2016 will be remembered by Arizona sports fans much the same way most Americans will remember 2016 as a whole: not good.
Yep, it was a lean sports year in the desert, and more so than usual -- though if you look hard enough, AZ sports fans can find a few fond memories to carry into 2017.
Here's a look back, in photo form, at the sports year that was in Arizona, for better or (mostly) for worse. Make sure to read the captions for a description of each pic.
Jan. 3: New ASU men's basketball coach Bobby Hurley immediately brought some much-needed fire to the program. Case in point: ASU fans cheered wildly when Hurley was ejected late in the Devils' game vs. the archrival Arizona Wildcats. Hurley has a lot of work to do in order to turn the Devils into contenders, but his combative personality already has some ASU fans excited about the future of the program.(Getty Images)
Jan. 11: A title game for the ages: Nick Saban and Alabama edged Clemson in a 45-40 thriller in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium. It was the fourth championship in seven seasons for Saban and the Crimson Tide. (Getty Images)
Jan. 16: Larry Fitzgerald wouldn't let the Cardinals lose to the Packers in their divisional round playoff game. After the Packers' Hail Mary pass sent the game to overtime, Fitz took over with a 75-yard completion, followed by a 5-yard TD catch two plays later to send the Cards to the NFC Championship game. (Getty Images)
Feb. 1: In the midst of his third season at the helm, Phoenix Suns head coach and former Suns guard Jeff Hornacek was fired by the team after a 14-35 start to the 2015-16 season. Hornacek went 101-112 as Suns coach. Assistant coach Earl Watson replaced Hornacek, who is now the head coach of the New York Knicks. (Getty Images)
Oct. 3: Arizona Diamondbacks fans were excited for the 2016 season after the team brought in Cy Young-winning pitcher Zack Greinke (pictured above) and a number of other talented players. But after one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, the D-backs cleaned house by firing manager Chip Hale and general manager Dave Stewart, and significantly reducing the role of former chief baseball officer Tony La Russa. (Getty Images)
Nov. 11: After months of speculation, the Coyotes confirmed they will relocate from Glendale all the way... to Tempe. The team plans to create a joint venue with ASU's hockey team. The $400 million-plus project will be built near Tempe Marketplace, and it is expected to be complete before the 2019-20 season begins. (Arizona Coyotes)
Nov. 25: ASU and Arizona football both, for lack of a better term, stunk in 2016 -- especially the Wildcats, who opened the season with an 0-8 record in the Pac-12. But the Cats ended the year on a high note by rushing for a school-record 500-plus yards against their rivals to reclaim the Territorial Cup in convincing fashion, 56-35 in Tucson, and preventing the Sun Devils from going to a bowl game. (Getty Images)
Dec. 3: Dan Majerle is building something special in Phoenix. The fourth-year coach of Grand Canyon's men's basketball team has already set the foundation for an NCAA Tournament-caliber squad -- and he's helped create one of the best home-court advantages in the country. GCU's Havocs are among the NCAA's noisiest student sections -- and Louisville coach Rick Pitino took notice after his Cardinals survived a scare against Majerle's Lopes, calling GCU a more hostile environment than even Duke and Kentucky. (GCU Today)
Coming off their best season in their 117-year history and a critically acclaimed Amazon documentary, the Cardinals seemed poised to make a run at their first-ever Super Bowl championship. Instead, coach Bruce Arians and the Cards have limped (literally and figuratively) through 2016 -- and a loss to the Dolphins (pictured above) essentially ended their hopes of returning to the playoffs for a third straight season. (Getty Images)
Dec. 23: There's no better example of the rise of hockey in the Valley than Scottsdale native Auston Matthews, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Matthews, who grew up idolizing the Coyotes and their team captain, Shane Doan, had the chance to face off against Doan (literally) during his first NHL game in Glendale when the Maple Leafs played the Coyotes. Doan, who was playing in his 1,500th career NHL game, scored his 400th career goal in a 4-1 loss to Matthews and the Leafs. (Arizona Coyotes)