2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Learned

Years from now, when people look back on 2010, what will they remember as the defining sports moment? Uh, they can only pick one? We discovered that Tiger Woods likes to play the field and that Brett Favre doesn’t mind sending pictures of his anatomy to hot sideline reporters via text message. We found out that LeBron listens to his friends a little too much and that Ben Roethlisberger needed a serious lesson in humility. But we also learned that athletes such as Michael Vick and Josh Hamilton haven’t blown second chance opportunities (or third and fourth chances in the case of Hamilton). It was also nice to see a certain pitcher turn down bigger money so that he can play in a city that he loves.

We’ve done our best to recap the year’s biggest sports stories, staying true to tradition by breaking our Year End Sports Review into three sections: What We Learned, What We Already Knew, and What We Think Might Happen. Up first are the things we learned in 2010, a list that’s littered with scandal, beasts, a Decision and yes, even a little Jenn Sterger.

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

Tiger Woods gets around.

We hesitate to put this under “golf” because the only clubs involved were his wife’s nine-iron hitting the window of his SUV and the various establishments where Tiger wined and dined all of his mistresses…over a dozen in all. This was the biggest story of the early part of the year, but it got to the point that whenever a new alleged mistress came forward, the general public was like, “Yeah, we get it. Tiger screwed around on his wife. A lot.” He has spent the rest of the year attempting to rebuild his once-squeaky clean image, but it’s safe to say, we’ll never look at Tiger the same way.

Golfer Tiger Woods apologizes for irresponsible and selfish behavior during his first public statement to a small gathering of reporters and friends at the headquarters of the U.S. PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida,on February 19, 2010.   UPI/Sam Greenwood/Pool Photo via Newscom

LeBron wilts when his team needs him most.

Say the words “LeBron” and “Game 5” in the same sentence and NBA fans everywhere know exactly what you’re talking about. In the biggest game of the season, LeBron looked disinterested, going 3-of-14 from the field en route to a 120-88 blowout at home at the hands of the Celtics. There were rumors swirling about a possible relationship between LeBron’s mom and his teammate, Delonte West, and there’s speculation that LeBron got that news before tipoff and that’s why he played so poorly. Regardless of the cause, LeBron played awful in that game, and it turned out to be his swan song in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers. Talk about leaving a bitter taste.

You can auction off your talented son’s athletic abilities and get away with it.

The NCAA set a strange precedent this season while dealing with the Newton family. The always inconsistent and completely morally uncorrupt NCAA decided in its infinite wisdom that despite discovering that Cecil Newton shopped his son Cam to Mississippi State for $180,000, and that is a violation of NCAA rules, that Cam would still be eligible because it couldn’t be proven that he knew about it. Conference commissioners and athletic directors around the country spoke out about the decision, while agent-wannabes and greedy fathers everywhere had a light bulb go off in their own heads: As long as we say the player doesn’t know about it, it could go off without a hitch. What was Cecil’s punishment in this whole thing? Limited access to Auburn for the last two games of the season. Easy with that hammer there, NCAA. Read the rest of this entry »

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2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Already Knew

Let’s be honest: Sports bloggers know everything. Just ask us. As part of our 2010 Year-End Sports Review, our list of things we already knew this year includes Brad Childress’ biggest fail, Wade Phillips’ demise in Dallas and John Calipari’s troubles. We also knew Kevin Durant was the next great superstar (who didn’t see that coming?), Roger Clemens is the ultimate windbag and that “Matty Ice” knows fourth-quarter comebacks. We should have gone to medical school…

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

LeBron is a frontrunner.

We all were a little surprised that LeBron left Cleveland, but the writing was on the wall. Growing up, LeBron didn’t root for the local teams. He followed the Yankees, Bulls and Cowboys, which in the 1990s constituted the Holy Triumvirate of Frontrunning. He wore his Yankee cap to an Indians game and was seen hobnobbing on the Cowboy sidelines during a Browns game. He says he’s loyal, but he’s only loyal to winners…unless they only win in the regular season, of course.

July 08, 2010 - Greenwich, CONNECTICUT, United States - epa02241974 Handout photo from ESPN showing LaBron James (L), NBA's reigning two-time MVP, as he ends months of speculation and announces 08 July 2010 on ESPN 'The Decision' in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, that he will go to the Miami Heat where he will play basketball next 2010-11 season. James said his decision was based on the fact that he wanted to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Brad Childress’ biggest flaw cost him his job in the end.

There were many reasons why the Vikings decided to fire head coach Brad Childress roughly a year after they signed him to a contract extension. One of the reasons was because he lost with a talented roster. Another was because he never quite figured out how to best utilize Adrian Peterson, which is a sin given how talented AP is. But the main reason “Chilly” was ousted in Minnesota was because he didn’t know how to manage NFL-caliber personalities. He didn’t know how to handle Brett Favre, which led to blowups on the sidelines and multiple face-to-face confrontations. He also didn’t have a clue how to deal with Randy Moss’ crass attitude, so he released him just four weeks after the team acquired him in a trade from New England. Childress was hired in part to help clean up the mess in Minnesota after the whole “Love Boat” scandal. But the problem with a disciplinarian that hasn’t first earned respect is that his demands fall on deaf ears. In the end, Childress’ inability to command respect from his players cost him his job. You know, on top of the fact that he was losing with a talented roster, he didn’t know how to best utilize Adrian Peterson, he…

Love him or hate him, George Steinbrenner will forever be one of baseball’s icons.

