January 15, 2013
Every year we see things we never thought we would and things we never want to see again. We see everything from the incredible to the inspiring to the sad and hilarious. Here’s what I will remember about 2012.
To read part one, click here.
July 23 – Penn State became the first school to receive NCAA sanctions because of criminal matters that did not directly deal with breaking NCAA rules. The penalties included a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on postseason play, a reduction of scholarships for the next four years and the vacating of all victories from 1998-2011.
July 31 – Michael Phelps won his 19th Olympic medal, making him the most decorated Olympian ever.
July 31 – The Fierce Five, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, won gold at the London Olympic Games.
August 2 – Gabby Douglas became the first African-American woman to win the individual all-around competition.
August 5 – Andy Murray bounces back from losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final to beat Federer and win the gold medal in front of his home country. He broke through again a month later, winning his first major title at the U.S. Open.
August 9 – Usain Bolt made his claim as the greatest sprinter ever by becoming the first man ever to defend his golds in both the 100m and 200m races.
August 9 – Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and the U.S. women’s soccer team won Olympic gold after a controversial semifinal against Canada and then getting revenge against Japan in the final after the shootout that ended the Women’s World Cup in 2011.
August 10 – The “Dwightmare” finally came to an end when Dwight Howard was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers after months and months of indecision about where he wanted to play and who he wanted to play with.
August 12 – Rory McIlroy wins the PGA Championship. He would follow that with two more wins heading into the Tour Championship and cement himself as the top player in the game.
September 7 – In the midst of a pennant race and against his wishes, the Washington Nationals shut down their superstar pitcher Stephan Strasburg after 159 1/3 innings. The Nationals would go on to win the NL East and then lose in the NLDS in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals.
September 15 – The NHL labor dispute officially becomes a lockout.
September 24 – The Replacement refs fiasco came to a head on the final play of the Green Bay/Seattle Monday Night Football game. When the officials turned what sure looked to be an interception and a Green Bay win into a touchdown and a Seattle win, the NFL had no choice to settle the dispute with the regular officials.
September 30 – Team U.S.A. chokes the Ryder Cup away, blowing a 10-6 lead on the final day at Medinah. Justin Rose and Ian Poulter led the charge for Europe while Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk dropped critical 1-Up matches. The comeback almost didn’t happen when Rory McIlroy looked at his tee time in Eastern Time instead of Central time and needed a police escort to arrive at the course with just 10 minutes to spare.
October 3 – Miguel Cabrera goes 0-2 in the Detroit Tigers’ 1-0 win over Kansas City in the regular season finale but still manages to be the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown, finishing the season with a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. He would be name the American League MVP.
October 10 – New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulls Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the ALDS. Raul Ibanez took A-Rod’s place and homered to send the game to extra innings. Ibanez did it again in the 12th inning, giving the Yankees the win.
October 13 – Notre Dame comes up with a goal-line stand, stopping Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor on fourth-and-goal and then survives a controversial replay review to beat Stanford 20-13 in overtime to remain undefeated.
October 13 – The St. Louis Cardinals scored four runs in the ninth inning to stun the Washington Nationals and advance to the NLCS.
October 15 – Trailing 24-0 at halftime in San Diego and staring a 2-4 record in the face, the Denver Broncos score 35 unanswered second-half points to beat the Chargers 35-24 and improve to 3-3. They would not lose again in the regular season and finish with the best record in the AFC.
October 25 – Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series on his way to earning the World Series MVP award.
October 28 – The San Francisco Giants completed an improbable run to a second World Series win in two years and did it after trailing 2-0 in a best-of-5 series against Cincinnati and then falling behind 3-1 to St. Louis in the NLCS
November 10 – Texas A&M upsets No. 1 Alabama 29-24, led by its redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. It was a springboard for Manziel as he led the Aggies to an 11-2 record in their first season in the SEC, a win in the Cotton Bowl and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
November 17 – Undefeated Kansas State and Oregon both go down and lose their shot to play for the BCS National Championship. Baylor beat the Wildcats 52-24 and Stanford knocked off the Ducks 17-14 in overtime.
November 21 – Jack Taylor, guard at Grinnell College (Division III), scored an NCAA-record 138 points against Faith Baptist Bible College.
November 22 – Two words…Butt Fumble.
December 1 – Georgia came up five yards short of scoring the game-winning touchdown against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama hung on for a 32-28 win and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.
December 8 – Appalachian State’s Brian Okam quickly became known for the worst free throw ever after a video of his miss went viral.
December 30 – Adrian Peterson runs for 199 yards against the Green Bay Packers after already eclipsing 200 yards twice this season, but he came up a mere nine yards short of the single-season rushing record.
