It's the year of the work ethic. Fresh in our memory is the Pistons outworking the star-studded Lakers. A few days earlier, the upstart Lightning & workman-like Flames battled it out for the Stanley Cup.
The trend is global. In Spain, Real Madrid's "galacticos" fell apart late in the season, and could finish no better than fourth to Valencia in La Liga. In Germany, perennial titans Bayern Munich were beaten convincingly at home by Werder Bremen in the title decider for the Bundesliga. In England, Manchester United, the world's richest franchise, lost their crown to Arsenal in the Premier League. It's been a good year in sports for the work ethic.