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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Was This The Craziest Month In The History Of Sports?

This is sports.  Sports are unpredictable.  They keep us on the edge of our seat.  We like that we have no clue what is going to happen next.  We have 24 hour sports talk radio, all day sports shows on ten to twenty different channels, websites that have hundreds of stories going through every week, and immediate information whenever we want it from anywhere in the world.  Sports are a culture more than entertainment at this point.  We love sports because of the unpredictability of it all.  Sports was reality television before the Real World and Jersey Shore.  We cheer when things are going great and get mad when they don't.  The most passionate of fans may even shed a tear after a big win, or even a big loss.  We feel as if we are part of something bigger when it comes to sports.

Last month was hard to follow for us die hards.  There was so much that happened that we could not keep up.  Never in recent memory was there a new story every day.  Never was the next story suddenly more bizarre than the one from the day before.  We think we have seen it all when it comes to sports.  We feel as if there is nothing left to surprise us.  Then it does.  That story breaks and it has you talking about it for weeks.  That didn't happen in January.  Every time a story broke, you only had about a day or two to talk about it before something bigger came along.  Today we will document how January was the craziest month with day by day analysis.

January 1st: The year didn't start off to good for Michigan running back Vincent Brown.  While down by one in the fourth quarter, South Carolina All-American Jadeveon Clowny absolutely took Brown's head off with the biggest hit you will see in a football game.  The ball came loose and that was the turning point that SC needed to clinch the win against the Wolverines.  Also in college football, Stanford won its first Andrew Luck-less bowl by beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.  It was the first time in over four decades that Stanford has brought home the win for the Cardinals.  In basketball, the LA Clippers were winners of seventeen straight until they went up into Denver.  The Nuggets gave the Clippers their first defeat since November 26th. 

January 2nd: Ray Lewis explained to the media that this would be his final season playing in the NFL.  The star middle linebacker was returning from a torn bicep injury to play with his team in the playoffs and is looking to ride off into the sunset of his 17 year career in football.  In the Sugar Bowl, Louisville ended up going against fourteen point favorite Florida.  The Gators were argued to be deserving to play the Fighting Irish for the National Championship.  The Cardinals reminded them they were still a likely foe. Louisville ended up winning the game 33-23, and it wasn't even that close.  It was one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.

January 3rd: The biggest free agent left on the market, Nick Swisher, officially signed with his hometown team the Cleveland Indians.  He is set to make $56 million over the four years of the contract.  Swisher leaves a Yankees team who is looking for more clutch hitting.  In a more bizarre story, Spurs guard Stephen Jackson went up to take a shot against the New York Knicks.  On his fade away he fell onto a waitress that was taking the New York mayor Mike Bloomberg's order.  This caused Jackson to miss a few games with a sprained ankle.  You can put that into the bizarre sports injuries folder.

January 4th:  After Andy Reid's fourteen seasons, he didn't waste any time finding employment elsewhere.  Reid was named head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs after signing a five year deal.  Reid is replacing Romeo Crennel after a 2-14 season in which the Chiefs were thought to be dark horse candidates to steal a playoff spot.  Of course there is the always a different story in the news for the New York Jets.  On this day the story was as bizarre as ever.  The Jets had not had their end of the year press conference so the media went down to Barbados to find Rex Ryan.  What they discovered was better than they could have asked for.  Ryan was sporting a tattoo on his right bicep with his wife wearing a number six Jets jersey.  This just happens to be the number for incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez.  No wonder he stuck by the guy so long while he sucked up the league.

January 5th:  In a surprising turn of events, Vikings fans got what they wanted and Christian Ponder was no longer their starting quarterback.  Unfortunately, it was because Ponder had a sudden injury and they had to throw in Joe Webb into the fire after taking exactly zero snaps at the position during the season.  The Packers payed back the Vikings for the previous week loss with a 24-10 drubbing to move on.  The Texans also went passed AJ Green and the Bengals for the second year in a row.  Arian Foster ran all over the Bengals defense and helped the Texans squeak by with a 19-13 victory.  In the news of tattletales, Rajon Rondo was suspended one game after he was said to have bumped into a referee.  In regards to the same incident, Atlanta Hawks GM Donald Ferry was fined by the league $15k for providing the tapes.  An NBA GM was fined for telling on someone, a lesson for the kids of America.

