With 2022 in the rearview mirror, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments in the Nashville sports world from this past year.
From Nashville SC opening GEODIS Park to Hany Mukhtar‘s historic season, the second Music City Grand Prix, as well as Roman Josi‘s record breaking season with the Nashville Predators, 2022 saw quite a bit of activity this year in the city’s growing sports industry.
Here are The Sports Credential‘s Top 10 Nashville Sports Moments of 2022.
10 – The Nashville Stampede Win Inaugural PBR Team Series
The Nashville Stampede celebrating their championship win. Photo: Courtesy of the PBR
Professional Bull Riding introduced its team series in 2022, offering fans a new way to cheer for their favorite bull riders.
The Stampede was led by former PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco and head coach Justin McBride. The team finished the regular season with a record of 7-20-1, but ran the table at the Team Series Playoffs in Las Vegas where they ultimately won the inaugural season.
To read up on the team and the PBR Team Series, click here.
9 – Belmont Women’s NCAA Tournament Run
Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics
It’s no secret that the Belmont women’s basketball team has been one of the best college athletic teams in the city for years now, but for the past two years, the team has been able to do what no Belmont WBB team has done before: win NCAA Tournament games.
In 2022, the Bruins took on No. 5 seed Oregon in the first round of the March Madness tournament and went on to win 73-70. Sophomores Tutti Jones and Destinee Wells put on a show where they scored 22 points and 16 points, respectively. This was the Bruins second NCAA Tournament win in program history.
Belmont later took on the Lady Vols of Tennessee on their home court in what was one of the best games of the tournament. Wells and Jones showed up big time again, scoring 22 points and 17 points, respectively, but ultimately fell just short, losing 70-67.
Despite their loss, the Belmont WBB managed to show how dominant of a team they are and will be for the coming seasons.
8 – Walker Zimmerman, Shaq Moore Named To USMNT World Cup Roster
Walker Zimmerman and Shaq Moore. Photos: Courtesy of Nashville SC
One of the biggest events of the year was undoubtedly the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The tournament, held in the winter instead of the summer, saw Nashville SC players Walker Zimmerman and Shaq Moore added to the USMNT roster. The Boys in Gold were one of only three clubs to have more than more of their players selected to the USA squad, and the pair were the first NSC players to play in a FIFA World Cup.
Zimmerman started and played all 90 minutes in three games for the USA, including the high-ratings match against England, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Moore played a combined 20 minutes in the tournament.
The U.S. fell to the Netherlands in the first round of the knockout stage 3-1, but Nashville SC successfully made its mark on the international stage.
7 – Scott Dixon Wins Dramatic Big Machine Music City Grand Prix
Scott Dixon celebrating his 2022 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix win in victory circle. Photo: Courtesy of the Music City Grand Prix.
The second annual Big Machine Music City Grand Prix this past August was one to remember as the NTT IndyCar Series Championship began heating up just as the series hit Nashville.
The already IndyCar legend Scott Dixon walked away victorious by beating Scott McLaughlin by just 0.106 seconds. This was also a record-breaking win for Dixon as he it was his 53rd career-win, making him the second most winningest driver in the sports history.
The New Zealand native started the race in 14th and found some trouble during his first pit stop. After a handful of cautions and some golden opportunities, the Chip Ganassi driver was able to find himself in the front and hold off the rest of the field.
He drove brilliantly and set himself up well to win the IndyCar season after the win in Nashville.
6 – Predators Host Stadium Series Game At Nissan Stadium
Nissan Stadium during the NHL Stadium Series. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators continued to shine in the national spotlight as they continue to host major events, most recently being a NHL Stadium Series game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in February. It was the first time an outdoor professional hockey game has ever been played in Nashville or at Nissan Stadium.
There was a lot of hype leading up to the game, which included a week long Winter Park around Bridgestone Arena and downtown Nashville. The game also included a star-studded halftime show with performances by Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert.
