The 50 Most Irrelevant in Sports
In sports, not everything is created equal. For those at the top: Life is good. The money is big, the talent is elite, the attendance is great and the championships are plentiful. It's good to be king.
But, unfortunately there is only so much room at the top for athletes, coaches, franchises and the like. Most of them are in a constant struggle to move up from the middle—or even up to the middle.
Then there are those who are fading away into complete irrelevancy. For players at the end of their career, there's really no coming back from this—so do the humane thing and retire with dignity and go away for awhile.
But for younger athletes, franchises and schools—relevancy may just be a season away. Unless you're a Pirates fan, sorry.
Here are the most 50 irrelevant in sports.
50. Dale Hunter, Former Capitals Coach
To his credit, the brief tenure of Capitals head coach Dale Hunter came to an end at his own request. Former Caps great Hunter was brought in to replace the ousted Bruce Boudreau at mid-season, and many in Washington were stunned to learn he had no interest in returning for another go.
Hunter has settled into a comfortable post-NHL life as the owner and coach of the London Knights of Ontario, a junior hockey team in his native Canada, and cited his family as one of the main reasons for his decision.
Hunter might be the only person on this list because he wants to be.
49. Shawn Johnson, Retired Gymnast
Along with teammate Nastia Liukin, adorable gymnast Shawn Johnson was one of the biggest sweethearts of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Johnson went on to win Season 8 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars in 2009 before suffering a torn ACL in a skiing mishap in 2010.
Johnson had hoped to make a recovery and compete at the London games in 2012, but recently announced her retirement from the sport just weeks prior to the Olympics.
48. U.S. Men's Soccer Team
The U.S. men's soccer team is irrelevant for 2012, failing to qualify for the Olympics after a 3-3 tie with El Salvador in March, 2012. But perhaps that's not the worst thing in the world—now they can remain under the radar for awhile and regroup in hopes of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
There's some good news on that front. The U.S. men's team recently won a qualifying match against Antigua and Barbuda 3-1. But a late game mishap in a game against Guatemala cost them, and the match ended in a 1-1 tie.
47. Kellen Winslow Jr., Seattle Seahawks
In 2003, (then) Miami Hurricane Kellen Winslow Jr. found himself in hot water for some controversial comments following a loss to Tennessee. Winslow went off in front of the cameras about football being war because everyone is out there to kill each other and explained that he was a bleeping "soldier."
I watched that whole mess live, and while I recognized that he was going to get blasted for it, I remember thinking that NFL teams were looking for soldiers. Winslow was chosen No. 6 overall by the Browns in the 2004 NFL draft and just never lived up to the hype—nor did he live up to the name of his father Kellen Winslow Sr., the Chargers Hall of Fame tight end.
The Browns washed their hands of Winslow and traded him in 2009, but even after logging relatively solid numbers in Tampa Bay, the Bucs were quick to pull the trigger on a trade to the Seahawks for a conditional sixth-round draft pick when Winslow failed to attend team OTA's in 2012.
46. Andy Roddick, Tennis
Few people would turn away the opportunity to start their career with a bang, to achieve success early and face high expectations. But most people aren’t professional athletes, and when you’re Andy Roddick—hailed as the next great American tennis player—failure to build off early success can haunt the rest of your career.
After winning the 2003 U.S. Open, Roddick has failed to win another Grand Slam—appearing in four finals, only to lose to Roger Federer each time. Roddick is currently the No. 3 ranked male U.S. tennis player, but does that even matter without the trophies?
45. Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers' ironically named bad boy, Metta World Peace, has long been more trouble than he's worth. MWP still has his moments on the court, but the Lakers' decline and his increase in eccentricities have rendered him the butt of a national joke.
In May 2012, as unprofessional as it was, Chicago's ABC affiliate identified MWP as "Lakers Idiot" in their post-game playoff coverage.
44. UConn Men's Basketball
This is likely only a temporary state of affairs for UConn, resulting from a tournament ban in 2013 as a result of sanctions handed down by the NCAA. The university appealed the academic sanctions, but it was rejected in April 2012.
