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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Roger Federer’s between-the-legs trick shot at the U.S. Open [video]

Roger Federer plays a little William Tell [video]

Color me skeptical, but if it’s real, it’s real impressive.

It seems a little shady that someone is filming Federer’s conversation with some random guy on the set and it turns into a modern day version of William Tell. He could have blinded the guy had he missed his target by six inches — I doubt he’d actually risk his reputation with such a stunt.

What do you think — is it real?

Federer averts disaster in first round of Wimbledon

Six-time champion Roger Federer avoided a major upset at Wimbledon on Monday by overcoming a two-set deficit to beat Alejandro Falla 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0.

From FOX Sports:

“I live another day,” Federer said. “This one is one I should have lost. That’s sometimes how grass-court tennis works.”

The 60th-ranked Falla had lost all 11 sets in his previous four matches against Federer, but the Colombian played brilliant tennis to take charge of the match. The turnaround came in the fourth set with Falla serving for the match and three points from victory, when Federer broke for only the second time.

Federer played his best after that. It’s the third time in a row he has won after losing the first two sets at a Grand Slam event, but the close call was a new experience in such an early round.

“You definitely feel uncomfortable,” Federer said. “For me it’s not normal to be down two sets to love. Especially at Wimbledon and early on in Grand Slams, it’s something I’m not quite used to.”

The victory was the first time since 2001 that Federer has been pushed to five set at Wimbledon before the final. The last time was against Pete Sampras when he beat him in the Round of 16.

Lung infection prompts Federer to withdraw from Dubai

Fresh off his victory at the Australian Open, Roger Federer will miss the Dubai Championships because of a lung infection.

Organizers said on Sunday that the top-ranked Swiss star picked up the infection last week and will miss the $2 million event, which starts Monday, for the second straight year.

A four-time winner in Dubai, Federer will rest for two weeks and is expected to return at Indian Wells on March 11.

Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic replaces him in the main draw.

Andy Roddick, the 2008 champion, withdrew from the tournament on Saturday.

Roddick’s reason for withdrawing remains unclear, though I’m sure it has to do with his shoulder injury at the Australian Open. It must be more serious than we thought.

As for Federer, his decision is an easy one. While the $2 million prize money would be nice, his only focus is winning Grand Slams at this point in his career and he needs to be completely healthy.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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