THE 2011 CALENDAR year has been full of all kinds of sports stories from the Green Bay Packers winning their fourth Super Bowl to lockdowns in the NFL and NBA to a pair of college assistant coaches being disgraced due to inappropriate behaviors.
I’m going to take a look back at the sports stories that shaped the 2011 both regionally and nationally – it’s surprising how many of these stories have something to do with Pennsylvania.
6) The Diamondbacks winning the NL West and the Pirates making things interesting well into July.
There for a while, it looked as though the National League would have two of its four playoff representatives coming from the upstart D’Backs and Bucs, but the Battling Buccos couldn’t maintain their head of steam.
That would’ve made for an interesting playoff season, but there’s always next year.
It’ll be interesting if either team will contend for a playoff spot next year.
Do I expect it?
No, but we’ll see.
5) Green Bay wins Super Bowl XLIV.
Thanks in large part to several Pittsburgh mistakes, the Packers won their fourth Super Bowl last February in Dallas.
Still not sure, Aaron Rodgers and Co. would’ve won the game without some serious help from Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall. Then again, the defense didn’t apply much pressure on Rodgers, who had a ton of time in the pocket to dissect the undermanned secondary.
4) Tebow Mania
I’m sure you’ve noticed the national media falling all over themselves to throw all kinds of praise on Tim Tebow ever since he elevated the Broncos into playoff contention.
I don’t think he’s earned the credit he’s earning for all of the Broncos’ successes over the past two months, but he’s getting it.
Tebow is as polarizing of a figure as there has ever been. You either love him or hate him. There’s no gray area with Tebow.
3) The race for Andrew Luck.
Ever since Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck announced he was returning to college last year, bad teams have been fumbling and bumbling their way to two wins just for the chance to draft the next great quarterback – well in the case of Indianapolis, St. Louis and Minnesota will trade the pick for a boatload of talent and picks.
I think Indianapolis will luck (pun intended) into drafting Andrew Luck even though St. Louis is probably the worst team in the NFL.
Maybe just maybe the Rams can somehow manage to ‘earn’ the No. 1 overall pick and get some stupid team to offer up a couple quality players and some quality draft picks.
Don’t think it won’t happen?
Remember, Oakland gave Cincinnati first and second round picks for Carson Palmer, who hasn’t exactly lit it up as a Raider, so what’ll someone give up for a potential franchise savior in Luck.
2) Lockouts in the NFL and NBA.
Neither lockout was very pretty, but at least the NFL didn’t lose any games.
I never really feared losing the NFL season – although some people I know did – because I think both the players and the owners were too smart to continue to squabble over a couple of million dollars here and a couple of million dollars there.
Both sides realized that losing all the goodwill with all the fans wasn’t worth the millions they were trying to finangle out of the other side.
There for a while, it appeared as though the NBA’s owners and their players didn’t pay a lick of attention to what the NFL went through just a few months earlier.
They bickered and argued for what seemed like an eternity, losing 16 games in the process.
Don’t know if it was worth it to haggle over a few million dollars, but they did and might have lost some fans because of it.
I hope it was worth it.
1) Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and former Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine getting involved in child molestation allegations.
Neither has been convicted of anything, but the scandals revolving around their allegations filled up the airwaves of most sports relation radio and TV stations.
Their alleged indiscretions also caused men like Joe Paterno to lose their jobs, because they chose to do as little as humanly possible
If the allegations prove true, I hope they are locked up for the rest of their lives.
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