Jan 7, 2007

KING SIZED BLOGS 2006 Year in Review: Sports

Greg got back from huntin' and posted his response to the television article. You can check out his here. He pointed out a genre of television I completely forgot - commercials. Now that we have DVR, it is easy to forget about commercials. I was glad that he brought them up. GEICO is consistently humorous. The other group I enjoy (and hate to admit it) is anything invovling Peyton Manning. As much of a punk as he is on the field, he is funny on screen. Good catch, Greg. Well, I really don't want this to run into February, so let's get moving with the other categories. We'll, uh, kick it off, hmmm, with sports. Again, I am not going to try to do some comprehensive list of anything. I am going to do three categories: MOST ENJOYED, MOST DISAPPOINTING, and OTHER NEWS OF NOTE.

2006 Rose Bowl: Having spent the better part of 27 years watching sports, I have learned that few games live up to the hype. But this game did. I honestly don't care about either team (USC, Texas). In fact, I usually root against both of them. But as someone who loves football, I couldn't help but eat the game up. There was drama, great performances, and guts. You saw the big names coming through when it counted, and they left it all on the field. And we saw at least four players who are going to affect the NFL for years (Leinart, Bush, Young, White). And, for once, the champion was completely decided on the field.
Andre Agassi's Final US Open: I have loved Andre Agassi as a tennis player since his early years. There was the rebellious crazy unproven talent stage. Then there was the quality disciplined tennis stud stage. And then there was the seasoned professional aging veteran stage. I don't think anyone who can remember Andre with his long bleached hair and multi-colored outfit could have imagined that he would retire as the most dignified of professionals. The fact that he still was competitive to the very last tournament, and got to leave with his head held high was incredible. It was sad that his body gave out before his spirit. I have watched him at Wimbleton for years - from the times he just overpowered his foes to the times he knew that he would outlast and outgut them. It is a shame that tennis has lost such a personality and player.
Tiger Woods' Dominance: Unlike my fellow blogger Greg, I hate golf. I can't stand watching it or playing it. But when Tiger is involved on the last day, I will watch. It is like when Jordan was on the basketball court or when Barry Sanders got handed the football. You knew something amazing could happen. So to answer all of his critics, those people who said he was in a slump, those people who said he would lose focus after getting married and seeing his dad die - to deal with that, Tiger destroyed the rest of golf. He is so much better than anyone else, it is not even funny. The only way he can lose is if he screws up. It is that simple. You have to love that kind of dominance.
The Return of New Orleans: I don't know about you, but I got goose bumps the entire game when they reopened the Superdome. From the awesome U2/Green Day appearance (with Bono changing the words in "Beautiful Day" to reflect Big Easy landmarks) to the Saints kicked Mike Vick's Falcons all over the field. It was great. And the Saints kept it up all year. It was weird. I have always hated the Saints, but in one year they became a team I rooted for every week (even against the Bucs). The combination of likeable players, good message, the town's story all made for an immensely attractive team. Drew Brees, Marcus Colston, Reggie Bush, Joe Horn, Coach Sean Payton. There is so much to like and to root for. I hope they continue this story deep into 2007.
Honorable Mention: Steelers winning Super Bowl, Rutgers & Boise State football, Dwight Howard's immergence

Terrell Owens: This is like a "no duh" moment. But I can't stand T.O. - and I hate that the Cowboys signed him - not surprised though. This guy is a cancer to any team he comes in contact with. And Dallas watched him destroy two teams they are around all the time (Philly & San Fran), but they were dumb enough to sign him anyway. Instead of being different, T.O. just got even worse and more annoying. I hope he gets his walking papers in 2007.
Steroids: A few years back, Jim Rome pointed out on his radio show that the BALCO controversy wouuld rock sports forever. And it has. Now we are debating if Mark McGwire should get into the Hall due to his suspected use. We want to know if Bonds will have enough knee cartlidge to make it around the bases if he breaks Hank Aaron's record - and if we should let the new number stand. We see San Diego Charger Shawn Merriman spoil his amazing season with a four game suspension. Surprise Tour de France winner American Floyd Landis gets busted for steroids. American sprinter and World Record Holder Justin Gatlin gets suspended for four years for it. We know that things are only going to get worse. I hate watching sports and wondering which athletes are doped.
Miami Heat Winning Title: It isn't enough that Shaq was involved with this title. But Miami as a city is the worst sports city in America (look for that article in June's archives). The fans don't even know what to cheer for. They have empty seats for playoff games. And they collected some of the most arrogant and unlikeable players in the NBA (Jason Williams, Gary Payton, Shaq, Antoinne Walker, Pat Riley). That doesn't even take into account that they would have lost to Dallas had the refs not swung two of the games in the Heat's favor.
Dishonorable Mention: In-game brawls, the NFC teams, guns and sports, Bode Miller, new NFL sissy quarterback rules

Winter Olympics: Until the networks realize that the face of the Olympics has changed, it will continue to be a fiasco. Starting with the 2000 Olympics, the Internet made it easier for fans to keep up with the outcomes. So, insisting on showing tape delays of matches and games that we have known the outcomes of for hours is not going to get ratings to go up. In addition, NBC insists on these stupid fluff portfolio pieces - trying to generate breakthrough stars instead of letting them happen naturally. So we have stuff like Bode Miller happen, where the media pushes him and he tanks. At the end of the Games, stars were made out of Joey Cheek and The Flying Tomato - because of their performances - not because of their publicists. NBC needs to get on the ball.
The BCS sucks: Another "no duh" point. It has become a joke that the college football world will not create a playoff system. So each year we have teams get screwed by the polls. This year it was Michigan, Boise State, Louisville. Other years it has been Auburn or Utah or TCU. Hopefully the 2007 Fiesta Bowl will help make a change, but I doubt it.

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