You may have hated his brash attitude, the way he ran his team or the way he conducted his business. You may even feel that he ruined baseball. But regardless of how you may have felt about him, there’s little denying that George Steinbrenner will forever be one of Major League Baseball’s icons. Steinbrenner passed away in July of this year. He will forever be a man known for helping revolutionize the business side of baseball by being the first owner to sell TV cable rights to the MSG Network. When things eventually went south with MSG, he created the YES Network, which is currently the Yankees’ very own TV station that generates millions in revenue. During his tenure, he took the Yankees from a $10 million franchise to a $1.2 billion juggernaut. In 2005, the Yankees became the first professional sports franchise to be worth an estimated one billion dollars. While many baseball fans came to despise the way he ran his team (mainly because he purchased high priced free agents with reckless abandon due to the fact that he could and others couldn’t), don’t miss the message he often made year in and year out: The Yankees are here to win. He didn’t line his pockets with extra revenue (albeit he generated a lot of extra revenue for his club) – he dumped his money back into the on-field product. Losing wasn’t acceptable and if the Bombers came up short one year, you could bet that Steinbrenner would go after the best talent in the offseason, regardless of what others thought of the approach. How many Pirates and Royals fans wish they had an owner with the same appetite for victory?

Read the rest of this entry »

Rose: LeBron is not re-signing with the Cavs

We should take anything Jalen Rose says with a spoonful of salt, but here’s what he had to tweet about the LeBron situation:

#NBA my sources say that it is almost CERTAIN that LEBRON JAMES WILL NOT be returning to the CAVS! (Bulls/Heat/Clips)

The Cavs “news” is big enough, but notice the absence of the Knicks and Nets and the presence of the Clips.

My gut says that LeBron will stick in Cleveland, but depending on how wired in Rose’s “sources” are, that may not be the case. There are pros and cons to each of his options, so there’s no clear choice for LeBron come July 1.

Izzo is staying put…does this mean LeBron is leaving?

Per ESPN…

Izzo rejected the NBA in part because he was unable to speak with James, although he did speak with people in his camp.

“That was one of the key factors, 100 percent true,” Izzo said. “That was not the only factor. Was it a big factor? Sure.”

James’ uncertain future will make for a difficult decision for any prospective Cavs coach. He is unlikely to tip his hand publicly before free agency begins July 1.

I’m glad to see that Izzo is staying at Michigan State. Too many great college coaches go to the NBA and ultimately fail. It’s a different game, a different schedule, and a different level of ego. Most NBA players were the best players on their teams through high school and college; they think they know everything about the basketball and it’s tough to get through to them. That’s why you see so many coaches during those “Wired Up” sequences trying to motivate and cheerlead, while the players are staring off into the stands or up at the scoreboard.

With regard to LeBron, we can read the tea leaves a little bit. LeBron wouldn’t speak with Izzo directly, but Izzo did sepak with “people in his camp.” Remember what I said about ego? LeBron won’t even take the time to talk to a prospective head coach for his “hometown” team. If he were leaning towards staying, I think he and Izzo would have spoken so that he could create the best situation for himself in Cleveland.

Unless, of course, he’s not an Izzo fan, which seems somewhat unlikely.

This sequence of events tells me that the chances of him leaving are greater than the chances that he’ll stay put. Either way, the next two weeks are going to be excruciating. This could last another month if LeBron holds the league hostage by dragging his feet making a decision in July.

At least we have a Game 7 to look forward to on Thursday night.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Who is on LeBron’s team?

Roland Lazenby outlines the team that surrounds LeBron and will influence his decisions this summer:

It’s an impressive group that tightly encircles James these days, mostly people who knew LeBron before he became royalty. Randy Mims handles logistics and travel. Richard Paul deals with image and publicity issues.

But the central figure is Maverick Carter, his older high school teammate, who returned from playing college basketball at Western Michigan to take up a main position in LeBron’s life. They have called themselves the “Four Horsemen” and quite some time ago formed LRMR Marketing to handle James’ many opportunities.

Carter’s known as one of the smartest players to ever emerge from the Akron hoops scene. When LeBron ended his relationship with agent Aaron Goodwin with a text message notice in 2005 and turned things over to Carter, there were immediate suggestions that Carter, just 23 at the time, was in over his head, that he would fall on his face.

That hasn’t happened, though. Carter has prospered in the role.

Lazenby also touches on William Wesley’s influence. Apparently, he moved into the same apartment complex that LeBron lived in as a rookie. Wesley was the one who introduced LeBron to Michael Jordan when he was still in high school.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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