The 10 Biggest Dallas Sports Moments of 2013.
2013 wasn't exactly a triumphant year for Dallas sports.
None of our city's pro teams won anything. Hell, none of them even made the playoffs.
But that doesn't mean that a ton of interesting stuff didn't happen. Lack of championships aside, it was great year to be fan, with lots of goings-on both good and bad.
With that in mind, here are our picks for the ten biggest Dallas sports moments of 2013.
No. 10: Jordan Spieth wins the John Deere Championship (July 14).
The now-20-year-old Spieth became the first teenager in 82 years to win a PGA Tour event when he came out as the victor in a three-way, sudden-death playoff at the John Deere Classic in July. Then, in August, he nearly won a second tournament; this time, though, he lost in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship. All the same: Though Spieth had previously made a name for himself as a Dallas-based amateur player before playing a year and a half of college golf at the University of Texas, 2013 was the year he broke out in the pro circuit.
No. 9: Larry Brown lands Emmanuel Mudiay (August 24).
While Larry Brown's first real recruiting class is already doing big things for the Southern Methodist University basketball program, Brown's biggest signing of all — Dallas point guard prodigy Emmanuel Mudiay, the fifth-ranked prospect in the national high school class of 2014 — is still waiting in the wings. Given another year to develop the program, the talent his team already has and Mudiay, Brown may very well inflict a fresh case of Moody Madness on North Texas in 2014.
No. 8: The University of North Texas spooks Rice on Halloween (October 31).
Playing under the lights on national television, the Mean Green beat Rice 28-16 to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2004. The win was highlighted by the UNT defense's marathon fourth quarter goal-line stand. Aided by a fourth down penalty, Rice had eight shots at the end zone from inside the UNT six-yard line and still failed to score. UNT would go on to receive an invitation to the Heart of Dallas Bowl this month, solidifying its status as a program on the rise.
No. 7: Yu Darvish almost tosses a perfect game (April 2).
Making his first start of the year in the season's second game. Rangers ace Yu Darvish retired 26 Astros in a row before Marwin Gonzalez rapped a single through the pitcher's legs in the ninth inning. Darvish struck out a career-high 14 in one of the most dominant pitching performances in franchise history. In August, Darvish would nearly no-hit the Astros again, this time giving up his bid in the eighth inning.
No. 6: Rangers trade Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder (November 20).
The ultimate failure of the Rangers' 2013 season manifested itself in the trade of one of the most integral figures on the club's 2010 and 2011 American League Championship teams, Ian Kinsler. The second baseman was shipped to the Tigers for slugging first baseman Prince Fielder, who should thrive in the hitter-friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark.
No. 5: The Mavericks don't sign Dwight Howard (July 6).
Despite Dallas' best efforts, center Dwight Howard chose to sign with the Rockets rather than the Mavericks this summer. Not only did the Mavs miss out on a much-needed big man, but the ordeal also showed that — just maybe — owner Mark Cuban's plan to stockpile cap space at the expense of keeping players like Tyson Chandler wasn't the best idea he'd ever had.
No. 4: The Stars trade for Tyler Seguin (July 4).
The Stars have been just OK so far in the 2013-14 season, but there is reason for hope. The team signaled its desire to shove its way back into contention with its July 4 trade for 21-year-old Bruins phenom Tyler Seguin. In 29 games with the Stars, Seguin has notched 31 points and shown flashes of the elite talent that could make him a franchise center for years to come.
No. 3: The Cowboys give up 625 total yards and 40 first downs in a 49-17 loss to the Saints (November 10).
In what has proven to be yet another disappointing season for the Cowboys, the team's utter capitulation in New Orleans is a singular low-light. Monte Kiffin's defense was simply nowhere to be found that day: The 625 yards it gave up was a franchise-record worst, and the 40 first downs the Cowboys surrendered were the most ever given up in NFL history. Any hope that the Cowboys might make some noise in a postseason that promises to be ruled by parity went out the window after this game. We would have included the highlights below, but they are so ugly they probably that they aren't safe for work (well, that and embedding video from the NFL's website is strictly forbidden).
No. 2: The Mavs get eliminated from playoff contention (April 10).
The game itself wasn't particularly noteworthy — the Mavs lost 102-91 to an ordinary Suns team — but what it signified was: For the first time since 2000, Mark Cuban's team would not be making a playoff appearance. The fact that the team being in the lottery was such a surprise speaks strongly to just how much Cuban has changed the culture around the formerly moribund franchise. The Mavs went on to have a quieter-than-expected summer, but they did sigh Monta Ellis and are showing signs of new life.
No. 1: Rangers sweep Angels with three consecutive walk-off wins (July 29, 30 and 31)
As the series with the Angels began, the Rangers' season was in desperate need of a boost. The team had lost 12 of 15, leading many to wonder if it might be prudent for the team to be sellers at the trade deadline. Heading into the bottom of the ninth on the 29th, things were still gloomy; the Angels led 3-2 and the offense had been sputtering all night. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto hit back-to-back home runs and the Rangers won the game. The walk-off party would continue the next two nights, too, with ninth-inning shots from Leonys Martin and Adrian Beltre, respectively. It was the first time in team history that the Rangers had won three games in a row on walk-off home runs. The team would also capitalize on the momentum it built over these three days by going 10-1 over its next 11 games.
Honorable Mentions: Eric Nadel wins the Ford C. Frick Award; Jerry Jones screws up yet another draft; Allen High School is on the verge of its second consecutive state football championship; FC Dallas trades Kenny Cooper; Matt Garza goes off.
Cover photo by Mikel Galicia.