame a 34-point deficit to beat Texas A&M 45-44.
17.) Louisiana Tech faced 3rd-and- goal from their own 7-yard line.
18.) Howard upset UNLV, becoming the largest underdog (+45) to win an FBS game.
19.) Western Michigan beat Buffalo in a 7OT game. Final score: 71-68, the most points in an FBS game ever.
20.) Iowa State beat two top-5 teams in October with a walk-on third-string quarterback. Their coach also trusts The Process.
21.) Oklahoma and Oklahoma State combined for 52 points and 540 yards in the 2nd quarter alone in their 62-52 shootout.
22.) Arizona’s backup QB Khalil Tate ran for 327 yards, an FBS record for a quarterback, and scored 5 touchdowns in a 45-42 win over Colorado.
23.) Alabama was selected to make its 4th consecutive College Football Playoff.
24.) The AAC Championship game was the 3rd game since 2000 in which both teams (UCF and Memphis) had 725 or more yards.

MLB Baseball
25.) The Cleveland Indians won 22 games in a row, the longest winning streak in more than 100 years, but still lost in the ALDS.
26.) Rhys Hoskins started out red-hot, hitting 11 home runs in his first 64 at bats.
27.) Both Scooter Gennett and J.D. Martinez hit 4 home runs in a game, joining a club that only has 18 members.
28.) On June 6 against the New York Yankees, Craig Kimbrel became the first reliever to record 5 strikeouts in a 4 out save.
29.) Giancarlo Stanton won the closest MVP vote since 1979, edging Joey Votto by only 2 points.
30.) Albert Pujols launched a grand slam for his 600th career home run.
31.) Tim Tebow played in a professional baseball game. HSAC predicted his future greatness.
32.) The four starting pitchers in the wild card playoff games combined to give up 15 runs in only 7 1/3 innings.
33.) The Washington Nationals lost in the NLDS (again!), extending their streak of not winning a playoff series since 1981, when they were the Montreal Expos.
34.) The Los Angeles Dodgers had a ten-game winning streak and a ten-game losing streak this season, but they weren’t as streaky as you might think.
35.) The Houston Astros won the World Series for the first time in franchise history, just weeks after their city was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey.
36.) Giancarlo Stanton, who led the NL in home runs, was traded to the Yankees and joined forces with Aaron Judge, who led the AL in home runs. In 2018, the two sluggers will look to become the second pair of teammates to each hit 50 or more home runs in the same season (Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris – 1961).

NBA Basketball
37.) Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the entire season (but he might have been stat-stuffing)
38.) The Golden State Warriors were one game away from completing a 16-0 postseason.
39.) In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers set an NBA playoff record by racing out to a 41-point halftime lead over the Boston Celtics.
40.) On March 24, Devin Booker became the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game, joining four Hall of Famers and Kobe Bryant.
41.) In his 70 point performance, Booker scored 58% of his teams points, 51 points in the second half and almost doubled his previous career high (39).
42.) At halftime of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors had scored an incredible 68 points. They still trailed by 18. The Cavs (86 points) set an NBA Playoffs record for points in a first half.
43.) The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, marking the first time the same teams met in 3 consecutive finals.
44.) The #1 overall pick was traded for the second time since 1993 (2014 Andrew Wiggins).
45.) On November 16, the Houston Rockets scored 90 points in the first half. The only team to score more points in a first half is the Rockets’ opponent that night, the Phoenix Suns, who did it in 1990.
46.) Lonzo Ball became the youngest player to record a triple-double.
47.) LeBron James got ejected for the first time on November 28. It was the 1,082nd game of his career.
48.) James Harden scored more than 50 points in consecutive games, but the Rockets still lost them both. It was the first time in more than 50 years that this occurred.
49.) Stephen Curry became the fastest player to make 2,000 three-pointers.
50.) The NBA lottery went chalk for the second year in a row. The probability of this was 0.0361%.

College Basketball
51.) Mississippi State’s Morgan William made an overtime buzzer-beater to defeat UCONN in the Final Four, ending the Huskies’ 111-game winning streak.
52.) UNC won the men’s national championship despite scoring more points from the free throw line than from beyond the three-point line.
53.) Northwestern made its first NCAA Tournament in 76 years, much to the delight of alumnus Daryl Morey.
54.) A team seeded 7th or lower (South Carolina) made the Final Four for the fifth year in a row.
55.) UNC became the second team since 1979 to knock off a 1, 2, 3, 4 seed to win March Madness.
56.) Markelle Fultz was the first player since 1972 to come off a losing season and still be the #1 overall draft pick.
57.) Rick Pitino, the only coach to win a national championship at two different universities, was fired from his post at Louisville in October.
58.) Alabama nearly beat Minnesota despite playing with only 3 players for most of the second half.
59.) Geno Auriemma and Sylvia Hatchell (UNC) each notched their 1000th win on December 19.
60.) Freshman Trae Young scored at least 25 points in 9 straight games for Oklahoma and led the country in scoring as of December 26.

