WASHINGTON — The 2010s were quite a decade in sports in the DMV. We saw championships, we saw seasons end in heartbreaking defeat, and we saw seasons that many would like to forget.
As the decade ended, we look back at some of the best moments in sports in the DMV that defined the 2010s.
This list is entirely subjective. If you think a moment is too high or too low, think that I left a moment out, or my list is completely wrong let me know!
Here are my top 10 sports moments in the DMV for the 2010s.
10. Maryland moves to the Big Ten
One of the biggest moves in this decade’s wave of conference realignment.
Maryland left the ACC after the 2013-14 academic year.
The Terps were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference since its creation in 1953.
The school left the ACC for the Big Ten to improve financial security of its athletics program.
The jump to the Big Ten has seen mixed results. While the revenue programs (football and men’s basketball) haven’t seen much success, non-revenue sports like women’s basketball and both lacrosse programs have been very successful.
9. Summer of Wayne
At the start of 2018, DC United wasn’t very good. The franchise struggled while playing 12 of its first 14 games on the road.
With the opening of Audi Field fast approaching, the club needed a spark.
Enter Wayne Rooney.
The English soccer star arrived in DC in late June and gave DC United the jolt it needed.
The club would surge up the table from last place in the Eastern Conference, and made the playoffs before losing in the first round.
Unfortunately, Rooney’s second season with DC United would be his last. The soccer star left the Black and Red to head back to England.
8. Wall, Wizards force Game 7 vs. Celtics
The decade saw uneven results for the Wizards. Beginning the 2013-14 season, the Wizards made the playoffs in four out of five seasons.
The Wizards would make it as far as the conference semifinals twice, but never got over the hump and into the Eastern Conference Finals.
But in 2017, they came close.
John Wall dropped 26 points, and buried a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left to give the Wizards a win to even the series at 3-3.
Unfortunately, the home team won every game in the series. The Celtics won Game 7, in Boston, 115-105 to end the Wizards’ season.
7. RG3's rookie season
What could have been.
Everyone is left wondering what direction the Redskins franchise would have gone in had Robert Griffin III not injured his knee.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner was electric during his rookie season before suffering a knee injury against the Ravens.
Griffin would win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award for the 2012.
The Redskins were 3-6 entering the bye week. The team won seven straight coming out of the bye, including a Week 17 win over the Cowboys to win the NFC East.
The Redskins played in their first home playoff game since 1999, and RGIII re-injured his knee in a 24-14 loss.
Griffin was never able to recreate the magic of his rookie year, and was released by the Redskins in 2016.
6. Stephen Strasburg MLB debut
Stephen Strasburg’s major league debut was one to remember.
On June 9, 2009, the Nationals selected Strasburg with the first pick overall in the 2009 Major league baseball draft.
364 days later, the pitcher was electric in his Nationals debut.
Strasburg struck out 14 Pirates in a 5-2 Nationals win.
Unfortunately for Stephen Strasburg, the early part of his career would be marred by injury. But the Nationals were patient with the right-hander, and that patience would pay off eventually.
5. Mystics win WNBA title
Three words: “Run it back.”
That was the motto for the Mystics for the 2019 season.
The team got so close to the top of the mountain when they lost to the Seattle Storm in the 2018 WNBA Finals.
Anything short of a return trip to the Finals in 2019 would have been viewed as a failure.
The Mystics ran it back alright.
Led by Elena Delle Donne, Washington finished with the best record in the league. The Mystics were rewarded with home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The team cashed in on their home court advantage by winning a deciding Game 5 in Southeast DC to win the franchise’s first WNBA title.
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4. Virginia wins basketball National Championship
If 2018 saw the Virginia Men’s Basketball team suffer the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history, 2019 saw the best redemption story.
One year after becoming the first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history, the program won its first National Championship in men’s hoops.
The Hoos didn’t win pretty, but Tony Bennett’s style of play was validated with a 35-3 season, and a National Title.
3. Nats win World Series
The Nats put together one of the more improbable seasons.
The team was 12 games below .500, 50 games into the 2019 season.
The odds of the Nationals making the playoffs, let alone win a World Series, were very long.
But manager Davey Martinez’s faith in the team never wavered. Martinez repeatedly told reporters the team would turn it around. To his players he preached, “Stay in the fight.”
Stay in the fight is exactly what the Nationals did.
The Nats surged up in the standings, securing the top Wild Card spot.
In the playoffs, the Nationals faced elimination five times, winning all five games.
In Game 7 of the World Series, the Nats trailed 2-0 after 6 innings, but scored six runs in the last three innings to win the first World Series title in franchise history.
Stephen Strasburg, who began his Major League career at the beginning of the decade, was named World Series MVP.
It was the first Major League Baseball World Series title for Washington since the Senators won it all in 1924.
2. Caps win Stanley Cup
Finally, Ovi got his Cup.
Alex Ovechkin played his first season in the NHL with the Capitals in 2005.
Since his debut, Ovechkin has established himself as the best goal scorer of this generation, and one of the best in NHL history.
Alex Ovechkin is a lock to go into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but entering the 2017-18 season he hadn’t won a Stanley Cup.
The Caps almost were eliminated in the first round of the postseason by the Blue Jackets, but the rallied to win four straight after dropping the first two games of the series.
The second round of the playoffs saw Ovi and the Caps finally eliminate their rivals, the Penguins.
Braden Holtby, who started the postseason on the bench, saved his best play for when it mattered the most. Holtby recorded his only two shutouts of the season in games 6 and 7, as the Capitals eliminated the Lightning to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Vegas Golden Knights were the feel-good story if the playoffs, advancing to the Cup Final in the franchise’s first season. But the Golden Knights were no match for destiny.
The Washington beat Vegas in five games, and Alex Ovechkin delivered the city its first Stanley Cup title.
1. Redskins fire Bruce Allen
Our long National nightmare is over.
There may have been promising draft picks and a couple playoff appearances, but the decade has been mostly forgettable for Redskins fans.
The team finished the 2010s with a 62-99-1 record including the two playoff losses.
In half of the ten seasons, the Redskins finished dead last in the NFC East. In three other seasons, the team finished third. That’s eight out of ten seasons the Burgundy and Gold finished in the bottom half of their division.
Towards the end of Bruce Allen’s tenure in Washington, the calls for his firing grew greater as attendance at FedEx Field dwindled.
Finally, after this season ended, majority owner Dan Snyder decided he had had enough, and fired Bruce Allen.
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Will the Redskins finally turn things around in this new decade? That’s anybody’s guess.
The team has made just six postseason appearances in the 28 seasons since its last Super Bowl win.
But with Bruce Allen gone, fans have hope that maybe the Redskins are finally headed in the right direction.