Retro Year in Sports: 1997

We Are the Champions

The Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in six games to repeat as champions. The highlight of the series was a pivotal Game 5 where Michael Jordan gave Chicago a 3-2 edge in Salt Lake City with 38 points in his infamous "Flu Game" which is inexplicably back in the news 16 years later.

In Super Bowl XXXI (31) the Green Bay Packers took out the New England Patriots 35-21 in Brett Favre's only Super Bowl Championship of his career. Desmond Howard was named the game's MVP by returning a third quarter kick 99 yards for a TD (at the time the longest play in Super Bowl history).

The Detroit Red Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers four games to none, to win both their first championship in 42 years and their first of two straight Stanley Cups.

In the first year of interleague play the Florida Marlins squeaked past the star-studded Cleveland Indians in a thrilling seven game series that was punctuated with a walk-off single by 22-year-old shortstop Edgar Renteria.

In other sports news, Tiger Woods won his first major at the 1997 Masters by an incredible twelve strokes. He was the youngest player to ever win the green jacket as well as both the first African and Asian American.

At Wimbledon, Pete Sampras won the men's tournament (for the fourth time) and Martina Hingis won the women's tournament while earlier in the year becoming the youngest female (16.5 years old) ever ranked No. 1  in the world.

On June 28, 1997, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson faced off in a rematch of their 1996 WBA Heavyweight Title fight. Holyfield retained the belt but the fight was more memorable for the fact that Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield's ear. After Round 3 Tyson was disqualified and punished with a lifetime ban from boxing which was lifted a year later.

In NCAA Men's Basketball, 4-seed Arizona bested top seeded Kentucky in overtime 84-79 for their first ever national title.

In the WNBA, Cynthia Cooper and the Houston Comets beat the New York Liberty 65-51 for the title. This is notable as it was the league's inaugural season.

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