20 Things in Sports You'll Never See Again
As in life, in the sports world everything is always coming and going. That's just the natural order of things and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. So if you're one of those people that are irrationally adverse to change, professional sports can be a frustrating beast.
Franchises are often relocated or are created out of thin air through league expansion. Players are drafted into the league each year as another class of players are ushered into retirement. Uniforms are in constant flux; colors, cut and even the company who manufactures them.
Sometimes what's old becomes new again, as in the case of the NFL throwback uniform. But many people, things and practices in sports are retired, never to be seen again. Here are 20 things in sports you'll never see again.
20. Andy Reid in Eagles Green...in 2013
Eagles long-time head coach Andy Reid has been on tenuous ground in Philadelphia for the last few seasons, but beyond fan anger, few ever believed his job was truly in jeopardy.
Even after the "Dream Team" debacle of 2011, capped by DeSean Jackson's bad attitude and turd over a year because of displeasure with his contract, Reid's job seemed relatively safe compared to many coaches around the league. In 2012, however, things changed dramatically.
The Eagles surged toward the end of 2011 and were absolutely expected to continue that trajectory in 2012 and compete not just for a division title, but a Super Bowl Championship. Well…things haven't exactly gone that way…10 games into the season and the Eagles are in the basement of the NFC East with a 3-7 record. And the question no longer seems to be if Andy Reid will be fired, but when.
Reid has made it clear that he's not going to quit, he's not going to give up on quarterback Michael Vick and basically it will be business as usual until ownership gives him his official walking papers—which are coming any day now.
19. Dennis Miller Involved in Sports
At least in any official capacity. Although, there's always the chance that he'll show up to a sporting event randomly to yell about liberals or the government or confuse people with his lengthy, sarcastic anecdotes with little to no payoff.
Dennis Miller's stint as the color man on Monday Night Football was largely considered one of the biggest disasters in the history of the live broadcast. A history absolutely littered in disasters—so that's really saying something.
18. Chipper Jones in a Braves Uniform
Future Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones called it a career at the end of the 2012 season, although not exactly on the terms he would have liked. (Looking at you infield fly rule) Jones played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, all of which with the Braves.
In the era of free agency and the promises of monster contracts luring players from their teams, Jones is one of the few high profile players of this generation that stayed true to a single team throughout his entire career. Braves fans, and baseball fans in general, will certainly miss Jones in 2013 and for a long time to come.
But don't worry about ol' Chipper, he's already found purpose in retirement. Jones recently made headlines for going on a Twitter rant questioning director Olive Stone's take on the Kennedy assassination and sharing his own thoughts on the matter. Let's hope he writes a book.
Remember way back to 2001 when football was X-TREME and Tommy Maddox was king? Neither do I. That's probably because the league was founded by WWE owner Vince McMahon and only lasted one sad season.
Pretty much everything about the XFL was a disaster, the details of which could fill a slideshow all unto itself. Except for that nobody would read it. That being said, if you were born in the late 90's and are desperate to learn the details of one of the biggest failed sports experiments of a generation, feel free to read up on it on Wikipedia.
Just remember, the Lingerie Football League lasted two more seasons than the XFL in America. Personally, I love the LFL, but the American public found part-time models playing football in their underwear more legitimate than the XFL.
16. Phil Jackson Coaching the Lakers
When the Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown in November 2012, the entire sports world was abuzz with the "will they or won't they" question as to whether or not Los Angeles would bring in the legendary Phil Jackson to replace him.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson gave several public and impassioned pleas for Jim Buss to hire Jackson, the man with 11 NBA championship rings to his name between his tenures with the Lakers and the Bulls. Buss gave Jackson a courtesy meeting, likely to appease the fans, as well as current and former players, but it seemed he had no intention of ever bringing him back into the fold.
When it was announced the Lakers had hired former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, emotions were mixed. Fans were disappointed. Jackson was shocked. Johnson was in mourning. Kobe Bryant asserted that his former head coach was under-appreciated. And Pau Gasol said that Jackson coaching the Lakers "wouldn't work."
With all the uncertainty ahead for Los Angeles Sports, one thing seems certain: We've seen the last of Phil Jackson coaching the Lakers.