January 6th: Mike Shanahan was under a fire storm from the media after rookie phenom Robert Griffin III ended up tearing his ACL during their Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks.  The Redskins took a fourteen point lead early before Griffin seemed to tweak his knee.  After this the Seahawks roared back and ended up winning the game 24-14.  Ray Lewis' career will continue as the Ravens took down Andrew Luck in his playoff debut 24-9.  Finally after 112 days without hockey the NHL and the NHLPA came to an agreement to end the Lockout.  It took another marathon session, but they came to an agreement on a ten year deal to hopefully end all this no hockey nonsense.

January 7th:  In one of the worst National Championship games in recent memory, Notre Dame got annihilated at the hands of Alabama.  The Crimson Tide got the ball rolling early by taking a 28-0 lead before halftime.  Alabama just showed the nation that it is still the SEC and then everyone else until further notice.  Lance Berkman is going back to Texas.  It isn't with his former team in the Astros, but with their newly minted cross-state division rival Rangers.  Berkman signed a one-year, ten million dollar deal with a vesting option for 2014.

January 8th:  In what is finally becoming a good rivalry once again, the Knicks and the Celtics squared off at MSG.  There was an altercation on the court between Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.  Anthony is quoted as saying Garnett said things that "should never be said to another man".  Later rumors came out he said his wife tasted like "Honey Nut Cheerios".  The fight was so serious that, in true playground fashion, Carmelo went to meet Garnett outside by the team buses after the game.  The stories just write themselves this month.

January 9th:  Arguably the best hitter and the best pitcher in the league are up to go into the Hall of Fame.  Also the best hitting catcher, a 3000 hit player, a 600 HR hitter, the one-time single season home run record holder, and a pure power hitter with one team for his career were up for induction.  For the first time since 1996 the baseball HOF will be inducting nobody in 2013.  Showing that baseball writers are still not letting in the players from the steroid era. 

January 10th:  After the family of Junior Seau asked the researchers at the National Institute of Health the results finally came back on this day.  He was diagnosed to have the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (better known as CTE).  Its a disease that is caused by multiple blows to the head.  It is said that this may have caused the depression that took the life of Seau.  In other news, rookie running back Chris Rainey was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers after a domestic violence arrest stemming from a fight he had with his girlfriend over a cell phone.  Rainey, a fifth round pick out of Florida, fell victim of the no nonsense way of the Steelers that will send everyone short of Ben Roethlisberger out of town for off the field incidents.  Lebron James impressive streak of 33 games to start the season with 20+ points was ended in a 92-90 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.  He scored a season low fifteen on six of sixteen shooting. 

January 11th:  The day we were all waiting for and dreading at the same time.  News broke about Oprah interviewing incumbent former cyclist Lance Armstrong in which he admitted he had used PEDs over his career.  Armstrong went into detail about how he cheated the system for years and seemed to have no emotion attached to the entire exchange.  We all wanted to believe he was true, that he really beat cancer and turned that around into a record seven straight Tour De France victories.  At the end of the day, he is just another one of our sports heroes that has been lying to us the entire time.  We heard the stories of how he ruined lives to keep his name clean and he was lying to us the whole time.  On this day one of America's heroes died overnight.

January 12th:  In one of the greatest NFL playoff games you'll ever see, the Baltimore Ravens beat the Denver Broncos by a score of 38-35.  Nobody ever lead by more than seven and the kickers were not used before overtime besides for kickoffs and extra points.  There were five ties and five lead changes throughout the game and it looked like the Broncos were moving on until Joe Flacco hit Jacoby Jones for a 70 yard touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining in the game.  Peyton Manning would get flack because instead of going for the win, they knelt on the ball and played for overtime.  In the NFC game Colin Kaepernick arrived.  He literally ran all over the Green Bay Packers to the tune of an NFL postseason record of 181 rushing yards.  After a rough start, Kaepernick showed that Jim Harbaugh made the right decision in going with the second year pro to take his team to battle in the NFL playoffs.

