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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?

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Firing Phillips the right decision for Cowboys

Whether it’s Wade Phillips or Jason Garrett that finishes out the rest of the season as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, the team isn’t going to the playoffs. But Jerry Jones’ decision to fire Phillips on Monday isn’t about making the playoffs.

Jones needed to send a message to those that will be around past this year that the lack of effort and execution that the Cowboys have displayed this year won’t be tolerated. Not all of the team’s problems are because of Phillips, but the head coach is always the first one on the chopping block when things fall apart.

You always hear about how Phillips is a players’ coach, but most of his players stopped playing for him weeks ago. I don’t think there’s any question that Phillips can coach in this league, but obviously the players stopped responding to his methods and Jones had no choice but to let him go after the embarrassing 45-7 loss in Green Bay on Sunday night.

Without Tony Romo, Garrett’s chances of succeeding are fairly slim. But he won’t be measured on wins and losses over the next eight weeks – he’ll be measured on how the players respond. If they quit on him like they quit on Phillips, then Garrett may be searching for a job after the season as well.

Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden’s names will be brought up repeatedly over the next two months in connection with the Dallas job, but consider this: No head coach has ever won the Super Bowl with his second team. Bill Parcells (Giants/Patriots), Dan Reeves (Broncos/Falcons) and Mike Holmgren (Packers/Seahawks) all got close, but they couldn’t pull the feat off. That’s not to say that Cowher or Gruden would be bad choices to replace Phillips, but Jones needs to at least consider bringing in someone fresh.

It’ll be interesting to see not only whom Dallas hires at the end of the season, but also whether or not Phillips will get another head coaching job next year. He may have to settle for a defensive coordinator position after what transpired with the Cowboys this season.

Jerry Jones to meet with coaching staff; Wade Phillips not at Valley Ranch

Jerry Jones wants to meet with his coaching staff Monday afternoon following an embarrassing loss to the Packers on Sunday night. It’s unclear at this point if he plans to fire head coach Wade Phillips, who has yet to show up to Valley Ranch on Monday according to ESPN.com.

If you’re an NFL betting man, you’re putting your money on “Canning -600.” After the ‘Boys lost to the Jaguars and Packers the past two weeks, one would think that things couldn’t get much worse in Dallas. But seeing how disinterested the players were in Green Bay on Sunday night, it stands to reason that things could get much, much worse.

As I wrote following the game, it’s time for Jones to jettison Phillips and go in another direction. Jason Garrett certainly hasn’t done anything to deserve a promotion but why not see what he’s got over the final two months of the season? If you’re Jones, why continue to put yourself and your fan base through this nightmare when you don’t have to? Phillips may be a great guy, but his players have quit on him.

And you know what? Maybe he’s quit, too. Nobody likes to be criticized and not all of the Cowboys’ issues can be pinned on Phillips. There’s only so much he can do before he has to trust that the players will step up and execute. But there’s probably part of him that just says, “Let’s get this thing over with already – I’m tired of waiting for the axe to fall.”

Stay tuned – this will be a story all week.

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