Sports have an extremely rich and diverse history in the United States. Throughout time, sports have had the unique ability to instill distinctive memories in people that last a lifetime. With the sports calendar as it is today, it is almost impossible to keep track of all of the various occasions and moments that happen throughout the major sports on a daily basis. Some facts and events often become lost to the mind, fading away with time or blocked by more recent eccentricities. There have been many recent and interesting sport facts that people seem to forget, which may one day prove useful in future sports trivia games or arguments amongst like-minded friends.
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6. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard University
Most people know one of the most famous athletes to come out of Harvard in the recent past, Jeremy Lin. Lin took New York and the Knicks by storm with his fiery play in the winter of 2012. However, people often forget that another Harvard athlete had perhaps much more success in an even bigger role. Ryan Fitzpatrick, the current NY Jets Quarterback, has had his share of relative success in the NFL. Bursting on the scene in 2005 with his almost perfect Wonderlic score at the NFL combine, the mathematics major was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 7th round and started 11 games into the next season.
Although his first couple of years in the league didn’t stand out too much, his last year with the NY Jets was one of the best of his career. There are rumors of Fitzpatrick sitting out the season if the Jets do not renegotiate his contract, but for the most part it looks like Fitz will be leading the team once again next season. Fitzpatrick may go down as one of the best-ever football players to come out of the Ivy League, besides Ed Marinaro of course.
5. Big Ten Basketball has had Only One National Title since 1990
Each March, 64+ teams across the nation compete for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Scores of people fill out brackets in an attempt to win money or pride in their abilities. Without question, the Big Ten has been one of the more dominant basketball conferences in the nation, with multiple teams competing each year for the ‘ship. Some of the most dominant teams in recent memory include the 2004-2005 Illinois team, the 2010-2011 Ohio State team, the 1992-1993 Michigan Fab Five team, and the 1998-1999 Michigan State team.. However, people seem to forget that the only Big Ten team to win in the last 26 years was the 1999-2000 Michigan State team.
The 1999-2000 Michigan State was led by a young (..younger) Tom Izzo. The team’s leading scorer and Finals MVP Mateen Cleaves combined with the sharp-shooting Morris Peterson to dominate the Big Ten, winning 13 games and losing 3 over the regular season. The team went on to sweep the Big Ten Playoffs as well as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, winning almost every single game by double digits. Although other dominant teams have sprouted up in the league since the 90’s, not one has finished the job in route to the championship.
4. Ben Wallace went Undrafted in the NBA
Even more surprising than Tyler Johnson going undrafted in the NHL is that Ben Wallace went undrafted into the NBA Draft. Wallace went mostly unnoticed coming out of a small town in Alabama, winding up at Virginia Union University. For two seasons, he put decent numbers and showed a bit of athleticism but nothing too eye-catching. However, the Washington Bullets ended up offering him a spot on the roster after the draft and the rest was history.
Ben Wallace recently set the record for most games ever played by an undrafted player, making him perhaps one of the greatest undrafted players of all time. The Detroit Pistons 2004 team featured a steady amount of Ben Wallace’s defense down low, a key to their championship run along with Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, and Rip Hamilton. Ben Wallace never let his failures in the draft, or his huge patented afro for that matter, weigh him down on his road to a nice and successful career.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Numbers 3 through 1