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They were the champions: Recap of major champions across sports
December 30 2023, 08:00

For some, it was a first. For others, it was familiar territory. 

The sports world saw a host of teams and programs defend their titles, while others made franchise history with their claims to victory. 

Here are some of the teams crowned champions in 2023. 


The Georgia Bulldogs kicked off 2023 the same way they did the year prior — as national champions. 

After going undefeated in the regular season (15-0), Georgia defeated LSU 50-30 to win its first SEC title since 2017. The Bulldogs advanced to a CFP semifinal, where they pulled out a narrow victory over Ohio State, giving themselves the opportunity to defend their title. 

On Jan. 9, Georgia, led by quarterback Stetson Bennett, routed TCU 65-7 to win the College Football Playoff national championship for the second consecutive season.

"We wanted our kids to play without fear," head coach Kirby Smart said of the victory. "All year, I told them, I said, ‘We ain’t getting hunted guys, we’re doing the hunting, and hunting season’s almost over. We’ve only got one more chance to hunt,’ and we hunted tonight."

The Kansas City Chiefs claimed their second Super Bowl title in four seasons when an injured Patrick Mahomes led them to victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII Feb. 12. 

Led by Jalen Hurts, the Eagles took an early lead in the first quarter, but Mahomes, playing on an injured ankle, responded with a touchdown just minutes later to even the score. 

This was the pattern of the game throughout the first three quarters until the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs took their first lead with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kadarius Toney. Kansas City kept the momentum going until Hurts tied the game 35-35 with a 2-yard touchdown run followed by a successful two-point conversion. 

The game ended with a 26-yard scramble by Mahomes to get the Chiefs within field goal range just in time for Harrison Butker to hit a 27-yard game-winner with eight seconds left.


LSU dominated the red-hot Iowa Hawkeyes April 2, to capture the university’s first NCAA women’s basketball national championship with a 102-85 win. 

Despite Caitlin Clark dropping 30 in the championship game after back-to-back 40-point performances in the Elite Eight and the Final Four, Iowa’s late surge wasn't enough.

Kim Mulkey, who joined the program in 2021 after winning three national championships as head coach at Baylor, became the first women’s coach to win national titles at two different schools. 

"Coaches coach a lifetime, and this is the fourth time I’ve been blessed," Mulkey said. "Never in the history of LSU basketball, men or women, has (anybody) ever played for a championship."

The University of Connecticut men’s basketball team defeated San Diego State 76-59 to bring home the program’s fifth national title April 3. 

UConn dominated the men’s tournament every step of the way, winning all six NCAA Tournament games by double-digits and by an average of 20 points. 

"We knew we were the best team in the tournament going in, and we just had to play to our level," head coach Dan Hurley said. 


The Denver Nuggets became NBA champions for the first time in franchise history when, on June 12, they defeated the Miami Heat, 94-89, in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. 

The Nuggets won three straight after Miami’s sole victory in Game 2. Nikola Jokic finished with 28 points and 16 rebounds and became the first player in history to lead the league in points (600), rebounds (269) and assists (190) in a single postseason. He was named NBA Finals MVP. 

"We’re not satisfied with just one," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "We want more."

In just six seasons since their debut as the 31st team in the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights have made five playoff and two Stanley Cup Final appearances. On June 13, the Golden Knights won their first championship with a dominating 9-3 victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 5. 

Vegas took a two-game lead over the Panthers, but in Game 3 forward Carter Verhaeghe scored in overtime to give Florida some breathing room heading into Game 4. Vegas won two straight to have its players' names etched in NHL history. 

The nine goals also tied the record for the most in a Cup Final.

A’ja Wilson dropped 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Las Vegas Aces’ 70-69 victory over New York Liberty to win back-to-back titles, becoming the first repeat champions in 21 years. 

"It’s not easy, as you know. This is what it’s all about," Wilson said. "Not a lot of people get to do it. To be short-handed and win is amazing. It makes the win that much better. It’s hard to get back to the finals to win again."

The Aces won two straight, and New York stayed alive in Game 3 behind Kelsey Plum's 29 points. 

In a tight Game 4, Vegas took a six-point lead with 1:26 remaining. Despite coming within reach, Courtney Vandersloot’s badly missed shot from the corner with seconds remaining handed the title to the Aces. 

The Texas Rangers won their first World Series with a 5-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the World Series Nov. 2. 

The Rangers routed the Diamondbacks to make franchise history just two seasons removed from losing 102 games.

Texas led the AL West for most of the year. On Aug. 15, the Rangers were at a season-high 24 games over .500 and up 3½ games in the AL West. Then, they lost eight straight. They recovered, leading the division by 2½ with four games remaining. But they lost three of four, and the Houston Astros won four straight, winning the division again. So, Texas settled for the fifth seed at 90-72.

Just a year removed from a last-place finish, Gotham FC was crowned 2023 NWSL champion after a 2-1 victory over OL Reign Nov. 11. World Cup winner Esther González's goal on a header in stoppage time after the first half gave Gotham FC the club's first title.

Facing the defending MLS Cup champions, the Columbus Crew defeated Los Angeles FC 2-1 Dec. 9 to win the club's third title. Cucho Hernandez, who was voted MVP of the match, scored in the 33rd minute and Yaw Yeboah added a goal in the 37th.

Fox News’ Scott Thompson and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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