15. A Big East Team in the BCS Championship
From its inception in 1998, the BCS has suffered from a built-in controversy called the Big East. As one of the “Big Six” conferences with an automatic bid, it was obvious that powerhouses Miami and Virginia Tech had a much easier road to the championship than any member of the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC or PAC-10.
While schools like Florida and Oklahoma faced a grinding conference schedule, the Hurricanes and Hokies worried about each other, while running roughshod (with a few exceptions) over Rutgers, Temple, and Pitt.
As a result, three out of the first five BCS National Championship games featured one appearance by Virginia Tech and two by Miami—and went 1-2. So when the Great Exodus of 2005 sent the Big East’s top two teams to the ACC, along with Boston College, it was virtually assured that the conference would never again send a team to the BCS title game.
Since realignment, the closest any Big East school has come was in 2007, when ascendant conference bully WVU, squandered their opportunity, losing to 28 point underdog Pitt in the 100th “Backyard Brawl.”
14. LeBron James Playing in Cleveland
Superstar LeBron James was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, and was drafted first overall by the Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Draft. The hometown hero played his first seven seasons in the league in Cleveland before entering into free agency in 2010.
After nearly a year of full time debate about whether or not LeBron would remained in Cleveland, King James finally decided to make the big announcement. He decided the best way to rip the still beating hearts out of the fans that had loved him for so long was via a one hour special on ESPN in which he announced that he was "taking (his) talents to South Beach."
Obviously that didn't sit well in Ohio and James remained shockingly unsympathetic about the whole ordeal until in early 2012 he hinted that he could see himself one day playing in Cleveland again. Maybe he was serious or just trying to be nice, but either way, nobody seemed receptive to the idea.
Lebron will never make a return to the Cavaliers.
13. Horror Movie Hockey Masks...In Hockey
And other minimalist sporting equipment in general.
Considering we're in the era of a newfound emphasis on player safety, it's stunning to see the equipment (or lack of equipment) that professional athletes used to play with. Football and hockey have always been high impact, full contact sports whose popularity was due, at least in part, to the violent nature of the games.
Back in the day football players used to wear mostly leather padding to protect themselves from injury—can you even imagine? Sure players were smaller back then, but the fundamentals of the game have always involve hitting.
And in the NHL, it wasn't even required to wear a helmet until the 1980 season—and everyone in the league prior to that was grandfathered in…meaning anyone playing prior would not be forced to wear one. There were players that went helmet-free until the mid-late 90's.
We won't be seeing anything like that ever again.
12. Another Owner Like the Late, Great Al Davis
The last decade the late Al Davis spent as owner of the Raiders were definitely not his best years, in fact, they were his worst. Poor drafting, a coaching carousel and an inability to adjust to the current realities of the NFL sent his precious Raiders on downward spiral that it remains stuck in to this day.
But anyone with even a vague working knowledge of the NFL and its history knows full well that Davis' legacy is actually a storied one that extends far beyond the man we saw in his later years. Davis first came to the Raiders as coach and general manager of the franchise in 1962 at age 33 and went on to help shape and grow the NFL into the game we know today.
And he did it in a way that nobody else ever could. My favorite writer, Hunter S. Thompson, once said: "Al Davis makes Darth Vader look like a wimp." High praise from one of the most amazing writers of a generation, and a certified badass himself.
11. FoxTrax: The NHL's Glowing Puck
The NHL has been struggling to find its footing and its audience for decades. Despite the currently lockout, at least the league has made some strides in recent years; the salary cap, for instance. But as a true blue hockey fan, I am the first to admit that there have been some major missteps along the way.
One of the worst missteps came after the Fox network acquired the rights to broadcast NHL games in 1994. Apparently the network received a number of complaints from girlfriends or wives forced to watch the game with their significant others, and some errant idiots, that the puck was just too difficult to see; which took away from their enjoyment of the game.
Fox's answer to the "problem" was FoxTrax: A puck stuffed with some kind of technology that allowed it to create a beam of light when moving at fast pace. It lasted almost two years and is literally one of the worst things (that didn't involve an untimely death) that has ever happened in sports. Ever.