The postseason ban has resulted in the transfer of five players, via transfer or de-committals, and has prompted much discussion about whether or not coach Jim Calhoun should step down.
UConn's fall from grace has been fast and dramatic—from their unexpected championship as a No. 3 seed in 2011 to a postseason ban in less than a year.
43. Domnick Hasek, Retired NHL Goaltender
First, I’d like to emphasize that Domnick Hasek’s NHL career and place in professional hockey history is certainly relevant—he was a dominant goalie at the height of his career and is future Hall of Famer.
But, if he makes good on his stated desire to return to the NHL as a 47-year-old goalie, he slides into the realm of irrelevance as an aging player who can’t see the writing on the wall.
Is it truly a comeback if Hasek backs up someone half his age and faces the possibility of playing time in the AHL?
42. Donovan McNabb, NFL Free Agent
When a solid player retires, he’s not irrelevant—he’s just no longer part of the game. Donovan McNabb is the perfect case study of how an NFL player can brew his own irrelevancy by his actions on the field, his statements off of it, and his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the road he’s chosen.
Since his last season as the Eagles franchise QB, McNabb has lost his job to Michael Vick, Rex Grossman and Christian Ponder. Despite being unemployed and playing badly when he was, McNabb insists, “I sort of have some unfinished business.”
Failing on a new team is business best left unfinished. It's time to take your talents to ESPN.
41. NHL All-Star Game
I'm a hockey fan and I find the NHL All-Star game to be among the most tedious events on the annual sports calendar. But when the big name superstars turn up for the game, you can always count me in.
In 2012, the game was held minus superstars like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Niklas Lidstron and Teemu Selanne—who couldn't participate for various reasons. Oh, and without Alexander Ovechkin, who wouldn't participate because he was pouting.
40. Joe Namath, Retired NFL Quarterback
Putting all-time great Joe Namath on this list was a very difficult decision for me because he's one of my favorite athletes in history. But Namath's publicized bickering and disagreements with Jets coach Rex Ryan—not to mention, cheapshots about his weight—have only served to make Namath look bad.
It's hasn't come up again since November 2011, but it was apparent that when Namath showed up at Jets training camp in 2010 during the taping of HBO's Hard Knocks, his presence was merely being tolerated rather than respected.
Poor Seattle. How can a city that looks so glorious be such a miserable sports nightmare? In 2012, Forbes named Seattle the second most miserable sports city in the U.S., being (I assume, narrowly) beaten out by Atlanta.
Despite an unlikely Super Bowl appearance in the 2000's, the Seahawks seem to hover around the 8-8 mark each season, and the godforsaken Mariners haven't made the playoffs since 2001. Add that to the sting of losing the Super Sonics, now the championship contending Thunder in Oklahoma City.
38. Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
I thought for sure after the Chargers failed to take advantage of a weak division and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year that hapless head coach Norv Turner would finally get the boot. But, apparently quarterback Philip Rivers and Charger ownership is perfectly happy with Turner's performance.
Turner was retained and will probably add another eight wins and eight losses to his 106-113-1 career record in 2012. With an improved team in Kansas City and the Peyton Manning-led Broncos, it's hard to imagine a scenario that plays out any better for the Chargers.
37. Gilbert Arenas, Memphis Grizzlies
Once great, but often problematic, talent Gilbert Arenas finally dropped off the cliff into irrelevancy after the 2010-11 season. Arenas was shipped from Washington to Orlando and back to Washington again in just over a year.
After the NBA lockout in 2011, Arenas failed to find a home until the Grizzlies went out on a limb, signing him to a one-year deal, in March 2012. Arenas averaged 12 minutes of playing time and 4.2 points per game in Memphis.
36. Adam Jones, Cincinnati Bengals
I'm not even going to waste my time going into cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones' laundry list of legal issues over the years. The long and short of it is that Jones' colorful run-ins win the law have overshadowed anything he's done in the NFL.
Jones still maintains employment in the NFL, thanks to the Bengals halfway house for convicted criminals, but his past is coming back to haunt him in a big way.