January 10, 2013
Every year we see things we never thought we would and things we never want to see again. We see everything from the incredible to the inspiring to the sad and hilarious. Here’s what I will remember about 2012.
January 8 – The Denver Broncos make short work of the new NFL overtime rules, scoring an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime to beat the Steelers 29-23 in the first round of the AFC playoffs.
January 14 – Tom Brady shredded the Denver Broncos for five touchdown passes in the first half and another in the third quarter to tie the postseason single-game record in a 45-10 win.
January 14 – The 49ers and Saints combine for 34 points in the fourth quarter and four lead changes in the final five minutes as the 49ers outlasted New Orleans 36-32 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
January 22 – Joe Paterno passed away.
January 22 – The Baltimore Ravens had a dropped pass in the end zone that prevented them from winning the AFC Championship Game in New England and then missed a 32-yard field goal that would have sent the game to overtime.
January 22 – The New York Giants advanced to the Super Bowl with a 20-17 overtime win against the 49ers after a fumbled punt set up the game-winning field goal.
February 4 – Jeremy Lin came out of nowhere and led the New York Knicks to a win with 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists in the first of an incredible 13-game stretch in which he averaged 22.3 points and 7.4 assists. His heroics were celebrated worldwide and he ended up on the cover of Time and Sports Illustrated and one of the biggest celebrities in the league.
February 5 – The New York Giants beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in another Super Bowl, 21-17, led by Eli Manning and another fourth-quarter comeback.
February 5 – Tom Brady’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, gets caught on camera blaming Patriot receivers for New England’s Super Bowl loss, saying that her husband cannot throw and catch the ball at the same time.
March 13 – The First Four was worth watching on this night. First, Western Kentucky rallied from a 16-point deficit with 4:51 to go and beat Mississippi Valley State 59-58. Then BYU followed that up by erasing a 25-point deficit and beat Iona 78-72.
March 16 – Duke and Missouri, both No. 2 seeds in the NCAA tournament, go down on the same day. Norfolk State upset a 30-win Missouri team 86-84 and then later that night Lehigh defeated the Blue Devils 75-70. Only four No. 15 seeds have ever knocked off a No. 2 seed in history before it happened twice that day.
March 20 – Peyton Manning picks the Denver Broncos.
March 21 – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell laid down the law on the New Orleans Saints for their bounty scandal, effectively ending the Saints season before it ever got started. This story never went away due to the continuous appeals of the suspensions.
March 11 – Tiger Woods withdrew from the final round of the WGC Cadillac Championship with an injury. The blimp that was covering the golf tournament then followed Tiger as he left the golf course, a scene usually reserved for a high-speed chase.
April 1 – I.K. Kim takes the honor for worst golf shot of the year after she missed an 18-inch putt that would have won the LPGA’s first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She ended up losing in a playoff.
April 8 – Bubba Watson hits one of the greatest shots in Masters history; a miracle 40-yard hook shot out of the pine straw on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Louis Oosthuizen. Two putts for par later and Watson was wearing the green jacket.
June 3 – Tiger Woods hit an incredible flop shot from behind the green on 16 that trickled into the hole on his way to winning the Memorial Tournament.
June 7 – LeBron James overwhelms the Boston Celtics with a 45 point and 15 rebound performance in a 98-79 win over Boston on the road to force a Game 7 in South Beach.
June 7 – Novak Djokovic outlasted Rafael Nadal in a grueling marathon in the Australian Open final (5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5) in a match that took five hours and 53 minutes and didn’t end until 1:37 a.m.
June 11 – The Los Angeles Kings win their first Stanley Cup in 45 years after barely squeaking into the final playoff spot in the West and going on one of the greatest runs in playoff history.
June 27 – A four-team college football playoff was formally approved to begin in 2014.
June 30 – The third round of the AT&T National was played with no spectators on the golf course because of safety concerns after a powerful wind storm left trees uprooted all over the golf course.
December 28, 2012
For the majority of NFL teams, there is just one game left in the season. Some of them know who they are. I’m talking to you Kansas City and Jacksonville. Others enter week 17 in do or die mode. You hear me Washington and Dallas? No matter who you are rooting for, this post season is setting up to be a great one. Now on to the rankings.
1 Atlanta Falcons (13-2) — The Falcons have clinched the top seed in the NFC and won’t have to play outside again until next season. Let’s see how they handle three weeks between meaningful games.
7 Seattle Seahawks (10-5) — Pete Carroll’s squad could still win the NFC West, but they are probably headed to Washington or Dallas in the first round of the playoffs.
