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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Randy Moss vents frustrations again about contract

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 02: Randy Moss  of the New England Patriots looks on against the New York Giants on September 2, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Patriots 20-17. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Following the Patriots’ 38-24 win over the Bengals on Sunday, Randy Moss took the time to once again express his frustrations over not receiving a contract extension offer from New England.

From the Boston Herald:

“If you got a boss, you would like to feel appreciated,” Moss said. “This is the last year of my contract, and there hasn’t been anything discussed, there has not been anything said, not a letter, not nothing. I’m not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here. If the future of my job lets me go to another team, then that’s what it’s gonna be. Right now I have a contract with the New England Patriots [team stats], I’m going to play my last year out and do it to the best of my ability.

“I don’t want anything negative to come out of this, like it usually does. It’s not that I’m mad or trying to be disgruntled. I’m not here to disrespect the organization. I’m not disrespecting my teammates, but this is my first time talking and I wanted to get that out there.

“If the opportunity presented itself later in the season for me to be a New England Patriot, I would accept that, but if it doesn’t, I must leave. I’ve already shown that I can play at a high level at age 33. For me to be offered a contract after the season is over, I think that would be a smack in my face, and I don’t even want to get into that.

“It’s like if you work for somebody, sometimes you want your boss to tell you that you’re doing a good job. You want to be appreciated, and me personally, I don’t think I’m being appreciated. I take my job very seriously and I want to let the fans, the real fans of the New England Patriots, know that I’m not here to start any trouble, I’m here to play my last year out of my contract.”

If I were in Moss’s shoes, I would probably feel frustrated about the situation, too. He’s been a great Patriot over the years and his numbers certainly warrant him receiving a new contract. He’s also been on his best behavior since arriving to New England and has become one of the team’s most viable offensive pieces.

That said, I just can’t shake the fact that he basically stole money from Oakland for two years before the Patriots rescued him. So does New England owe him or does he owe New England? In other words, is he justified for venting because of what he’s done for the Pats or should he just be quiet, honor the rest of his contract and hope for an extension in the offseason?

I could go either way, although at this point I would advise Moss to temporarily move on. He’s said his peace on the matter and now the Patriots know how he feels. There’s no sense bringing it up again, although I understand it’s tough sometimes with the media always poking and prodding for a headline.

Randy Moss needs a reality check when it comes to comments about contract

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 12: Randy Moss  81 of the New England Patriots chats with teammates on the sidelines during the preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on August 12, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In an exclusive interview with CBSSports.com, this is what Randy Moss (who is entering the final year of his contract) had to say about not receiving an offer yet for a new deal:

“When you have done so much and put so much work in, it kind of feels like I am not wanted,” Moss said in an exclusive interview with CBSSports.com. “I am taking that in stride and playing my final year out and whatever the future holds is what it holds, but it is kind of a bad feeling — feeling not wanted. It is not like my production has gone down. I am speaking from an individual standpoint. I don’t know about Tom [Brady’s] or whoever else’s contract.

“I am a little older and understand the nature of the business — the older you get the more your skills supposedly diminish, but I think I am getting wiser in how to use my physical skills. That’s the frustrating part when you put so much heart and desire into things and feel like you are not wanted.”

Hey Randy, reality check, bud: If Tom Brady doesn’t have a new contract yet, then neither do you. So sit tight, show some patience and the Patriots will probably get around to you once the quarterback that has produced three Super Bowl rings gets his new deal.

I can certainly understand that Moss is uneasy going into the final year of his current deal without the guarantee of a contract beyond this season. And I also understand that he’s been highly productive over the last couple of years and thus, has earned a new contract offer.

But am I missing something here? Who was the guy that completely tanked in Oakland for two years before New England saved him? Oh, that was Randy Moss. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he still got paid for that monstrosity of an effort he put up with the Raiders, so excuse me for not shedding a tear for him because he doesn’t feel wanted.

New England has long taken the approach that players have to earn every single contract they receive. That means Moss may have to go out and catch another 75 balls this season in order to get a new deal. So be it. Like he said, he understands the business side of the NFL, so if that’s what he has to do then that’s what he has to do.

But not feeling wanted? Please. I wonder what the Raiders and there fans thought when they watched Moss give up on damn near every route in ran in 2005 and 2006.

Moss doesn’t expect Pats to re-sign him after 2010

Randy Moss doesn’t expect the Patriots to re-sign him once his contract is up after the 2010 season.

From the Boston Globe:

“I don’t think they are going to extend my contract here,” said Moss, speaking to reporters at the charity softball game of former Patriots teammate Heath Evans.

“I understand the beast, the nature of it. I think that just with what I think and what I know I don’t think they’re going to re-sign me back. So, after this season if there is not a lockout I’ll be looking for a new team. I got a lot of respect for the Patriots and what they did for me and my family. So, the only thing I can do is just play this year out and see what my future holds after that. “

There’s no question that Wes Welker is the Patriots’ most productive receiver, but Moss still shows the ability to get open and make plays when he’s motivated. If he plays well next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots at least offer him a modest one or two-year deal.

That said, his play faded down the stretch in 2008 and in 2009. He’ll be 34 next year and while he still has the capability to dominate from time to time, his speed often diminishes throughout the year as his legs get tired. (Thus, his prediction that he won’t be brought back after 2010 might be spot on.)

We’ll see – a lot depends on this year. If he sleepwalks through the season (as in, if he performs in 2010 like he did every year in Oakland), then there’s no way the Pats will bring him back. If he stays motivated and produces, then I wouldn’t rule anything out for 2011.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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