Sadly, the Preds fell 3-2 in what became a close and exciting game. If nothing else, Nashville once again proved they are a legit hockey town and that they can host a major sporting event as good as anyone.
5 – Mike Vrabel Named Coach of the Year
Mike Vrabel. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Tennessee Titans
The 2021-22 season was a crazy one for the Titans as they fought their way to the AFC’s No. 1 seed after suffering countless injuries, including losing Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry for half the season.
Leadership and roster decisions by head coach Mike Vrabel helped the Titans overcome and win the AFC South for a second-straight season. He was named the 2022-21 NFL Coach of the Year after leading the team to a great season despite having to play nearly 100 different players and without the league’s top rusher.
His success was recognized not only by the league, but also with a contract extension from the Titans
4 – Roman Josi Breaks Predators Single-Season Points Record
Roman Josi. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators’ 2021-2022 season ended in the first round of the NHL Playoffs, but not before Roman Josi broke the franchise record for points in a single season, finishing with an astounding 96 points.
Josi broke the record by picking up three points on three assists against the Ottawa Senators on April 8. With an outstanding performance last season, he broke the previous record set by Paul Kariya back in 2006. He was also named a Norris Trophy finalist.
Josi also made history when he became the NHL’s highest-scoring defenseman in 29 years, posting 23 goals, 73 assists and 96 points in 80 games. Only six defensemen in the past 50 years have scored more points in a single season.
3 – GEODIS Park Opens
GEODIS Park. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC
The opening of GEODIS Park was not only a big deal for Nashville SC and soccer in Tennessee, but also for Nashville as a whole. When GEODIS park opened in May 2022, it solidified NSC as the city’s soccer team and third professional sports team.
The stadium became the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. and Canada with a capacity of 30,000. It saw multiple sellouts throughout the season and hosted countless moments of Hany Mukhtar brilliance and memorable moments.
The stadium also offers a new music venue that is a middle ground for attendance between Bridgestone Arena and Nissan Stadium. It is already set to host a string of concerts in 2023.
GEODIS Park will also host the USWNT in 2023 as part of the SheBelieves Cup.
2 – Hany Mukhtar Wins MLS Golden Boot & MVP
Hany Mukhtar with the Golden Boot and MVP Awards. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC
Only a few years ago, not many people would’ve imagined that a German-born soccer player would etch his name into Nashville sports history, but after winning the 2022 MLS Golden Boot and MVP, Hany Mukhtar has become a household name in Music City.
Mukhtar was nothing short of brilliant last season as he carried Nashville SC back to the MLS Cup Playoffs for a third consecutive year. He had a remarkable 34 goal contributions (23 goals, 11 assists) in 2022, which was tied for the fifth most in a single season in MLS history.
It was a tight race between him and Austin FC’s Sebastian Driussi, but Mukhtar nearly ended that debate when he scored two goals against Austin late in the season.
The Boys in Gold struggled at times and found themselves in deep water, but Mukhtar’s performances carried them through. He scored or assisted on an incredible 65.4 percent of all Nashville SC’s goals in the 2022 season.
1 – Titans & Mayor Agree To Contract For New Football Stadium
Rendering of new Titans stadium. Photo: Courtesy of the Tennessee Titans
By far the biggest story of the year came when the Titans and Mayor’s office announced a deal to build a new, domed football stadium for the NFL franchise.
In early October, the team and Mayor John Cooper announced their plan that wouldn’t directly hit Nashville taxpayers or come from the city’s general fund. The deal includes a new lease, which will not force the city to pay for any repairs and will keep the Titans in Nashville long-term.
The proposed stadium would be a state-of-the-art building with a capacity of nearly 60,000. It will open the opportunity for Nashville to host the Super Bowl, College Football Playoffs and even a NCAA Final Four.
This new stadium will cost over $2 billion, but will be paid for by the team and the NFL, $500 million in bonds by the state and by a sales tax in and around the stadium, as well as a new hotel occupancy tax. So far, the deal has passed the first wave of approval by the Metro Council and will most likely be finalized in early 2023.