Grand Theft Auto VI trailer: Looking back at the sports world when GTA V was released 10 years ago

At long last, Grand Theft Auto VI’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated trailer has dropped. Believe it or not, it has been 10 years since Grand Theft Auto V was released, and a lot has changed in that time. That’s especially true in the sports world, where things shift rapidly.

When GTA V was first released, the landscape of major sports in America looked a lot different than it does today. LeBron James was still in South Beach, Joe Flacco was still “elite,” David Ortiz was flipping Torii Hunter over the right field wall in Fenway Park and college football still used computers to determine its national championship matchup.

It’s also fun to go back and look at how the fortunes of various teams have changed over the years. Back in 2013, the Houston Astros and Colorado Avalanche were bad, the Boston Red Sox and Auburn Tigers were competing for championships and the reigning Stanley Cup champions were still a twinkle in Gary Bettman’s eye.

Let’s do some reminiscing and remembering some guys and gals as we throw it back to 2013, when the last Grand Theft Auto game made its way into Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles everywhere.


Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens def. San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl MVP: Joe Flacco (BAL)
NFL MVP: Adrian Peterson (MIN)
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Robert Griffin III (WAS)
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Luke Kuechly (CAR)

Grand Theft Auto V was actually released right at the start of the 2013 NFL season, but those were the reigning champs and award-winners at the time. Joe Flacco, who was just beckoned off his couch to play for the Cleveland Browns, led the Ravens to a Super Bowl win over Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers. As far as we know, there were no allegations of sign stealing leveled against Harbaugh in that playoff run.

It’s also notable that the MVP, Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year are no longer in the league. They say the NFL stands for “Not For Long,” and they mean it.

At the time the enormous GTA V map was downloading on consoles across the country, Peyton Manning was two games into his second season with the Denver Broncos. He had already thrown for 769 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions in what would eventually be the start of another MVP season for him. In the NFC, second-year quarterback Russell Wilson had the Seattle Seahawks sitting at 2-0 with big things to come.


NBA Finals: Miami Heat def. San Antonio Spurs
NBA Finals MVP: LeBron James (MIA)
NBA MVP: LeBron James (MIA)
Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard (POR)
Sixth Man of the Year: J.R. Smith (NYK)

James and the “Big Three” were coming off their second consecutive NBA title after taking down Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs in a thrilling seven-game series. James had to build more room in his trophy case that summer as he dominated that season by averaging 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

A few of James’ future teammates also had big seasons that year. Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics led the league with 11.1 assists per game, Dwight Howard owned the glass in Los Angeles by averaging a league-leading 12.4 rebounds per game with the Lakers, and Carmelo Anthony shined with the New York Knicks by finishing as the NBA’s leading scorer with 28.7 points per game.

Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard was just traded to the Milwaukee Bucks after 11 seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, and he now forms a daunting duo alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was also a rookie when GTA V hit shelves.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference with a 60-22 record, but they were upset by the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round. The Golden State Warriors were still searching for their first title since 1975, but Steph Curry provided some hope for the future with a real breakout campaign.


World Series: Boston Red Sox def. St. Louis Cardinals
World Series MVP: David Ortiz (BOS)
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera (DET)
AL Cy Young: Max Scherzer (DET)
NL MVP: Andrew McCutchen (PIT)
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

On the heels of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Red Sox rallied around their city and won the World Series after finishing dead last in the AL East one year earlier. David Ortiz gave his famous “our f–ing city” speech before having one of the most clutch postseasons in MLB history, featuring a game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. He then proceeded to hit .688 with four intentional walks in the World Series.

As far as the other award winners, Miguel Cabrera just completed his final MLB season and leaves the game tied for 25th all-time in home runs with 511. Scherzer, Cabrera’s teammate on the Tigers in 2013, just won the second World Series of his career, this time with the Texas Rangers. Kershaw just ended his 16th season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his future is now up in the air after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Similarly, McCutchen was going strong in his 15th season, and 10th with the Pittsburgh Pirates, before an Achilles injury derailed him.

Elsewhere around the league, the lowly Houston Astros couldn’t even muster 60 wins, going a miserable 51-111. The Chicago Cubs, being the lovable losers that they were, finished last in the NL Central at 66-96. That summer, the Cubs also drafted a player by the name of Kris Bryant. A 21-year-old Mike Trout hit 27 home runs, and Shohei Ohtani was a rookie with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.


Stanley Cup Final: Chicago Blackhawks def. Boston Bruins
Conn Smythe Trophy: Patrick Kane (CHI)
Hart Trophy: Alex Ovechkin (WAS)
Norris Trophy: P.K. Subban (MTL)
Vezina Trophy: Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ)
Calder Trophy: Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA)

Due to a partial lockout, the NHL played just 48 regular-season games in 2012-13, and the Blackhawks were the best team from wire to wire. They won 36 games and are still the most recent team in NHL history to win the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same year. Chicago fell behind Boston, 2-1, in the Stanley Cup Final before rattling off three straight wins to end the series.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were at the top of their game, combining for 46 goals and 103 points that season. In the playoffs, Kane took his game to another level by scoring nine even-strength goals and totaling 19 points in 23 games. 