61.) Harvard won its first Beanpot championship since 1993 and reached its first Frozen Four semifinal since 1994. In addition, with Northeastern’s 4-2 win over Boston College in the consolation game, it marked the first time since 1993 that Harvard and Northeastern both won games on the same day in the Beanpot.
62.) The Penguins scored 5 goals on 12 shots in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
63.) The Pittsburgh Penguins won their second title in a row, becoming the first team since the 1997/1998 Detroit Red Wings to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
64.) 2017-2018 is the 100th season of play for the NHL.
65.) The NHL expanded by adding the Vegas Golden Knights. This was the first time a Big Four league expanded since 2002. They are currently breaking numerous records for expansion teams.
66.) The Arizona Coyotes opened the 2017-2018 season with 11 straight losses. That tied the 1943-1944 Rangers for longest losing streak to start off a season.
67.) On October 21, when the Rochester Americans played the Utica Comets, three of Rochester’s centers were Harvard graduates (Colin Blackwell, Kyle Criscuolo, Sean Malone).
68.)Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby each scored their 1000th career point.
69.) HSAC set a record for its most retweeted tweetafter the Boston Bruins came from behind to defeat the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

70.) An amateur team based in a liquor store made it to the 4th round of the U.S. Open Cup and took a lead against D.C. United.
71.) A team from outside MLS (FC Cincinnati) made the semifinals of the US Open Cup for the first time since 2011.
72.) Neymar moved from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a record-shattering $263 million. That is more than the amount 13 different Premier League teams used to build their entire rosters.
73.) PSG also secured the second most expensive transfer in history this summer, signing Kylian Mbappé from rivals Monaco for $220 million. The previous record was $120 million (Paul Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United).
74.) Liverpool broke the world record transfer signing for a defender when they bought Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for 100 million dollars.
75.) There were 2 non-league teams in the last sixteen of the FA Cup (Sutton and Lincoln City). Lincoln City were the first non-league team to reach the quarterfinals since 1914, and by defeating Burnley at Turf Moor in the 5th round, became the second non-league team in the Premier League era to win away to Premier League opposition (2013 4th round Luton Town over Norwich City). Both lost to Arsenal, who went on to win the competition.
76.) Real Madrid won the Champions League again, becoming the first team to win consecutive titles in the Champions League era.
77.) Atlanta United shattered the MLS attendance record, bringing in almost 900,000 fans over the course of the season.
78.) For the first time ever, five teams from the same country (England) made the UEFA Champions League knockout stage.
79.) The United States did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup after losing to Trinidad and Tobago, a team that was tied for 99th in the world.
80.) Iceland did qualify for the 2018 World Cup for the first time in their history – with a population roughly the size of Anaheim, California.
81.) Bristol City (who play in the second tier EFL Championship) knocked off four Premier League teams in a row (Watford, Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Manchester United) to reach the semifinals of the Carabao Cup.
82.) Huddersfield Town and Brighton & Hove Albion were promoted to the English Premier League for the first time. They face Manchester City over two legs in the new year.
83.) By losing 5-3 against Manchester City in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg, Monaco became the first team to score 3 goals in a UEFA Champions League knockout match and lose.
84.) Spain, Portugal, and Morocco share a group at the World Cup, the first time 3 countries so closely located to each other have been in the same group.
85.) Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur set the Premier League record for goals in a calendar year with 39. He also scored as many hat tricks in 2017 (6) as the rest of the Premier League combined. Finally, he became the first player since David Villa in 2009 to outscore Messi or Ronaldo in all competitions in a calendar year (56 to Messi’s 54 and Ronaldo’s 53).
86.) On December 23, Middlesbrough defeated Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 in an EFL Championship match. Both teams fired their managers within 24 hours. Merry Christmas.
87.) Scottish team Celtic had their 69 game domestic unbeaten run snapped when they lost 4-0 to Heart of Midlothian on November 30th.

88.) All four semi-finalists at the U.S. Open Tennis Championship were filled by American women.
89.) In the year’s longest match, Ivo Karlovic eventually defeated Horacio Zeballos. This marathon match lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes.
90.) Serena Williams won the Australian Open, her 23rd major, to break the Open Era record for most major titles. She won without dropping a single set and was eight weeks pregnant at the time.
91.) Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal each won a pair of Grand Slams this year. But who’s the GOAT?

Other Sports
92.) Sergio Garcia won the Masters in his 74th attempt at a Major.
93.) Samsung Galaxy upset SK Telecom T1, which had won the previous two world titles, to capture the 2017 League of Legends World Championship.
94.) Joey Chestnut gobbled up 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win his 10th Mustard Belt.
95.) More than $65 million was bet on the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match.
96.) Emirates Team New Zealand dominated the America’s Cup, winning 7-1 after blowing an insane lead that would make the 2016 Warriors jealous in 2013 (8-1 in a first to 9).
97.) Corey Bellemore broke his own record for fastest beer mile, running a mile and stopping 4 times to chug a beer, with a time of 4 minutes, 33 seconds.
98.) Scott Hanson, the host of NFL RedZone, took his first bathroom break in 4 years.
99.) Takuma Sato became the first driver from Asia to win the Indianapolis 500.
100.) Usain Bolt lost his final 100 meter race to twice-banned Justin Gatlin at the IAAF World Championships in London.
101.) The city of Washington D.C. extended its streak of not reaching a conference championship (1992).
102.) Michael Phelps raced a shark, kind of.
103.) HSAC published an article about cricket
104.)Shalane Flanagan was the first American woman to win the New York City marathon since 1977.

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