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Texas 2016 in 30 Photos

A look back at Texas’s eventful year.

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It’s been quite a year. So much so, in fact, that the end of 2016 has become a meme (“me at the beginning; me at the end” being the most recent incarnation of the Internet’s call for 2016 to just be over).

Texas has, as usual, has made its fair share of national headlines. As we look back over the year, we selected a few handfuls of photos that illustrate some of the bigger moments that occurred across Texas in 2016. This is by no means a comprehensive retrospective, but it does offer a glimpse into some of this year’s defining moments.

AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 1: Art and Diana Ramirez of Austin with their pistols in custom-made holsters during and open carry rally at the Texas State Capitol on January 1, 2016 in Austin, Texas. On January 1, 2016, the open carry law takes effect in Texas, and 2nd Amendment activists hold an open carry rally. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Art and Diana Ramirez of Austin took their pistols to an open carry rally that was held at the Texas State Capitol on January 1. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

On January 1, Texas’s open carry law went into effect. As Erica Grieder detailed earlier this year, it was a controversial piece of legislation that stoked passionate debate over Second Amendment rights.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: A makeshift memorial for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is seen at the U.S. Supreme Court, February 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was at a Texas Ranch Saturday morning when he died at the age of 79. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A makeshift memorial for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is seen at the U.S. Supreme Court, February 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in West Texas on February 13. Presidio County, a sparsely-populated part of the state, was swarmed by the media after the unexpected loss of the 79-year-old justice. The nation continues to feel the effects of Scalia’s absence: the Supreme Court was left with just eight members, and no one has been confirmed as his replacement. The appointment of a new justice also became an issue during the 2016 presidential campaign.

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 29: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a rally at Gilley's Dallas the day before Super Tuesday February 29, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. Candidates have spread themselves out over the U.S. in the lead up to Super Tuesday where twelve states will hold primary voting. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images)
Ted Cruz at a rally at Gilley’s Dallas the day before Super Tuesday, February 29, 2016. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images)

When Texas Senator Ted Cruz entered the crowded Republican primary field, he was largely considered a dark horse. But the senator began picking up steam around “Super Tuesday,” and he won handily won Texas, as well as our neighbors to the north, Oklahoma, and Alaska. His strategy appeared to shift at this point to push Marco Rubio out of the race and create a two-man competition between himself and Donald Trump.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2: Pro-choice advocates (left) and anti-abortion advocates (right) rally outside of the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, where the justices will consider a Texas law requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics upgrade their facilities to standards similar to hospitals. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Pro-choice advocates and anti-abortion advocates rally outside of the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016, in Washington, D.C.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On March 2, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case. Under consideration was HB2, the controversial Texas law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that clinics meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. The definition of “undue burden” was largely the focus of the arguments, stemming from a 1992 Supreme Court case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the court found that states could impose abortion restrictions so long as they didn’t pose an undue burden on the rights of the person who seeks the procedure.

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: President Barack Obama speaks at the opening Keynote during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Long Center on March 11, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SXSW)
President Barack Obama speaks at the opening keynote during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Long Center on March 11, 2016. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 16: First Lady Michelle Obama speaks on stage during the SXSW Keynote: Michelle Obama during 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 16, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SXSW)
First Lady Michelle Obama was a keynote speaker at SXSW Interactive. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SXSW)

SXSW, already a premiere event on the global stage, upped its game by landing a sitting U.S. president and first lady as keynote speakers for the 2016 festival in March. President Barack Obama discussed the lessons he learned from rolling out Obamacare; the intersection of government services, technology, and the private sector; and increased access to internet. The keynote with Michelle Obama, who spoke five days after her husband, primarily focused on her Let Girls Learn initiative, a program that works to address education access for girls around the world.

MCALLEN, TX - APRIL 14: Environmental health specialist Aaron Salazar points out an aegypti mosquito caught on a "mosquito trap" on April 14, 2016 in McAllen, Texas. City workers are catching mosquitos and sending them to labs to test for Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. Health departments, especially in areas along the Texas-Mexico border, are preparing for the expected arrival of the Zika Virus, carried by the aegypti mosquito, which is endemic to the region. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced this week that Zika is the definitive cause of birth defects seen in Brazil and other countries affected by the outbreak. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Environmental health specialist Aaron Salazar points out an aegypti mosquito caught on a “mosquito trap” on April 14, 2016, in McAllen. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

In April, the Centers for Disease Control concluded that Zika causes microcephaly and other birth defects. Cities along the Texas-Mexico border began preparing for the arrival of aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the virus, by trapping and testing the bugs. As the year progressed, Zika concerns escalated. In June, a baby in Harris County died from Zika-related symptoms, though the mother contracted the virus in Colombia and not in the state. Then, in November, Texas saw its first case of locally-transmitted Zika in a Brownsville woman. Still, Texas officials are not too worried. “We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state DSHS commissioner, said in a press release. “We still don’t believe the virus will become widespread in Texas, but there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially in parts of the state that stay relatively warm in the fall and winter.”

