We are down from the 68 best players, coaches and personalities in DC sports history to the final four.
The Team 980/95.9 FM’s Ultimate DC Sports Star Madness bracket pitted the best of the best from the DMV against each other and it’s almost time to crown a champion. We started with regions representing Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Arlington County, and Fairfax County.
Fans can vote on every matchup on Twitter (follow @team980) and right here on theteam980.com. Make sure to comment throughout on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #DCSportsMadness. Unlike November’s election, you can vote as many times as you want in this bracket. The voting schedule is below.
Final Four: April 1st – April 3rd [6am – 6am]
Championship April 3rd – April 7th [6am – 6am]
April 7 One Shining Moment!!! We Reveal The Champion!
Let’s examine the winners of the Virginia regions and what made them so integral to the fabric of DC sports history.
Fairfax County Region – Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin aka “Ovi”
Alex Ovechkin was selected first overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals but had to wait to suit up for the team because of a league-wide lockout. Ovechkin arrived at the Capitals training camp prior to the 2005–06 season and would ultimately finish first in points and goals amongst rookies in the NHL that year.
On January 16, 2006, Ovechkin scored “one of the greatest goals of all time,” according to many around the hockey world. Knocked down by Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Paul Mara and sliding on his back facing away from the net, Ovechkin was able to hook the puck with one hand on his stick and slide it into the net past goalie Brian Boucher for his second goal of the night. It became referred to as “The Goal.”
Ovechkin finished third overall in the NHL in scoring with 106 points and tied for third in goals with 52. His point total was the second-best in Washington Capitals history and his goals total tied for third in franchise history. He was also named to the NHL First All-Star Team, the first rookie to receive the honor in 15 years. After the season ended, Ovechkin received the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best rookie.
Over the next 12 seasons, Ovi would collect three Hart Memorial trophies, seven “Rocket” Richard trophies, become a perennial All-Star and set more records than we have time to list here. The thing that alluded him and haunted his legacy was a lack of postseason success.
Arlington County Region – Darrell Ray Green
Darrell Green was the last player selected in the first round (28th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. This is considered by many analysts to be the best draft classes in NFL history.
The first time Green touched the ball, during a pre-season game against the Atlanta Falcons, he returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown.
In his first regular-season game, he made waves across the league when he chased down running back Tony Dorsett of the Dallas Cowboys to prevent a touchdown. Green started all 16 regular-season games during his rookie season and was runner-up for the Associated Press NFL Rookie of the Year Award.
During a divisional playoff game against the Chicago Bears in 1987, Green returned a punt 52 yards for the game-winning touchdown. He had torn rib cartilage while vaulting over a tackler during the return, but he merely grabbed his side and kept running until he scored.
In the 1987 NFC Championship game, on a pivotal fourth-down play at the Washington goal line with 56 seconds remaining, Green knocked away a pass intended for Minnesota’s Darrin Nelson to secure a Redskins 17–10 victory that enabled the team to go to Super Bowl XXII.
In 1997, Green returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles, which was the longest return of his career. Then on December 13, 1997, he played in his 217th career game as a Redskin, breaking Monte Coleman’s record for games played. In a 1999 game against the Arizona Cardinals, he intercepted his 50th NFL pass against Jake Plummer at FedExField.
During the 2002 season in what would be the last game of his career, Green helped the Redskins defeat the Dallas Cowboys 20–14 on a reverse returned punt from Champ Bailey for 35 yards which is the longest gain of any kind for a player his age (42 years, 327 days). He retired after the 2002 season.
For several years, Green and Jackie Slater were the only players in NFL history to play for the same team for 20 seasons. Green is also the four-time winner of the NFL’s Fastest Man competition, and the only undefeated multiple winner of this award in NFL history.
A two-time Super Bowl champion, Green was named All-Pro in 1986, 1987, 1990, and 1991 and was voted to seven Pro Bowls. He is a member of the National Football League 1990s All-Decade Team.