Alex Ovechkin scored 32 goals en route to his third Hart Trophy, and he’s still chipping away at Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record today. Martin St. Louis, now the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, won the Art Ross Trophy as the league leader in points with 60.

The Colorado Avalanche finished as one of the worst teams in the NHL, but they won the NHL Draft lottery and selected Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 overall pick. Henrik Lundqvist, who was just inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, finished second in Vezina voting with a 2.05 GAA and a .926 save percentage.

College Football

BCS National Championship: Florida State def. Auburn
ACC champion: Florida State
SEC champion: Auburn
Big Ten champion: Michigan State
Big 12 champion: Baylor
Pac-12 champion: Stanford
Heisman Trophy: Jameis Winston (FSU)

Back when they still let computers select which teams would play for the national title (what a time), Auburn and Florida State played a thriller at the Rose Bowl. With 1:19 to go in the fourth quarter, Tre Mason scored a 37-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 31-27 lead. Jameis Winston responded by leading the Seminoles on a game-winning touchdown drive that ended with him finding Kelvin Benjamin in the end zone.

That was the cherry on top of an outstanding season from Winston, who completed 66.9% of his passes for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He even added 219 yards and four scores on the ground. It may have been a brutal end for the Tigers, but it was a magical season up until the final minute of the national title. The 2013 season included both the Prayer at Jordan-Hare against Georgia and the Kick Six against Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Johnny Manziel followed up his Heisman Trophy season in 2012 by totaling 4,873 yards and 30 total touchdowns. In the same year that Jim Harbaugh led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, his successor at Stanford, David Shaw, led the Cardinal to an 11-3 record and a win over No. 11 Arizona State in the conference championship. In April 2013, long before the season even began, one Patrick Mahomes gave a verbal commitment to play football at Texas Tech University.

As always, the coaching carousel was as ruthless as Trevor Philips, so let’s review some of the most notable changes at the end of the 2013 season.

  • Texas: Mack Brown replaced by Charlie Strong
  • Louisville: Charlie Strong replaced by Bobby Petrino
  • USC: Lane Kiffin replaced by Steve Sarkisian
  • Washington: Steve Sarkisian replaced by Chris Petersen
  • Boise State: Chris Petersen replaced by Bryan Harsin
  • Penn State: Bill O’Brien replaced by James Franklin
  • Vanderbilt: James Franklin replaced by Derek Mason

College Basketball

Men’s national champion: Louisville
Men’s Player of the Year: Trey Burke (Michigan)
Women’s national champion: UConn
Women’s Player of the Year: Brittney Griner (Baylor)

On the men’s side of things, Louisville coach Rick Pitino led Louisville to a 35-5 record, a Big East championship and an NCAA championship. All of those wins have since been vacated, but we watched the games and the NCAA hasn’t brought out the Neuralyzer from “Men in Black” quite yet.

The No. 1 seed Cardinals rolled through the first three rounds of March Madness without too many issues, and that set up an Elite Eight matchup with No. 2 seed Duke. The game was expected to be a tight one, but that was not the case. Louisville cruised to an 85-63 win, and Russ Smith led all scorers with 23 points. The one stain on that game for the Cards was the gruesome Kevin Ware injury.

In the Final Four, the Cardinals won thrillers over Wichita State and Michigan to bring home the title.

In terms of Cinderella stories, Wichita State had to be the biggest. The Shockers reached the Final Four as a No. 9 seed, beating some high-profile programs in the process. No. 13 seed La Salle reached the Sweet 16 before getting beaten by Wichita State. No. 13 seed Florida Gulf Coast captured the hearts of America by riding “Dunk City” all the way to the Sweet 16 as well.

Somehow, UConn’s women’s team did not win the Big East regular-season title. When looking back on it, that was shocking because the Huskies blasted every one of their March Madness opponents, including Big East winner Notre Dame.

Geno Auriemma’s team won every single NCAA Tournament game by at least 18 points. UConn also won four games by at least 30 points, including the national championship game against Louisville, which was a 93-60 blowout. It would have been interesting to see Brittney Griner go head-to-head with this UConn team in the tournament, but her Baylor Bears were upset by the Cardinals in the Sweet 16.

PGA Tour

Player of the Year: Tiger Woods
Most wins: Tiger Woods (5)
FedEx Cup champion: Henrik Stenson
The Masters: Adam Scott
U.S. Open: Justin Rose
The Open Championship: Phil Mickelson
PGA Championship: Jason Dufner

Tennis (M)

Player of the Year: Rafael Nadal
Most tournament wins: Rafael Nadal (10)
Australian Open: Novak Djokovic
French Open: Rafael Nadal
Wimbledon: Andy Murray
US Open: Rafael Nadal

Tennis (W)

Player of the Year: Serena Williams
Most tournament wins: Serena Williams (11)
Australian Open: Victoria Azarenka
French Open: Serena Williams
Wimbledon: Marion Bartoli
US Open: Serena Williams


Cup Series champion: Jimmie Johnson
Most wins: Matt Kenseth (7)
Rookie of the Year: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.


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