January 13th:  The good news is the New England Patriots will be moving on as they beat the Houston Texans 41-28, and it wasn't even as close as the score suggested.  The bad news is they lost star tight end Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the playoffs.  Not to be outdone by the game the day before, the Falcons and the Seahawks put on an absolute clinic.  In true Seahawks fashion they went down by a score of 20-0 going into halftime.  Russell Wilson brought back his team for the second straight week and put his team up by one with 31 seconds left.  Matty Ice was true to his nickname and brought his team into field goal range in the next 23 seconds.  Atlanta went on to win 30-28.

January 14th:  In their worst stretch of the season, the Heat lost to the Utah Jazz to make them losers of four of their last six and caused the stigma that they can't play as well without that crazy Miami crowd.  The loss knocks the Heat under .500 on the road.  The Heat gave it their all when they were down by twenty-one points and roared all the way back to pull within two with just over three minutes left in the game.  The Jazz pulled away after that to win by seven.

January 15th:  The Brooklyn Nets surprisingly fired head coach Avery Johnson on December 28th after he took the team to a 14-14 record.  As of this date they were 23-15 on the season.  Interim head coach PJ Carlesimo has this team playing at the pace they thought they were getting preseason.  They won nine out of ten for the former Thunder and Warriors head coach.

January 16th:  In one of the weirder stories in sports maybe ever, the entire world learned the term "catfish".  Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was found out to be part of a hoax that was covered as true for the entire season.  We were made to believe that Te'o was spending the season mourning his girlfriend while playing out of his mind.  It was chronicled on most of the college football shows.  We now find out that this was all a lie and that this "girlfriend" did not exist.  The rumors swirled and it seems we are still looking for the truth today.  On January 7th, Oregon coach Chip Kelly said he was returning to the Ducks.  On this day he accepted the head coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He leaves a college game that was very good to him, but the Eagles must have given Kelly a godfather offer to have him go back on his word.  Michael Morse had been sent to the newly big spending Seattle Mariners.  Morse became expandable in Washington when they resigned Adam Laroche.

January 17th:  The Armstrong confession airs and the sports media world goes wild.  It is showed on The Oprah Winfrey Show and anywhere that covered sports was giving their opinion on the indifferent tone that he seemed to have towards the whole situation.  In the movie "Happy Valley", Al Pacino is named to play Joe Paterno.  It just adds to the story that could be the very worst in the history of any sport.  The NBA All Star starters are announced and as usual it seems like a popularity contest.  Kevin Garnett made it even though he said himself he was not an all star.  Dwayne Wade is in the news for declining, but he is still named starter.  Dwight Howard is floundering on an under .500 Lakers team, but he is still an all star starter.

January 18th:  Kevin Durant had one of the best nights of his careers.  He scored a career high 52 points to help the Thunder beat the Mavs 117-114 in overtime.  Durant shot 75 percent in the overtime to propel his team past a surging Dallas team.  Vince Carter had a one night resurgence with 29 points to keep the Mavs in it the entire time.

January 19th:  Two of baseball's biggest legends passed away on the same day.  Former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver passes away at the age of 82.  Weaver will always be connected with the glory days of the Orioles along with Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer and third baseman Brooks Robinson.  Also, one of the greatest players of all time in Stan "the Man" Musial passed away at the age of 92.  The career .331 hitter, Musial was the perfect storm of power hitter who still knew when to just get on base.  This was a sad day in St Louis.  On a high note, this is the night that hockey has come back.  After 222 days without our beloved NHL we finally watched the LA Kings raise their banner.  Unfortunately that was the end of the happiness as the Kings went out and got spanked by Chicago to the tune of 5-2.  Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals in his NHL debut in a sign of things to come for the 21-year-old forward.  News broke of 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree was being questioned in regards to a sexual assault case.  Crabtree was not charged with a crime, but is just another black eye not needed before a big game.  Louisville came into their match-up with the Syracuse Orange as the number one team in the country.  They wouldn't leave with the same moniker.  Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams jumped a pass and ran it down the court for the easy dunk and the last lead the Orange would need with 25 seconds left.

