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...

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Resounding jeers for EliteXC

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald filleted the EliteXC’s most recent event, going so far as to say it was a “sham.”

By now, all MMA enthusiasts (and most of the rest of us) know that Kimbo Slice was defeated in 14 seconds by Seth Petruzelli, who was a last-minute replacement for 44 year-old Ken Shamrock, who cut his eye while training on the day of the fight.

Did Shamrock believe his training so unproductive that a little cramming was necessary?

The point is that Shamrock was forced to back out, which sent EliteXC and CBS scrambling for an alternative. The first idea to solve the problem was, of course, to replace Shamrock with his brother, Frank — who was supposed to be the broadcast’s analyst.

This often happens in sports. Analysts such as Troy Aikman and Kirk Herbstreit often leave their TV jobs on a temporary basis when their former teams have injured quarterbacks and need help.

When that brilliant idea tarnished, EliteXC started searching for other stand-ins before finally settling on some dude named Seth Petruzelli.

The column gets interesting when Salguero discusses what EliteXC told Petruzelli before the fight:

Anyway, Petruzelli agreed to the fight, but his instructions from the EliteXC people seem hazy. In a radio interview Monday, Petruzelli said he was told he could not take Slice to the ground — which would be good for Slice, a stand-up brawler who is not proficient on the ground.

This instruction from EliteXC, which has hitched its popularity to Slice and has an interest in Slice succeeding, is akin to Major League Baseball informing teams they must throw only fastballs to New York Yankees hitters. It is, after all, good for the sport when the Yankees win the World Series.

”The promoter kind of hinted to me, and they gave me the money to stand and trade with him,” Petruzelli told the Monsters in Orlando radio show. “They didn’t want me to take him down, let’s just put it that way. It was worth my while to try to stand up and punch with him.”

Is this starting to sound rigged to you?

That perception was personified when EliteXC vice president Jared Shaw began yelling at the referee in the fight’s final seconds, alleging Petruzelli used an illegal blow against Slice. In doing so, he showed an obvious bias toward the organization’s manufactured star.

I’m not a regular MMA enthusiast, but I’d probably tune in if there was one league that featured all the best fighters. Until then, I’m going to stay away.

Related Posts