The Lightning’s second straight Stanley Cup championship is the latest Tampa Bay triumph. If you need a reminder, here’s a look at the notable titles and victories the area has celebrated in the past year:
The Bucs won Super Bowl 55
Behind Tom Brady and a strong supporting cast, Tampa Bay earned its second NFL championship with a 31-9 win over the Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium. The victory came against arguably the game’s best player (superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes) and the reigning Super Bowl champions. Even more remarkably, the Bucs became the first team ever to win the Super Bowl at their home stadium.
The Rays won the American League
No, the Rays were not World Series champions. But Kevin Cash’s club still outlasted the defending AL champion Astros to win the pennant for the second time in franchise history and first time since 2008. Tampa Bay lost to the Dodgers in six games.
The Rowdies won their conference
The USL championship was canceled after multiple positive coronavirus tests within the Rowdies. That meant Tampa Bay didn’t get a shot at another league title; instead, the Rowdies had to settle for winning the Eastern Conference.
Colton Herta won the Grand Prix
The 21-year-old IndyCar Series hotshot is a California native but lives in Belleair Beach. His performance elsewhere in Pinellas County landed him on this list: He won the pole at April’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and led 97 of the race’s 100 laps to cruise to a dominant victory.
USF had its best run in decades
Four teams (women’s basketball, baseball, men’s golf and women’s soccer) combined for six AAC championships to give the Bulls their biggest haul in 23 years. The baseball team advanced to the super regional, while the women’s basketball team’s tournament championship was its first ever, after four previous runnerup finishes to UConn. USF’s coed cheer team added to the trophy collection with a national title.
Trayvon Bromell won the 100 meters
The Gibbs High alumnus finished first in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials last month with a blazing time of 9.80 seconds. Bromell hopes that’s a prelude of what’s still to come. He has the fastest time in the world this year (9.77 seconds) and will enter the Tokyo Games as the favorite to win gold in one of the Olympics’ marquee events.
The Lightning won the Stanley Cup (twice)
The first one was significant on its own. After years of regular-season success but postseason failures, the Lightning finally broke through in September, beating the Stars in six games, then repeated by topping the Canadiens. Tampa Bay became the eighth franchise in NHL history to win back-to-back Stanley Cups and only the second this century (joining the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Penguins). The quirky scheduling from the coronavirus pandemic makes the Lightning’s accomplishment even more noteworthy: They hoisted the Cup twice in a 10-month span.
• • •
Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.