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: Pro-immigration activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of United States v. Texas, which is challenging President Obama's 2014 executive actions on immigration - the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Pro-immigration activists gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18, 2016, in Washington, D.C., the day the U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of United States v. Texas. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of United States v. Texas, a high-profile challenge to President Barack Obama’s controversial executive actions on immigration. The issue before the court was an injunction upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which would grant undocumented immigrants who met specific criteria exemption from deportation. As Erica Grieder wrote in April, many considered the case to be more about limiting presidential power than stymying immigration policy.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 12: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs waits for the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring the ball down court during the second half of Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 12, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
Tim Duncan in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

Tim Duncan played what would ultimately be his last professional basketball game on May 12. It was a disappointing way to go out—the San Antonio Spurs lost game six of the Western Conference Semifinals to the Oklahoma City Thunder 99–113. But Duncan, beloved by his fans and teammates, capped his nineteen-season run with the Spurs with a respectable 19 points and five rebounds in his final game.

WACO, TX - AUGUST 31: A general view of play between the Southern Methodist Mustangs and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium on August 31, 2014 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

On May 26, following months of news about a sexual assault scandal, Baylor University released the “findings of fact” from an external investigation into the matter. The administration also made big personnel changes: University president Ken Starr was demoted (and later resigned), head football coach Art Briles was fired, and athletics director Ian McCaw was sanctioned and placed on probation.

RICHMOND, TX - JUNE 03: The Brazos River is seen at a high level after heavy rainfall has brought flooding to the area on June 3, 2016 in Richmond, Texas. The Brazos River reached a record level on Thursday climbing above 54 feet. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Brazos River is seen at record levels after heavy rainfall in the Richmond area on June 3, 2016. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Floods plagued the Houston area a couple of times this year. April showers brought a “hundred-year flood” to the metro area, dumping more than a foot of rain in some areas of the city and prompting many to wonder if Houston’s infrastructure could sustain these weather events, which are becoming more and more frequent. Then, in June, the Brazos River reached record levels, rising more than 54 feet and displacing residents in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: Abortion rights activist Morgan Hopkins of Boston, celebrates on the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the nation's toughest restrictions on abortion, a Texas law that women's groups said would have forced more than three-quarters of the state's clinics to close. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
Abortion rights activist Morgan Hopkins, of Boston, celebrates on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2016, after the Court’s 5-3 decision to strike down parts of Texas’s legislation on abortion restrictions. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

In a 5-3 decision announced June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of Texas’s HB2 legislation—specifically the part of the bill requiring clinics to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center and requiring doctors at those clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals—saying the bill put an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion. The decision came nearly three years to the day after then-state senator Wendy Davis’s historic filibuster to kill a version of the bill.

DALLAS, TX - JULY 08: Dallas Police Chief David Brown pauses at a prayer vigil following the deaths of five police officers last night during a Black Live Matter march on July 8, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. Five police officers were killed and seven others were injured in a coordinated ambush at a anti-police brutality demonstration in Dallas. Investigators are saying the suspect is 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson of Mesquite, Texas. This is the deadliest incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Dallas Police Chief David Brown pauses at a prayer vigil following the deaths of five police officers during a Black Live Matter march on July 8, 2016 in Dallas. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On July 8, five police officers were killed and seven others were injured during a Black Live Matter rally in Dallas protesting the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It was the deadliest day for American law enforcement since September 11, 2001.

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 20: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

At July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ted Cruz made what many construed as a public act of defiance against Donald Trump: Cruz stood in front of the gathered crowd of delegates and urged them to “vote their conscience.” The statement elicited boos, and at the Texas delegation’s breakfast the next day, the senator was met with anger from his own constituents. Cruz went on to endorse Trump in September.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Gold medalist Simone Biles of the United States celebrates on the podium at the medal ceremony for the Women's Floor on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Simone Biles landed the gold in the women’s floor exercise at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Simone Biles, a nineteen-year-old from Spring, won her fourth gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics on August 16, setting the record for most golds won by an American gymnast in a single Olympics. (She also won a bronze at Rio, making her only the fourth American gymnast to take home five medals in one Olympic year.) She clinched her final gold medal at the games during the floor exercise, in part due to her signature move, the Biles: a double-layout with a half-turn.