9 Washington Redskins (9-6) — The Skins are 6-0 since they had their bye week but it’s going to have to be 7-0 for them to win the NFC East.
11 Dallas Cowboys (8-7) — Once again the Cowboys head into week 17 with everything on the line. You can bet this will come down to the fourth quarter.
12 Indianapolis Colts (10-5) — The turnaround of the Colts is one of the most impressive stories in the NFL. They are here to stay too.
14 New Orleans Saints (7-8) — Finishing at .500 would be pretty impressive considering all the drama in New Orleans this season.
15 Chicago Bears (9-6) — The Bears need to beat the reeling Lions and then root for Green Bay to knock off the Vikings.
16 New York Giants (8-7) — The defending champs have lost five of seven and need lots of help on Sunday to sneak into the playoffs.
17 Miami Dolphins (7-8) — If the season was 18 games like the commissioner wanted, the Dolphins would have a good shot to get in with the way they are playing.
18 St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) — After finishing 2-14 last season, the Rams are one of the most improved teams in 2012.
19 Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) — Five losses in six games is not how the Steelers saw the stretch run going and they are out of the playoff hunt.
20 Carolina Panthers (6-9) — The Panthers waited too long to get hot. They have been one of the better teams after starting 2-8.
21 Tennessee Titans (5-10) — Clearly they are ready for the offseason. Nobody likes going to Green Bay in December but losing 55-7 is as bad as it gets.
22 New York Jets (6-9) — Looks like the Jets could go three for three on getting rid of quarterbacks this offseason. Should be interesting.
24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) — The Bucs won four straight to climb into the playoff hunt…then lost five in a row to fall out of it.
25 Arizona Cardinals (5-10) — It doesn’t appear that the Cardinals know who their quarterback is. But have they at least figured out who their quarterback isn’t?
26 Detroit Lions (4-11) — Were these guys really in the playoffs last year? What happened?
27 Cleveland Browns (5-10) — The Browns are making progress. Winning in Pittsburgh on Sunday would be another step forward.
28 Buffalo Bills (5-10) — Will either team show up when the Bills and Jets meet in the season finale?
29 Oakland Raiders (4-11) — If it wasn’t for beating the Chiefs twice, the Raiders could have the worst record in the league.
30 Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) — Will the Eagles knock the defending champs out of the hunt or improve their draft position?
31 Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) — The Jags already beat Tennessee once. If they do it again, it could cost them the first pick in the draft.
32 Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) — Don’t expect the Chiefs to finish with a win in Denver against the hottest team in the league.
December 18, 2012
A lot changed in the NFL in Week 15. Fans in Washington, Minnesota and Dallas saw their playoff hopes improve dramatically. And if you are rooting for Baltimore, Tampa Bay, New York Giants, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh or the New York Jets…your hopes either took a major hit and/or are gone all together. Here’s how I have them ranked with two games to go.
1 San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) — As the Nature Boy Ric Flair always said, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.” The Patriots were at the top last week and the 49ers went into New England and won. San Fransisco is now “The Man.”
3 New England Patriots (10-4) – Tom Brady was on the verge of one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. But the Patriots couldn’t finish it off and likely cost themselves a playoff bye.
4 Houston Texans (12-2) — One more win ought to be enough to lock up home-field advantage in the AFC. It won’t be easy with the Vikings and Colts both fighting for wild card spots.
5 Denver Broncos (11-3) – The Broncos may be the biggest winner of week 15. Home wins over the Browns and Chiefs will clinch the No. 2 seed and a first round bye.
6 Green Bay Packers (10-4) – The NFC North champs have won eight of nine and have their sights set on the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a first round bye.
7 Seattle Seahawks (9-5) – After putting up 108 points in the last two weeks the Seahawks are one win away from getting into the playoffs (probably) and have an outside shot of stealing the NFC West from San Fransisco.
8 Dallas Cowboys (8-6) – Somehow the Cowboys got off the mat and won five of six. If they can make it seven of eight they should be NFC East champs.
9 Baltimore Ravens (9-5) — Remember when the Ravens were on the verge of earning a bye in the first round of the playoffs? A desperate New York Giant team could give them a fourth straight loss and make the Ravens at Bengals in week 17 for the division title.
10 Washington Redskins (8-6) – Five straight wins have the Redkins at the top of the NFC East. A win at Philly this week will set up a huge week 17 showdown with the Cowboys.
11 Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) – The Bengals can make the playoffs with a win in Pittsburgh. A loss makes things very interesting.