January 20th: In what could be the last game with the Brady to Welker connection, the latter dropped one of the biggest passes of the game...again.  The Ravens seemed to have the Patriots number the entire second half and beat the reigning AFC champs 28-13.  Brady seemed to try to hard to win the game as some of his passes did not have the same zip as they usually do.  Who would have thought that Joe Flacco would be the calm one in the Brady-Flacco match-up?  In the NFC, the 49ers went into game against the Falcons knowing they needed to beat the crowd as well as the team.  That seemed like it could be hard when they went down 17-0.  For the second week in a row the Falcons blew the lead, only this time they couldn't hold on and they lost to the 49ers 28-24.  San Francisco will be going for their record tying six Super Bowl title.  The epic Harbowl is now set as this is the first time that brothers will be coaching against one another in the biggest game in sports.

January 21st:  Just when we thought the stories in January stopped being bizarre, former Raiders receiver Tim Brown went on the radio.  Brown said that he felt as if then head coach Bill Callahan purposely changes his game plan three days before the big game to "hand" his friend Jon Gruden a Super Bowl ring.  The stories then came out that he caused center Barrett Robbins to go off the deep end and miss the game while on a bender in Mexico.  Other stories of how he went from a ground based attack to a passing attack.  People blaming it on his hate for the players, his envy of Gruden, and his dislike for Al Davis and the organization as a whole.

January 22nd:  After almost a year the Bounty Gate saga is all but over as the NFL officially announced that they re-instated coach Sean Payton.  The Saints coach was suspended for the season after the league felt that he was a main cog in Gregg Williams' pay for play scandal.  Over at the Australian Open, 19 year old American Sloane Stevens upset Serena Williams to advance to the semi-finals of the tournament.  Seattle will once again have basketball.  The Sacramento Kings were sold by the Maloofs to investor Chris Hansen.  He has already contacted the league about moving the franchise to the Emerald City.  Hansen has struck a deal to build a brand new arena for when the move gets accepted.

January 23rd:  It is not a good year to be the number one basketball team in the nation.  Duke came into Miami hot and was ranked as the best, that is until the Hurricanes put a twenty-seven point whooping on the Blue Devils.  Once again, they walked in number one, but they cannot claim the same as they leave.  The Seau family announces that they are suing the league in regards to the linebacker's suicide and CTE diagnosis.  The New York Knicks pass the LA Lakers as the most valuable franchise in basketball.  The renovations made to MSG launched the Knicks value to $1.1 billion, just passed the Lakers even $1 billion.

January 24th:  Quite possibly the best defensive player in the league is now on the trading block.  The Jets announce they will be listening to offers for cornerback Darrelle Revis.  It was said that Revis was looking for a deal that would make him the highest player in the league, which is something the Jets couldn't come close to afford.  Justin Upton was sent to the Atlanta Braves to join his brother in the outfield.  The Braves gave up Martin Prado in the deal that brings the 25 year old over to Atlanta.  The start of the winter X Games on ESPN brings back the adrenaline junkies to sports.  We finally get to see if Shaun White can still jump without his famous red locks.  In what one may call over the top, Nail Yakupov celebrates his first NHL goal by sliding on his knees from one side of the ice to the other.  To be fair, the goal did tie the defending champs with only 4.7 seconds left so it wasn't just any goal.  Cut the guy some slack here.  In the Honey Nut Cheerios bowl, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett squared off for the first time since the altercation at the team bus earlier in the month.  As you can expect, they were quite cold during the pregame handshakes.

January 25th:  The Lakers come into this day at 17-25.  At this rate the Lakers are set to become the most disappointing team in the history of the NBA.  Dwight Howard does not want to hear any of that.  He claims that the Lakers just need the negativity to stop.  Hopefully someone explained to him that negativity usually stops with winning, so maybe try that.