In June 2012, Jones was ordered to pay $11 million in damages to employees of a Las Vegas strip club who were injured in a 2007 shooting. The gunmen was said to have been a member of Jones' entourage who returned to the scene after they were booted from the club for assaulting a dancer.
35. The New York Islanders
Recently Larry Brooks of the NY Post said, "It isn't quite accurate to suggest the Islanders are on a treadmill to obscurity, for the fact of the matter is Charles Wang's franchise long ago arrived at that destination." Brooks noted their fifth consecutive bottom-five finish as evidence.
Well, it's hard to argue with that reasoning—but I can add to it. The Isles haven't made the playoffs since 2006 and lost to the Sabres in five games.
That was their first appearance since 1993, in which they defeated the heavily favored Penguins in Game 7 of the first round. Meaning it's been nearly 20 full years since Islanders fans truly had something to hang their hats on.
34. UCLA Men's Football and Basketball
When did this even happen? The Bruins went from a powerhouse in basketball and a competitive program in football to completely irrelevant in the spans of just a few years.
In 2011, UCLA defaulted into the Pac-12 title game thanks to a postseason ban on USC, with a 6-7 record. They probably wish they hadn't after finishing the season with a 50-0 loss to USC and a 49-31 loss to Oregon in the championship game.
And Ben Howland's basketball team missed the NCAA tournament in 2012 and has been on the decline since 2008. The Bruins have been 56-43 over the last three seasons and Howland's job could be in jeopardy if they miss the dance again in 2013.
33. Kordell Stewart, Recently Retired Quarterback
In May 2012, former quarterback Kordell Stewart said goodbye to the NFL and retired as a Steeler after nearly 20 years since his first game in the league. That would be far more impressive if the last seven years he had actually played in the NFL.
We all thought Stewart retired after his last season with the Ravens in 2005, but apparently he was just chilling out for awhile. Perhaps in hopes that some team would find themselves in need of an aging interception machine whose best years, which weren't that good, were more than a decade behind him.
The popularity of boxing as a sport has been on the sharp decline for years, largely in part to the growing popularity of MMA. Some say the sport is dying a slow death, while others maintain that everything is totally fine.
I say they're both wrong. Boxing is completely dead unless you're Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr.—two of the highest paid athletes in the world. So at least it's relevant to someone.
31. The Pro Bowl
The NFL Pro Bowl has everything a football fan could want: zero effort from the players, a half-empty stadium on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and no competitive advantage for the winning conference.
The Pro Bowl has plumbed to such depths of irrelevance that more and more high profile players are bowing out, while others are openly calling for the game to be canceled outright. With poor ratings by NFL standards, ambivalent players, discussions about moving it to New Orleans, or suspending it, the Pro Bowl is profusely bleeding out relevance.
30. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
It happens every year in the lead up to the NFL draft. Some dude, despite so-so production as a QB during his college career, is elevated to the first round by some team simply because he looks the part.
Blaine Gabbert was both the beneficiary of this annual phenomenon, as well as its victim—landing with the struggling, offensively-challenged Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011.
Facing high expectations, even more doubts, and crummy circumstances, Gabbert bumbled his way to irrelevance in the shadow of fellow first-round QB selections, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder.
Gabbert’s effort landed him at No. 29 on Ron Jaworski’s 2012 QB Countdown and the evaluation was so depressing, I honestly started to feel bad for the kid. It was like Jaws was evaluating bird flu.
29. Johnny Damon, Cleveland Indians
Outfielder Johnny Damon was more than a player for the 2004 Boston Red Sox, with his flowing I-don't-play-by-society's-rules locks, he was the defining symbol of the team of "idiots" who should have lost to the hated Yankees in the AL Championship Series.
His play helped end the "Curse of the Bambino" and elevated Damon to celebrity status. Joining the Red Sox in 2002, he batted .295 over four seasons, with 56 home runs and 299 RBI.
As often seems the case, he was a good player who turned a magic moment into a giant free agent contract with the New York Yankees. The Yankees made Damon cut his signature shoulder length hair, and his individual play steadily declined. After four seasons he moved on to Detroit, then the Tampa Bay Rays, and is now in...Cleveland.