Roy Wood Jr. from the Daily Show with Trevor Noah leads University of Texas at Austin Students in a "Cocks Not Glocks" chant on August 24, 2016.
Roy Wood Jr. from the Daily Show with Trevor Noah leads University of Texas at Austin Students in a “Cocks Not Glocks” chant on August 24, 2016.

Doyin Oyeniyi/Texas Monthly

Students at the University of Texas at Austin held a protest called “cocks not glocks” on August 24, which encouraged attendees to wear sex toys strapped to their backpacks as a way to call attention to the controversial campus carry law, which went into effect on August 1, fifty years to the day after the UT Tower shooting. The rally garnered national attention, including interest from The Daily Show.

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys lies on the turf after being injured in the first quarter during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys lies on the turf after being injured in the first quarter during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Ninety seconds into Tony Romo’s first pre-season game on August 25, the Cowboys’ starting quarterback was injured after Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril tackled him during a slide. It was, as Dallas writer Michael J. Mooney noted, “a very Romo thing” to happen. (Mooney also wrote our September cover story on Romo’s “now or never” moment, an issue that was hitting newsstands literally the day Romo was hurt.) Romo fractured a vertebra and was out for several weeks.

MENTONE, TX - FEBRUARY 05: The Patterson 298 natural gas fueled drilling rig drills on land in the Permian Basin that is owned by Apache Corporation on February 5, 2015 in Mentone, Texas.The rig, which is only 21 days old, is the first drilling rig in Texas that is 100-percent fueled by natural gas. As crude oil prices have fallen nearly 60 percent globally, many American communities that became dependent on oil revenue are preparing for hard times. Texas, which benefited from hydraulic fracturing and the shale drilling revolution, tripled its production of oil in the last five years. The Texan economy saw hundreds of billions of dollars come into the state before the global plunge in prices. Across the state drilling budgets are being slashed and companies are notifying workers of upcoming layoffs. According to federal labor statistics, around 300,000 people work in the Texas oil and gas industry, 50 percent more than four years ago. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The Patterson 298 natural gas-fueled drilling rig, built on land in the Permian Basin that is owned by Apache Corporation. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On September 7, the Apache Corporation announced that it had made an “immense” energy discovery, finding a new field in West Texas—dubbed “Alpine High”—that could hold up to three billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Crude oil prices experienced tumult throughout the year: early in 2016, they fell nearly 60 percent globally, but towards the end of the year, they ticked back up to highs not seen since mid-2015.

Parents picking up students evacuated after a shooting at Alpine High School.
Parents picking up students evacuated after a shooting at Alpine High School.

Photograph by Rachel Monroe

Tragedy struck in Alpine when a freshman high school student shot another student on campus before turning the gun on herself. The incident on September 8 shook the small West Texas city, and left locals surprised something like that would happen in their community. As one parent put it to Rachel Monroe, who reported on the shooting for Texas Monthly, “Everybody’s saying, a shooting in Alpine? Really? Alpine?

blue_bell

Blue Bell landed back in the news over listeria concerns on September 21. The company recalled two flavors of ice cream—Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cookie Two Step—produced in an Alabama plant. Blue Bell was still recovering from a 2015 recall stemming from listeria issues.

MCALLEN, TX - AUGUST 19: Immigrant families are transported to an "Immigrant Respite Center" after being released by the U.S. Border Patrol on August 19, 2016 in McAllen, Texas. After crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas, the families are taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol, given temporary legal documents and then sent by bus to their destination city in the United States, where they apply for political asylum. Many receive assistance from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Immigrant Respite Center in McAllen before continuing their journey. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Immigrant families are transported to an “Immigrant Respite Center” after being released by the U.S. Border Patrol on August 19, 2016 in McAllen, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection released data on October 17 showing a sharp rise in migrant families crossing the Texas border. As we wrote then, “thousands more families and unaccompanied minors were apprehended or turned themselves in at the Texas border in fiscal year 2016 than the previous period. The El Paso Border Patrol sector saw a 134 percent increase in unaccompanied minors since fiscal year 2015, and the Rio Grande Valley region saw a 54 percent increase; in the 2016 period the same regions experienced hikes of 364 percent and 90 percent, respectively, in families who were apprehended compared to the 2015 period. Overall, 88,720 families and unaccompanied minors were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley region, by far the region with the most apprehended migrants, compared to 51,273 in FY 2015 and 102,285 in FY 2014.”

