2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Already Knew

While every year has its own host of surprises, there are always those stories that simply fit the trend. Sure, it can get repetitive, but if we don’t look back at history aren’t we only doomed to repeat it? Every year has its fair share of stories that fell into this category, and 2008 was no different.

Our list of things we already knew this year includes the BCS’ continued suckiness (Texas-Oklahoma), how teamwork wins championships (KG, Pierce and Ray-Ray), and the #1 rule for carrying a handgun into a nightclub – don’t use your sweatpants as a holster. (Come on, Plax. Really? Sweatpants?)

Don’t miss the other two parts of our 2008 Year-End Sports Review: “What We Learned” and “What We Think Might Happen.”

Brett Favre can’t make up his mind.

The biggest story of the summer was all the drama surrounding Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. This saga has been covered to death, but there’s one detail that never seemed to get that much play. At the start, it looked like the Packers were making a bad decision by moving on so quickly even when Favre decided he wanted to return. But when the news broke about Favre’s near-unretirement in March, the Packers stance became much more clear. They were ready to take him back after the owners’ meetings, but he called it off at the last minute. At that point, the Packer brass was understandably finished with Brett Favre, much to the chagrin of a good portion of the Packer faithful. – John Paulsen

The Chicago Cubs’ title drought is not a fans-only phenomenon.

The 2008 Cubs were easily the best team the franchise has assembled in decades, but they still couldn’t win a single game in the playoffs, and the reason is simple: the pressure finally got to them. Sure, they said the right things to the press about how they didn’t care about what had happened in the past, but don’t believe a word of it; there wasn’t a single person in that dugout that wasn’t fantasizing about being part of the team that finally, mercifully, ended the longest title drought in sports history. Once ESPN picked them to win it all, however, they were doomed. Ryan Dempster walked seven batters in Game 1, which matched his total for the month of September. The entire infield, including the sure-handed Derrek Lee, committed errors in Game 2. Alfonso Soriano went 1-14 with four strikeouts in the leadoff spot, while the team as a whole drew six walks and struck out 24 times. The team with so much balance in the regular season suddenly became the most one-dimensional team in baseball; take Game 1 from them, then sit back and watch them choke. And now that this group has lost six straight playoff games (the team has lost nine straight dating back to 2003), it isn’t about to get any easier. Get a helmet, Cubs fans. – David Medsker

If you’re going to wear sweatpants to a nightclub, leave the gun at home.

If winning a Super Bowl is the pinnacle of an NFL player’s career, than shooting yourself with your own gun in a nightclub has to be rock bottom. Case in point: Plaxico Antonio Burress. Just 10 months after helping the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg while at a nightclub. Apparently the (unregistered) gun was slipping down his leg and when he tried to grab it to keep it from falling, the lucky bastard wound up pulling the trigger and shooting himself. And that wasn’t the worst of it because as Plaxico found out, New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. He was arrested, but posted bail of $100,000 and is scheduled to return to court on March 31, 2009. If convicted of carrying a weapon without a license, he faces up to three and a half years in jail. He shouldn’t expect special treatment, either. The mayor of New York wants to be sure that Burress is prosecuted just like any other resident of NYC. The Giants, meanwhile, placed him on their reserve/non-football injury list and effectively ended his season. While “Plax” definitely deserves “Boner of the Week” consideration for his stupidity, what’s sad is that in the wake of Washington Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor’s death, most NFL players feel the need to arm themselves when they go out. Maybe players can learn from not only Taylor’s death, but also Burress’s accident so further incidents can be avoided. – Anthony Stalter

Read the rest after the jump...

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Curran: Cowboys are exploiting Pacman Jones

Tom Curran of NBC Sports makes an excellent point about the relationship between the Dallas Cowboys and Adam Jones, and how the team is essentially just using “Pacman” as their circus “freak show.”

Pacman JonesGiven the pain Jones has caused himself and others and the limb the Cowboys made the rest of the league climb out on for a guy who’s a lock to offend again, the honorable thing would have been for the Cowboys to somehow shield Jones’ re-entry into the NFL from the cameras.
Would HBO have like it? No. Did it make for great TV to see Jones dumping trash cans filled with water from his balcony on unsuspecting teammates, catching six footballs at once, saying about T.O., “That boy crazy!” and sending correspondence to the league to ask for reinstatement? Yeah.

But the whole operation served to give Jones — someone not mentally equipped to deal with the severity of his situation and the reality of the expectations set upon him — the perception that he wasn’t a person or an employee of an NFL franchise but a reality TV star.

And what do reality TV stars inevitably do? They melt down. And then they land on the scrap heap with the rest of pop culture’s discards to go and do whatever it is they do until they make their next and final headline (before their obit) with an arrest in a Target parking lot.

But that’s OK with Jerry Jones, the NFL’s P.T. Barnum. Think P.T. cared if The Bearded Lady had esteem issues and a drinking problem that raged? Not if she showed up lookin’ freaky.

So today, now that Pac is back in the news for public stupidity, we’re supposed to cluck-cluck at how stupid he is. Sorry, I’m not with that program. To me, that fact was already clear. Instead, I shake my head at the team that’s exploited him.

Outstanding points. I’m guilty of using Pacman in my, “He’s just an idiot posts,” but Curran makes the first spot-on assessment of this whole situation. When the Cowboys first signed Pacman everyone said, “Now see – they want to help him. They’re keeping tabs on him and trying to clean up his image.” But as Curran points out, Jerry Jones and the team has just been exploiting him for exactly who he is – a guy who, in Curran’s own words is, “intellectually overmatched by the simple workings and expectations of society.”

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