28. The Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t your typical expansion team—with the nucleus of head coach Tom Coughlin, running back Fred Taylor, solid QB Mark Brunell, and a tough defense—and the franchise built a winner quickly.
Despite making the playoffs six times, including two AFC Championship appearances, Jackson always seems to be the team that time forgot. Pro Bowl running back Fred Taylor racked up 11,000 yards in relative obscurity, and Maurice Jones-Drew is following in his footsteps.
Tom Coughlin had to dive into the NYC media buzz and has since won two Super Bowls as an NFL head coach. With a weak pro football market and a ho-hum fan base, the Jaguars have become one of the NFL’s most irrelevant teams.
27. Floyd Landis, Retired Cyclist
For about a minute awhile back Floyd Landis, the former teammate of cyclist Lance Armstrong, was a pretty big deal. After Armstrong's retirement, Landis staged an epic comeback at the 2006 Tour de France and captured the eighth consecutive victory for the Americans.
Unfortunately for Floyd, the fun wouldn't last. In what seemed like 15 minutes after his victory—but in reality was probably a little longer—Landis was accused of doping and stripped of his title.
Landis denied it, but finally let the steroid abusing cat out of the bag in 2010. But, at least with the case against Lance Armstrong becoming an ongoing circus, fading into irrelevancy probably feels like a win for Landis.
26. Brett Favre, Mercifully Retired NFL Quarterback
Future Hall of Fame NFL QB Brett Favre is carving out his own space for irrelevancy. Understandably, it was tough for Favre to cede his job to Aaron Rodgers and despite up-and-down play with the Jets and Vikings, his desire to exact revenge on his old team and his passion on the field kept him relevant.
Now that Favre is likely done as a player, the rest of us should be moving on and talking about his legacy—the records he shattered and the jaw-dropping plays that defined his career. He won’t let us, though. He’s grabbed fans and the media by the collar and insists that we begrudgingly find a way to make him irrelevant.
And, by taking shots at the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl-winning QB that replaced him, he’s succeeding.
25. NBA All-Star Dunk Contest
The NBA All-Star slam dunk contest officially died a boring, prop-filled death in 2012 and was universally derided as a complete waste of time.
24. Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers
There is no better measure of how irrelevant an amazingly talented (but troubled) player has become than when players from his latest team insist on telling the media how he “looks like the young Randy Moss” and is “as fast as ever.”
The 1998 NFL season, when Moss broke records as a rookie, seems like ancient news at this point. Randy Moss, despite issues off the field and inconsistency on it, managed to stay relevant by being a player who at any moment could dominate a game.
During the 2010-2011 season, Moss couldn’t stick to one team, much less truly contribute as starter; he was traded to the Vikings by the Patriots in Week 5, waived four weeks later and picked up by the Titans, where he couldn’t keep his starting job.
23. Charlie Weis, KU Coach
In 2004, Charlie Weis was considered one of the premier offensive coordinators in the NFL—a teacher and mentor to Tom Brady and architect of an offense that helped lead the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories in four years. Weis used his success to leave it all and become the savior of a sinking Notre Dame football program.
Weis was fired after five seasons, and since then bounced from stints at the Kansas City Chiefs and Florida Gators, before landing the head coaching job for Big 12 basement dwellers, the Kansas Jayhawks in 2012.
22. Chad Ochocinco, Miami Dolphins
Much like his former partner in crime Terrell Owens, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has fallen off the map, football-wise, since departing the Bengals after the 2010 season.
He signed with the Patriots in 2011 and, because of his inability to learn the playbook, finished the season with just 15 receptions on the year, by far the worst of his career—13 less than his rookie season in 2001.
Ocho is more likely to make headlines these days for his shenanigans on Twitter than his performance on the field, but the Dolphins recently decided to give the aging wideout one more chance.
Perhaps he'll redeem himself and finish on a high note, but I think it's safe to say his career will never live up to his once lofty Hall of Fame expectations.
