Many people love sports for the action and the competition but sports are not without their share of incredible stories. 2016 saw a year full of momentous sports stories throughout the Kansas City area. The list is long but we narrowed it down to highlight some of the most moving sports stories from the past year.
Here are KCTV5’s top five sports stories of 2016.
Number 5 - K-State Football Coach Bill Snyder reaches college coaching milestone
K-State head football coach Bill Snyder is the iron-man as he won his 200th career game and landed the Wildcats in a bowl game.
He got that milestone win against the Kansas Jayhawks, a game he has stressed the importance of throughout his career, and especially this year as Kansas is making strides in their program, beating the Texas Longhorns for the first time in 79 years.
The Wildcats took the lead in the first quarter and never looked back, winning the Sunflower Showdown by a score of 34-19.
K-State has won six games in a row against KU and is now 19-4 against the Jayhawks with Snyder at the helm.
Number 4 – Kansas Jayhawks win 12th straight Big 12 crown
Bill Self and the Jayhawks shut the door on Oklahoma and West Virginia, claiming their 12th Big 12 title in 12 years.
The margin of victory told a story of Jayhawk dominance but the path was not an easy one, as they had to fight off fierce advances from both the Sooners and the Mountaineers.
Kansas split the season series with West Virginia, losing by 11 in Morgantown but bounced back in their meeting in Lawrence to the tune of a 75-65 win.
The Jayhawks dropped a game to the Mountaineers but Oklahoma proved to be their biggest in-game test. The Jayhawks did not lose to the Sooners but both of their contests were thrillers. The first came on a cold January night in Lawrence in which the Jayhawks squeaked by, 109-106, on a last second steal and lay-up in triple overtime. The second game didn’t require overtime as Kansas rode the clutch play of guard Devonte’ Graham to a gritty 76-72 win in Norman.
Kansas finished the conference season two games ahead of West Virginia and three ahead of Oklahoma.
The Jayhawks season ended in an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament as they'd lose to eventual champion Villanova.
Recently, Self won his 600th career game, making him the ninth-fastest coach to reach the milestone.
Number 3 – Controversy breaks out over Chiefs 5th round pick
In April, the NFL hosted the 81st NFL draft, and in that draft the Kansas City Chiefs MADE A PICK IN the fifth round that was highly controversial.
The Chiefs selected speedy running back Tyreek Hill with the 165th pick of the 2016 draft.
Hill was dismissed from the football team at Oklahoma State for assaulting the mother of his child. He pleaded guilty to punching and choking his, at the time, pregnant girlfriend and was sentenced to three years of probation.
Hill transferred to the University of West Alabama where his play caught the eye of the Chiefs.
Tyreek came to Kansas City amidst the disapproval of fans. Many questioned the decision by the Chief’s, an organization that prides itself on being a team that values good character, but Hill owned his mistakes even in the face of scrutiny.
"I don't blame nobody but myself. It's my fault, it's my mistake," Hill said. "Can't nobody live my life but me, so I've just got to deal with it.," Hill said.
Hill has said the right things and brings excitement to Arrowhead. He's up for NFL Rookie of the Year honors, having scored 10 touchdowns and having a winning impact on the franchise.
Number 2 - The embattled effort to defend the crown
After the incredible season that the Kansas City Royals put together in 2015 the attempt at a return trip was met with stern opposition.
The Royals looked to be prime contenders in the hunt for the 2016 title.
In the offseason, the Royals made moves that seemed to only encourage the feeling around them.
The Royals provided a big pay day for outfielder Alex Gordon, making him the highest paid player in royals history.
Kansas City inked Gordon to a cool 72 million dollar contract, making him a royal for life.
The Royals also signed right-handed pitcher Ian Kennedy to a five year 70 million dollar contract, in an attempt to sure up their starting rotation.
Months later, the Royals got their World Series championship rings in an opener that matched them up with the New York Mets, who they beat in the Fall Classic in 2015.
Things looked promising, but soon injuries would begin to weigh on the Royals.
Royal’s firepower was missing, as key player Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas collided while chasing a foul ball, putting Moose on the shelf for the season with a knee injury.
Gordon would need time to recover, and he did but was not the same when he returned to playing.
The Royals also lacked depth in centerfield throughout the season as all-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain also dealt with groin and wrist injuries.
All-star closer Wade Davis also spent time on the disabled list with a variety of arm injuries.
Through it all the Royals persevered and were in the hunt as the team possessed a 42-36 record after the first 3 months of the season and were within striking distance of first place in the division.
But then came July. In July, the Royals posted the worst record for a single month in club history, going 7-19, and dropping the team below .500 with a 49-55 record.
The team’s abysmal performance in July, combined with the injuries, put the Royals in a hole and made the playoffs seemingly impossible.
The Royals run for a third straight postseason didn't happen.
The defending champions had injury problems, along with starting pitching and bullpen problems, and that magic that had led them to back-to-back World Series had finally run its course.
The Royals finished the season with an 81-81 record and eight games back in the American League wild-card race.
Number 1 – The Chiefs end their 22-year playoff victory drought with trouncing in Houston
Our top sports story of 2016 is the Kansas City Chiefs dominant victory over the Houston Texans in the wild-card round of the 2015-2016 NFL playoffs.
The victory was Kansas City’s first in the postseason since the Chiefs took down the Houston Oilers 28-20 in the divisional round of the 1994 playoffs. That’s a stretch of 22 seasons.
This game looked impossible as the Chiefs turned in a 1-5 record through the first 6 games of the 2015 season. But the Chiefs took a page out of the team across the parking lot and refused to quit. The Chiefs finished the season by rattling off ten straight wins, finishing fifth in the AFC with an 11-5 record.
The miraculous turn around led the Chiefs into a highly anticipated wild card matchup in Houston.
In this game the Chiefs traveled to Houston where they played like world-beaters, hammering the Texans with a Texas-sized 30-0 whipping.
The Chiefs led from the very beginning as return man Knile Davis returned the game's opening kickoff for a 106-yard touchdown.
Kansas City’s defense lived up to its billing as they forced five Texan turnovers, including four interceptions and a fumble.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith played well as he only had five incompletions, going 17 for 22 on the day. Smith threw for 190 yards, throwing one touchdown, and rushed five times for another 27 yards.
The Chiefs returned to a city of grateful fans who welcomed with open arms the team that finally ended the frustration of a postseason drought.
The next test was a big one, the perennial powerhouse New England Patriots in Foxboro.
Kansas City limped into the Patriots backyard.
Justin Houston wasn't healthy, and eventually, the team would announce that he had been playing on a torn ACL, and receiver Jeremy Maclin was still nursing an injury.
The Chiefs kept it close but eventually ended up on the losing end of a 20-27 dog fight with arguably the greatest team in the NFL.
What the Chiefs learned in this game led to a break through that would set the tone for the current NFL season.
The effects of this game have been seen throughout the season, and recently in a Chiefs overtime win at Mile High Stadium in Denver, putting them firmly in front of the defending AFC West champion Broncos in the division standings.
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