2016: A (Mostly) Statistical Year in Review

By Andrew Puopolo

As 2016 winds to a close, we take a look back on 55 reasons why this year was a particularly crazy year in the world of sports.


1.) Both teams that made the Super Bowl failed to make the playoffs the following season for the first time since 2003

2.) Peyton Manning became the oldest QB ever to win a Super Bowl (39), but Tom Brady could pass him in the 2016/2017 season

3.) There were ties in the NFL on back to back weekends

4.) There were a record 4 NFL season games played outside the country

5.) One of the 3 London games ended in a tie (how British)

6.) The Seahawks-Cardinals game on October 23rd featured more punts than points

College Football

7.) Michigan defeated Rutgers 78-0 (highest differential between Power 5 teams since at least 2000).

8.) Yale beat Harvard for the first time since 2006

9.) Army beat Navy for the first time since 2001

10.) The Syracuse basketball team scored 50 points on a day their football team gave up 61 (both teams lost)


11.) The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead after winning 73 games. The Thunder lost Kevin Durant and a 3-1 lead to the Warriors

12.) The Warriors lost as many games in the playoffs as they did in the regular season

13.) Steph Curry was the first unanimous MVP

14.) The Philadelphia 76ers had a worse record over an 82 game season than any other franchise has had in history

15.) The city of Cleveland won their first title since 1964 (when the Browns won the NFL Championship)

16.) Kobe set an NBA record for shots in a game in his last game

17.) Steph Curry hit 402 three-pointers in 2015/2016 and Klay Thompson hit 276. The most by any other player in history is 269 (Ray Allen 2005/2006)

18.) The Boston Celtics lost to the Atlanta Hawks in a playoffs series for the first time (in 10 attempts)

College Basketball

19.) Ben Simmons was the first collegiate #1 draft pick not to play in March Madness since 1978

20.) Syracuse made the Final Four as a 10 seed, the first power conference double digit seed to do so since 1986

21.) UConn Women went undefeated, again


22.) The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years

23.) Kris Bryant won MVP despite making only $652,000 a year

24.) The World Series went to extra innings in Game 7 for the first time since 1997

25.) Rajai Davis’ 8th inning HR in Game 7 was the 3rd most influential play in World Series history

26.) This was the first year since 1993 that all the winners of the 4 major sports (Cubs, Penguins, Broncos, Cavaliers) did not come from states that bordered oceans

27.) The Giants lost a playoff series for the first time since 2003 (11 consecutive series wins)


28.) Leicester City won the Premier League with 5,000 to 1 odds. They were the first team to win the English top flight for the first time since 1978 (Nottingham Forest)

29.) Portugal won Euro 2016 despite not winning a single game in the group stage and winning only one match in 90 minutes

30.) Seattle won MLS Cup despite not registering a single shot on target in the final

31.) Paul Pogba was sold to Manchester United for a world record fee ($116.4 million)

32.) The United States lost their first ever qualifier to Mexico in Columbus 2-1 (all 4 previous matches ended 2-0 to the United States)

33.) Zinedine Zidane had more trophies (3) than losses (2)

34.) Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool all failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1995

35.) Lincoln Red Imps from Gibraltar (country population: 32,194) defeated Celtic F.C. of Scotland (stadium capacity: 60,411) 1-0 in a UEFA Champions League qualifier

36.) Iceland (national population: 300,000) knocked off England (national stadium size: 90,000) 2-1 in the Round of 16 of the Euros

37.) A year after winning MLS Cup, the Portland Timbers failed to make the playoffs and failed to win a single away game (out of 17)


38.) The Sharks made the Stanley Cup final for the first time in franchise history

39.) Austin Matthews scored 4 goals in his NHL debut

40.) Connor McDavids was named the youngest ever NHL captain (19 years old)

41.) John Chayka was named the youngest ever NHL General Manager at age 26

42.) The Avalanche beat the Canadiens 10-0 in the first 10+ goal shutout in the NHL since 1996

43.) A Harvard player won the Hobey Baker for the first time since 1989


44.) Andy Murray ended the year as the ATP #1. This was the first time since 2003 (Andy Roddick) when one of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic was not #1

45.) Monica Puig from Puerto Rico won the Olympic Tennis Tournament despite never getting past the 4th round at a Grand Slam. Her career high ranking is 27

46.) The Williams Sisters lost in doubles at the Olympics for the first time ever (3 previous gold medals)


47.) The Women’s 10,000 meter world record was broken by 16 seconds. Previously, nobody had ever finished within 20 seconds of the previous record

48.) In the same race, Molly Huddle broke the American record by 9 seconds. She got 6th place and finished 56 seconds behind the winner

49.) The US Women’s Olympic Soccer team failed to make the gold medal match at the Olympics for the first time ever (since the competition was added to the Games in 1996)

50.) Michael Phelps won his 28th Olympic medal over 5 Olympics (23 gold)

51.) Keri Walsh Jennings lost a match at the Olympics for the first time

52.) Joey Chestnut ate 73.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes

53.) A man ran a mile in 4 minutes and 34 seconds. These 4 minutes and 34 seconds include stopping 4 times to chug a full beer

54.) Mo Farah became the first athlete to pull off the first 5k/10k double at 4 consecutive global championships (World Championships/Olympics)

55.) Competitors from Africa failed to win a gold medal in the Men’s 1500, 5k, 10k for the first time since 1976.

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