January 26th:  The POTUS came out and said if he had a son he would not let him play football.  There is a serious issue with the sport when the President has to make up kids just to say that he wouldn't let them play your game.  Gregg Williams is in talks to join the Tennessee Titans after his eventual reinstatement.  The Bounty scandal can hopefully finally go away.  Rampage Jackson claims he is done fighting for the UFC after he lost to light heavyweight phenom Glover Teixeira.  Rampage claimed the treatment of the athletes in the MMA organization was not up to the standards they should be.  Patrick Marleau becomes the second player in the history of the NHL to score two or more goals in the first four games of the season.  The feat has not happened since 1917 when Ottawa's Cy Denneny matched the feat.  Trent Williams, the offensive tackle for the Redskins, was attacked in a bar and will be missing the Pro Bowl because of the injuries.  He's a big dude.  I don't want to know what happened to the other guy.

January 27th:  In what could only be one of the most random injuries, we find out superstar Celtic point guard Rajon Rondo will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.  It was such a shock that Boston actually thought he was going to be ready to play in the game.  Most Celtics found out in the post game interview about the injury.  Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2 to claim the Australian Open and sink in his feet into that number one ranking.  The Pro Bowl also happened and was a one sided affair for the NFC.

January 28th:  The Fab Five changed the sport of basketball.  It took it from the short short days of Larry Bird into the way they dress on the court now.  Although Michigan never won a title with the team intact, they did change the game for good.  On this day Michigan is once again number one in the nation for the first time since the days of the Fab Five.  The Wolverines were coming off a win against Illinois that put their record to 19-1.  The Dodgers had come to a TV deal with Time Warner that could be worth up to $7 billion.  The record setting deal shows that the $2 billion spent to buy the team was well worth it.  Tiger Woods took home the victory at Torrey Pines.  He continues to dominate this course with a record eight PGA tour wins on this course.  He pulled within sevens wins of the record held by Sam Sneed with his 75th career PGA victory.

January 29th:  So much for ARod taking PEDs again so he could see those MVP numbers again, because apparently he already was.  Rodriguez was part of a probe that also included Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Ryan Braun, and Nelson Cruz.  All parties involved have denied any wrongdoing.  It was media day at the Super Bowl and it was as always interesting.  Randy Moss exclaimed that he was the best wide receiver of all time.  Ironically, Jerry Rice was a few booths down as part of the media.  Ray Lewis was being asked of how he came back so quickly from a torn bicep and the involment of a substance called deer antler spray.  The spray comes from an Australian deer breed in which their antlers grow at such a rapid pace that scientists think they can help the healing process.  Lewis also pleads not guilty to these charges.

January 30th:  In wake of the new PED allegations, word is going around New York that the Yankees are looking for a way to void the rest of Alex Rodriguez's record contract.  There is still $114 million dollars left and the Yanks would love to be able to use that money in other places.  This will no doubt be a long fight.  It comes out that Rob Ryan was the one who turned down the defensive coordinator job with the St Louis Rams.  Looks like it may take more than five minutes for Ryan to find a job after all.  Carmelo Anthony set a Knicks all-time record with his 30th game in a row in which he scored 20 or more points.  In a blockbuster of a trade, the Raptors sent Jose Calderon to the Pistons, Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince are off to Memphis and Toronto received Rudy Gay.  It is rare that we see three team trades in which all three teams get big names in the deal.

January 31st:  The month went out with a bang with the announcement that 25-year-old X gamer Caleb Moore had died from the injuries he sustained in a snow mobile accident three days earlier.  It was a sad day in the sport as Moore was one of the up-and-comers who was helping redefine the sport.  The crash was one of the more horrific in the history of the winter event and will likely bring change to the regulations.  In happier news, soccer superstar David Beckham signed on to play for Paris Saint Germain and will donate his entire salary to charity.  It is one of the most noble moves any athlete has made.  Well, except for Zlatan Ibrahimovic donating his salary to himself.

There you have it.  In what could just be the craziest month in the history of sports we had PED confessions and denials.  We had fake girlfriends and backstabbing coaches.  We had crazy NFL comebacks, NBA scoring explosions and the return of hockey.  January 2013 was so crazy it will be remembered until....probably until the end of February. 


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