21. The New York Mets
If you google the search term "the Mets irrelevant," you'll get results dating back years up until this afternoon.
Financial mismanagement by the Wilpon family, including long-term consequences for involvement in the infamous Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, have assured there will be no relief for Mets fans in the near future—or even in the distant future. The immediate impact was a $56 million dollar slash to the payroll between 2009 and 2012.
And while the 2012 version of the Mets are off to their best start in years, will making the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons truly alter their fortunes? The bottom line is the Mets are second fiddle in their own city. You know, to that other New York baseball team, the one that just took 5 of 6 in the "Subway Series."
20. Jimmer Fredette, Sacramento Kings
Becoming (even temporarily) irrelevant is probably the best thing that could happen to the Kings' 2011 first-round draft pick, and No. 10 overall, Jimmer Fredette. After three seasons at Brigham Young University, Fredette gained national fame after a standout senior season.
But the transition to the NBA has been exceptionally difficult for Fredette, and his stats across the board were nothing short of abysmal. He's been out-shined on every level by Isaiah Thomas, the Kings' 2011 second-round draft pick, and No. 60 overall.
At least Fredette did beat Thomas in a halftime dance contest at a charity game in November 2011.
19. John Daly, PGA
The PGA's resident rotund spectacle John Daly gets a fair amount of attention for a guy who hasn't won anything substantial since 1995. Daly manages to keep himself relevant to a degree with his off-the-course behavior and his on-the-course wardrobe.
But it's clear that whatever relevance he manages to create for himself, absolutely none of it is sports related. Unless you count getting busted reliving yourself on the course "sports related."
18. Tiki Barber, Retired NFL Running Back
Once upon a time, Tiki Barber transformed himself from a promising fumbling-machine, to a Pro Bowl tailback for the New York Giants.
However, this wasn’t his true desire; he aspired to go into broadcasting and, perhaps, even become a television or movie star. Barber is a case-study in how a person can claw their way into relevancy and then—by his own merit—push it aside for bigger dreams.
17. Fabio Capello, Former Manager of England's National Football Team
Fabio Capello resigned as the manager of England's national football team in February 2012. His miserable reign of mediocrity lasted five years and was one of the most stagnant and disappointing stretches of play in decades.
Capello was said to have been an "enforcer" type, whose brash personality rubbed stars like John Terry and Wayne Rooney the wrong way. Despite the lack of success, Capello was one of the highest paid coaches in the sport—earning approximately $9 million per year.
16. The Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are the crown jewel of irrelevant sports franchises that haven’t packed up and moved on to another city in an effort to rekindle their mojo. The Buccos just wrapped up their 19th consecutive losing season and still have another 81-plus games left in 2012 to try to make it an even 20. Pirates fans would be thrilled if they manage to break .500 in 2012, and heads would explode if they win the division or get a wild card spot. However, the stark reality is that an improved Pirates team is still has the 5th lowest payroll in the MLB and while fans can stay hopeful, past precedent says any gains are tenuous and that great players like Andrew McCutchen can price themselves off the club in a heartbeat.
Yeah, the system can be cruel to a team like the Pirates, but without the benefit of the lovable losers label bestowed on the Chicago Cubs, the once proud organization is just a diversion in the “City of Champions.”
15. The NIT
Every year the NCAA tournament holds its annual tournament and the nation comes down with an intense case of March Madness. What many very casual college hoops fans don't know is that the National Invitation Tournament is held by the NCAA during the same time for 32 of the teams that weren't good enough to get into the real tournament.
Can you Imagine if the NFL held a simultaneous playoff with the 13-20th best teams in the league and crowned a champion among them? That's essentially what the NIT is, and it's another example of how the "everyone gets a trophy" mentality has taken over our society.
14. Gregg Williams, NFL Coach (Suspended Indefinitely)
It was not that long ago that Gregg Williams was one of the names tossed around whenever an NFL team needed a new head coach.
The brash, intelligent defensive coordinator was expected to succeed Joe Gibbs as the head coach of the Redskins in 2008, but was passed over for the hapless Jim Zorn—a decision that shocked many. Despite the setback, Williams moved on to New Orleans where his defenses helped win a Super Bowl and dominate the NFC South for three seasons.
