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Top 10 national sports stories of 2010

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was named Super Bowl MVP, celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLIV, 31-17, over the Colts. (Feb. 7, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

A look at the 10 biggest sports stories that happened in 2010, the non-New York edition.

10. Heisman Trophy woes

Reggie Bush returned his 2005 Heisman Trophy after the University of Southern California was hit with major recruiting violations because of him and others. Its significance lies in the precedent it set for future violators. Which brings us to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner and the 2010 poster child for recruiting issues. Mike Rose | Video | Heisman Trophy winners

9. NFL concussions

Is it possible to go a week in the NFL without hearing about another player suffering a concussion? Likely not, given the violent nature of a sport that prides itself on putting on pads and running full-steam into another person wearing pads. But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made a public stance on the issue of head injuries by announcing major fines and possible suspensions for illegal hits. All the discourse also caused Major League Baseball to begin considering a seven-day disabled list for players who suffered a concussion. Famous sports concussionsMore coverage

8. Team USA's wild ride in the World Cup

Soccer doesn't rate in America the way it does around the world, but every four years or so, something happens to make Americans care about the game for a few days. Landon Donovan's goal off a rebound 45 seconds into stoppage time against Algeria put the United States into the Round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup. This, after having a goal disallowed earlier in the game and in a previous game after poor officiating. Game story | World Cup photos | World Cup coverage

7. UConn women's basketball

Hard to imagine a college basketball team can ever come close to the 88-game winning streak posted by the UCLA men of 1971-74, coached by John Wooden who passed away this past summer. But, if we've learned anything from the dominance of the Connecticut women's basketball program over the past 20 years, it's this: This would be the only team that could do it. And they did. And they're still going. Game story | Video | Great streaks in sports

6. Olympic hockey: U.S.A. vs. Canada

For a few days in February, Zach Parise achieved star status. His tying goal with 24.4 seconds left in the gold-medal hockey game Feb. 28 against Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics made him an American hero. Who says the Olympics are dead? Parise gave Team USA a chance at Olympic gold, right up until Sidney Crosby and Team Canada ended the dream in overtime. Weeks later, when the NHL resumed its season, chants of "U-S-A!" could be heard in arenas when members of Team USA played for their league teams. Game story | PhotosVideo

5. Brett Favre's streak ends

Put aside, if only for a moment, the histrionics and the retirement news conferences that number more than Michael Jordan and Jay-Z combined. Now realize that we saw the end of an event we'll never witness in professional football again: Brett Favre on the sidelines, in street clothes, at the start of a football game in which he was on the active roster for his team. Favre started 297 consecutive games at quarterback in the National Football League. That's one way to look at it. Here are two more: Four men served as U.S. presidents during Favre's streak; Music went from cassette tapes to CDs to Napster to a more organized (and profitable) form of digital downloading through iTunes. Of course, there's also that whole "sexting" scandal with former Jets game day hostess Jenn Sterger and its lack of closure by the NFL. StoryVideo | Brett Favre photos

4. The resurrection of Michael Vick

Once a pariah and considered the scourge of American professional sports, Michael Vick is again an American sports hero. The savior of the Philadelphia Eagles' franchise. The most electrifying football player in the world. And he wasn't even the opening day starter for the Eagles. But, his life seemingly corrected by a two-year bid in a federal correctional facility, ol' No. 7 dazzles the masses every Sunday. Want proof? Six touchdowns on Monday Night against the Washington Redskins in Week 10, and the 28-point comeback in 8 minutes to beat the Giants in Week 15. Whatever your stance on Vick, there's no denying his impact on the sports landscape in 2010. Bob GlauberPhotos

3. The demise of Tiger Woods

Where do we start here? The apology? The never-ending list of mistresses? The loss of three major sponsors? The sex rehab? The divorce? How about the combined 30 strokes off the lead in the four majors? And the 0-fer Woods posted this season on the Tour. The world's most recognizable golfer dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the world ranking. Not a big dip, sure, but he was No. 1 for 281 consecutive weeks. And no matter what happened off the course, when he was on the course, you wanted to know how he performed. Still. Just for other reasons this year. Tiger Woods photosComplete coverage

2. Saints win Super Bowl XLIV

Forget about the Hurricane Katrina ramifications for a moment here. The Saints won a Super Bowl. The Super Bowl. The Saints. Ten months later, it's still hard to fathom, but it's true. New Orleans Saints - defending Super Bowl champions. Super Bowl XLIV photos | Bob Glauber

1. "The Decision"

Before he took his talents to South Beach, instead of back to Cleveland or over to Chicago or New York, LeBron James held the sports world captive. Every day, every minute. Where's he going? Who's he meeting with? Which side of the bed did he wake up on? Did "Worldwide Wes" have Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast this morning, or Fruity Pebbles? How does that translate for LBJ? Yes, that's how ridiculous it got. And, of course, once King James made his decision, what did he do? He went on ESPN and spent an hour destroying the hearts of three cities, and some say his legacy. The forgotten portion of this television spectacle - and it was just that - is that he raised $3 million for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Don't see any other free agents doing that, do you? Photos | Video | Complete coverage

Honorable mention

- San Francisco Giants win first World Series since leaving New York
- Phil Mickelson's win at the Masters
- Butler's run to the NCAA final four
- Boise State and its Bowl Championship Series chances

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