It’s that time of year again! End of year lists will pop up across your timelines and news feeds with obnoxious regularity until the clock officially flips to 12:01 AM on January 1. It’s lazy. It’s been done to death but we’re also in the week between Christmas and New Years when pretty much everyone has punted on putting any true work into anything so here we are! The Top 5 Best Sports Moments In Indiana In 2022. I’m sure there will be things I forgot about or didn’t make the list that will be up for debate and that’s fine. Without further ado, let’s begin.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Indianapolis Indians Beer Bats. Seriously, those things were sweet and I hope to see them at Victory Field in 2023.
5. The 106th Indianapolis 500
The spectacle of the Indy 500 is always something to behold, whether it’s live at the track or on TV or listening on the radio. The 2022 edition was no different as it had plenty of drama. Scott Dixon earned his fifth career pole and clocked the fastest Indy 500 pole speed of all-time and became the all-time lap leader during the race where he dominated the majority of it by leading 95 laps but Lady Luck ran out for Dixon. During his final pit stop, Dixon was penalized for speeding entering pit lane and the penalty took him out of contention. With the field wide open at that point it was Dixon’s Chip Ganassi teammate, Marcus Ericsson, who took advantage and was able to hold off Pato O’Ward after a restart with two laps to go. Ericsson became the second Swedish-born driver to ever win the 500.
4. Untold: The Manti Te’o Documentary
If you remember the Manti Te’o catfishing story from back in 2012 or even if you have no idea what I’m referring to do yourself a favor and watch this documentary. The Untold series (Netflix) is one of the best sports documentary series going these days (Also, check out the Malice At The Palace doc if you haven’t already) and this might be the best episode in the series to this point. Manti Te’o was a beloved linebacker at Notre Dame and when it became public that both his grandma and his girlfriend died just days apart it became national headlines and put him not only in the spotlight but made him a Heisman candidate. Long story short (or just watch the documentary for a more detailed account) the “girlfriend” in question didn’t die because she didn’t exist. She was a made up character by Naya Tuiasosopo, who became romantically involved with Te’o despite never actually meeting face to face. It was the first well known “catfish” story, which no one knew much about back then. The controversy caused a backlash on Te’o and completely derailed him professionally and in a lot of peoples’ minds. The documentary retells the story through the voices of both Te’o and Tuiasosopo and does a great job showing how unfairly Te’o was treated by the public and media following it all. I cannot recommend this documentary any more highly as it definitely made me feel completely foolish for some of the things I had said back when it all first happened.
3. The Carson Wentz Trade
The trading of Carson Wentz seemed to be almost a formality from Jim Irsay heading into the 2022-23 season. The woeful finish to the 2021 season and missing out on the postseason perturbed Irsay so much that a reported meeting between he, Reich and Ballard took place that basically said Wentz could not be back the following season. Shockingly, the Colts found a taker in the Washington Commanders and even more shocking was the pretty solid return the netted from dealing him. Sending Wentz, a 2022 second-round pick and a 2022 seventh-round pick to Washington the Colts received the Commanders’ 2022 second-round pick, a 2022 third-round pick and a 2023 conditional pick that will end up being a third-rounder. The Colts used those picks (and mixed in a few draft day trades) to acquire Alec Pierce, Jelani Woods and Bernhard Raimann. Will any of them work out? Time will tell. But the fact that they were able to spin off a QB everyone knew they didn’t want for that kind of a deal is some solid work by Chris Ballard and company. Oh, what simpler times those were for the Colts.
2. Purdue Basketball
The Boilermakers may have lost to the Saint Peter’s Peacocks in the Sweet 16 of March Madness but the run up to that point was pretty great. The school was ranked number 1 nationally for the first time ever, albeit briefly before they lost to Rutgers but that was way back in December 2021! That’s ancient history! They entered the tournament as a 3-seed and made short work of Yale before taking down the Texas Longhorns. They ran into trouble when the Cinderella of the tournament, the Peacocks of Saint Peter’s had one last upset in their magical run, which was bad news for the Boilermakers. In the off-season they lost Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams and Sasha Stefanovic and looked like the 2022-23 season would be a transition season but Matt Painter has his new look Boilermakers ranked No. 1 in the country once again and it looks like things could be pretty special in West Lafayette when the calendar flips to 2023.
1. The Pacers Trade For Tyrese Haliburton/Buddy Hield
The Pacers were in the middle of another lost season and needed to make some moves to shake up the roster and re-ignite fan interest. They did just that in February 2022 when they dealt Domatas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and a 2027 second-round pick to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan “It was fun while it lasted” Thompson. Many considered it a steal by the Pacers when it happened and while Sabonis is thriving in Sacramento the Pacers have seen a complete youth movement in their franchise thanks to the 23-year old Haliburton, who has quickly become the face of the franchise. Haliburton is currently averaging 20.5 points and 10.2 assists (1st in the NBA) per game and the Pacers are off to a better than expected record to this point and fully in the very early playoff race in the Eastern Conference. Hield has been no slouch himself, averaging 17.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. His ability to score in bunches has taken the weight of scoring off rookie Benedict Mathurin and given the Pacers even more depth than even they might have expected. The Pacers are fun again and look to be a team that’s going to give opponents fits for the rest of the season and going forward. And it’s all thanks to the trade that turned the franchise from stagnant to the fascinating once again.
Agree with the list? Disagree? Did I miss something? Let me know! And be sure to listen to Kevin & Query every weekday morning from 7-10 on 93.5 & 107.5 The Fan!