In matter of weeks, Williams’ career melted before our eyes; the chief villain of “Bounty Gate” is suspended indefinitely for his role in the scandal and his future as a coach—at any level—in doubt.
13. The Phoenix Coyotes
The Phoenix Coyotes were stopped just short of the NHL Stanley Cup finals in 2012, devastating hundreds of people in the greater Phoenix area. Just kidding, the attendance of the league-owned Coyotes isn't that bad. But it is the worst in the league, and the NHL has been looking for a buyer for the team for the last three years.
So, this is one of those situations where a team facing a perfect storm of existential threats--bancruptcy, league takeover, uncertainty about facilities and location--thrived in the face of adversity. It's a great story, but Phoenix still faces an uncertain future; Greg Jamison's bid for ownership is yet to be finalized and the 20 year lease deal with the city is threatened by a number of political and legal hurdles.
All of this turmoil, in spite of success on the ice, underscores the Coyotes deep rooted relevancy problem--they're a good team in a bad hockey market.
12. Lamar Odom, NBA Free Agent (Sorta)
Personally, I can't blame someone for reacting negatively to news that they're on trading block—it always stings to find out you're not wanted. But former Lakers forward Lamar Odom took a little earned leeway for pouting to new extremes with tearful interviews and a complete breakdown of his play on the court.
Odom never recovered from news that the Lakers were looking to ship him to New Orleans in a deal for Hornets superstar Chris Paul, and when he showed up in Dallas, he was a shell of his former self.
In April 2012, it was announced that the Mavericks had inactivated Odom for the remainder of the season and would look to move him in the off season. Assuming anyone wants to deal with an emotional basket-case whose best days are well behind him.
11. New Jersey
Oh good lord, I'm going to hear it from residents of the Garden State, but there's just no denying the desperate state of professional sports in New Jersey right now.
The Nets are officially moving to Brooklyn and the governor, in typical Jersey fashion, basically shot them the finger on the way out the door.
What's worse is the Devils, fresh off an appearance in the Stanley Cup finals and one of the most successful teams in the NHL over the last two decades, are on the verge of bankruptcy and rank among the worst teams in the league in terms of attendance.
10. Plaxico Burress, NFL Free Agent
After a stint in state prison for shooting himself in the leg by accident, wide receiver Plaxico Burress' signing with the Jets seemed like a natural fit—the Jets were a circus and they needed a clown. Just kidding, they had plenty of clowns.
Burress came into a volatile situation in New York and the Jets' backslide and intense scrutiny of quarterback Mark Sanchez didn't exactly set him up for future success.
The Jets aren't bringing Plax back, and so far it doesn't look like any other team is in the market for his services, either. Burress has expressed interest in playing for the Panthers and teaming up with rookie phenom Cam Newton, but their star receiver Steve Smith has said, straight up, that Burress is not wanted or needed in Carolina.
Not sure when Steve Smith started speaking for management, but apparently it happened at some point.
9. The Charlotte Bobcats
I'm not sure at what point Michael Jordan's career as anything other than the legendary superstar of the Chicago Bulls is going to begin to diminish his legacy. But right now the greatest player in NBA history is the owner of the worst team in NBA history, and people are starting to talk.
The Bobcats are coming off the worst season in league history, thanks in large part to their absolute incompetence at drafting, and any hope of landing Kentucky standout Anthony Davis was dashed when the Hornets ended up with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft.
Unfortunately, it gets worse—MJ recently hired no-name Mike Dunlap as the next head coach, an announcement which came just two weeks after we learned the Bobcats were offering a "buy on get one free" deal on season tickets.
8. Albert Haynesworth, NFL Free Agent
It’s hard to imagine a 6’6”, 350-pound NFL defensive tackle, who once stomped a dude’s head before landing a seven-year, $100 million contract, could ever be described as irrelevant. But, you can never underestimate the power of just not giving a damn; about anything.
