Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss their best of the year.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to the end of the NHL lockout. After months of labour war, we'd spent a week freezing on some of the finest sidewalks New York had to offer, staking out meetings that produced nothing much. And then on Jan. 5 the NHL walked to the players' hotel for what was described as an informal meeting, starting at one in the afternoon. It didn't stop. Midnight arrived, and the meeting kept going. At 4am I closed my eyes for 15 seconds and Aaron Ward took a picture. And finally, at five in the morning the news broke: Labour peace was at hand, and a voice exiting the room bellowed out, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. For ending something that's the opposite of sports, that's my moment of the year.
Steve Simmons, SUN Media: My thumb is up to the least natural sporting emotion of 2013 - caring about the Davis Cup. Most of us couldn't tell you when the Davis Cup begins, when it ends, how the schedule works or who plays who, but Milos Raonic and Canadian tennis changed all that this past year. Suddenly we were pulled in by possibility, by Raonic's huge first serve, by the fortitude of Vasek Pospisil, by the stoic veteran Daniel Nestor, all of them coming together in red and white as a team. Our team. They didn't win the Davis Cup but did what no Canadians had ever done before. They made the semi-finals. In a way it was the perfect Canadian ending: We played hard, we played great, we inspired, we just didn't win.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to the Iron Bowl, proof that one second can last for eternity. The improbable finish started with that single tick Alabama coach Nick Saban lobbied to have put back on the scoreboard. Rather than take his chances in overtime, Saban sent out a back-up kicker to attempt a quixotic 57-yard game-winning field goal. Auburn's Chris Davis took the failed kick deep in the end zone and juked and then sprinted more than 100 yards - straight into the hard drive of memory. In-state rival Auburn deprived Alabama of a third straight national championship with Davis' return while reminding us that sport is the grand unscripted drama of our lives.
Dave Hodge, TSN: Well if that defied belief, my thumb is up to the current NFL season, which has done that… right from the start when Peyton Manning tossed seven touchdown passes, only to have Nick Foles of the Eagles do the same thing later on. Matt Prater broke a record with a 64-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but Justin Tucker's 61-yarder might have been more amazing, because it came at the end of the game. One week, the NFL set a record with 90 touchdowns. The next week, it set a record for one-day scoring with 763 points. Philly's LeSean McCoy rushed for 217 yards in the snow, and Kansas City's Jamaal Charles, another running back, caught four passes for touchdowns. NFL stadiums have scoreboards, and the busier they are, the better the games tend to be - never truer than in 2013.