It has been an eventful decade for Wisconsin sports to say the least. There has been plenty of heartbreak but also plenty of highlights that will live on in the minds of Wisconsin sports fans forever. But what have been the top moments this decade? Well that is what I will try to answer in this as we go from 10 to 1 spanning three sports and five different teams.
- Packers beat Cowboys 34-31 to advance to NFC Championship game
A win over “America’s team” is always fun, but to do it in the playoffs in a close game with a controversial catch, to leave Cowboy’s fans extra salty; now that is just pure joy as a sports fan. Rodgers threw for 355 yards in this shootout, as the Packers struggled to contain Ezekiel Elliot all game.
- The Miracle in Motown
Now Aaron Rodgers is a two time MVP does a lot of things well, and has thrown a few hundred beautiful passes. That said, I don’t think it’s dramatic to say this will be the most memorable one of his career. This 61- yard Hail Mary gave the Packers a 27-23 victory over their divisional rival as the Packers completed their comeback from being down 20-0. Richard Rodgers’ part in this play was key as he timed the jump perfectly to make a 61-yard catch look fairly easy.
- Yelich and Crew win 13 straight to clinch division and advance to NLCS
In what became a storybook season the Brewers rallied from being 2.5 games behind the Cubs on September 22 with only seven games left on the schedule. The Brewers would win their final seven games of the year forcing a game 163 for the NL Central title. The Brewers would win that sending the Cubs to the wild card game and themselves to the NLDS, which the Brewers would go on to sweep.
After taking Game one from the Dodgers the Brewers had won 13 straight. They would go on to lose the LA in seven games, but it was the Brewers best season since 1982. Yelich’s regular season heroics would net him the NL MVP trophy as he became the fourth Brewer to win that title.
- Bo Ryan makes his first D1 final four at Wisconsin
The Badgers under Bo Ryan prior to the 2013-14 campaign were always good but not quite elite. That narrative would start to change that season, as the Badgers peaked at 3rd in the AP Poll, before eventually getting a two seed in the tournament. Lead by Frank “the tank” Kaminsky, this Badgers team beat Arizona 64-63 in overtime to advance to Wisconsin’s first Final Four since 2000 and only their 3rd overall. Though the season would end in a buzzer-beater loss to Kentucky, making the Final Four is a massive accomplishment for every program.
- Wisconsin wins 2nd Big Ten Title as they rout Nebraska 70-31
Before we had the East and West the Big Ten was divided into two divisions, Legends and Leaders. In the 2012 season the Badgers finished 3rd in the Leaders division but due to suspensions Penn State and Ohio State were not eligible for postseason play. So Wisconsin got the spot as an unranked squad against 14th ranked Nebraska with a shot at the Rose Bowl on the line. The Badgers rushed for 539 yards officially, though some say they are still running to this day. Montee Ball ran for 200 yards, James White for 100 yards, and Melvin Gordon for 200 yards. As the Badgers racked up 70 points with only 101 passing yards. Montee Ball would take sole possession of the career rushing touchdowns record this game as well, scoring his 76th touchdown.
- Nyjer Morgan walks off NLDS
The 2011 Brewers will always be remembered for Ryan Braun’s MVP and breaking the streak of playoff series losses. How did they get there though? The Brewers boasted an MLB best 57-24 home record which would prove vital in the NLDS as the Brewers went 3-0 at home and 0-2 in Arizona. With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 10th Nyjer “Tony Plush” Morgan hit a walkoff RBI single to push the Brewers to their first ever NLCS.
- Giannis wins MVP
It is weird of me, primarily a Bucks guy to have this as the only Bucks moment on this list but as monumental as the Celtics and Pistons series wins were, they felt like stepping stones to more. The Giannis MVP win was the embodiment of it all, of 60 wins, of two playoff series victories, of all the pain and suffering we associate with Bucks fandom. The speech accompanying it was tear- jerking and you knew it couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Giannis was the Wisconsin athlete the 2nd half of this decade. This MVP award meant so much James Harden took out full page newspaper ads in Milwaukee campaigning for himself to win it, but in the end Giannis got 78 first place votes to Harden’s 23.
- Turnover Chain My F****** Ass
Now this is a family site so I’ll spare you the ugly words being typed out again. You might be thinking, Junes I know that was funny, but why is it significant? This game was between two football teams who just barely missed the playoffs. Miami was 10-2, Wisconsin was 12-1, just a narrow Big Ten Championship game loss away. So to come out and beat Miami by double digits meant something. It capped off a season where the Badgers hit their highest AP ranking (3rd) since 1962. They lost one football game all season and it was to a top 4 team in the country. Also, doesn’t Paul Chryst remind you of every middle-aged male sports fan in Wisconsin in this clip?
This was the 2nd best Badger season in program history as the Badgers would go 36-4 before losing a heartbreaker in the National Championship game. They peaked at a 2nd place ranking in the AP Poll, but got a much deserved 1 seed in the tournament. They won the Big Ten regular season title and tournament title. Frank Kaminsky won the National Player of the Year award over Jahlil Okafor. The crowning achievement of the season was knocking off the 38-0 Kentucky Wildcats. The Badgers got the chance to avenge last season’s buzzer beater loss to Kentucky and boy did they seize it. Led by Frank Kaminsky’s 20-point double double the Badgers were able to advance to the National Championship.
- Packers Win Super Bowl
There was only one team from Wisconsin that broke all the way through this decade, the Green Bay Packers. The Packers 2011 Super Bowl was their first since 1997 and 4th overall. The 6th seed entering the playoffs, the Packers beat the Eagles, Falcons, and then the Bears to advance to the Super Bowl. They then went on to beat the Steelers with Aaron Rodgers taking home MVP honors. It was a competitive game, where the Packers triumphed in part due to them having zero turnovers. Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson led the wide receiver group combining for 204 yards and three touchdowns. The defense forced four turnovers as part of a “bend don’t break” performance that helped seal the Lombardi trophy’s return to Green Bay. I think I speak for all Packer fans when I say we will forever remember where we were for the game.
The 2010-19 decade was a good one for Wisconsin sports teams as we saw each team experience levels of success the prior decade had not brought. Here’s to hoping for a great decade that tops this one and brings multiple titles back to Wisconsin.
If you disagree with any points on the list feel free to hit me up on Twitter with your opinions @junesfoshiz