12 New York Giants (8-6) – Did the Giants just sneak in an extra bye week? Sunday’s game in Baltimore is a must win.
13 Indianapolis Colts (9-5) – The Colts should have no trouble with the Chiefs this week. A win should keep them from having to go to New England in the first round.
14 Minnesota Vikings (8-6) – If the playoffs started today….with Houston and Green Bay left on the schedule, they have started for the Vikings.
16 Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) – Despite losing four of five, the Steelers can make the playoffs by winning the last two games. Their reward for doing so? Probably the Patriots.
17 New Orleans Saints (6-8) – This season cannot end fast enough for the Saints now that they are out of playoff contention.
18 Carolina Panthers (5-9) – Don’t be surprised if the Panthers finish 7-9. This is one team that hasn’t quit.
19 St. Louis Rams (6-7-1) – If everyone in front of them loses, a win would give the Rams something to play for in week 17.
22 New York Jets (6-8) – The Jets looked more like a team playing for the top pick in the draft than a playoff spot on Monday night.
23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) – That 41-0 beat down ensured the Bucs won’t have to worry about making a trip to the frozen tundra in January.
24 Arizona Cardinals (5-9) – Nice win for the Cards. With the Bears and 49ers coming up, they were looking at a 12-game losing streak to finish the season.
25 Detroit Lions (4-10) – The Lions are a candidate for most disappointing team of 2012. They could lose their last eight games.
26 Cleveland Browns (5-9) – You heard it here first. Cleveland makes the playoffs in 2013.
27 Buffalo Bills (5-9) – Maybe the Bills are the new Redskins? Let’s see if they try to win the off-season for the second year in a row.
28 San Diego Chargers (5-9) – The window in San Diego is officially closed. Time to rebuild.
29 Oakland Raiders (4-10) – The Raiders haven’t allowed a point in five quarters.
30 Philadelphia Eagles (4-10) – Eagles are headed for 4-12 with two playoff hungry opponents remaining but they would love to knock the Redskins and Giants out of the race.
31 Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) – GM, Head Coach, quarterback and even franchise location are question marks? That’s not good.
32 Kansas City Chiefs (2-12) – The Chiefs appear to be a lock for 2-14 and the first pick in the draft.
December 11, 2012
There are three weeks left in the NFL regular season and we know who four of the 12 playoff teams will be.
15 teams are still in the hunt for the other eight spots, leaving 13 teams that should already be looking to 2013. Where does your team sit?
2 Atlanta Falcons (11-2) — Oops. The Falcons put it on cruise control a bit early. They still need at least one more win to lock down the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
6 Baltimore Ravens (9-4) — Their last four games have been decided by three points. This week is a must-win if the Ravens are going to have a first-round playoff bye.
9 New York Giants (8-5) – There is no margin for error in the NFC East and the Giants must go to Atlanta and Baltimore in the next two weeks. The defending champs could miss the post season.
10 Chicago Bears (8-5) — Jay Cutler needs to get healthy quick and have a big game on Sunday or the Bears will be watching the playoffs on TV.
15 Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) – Do they want to make the playoffs? Didn’t look like it when they were down 27-3 to a bad San Diego team.
17 St. Louis Rams (6-6-1) – A three-game winning streak for the first time since 2006 has the Rams in playoff contention. Three more wins may not be enough though.
18 New York Jets (6-7) – The Jets were left for dead on Thanksgiving, but two straight wins has them in the hunt with three winnable games remaining.
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) – Allowing two touchdowns in the last four minutes to lose against the Eagles is going to haunt the Bucs while they are watching the playoffs at home.
21 Detroit Lions (4-9) – There is too much talent on this team to be 4-9. The Lions just can’t find a way to win. Something’s missing.
22 Carolina Panthers (4-9) – Where has that Panther team been all season? It’s a little late to be showing up for the party.
23 Tennessee Titans (4-9) – The Titans are just the latest fourth quarter victim of Andrew Luck. I’m sure they are looking forward to another decade of that.
24 Miami Dolphins (5-8) – The Dolphins competed against the Patriots and 49ers in the last two weeks, but it is clear they are not on that level.
25 Buffalo Bills (5-8) – The defense has improved but it has been a disappointing season in Buffalo.
26 Cleveland Browns (5-8) – The Browns are 5-3 in their last eight and still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt? Who knew?
28 San Diego Chargers (5-8) – Big changes coming in San Diego for 2013. Nobody is safe.
29 Philadelphia Eagles (4-9) – Nick Foles could be the starter in 2013 after that come-from-behind win against the Bucs, but Philly fans are probably complaining that he cost them a higher draft pick.
32 Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) – The Chiefs lead the race for the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft…in large part because they are -22 in the turnover battle.