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 02: Beyonce performs onstage with Martie Maguire of Dixie Chicks at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
Beyoncé performs onstage with Martie Maguire of Dixie Chicks at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

On November 2 Beyoncé performed her song “Daddy Lessons” at the fiftieth annual CMA Awards with help from the Dixie Chicks. It was a big year for the Texas artists, with Beyoncé headlining the Super Bowl, the BET Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and the Country Music Awards, and the Dixie Chicks receiving a (mostly) warm welcome on their reunion tour after years spent in country music exile.

Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez were featured in the documentary 'Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four' about their case. They were officially exonerated November 23, 2016.
(L-R) Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez

Photo by Amanda Edwards/ Discovery via Getty Images

Nearly twenty years after the “San Antonio 4″—Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez—were falsely accused of sexually assaulting two children and convicted of the crime, the women were officially exonerated on November 23. The case was often called a “witch hunt” and the women spent years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

STILLWATER, OK - OCTOBER 1 : Head Coach Charlie Strong of the Texas Longhorns watches during the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys October 1, 2016 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys defeated the Longhorns 49-31. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong at the Oklahoma State game on October 1, 2016. The Horns lost to the Cowboys 49-31. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

On November 26, the University of Texas at Austin fired head football coach Charlie Strong. Strong coached three seasons at the university, finishing with a 16-21 record. The coach was deeply respected by his team, staff, and many fans, but ultimately, the university cut ties with him due to his losing record. UT poached the University of Houston’s head coach, Tom Herman, reportedly giving him a five-year, $5 million contract.

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20: ExxonMobil Corporation Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson testifies during a hearing before the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee January 20, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held a hearing to examine the merger of ExxonMobil and XTO. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ExxonMobil Corporation Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson testifies during a hearing before the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee January 20, 2010. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Donald Trump tapped ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State on December 10. As with many of the president-elect’s cabinet members, Trump’s choice for the powerful position caused some controversy, with some people examining Tillerson’s potential conflicts of interest stemming from his connection to Exxon.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Former Texas Governor Rick Perry walks through the lobby on his way out of Trump Tower, December 12, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Rick Perry leaves Trump Tower on December 12, 2016. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On December 13, President-elect Trump tapped yet another Texan for a top cabinet position: former Texas governor Rick Perry for energy secretary. As with Tillerson, the choice came under scrutiny for Perry’s potential conflicts of interest. Also, the decision gave reason for the media to trot out Perry’s infamous “oops” gaffe when, during a presidential primary debate in 2012, the governor couldn’t remember the third agency he would cut if he were elected president (it was, ironically, the energy department).

SAN ANTONIO,TX - DECEMBER 18: Tim Duncan hugs San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovic at the end of the ceremony as the two walk off the court when his number was retired after the game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Honoring and retiring of Tim Duncan number at AT&T Center on December 18, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
Tim Duncan hugs San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich at the end of the ceremony retiring Duncan’s number. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

Tim Duncan, who officially stepped away from the game in July, was honored in San Antonio for his nineteen seasons with the Spurs on December 18. His number, 21, was retired in a ceremony celebrating the power forward’s long career. Head coach Gregg Popovich has made statements suggesting that Duncan may coach.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 11: Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans is sacked by Hassan Ridgeway #91 of the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler getting sacked by Hassan Ridgeway of the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 11, 2016, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Houston Texans announced it would be benching starting quarterback Brock Osweiler and moving backup Tom Savage into the top spot on December 19. The decision was met with cheers from many fans, who had been shaking their heads all season at Osweiler’s dismal performance. The Texans picked up the quarterback, giving him a four-year, $72 million contract.

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after throwing for a touchdown during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
In regular season play, Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott has passed for 23 touchdowns, and rushed for 273 yards and six touchdowns. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after scoring a touchdown by jumping into a Salvation Army red kettle during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Running back Ezekiel Elliott has emerged as one of the NFL’s top players and is being discussed as an MVP pick for the league. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

On December 22, the Dallas Cowboys clinched the NFC East and secured the top spot in the playoffs. The team is currently sitting at a 13-2 record, with starting quarterback Dak Prescott winning fans (and games), and running back Ezekiel Elliott emerging as one of the top players of the 2016 NFL season.

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