Once considered an unblockable combination of size and athleticism, Haynesworth punched his ticket to irrelevancy with an unemployable combination of apathy and obesity.
7. Government Inquiries & Trials
This one speaks for itself.
Stop wasting government time and money on prosecuting athletes for steroid related charges and go back to wasting government time and money on hookers and "fact finding" trips abroad.
6. Bobby Petrino, Karmic Disaster
Bobby Petrino was never a coach who would ever be mistaken for a high-character, principled mentor who gives back to the community. But, he didn’t have to—in football, winning is (almost) everything, so Arkansas welcomed him with open arms despite the fact he was leaving the awful Atlanta Falcons in a cloud of Petrino-dust 13 games into the 2007 season.
After leading the Razorbacks to a 34-17 record in four seasons, Petrino reminded everyone that being an a-hole isn’t something you can just switch off. A late night motorcycle accident uncovered a skeevy affair with a 25-year-old former female athlete—turned employee/lover—and just like that, Petrino is irreparably disgraced and out of football.
5. NFL Player Appeals
The right to due process is something many of us take for granted, most fundamental rights are. It's the legal and constitutional protection that keeps the justice system from jailing you arbitrarily, and/or without access to a fair and speedy trial. First conceptualized in the Magna Carta and later expanded upon in the 5th and 14th clauses of the United States Constitution, due process is the peoples answer to a king or queen tossing inconvenient citizens in a prison indefinitely.
Much like the prison system, the NFL is an institution in itself; with it's own rules and it's own justice. And while the collective bargaining agreement gives an NFL player the right to appeal any discipline taken by the league, all roads lead to one person: The Commish. Roger Goodell determines guilt, levies the punishment, and has the final say on all appeals.
The only relevant part of this process is the man with the..gavel?
4. The Big East
Before Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College left the Big East for a new ACC “super conference,” the Big East was considered the weak link in the BCS. Briefly, the conference started to claw its way back to respectability, on the backs of West Virginia and overachieving newbies Louisville, Connecticut and Cincinnati.
However, the departure of WVU, Pitt, and TCU (before ever actually playing a game as a member), have created a new, more grave existential crisis for the Big East as a BCS conference.
When you have to ask Temple to please come back, after booting the school for being awful, then you are a mid-major posing as a BCS conference.
3. Jose Canseco, Retired MLB Outfielder
Performance-enhancing drugs helped Jose Canseco became an All-Star slugger and when the MLB and Congress began cracking down on steroids, he turned his chemical career-booster (and the scandal surrounding it) into a tell-all book implicating Mark McGuire and other former teammates.
So when the controversy began to fade and his baseball career was over, all that remained was the man himself. Since his final season in the MLB, Canseco has stayed busy in those two realms where the irrelevant thrive: reality television and Twitter.
2. Terrell Owens, NFL Free Agent
It seems people have finally tuned out former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens for good.
After years of erratic behavior, locker room destruction and trying the patience of almost everyone in America, T.O. was finally deemed persona non grata in 2011—despite still having the physical potential to deliver on the field.
In October 2011, T.O.'s former agent Drew Rosenhaus staged a workout for his client with not a single NFL team in attendance, and it just got sadder from there.
T.O. shocked when he signed with the no-name Allen Wranglers, appeared on Dr. Phil to discuss his failure to pay child support, admitted that he was "broke" and "in hell" in an interview with GQ, and was recently cut by the Wranglers for reasons being disputed by Owens.
1. Manny Ramirez, MLB Free Agent
In April 2011 it was reported that slugger Manny Ramirez, who was facing a 100-game suspension, abruptly announced his retirement from MLB after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs…again. Although it was sad to see such a once great talent go out like that, the general sentiment among fans and the media alike was "good riddance."
Never again would we be subjected to the ungrateful arrogance of "Manny being Manny," or so we thought. The A's ruined that dream by signing Ramirez to a deal in February 2012, but "Manny being Manny" repaired it by requesting (and receiving) his release in June 2012.
There was some speculation that he could return to the Indians, but president Mark Shapiro said the "changes of that are not real good."