(CBS4) – 2019 is coming to close and there were many sports stories that topped the charts. The Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche had their longest playoff run in a decade. The Colorado Rockies started the season with World Series aspirations before they fell near the bottom of the NL West standings.
But we start our list with the owner who helped put the Denver Broncos on the national stage.
1. Denver Broncos Lose Sports Legend and Longtime Owner
Denver Broncos longtime owner Pat Bowlen died on June 13th after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 75. Known simply as Mr. B., Bowlen became the most successful owner in Colorado sports history winning three Super Bowls.
Bowlen owned the Broncos since 1984 and developed a winning culture that saw the team advance to the Super Bowl seven times, play in nine AFC Championship Games, win the AFC West division 13 times and have only seven losing seasons.
The future of the Denver Broncos ownership is unknown but Brittany Bowlen is seen as the favorite to take over.
2. Altitude Sports & Entertainment vs Comcast
Local fans haven’t been able to watch the Denver Nuggets or Colorado Avalanche play this season, unless you have DirecTV. The Denver-based Altitude Sports & Entertainment iss in a dispute with two big TV service providers about carrying the channel.
In September, the contracts with Comcast, DISH and DirecTV expired. Since then, only DirecTV/AT&T has come up with a new agreement with Altitude. In November, Altitude sued Comcast.
3. Champ Bailey and Pat Bowlen inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame
Two Bronco greats were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. Pat Bowlen and Champ Bailey became the sixth and seventh Broncos in the Hall of Fame, joining John Elway, Gary Zimmerman, Floyd Little, Shannon Sharpe and Terrell Davis in Canton.
Bailey became the first Broncos defender to make it in the Hall of Fame. He was traded to Denver in 2004 and made the Pro Bowl eight times as a Bronco. Bailey also had 34 interceptions with the Broncos, including a career-high 10 interceptions in 2006.
4. Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets gives fans a playoff run to remember
For the first time in eight years, the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets made the playoffs at the same time. At one point during the 29-day playoff run, there was either a Nuggets or Avalanche game for 15 days in a row.
The Colorado Avalanche won their first series in 11 years as they beat the Calgary Flames in five games in the first round and fell to the San Jose Sharks in a tough seven-game series in the Western Conference Semifinals. Game 7 against the Sharks will be remembered for a questionable offsides call on Gabriel Landeskog which wiped out what would have been the tying goal by Colin Wilson.
Both Nathan McKinnon and Mikko Rantanen led the Avs with six goals. Rantanen had 14 points and was rewarded with a six-year, $55 million contract in the offseason. The playoffs also saw the debut of Cale Makar who came directly from the college ice to the playoffs where he scored in his first game as a pro in Game 3 of the Calgary series.
The Denver Nuggets postseason run was dramatic out the gate. They won their first playoff series in a decade as they beat the San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the first round. Denver’s playoff run also ended in the Western Conference Semifinals as they fell at home to the Portland Trail Blazers in seven games.
Nikola Jokic averaged 25.1 points, 13 rebounds and 8.4 assists in the playoffs, becoming the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in at least 10 playoff games.
Jamal Murray also blossomed in the playoffs averaging 21.3 points a game. He agreed to a five-year, $170 million contract extension in the offseason.
5. Nolan Arenado makes long term commitment to Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies made the postseason in two consecutive seasons and rewarded their All-Star third baseman with the richest contract in team history. Nolan Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million contract extension. At the time, it was the largest per-year salary of any position player in the MLB.
Arenado was a bright spot in a disappointing season for the Rockies, making his fifth straight All-Star Game while posting a .315 batting average with 41 home runs and 118 RBI’s. He also continued to flash the leather winning his seventh straight Gold Glove.
6. Broncos fire Vance Joseph and hire Vic Fangio as Head Coach
After the first back-to-back losing seasons since the 1970s, the Denver Broncos fired Vance Joseph. Joseph was 11-21 in his two seasons as head coach. The Broncos had instability at the quarterback position during his tenure, starting Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch in 2017, before signing Case Keenum in 2018.
Denver hired longtime defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The 60-year-old coach had a tough start as the team slumped to a 0-4 record. The Broncos have gone 6-5 in the last 11 games and saw the emergence of Courtland Sutton and Alexander Johnson.
7. Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies Pitching Falls Apart
With the Colorado Rockies coming off two-straight playoff appearances, it seemed the future was bright at 20th and Blake. Except the pitching didn’t carry over to the new year.
Kyle Freeland went from being fourth in the Cy Young voting the year before, to being demoted to the minors after starting the season with 2-6 record and a 7.13 ERA. The pitching continued to falter as Wade Davis was taking out the closer’s role after an 8.65 ERA.
Overall, the Rockies finished the season 71-91.
8. Colorado Buffaloes Comes Back 17-Points Down to Beat Nebraska Cornhuskers
The only game on our list was the most exciting of the year, especially if you’re a Buffs fan.
The 25th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers visited Folsom Field for the first time since 2009 when both teams were in the Big 12. Huskers fans were looking for revenge as the Buffs beat Nebraska the year before in Lincoln and there was plenty of fans dressed in red in the stands.
The Cornhuskers raced out to a 17-0 start and held the lead late until the third quarter. The game changed early in the fourth quarter when Steven Montez connected with K.D. Nixon on a 96-yard flea flicker.
Just want the doctor ordered.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 7, 2019
The game would go back and forth as 38 points were scored in the fourth quarter. The thriller would go to overtime tied at 31 and Colorado scored first on a 34-yard field goal by James Stefanou. The Buffs would complete the rally as Nebraska punter Isaac Armstrong’s 49-yard try sailed wide right. It was the first major win for Mel Tucker.
9. Northern Colorado and Colorado State make Coaching Changes
The Northern Colorado Bears fired head football coach Earnest Collins Jr. In nine seasons. his team posted a 28-72 record, including going 2-10 this season. The Bears hired former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey as the new head coach.
10. Drew Lock gives Broncos Fans Hope into the Next Decade
Since Peyton Manning retired the Denver Broncos have been looking for the next franchise quarterback. Drew Lock is the best shot at assuming the role, winning four of his first five starts.
Lock missed the start of the season as he was placed on injured reserve with a thumb injury in the preseason. After Joe Flacco was done for the season with a neck injury and Brandon Allen flamed out after three games, Lock was inserted into the lineup and didn’t look back.
He won his first start against the Los Angeles Chargers and became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in his first road start, beating the Houston Texans 38-24. In the game he completed 22-of-27 passes for 309 yards, three touchdowns and an interception with a 136.0 passer rating. Lock was named the NFL Rookie of the Week.
Just Missed Out:
Air Force Falcons football team finishes 11-2, beating Colorado and Colorado State on the road and winning the Cheez-It Bowl.
Regis High School Francesca Belibi wins McDonalds All-American Slam Dunk Contest
Colorado natives Mallory Pugh and Lindsey Horan help USA Women’s National Team win World Cup
Lindsay Vonn retires as the Winningest Female Skier in History
Colorado Rapids Goalkeeper Tim Howard Retires
David Carle leads Denver Pioneers to Frozen Four in first season as Head Coach