10. Patriots vs. Colts Rivalry with Brady vs. Manning
The riveting rivalry of Colts versus Patriots/Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady has resulted in some of the most hotly anticipated games of the last decade, often with the biggest of stakes on the line.
It's rare that you get to watch two living legends, and surefire Hall of Fame quarterbacks, duel it out so many times—which both in the peaks of their respective careers, no less.
But all that came to an end in 2012 when Colts owner Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning announced at a joint press conference that the face of their franchise for over a decade would no longer be the face of their franchise.
Manning signed with the Broncos, the Colts drafted Andrew Luck and Brady has already played both of the in 2012—and beat them both—but it just wasn't the same.
9. Pat Summit Coaching
In August 2011 tragedy struck college sports, the University of Tennessee family and, above all, the family of the legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, as well as the woman herself. It was then that she revealed that a doctor had recently informed her that she had the symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer's disease; one of the most devastating and debilitating diseases one could face.
At the time Summitt was just 59-years-old and balked at the notion of being forced into retirement and had the initial urge to "drop (her neurologist) with one punch." She would go on to coach through the end of the 2012 season before finally accepting that her storied career, which included 1,098 games won and 8 NCAA titles, had come to an abrupt and devastating end.
There were conflicting reports as to whether Summitt felt "forced" out by the Vols or went willingly, but the fact is that she went. And women's sports, which hadn't been the same before her, would never be the same after her.
8. Michael Phelps on the Olympic Medal Stand
If legendary American swimmer Michael Phelps' retirement claims are to be believed, the Summer Olympics in London in 2012 were the last time you will ever see him with representing the U.S. on the podium at the Olympics.
Some people aren't convinced we've seen the last of him in a Speedo, but count me among those who believe Phelps has hung up his goggles for good. He's been the single most dominant in his sport for nearly a decade and during a post-Olympics interview had this to say about his career: "I accomplished every goal I ever wanted to….I've done everything I ever wanted to…and, at that point, it's just time to move on."
That doesn't sound like someone who is unsure of his future. This is definitely the end of an era.
7. The Old Tiger Woods
There's a sad fact in sports that has been hard to deal with, but it's time to accept it now: The "Old" Tiger Woods is not coming back. Whether or not Tiger is "back" or "not back" has been a running debate among the sports media and golf fans for years now, because he is literally the only thing that matters to most of them in golf.
The only story that gets any other traction is who will become the "next" Tiger Woods. Which, again, is Tiger Woods related. Some say he's back, some say he's not back and some say he's not back until he wins a major. It's all ridiculous. Woods enjoyed almost a decade of unimaginable and unparalleled success, the greatest in the sports history.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of any single individual in any sports history. But age, health and the stress of scandal and the demands of a family have caught up with Tiger—and it's not temporary. He's still an excellent golfer. One of the best in the world. But he will never again be the only dominating force in the global game.
6. A Hockey Player Like Wayne Gretzky
I'm actually a Mario Lemieux girl, but not so much that I can't appreciate or recognize the unparalleled greatness of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky. Aptly nicknamed "The Great One," Gretzky's uncanny ability to stay healthy and remain shockingly productive until the tail end of his career puts in him a class above everyone else to play the game.
Longevity is a blessing in any sport and Gretzky had it in spades. The Great One also had a talent from the game that has never come close to being matched (long-term), which is the reason he holds or shares 61 NHL records; 40 in the regular season and 15 for playoff and All-Star play.
Some of which may be beaten or matched, but many of which will remain for generations, and some of which will remain forever.
5. Lance Armstrong Cycling (Competitively)
In 2012 the final chapter on the Lance Armstrong story was written and it was an ugly one, to say the least. The seven time winner of the Tour de France (I know we're not supposed to say that anymore, but he did win those) had long been the subject of doping whispers, though for years they never amounted to much publicly.
But over the last two years the whispers built to a roar until the bottom dropped out on Armstrong's heroic image and passionate denials once and for all in October 2012. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had been investigating Armstrong for years and, in the face of what looks to be insurmountable evidence, the cycling legend finally gave up his fight against them.
Armstrong has since been stripped of his Tour de France titles, lost millions in sponsorship deals and has become a global pariah in the sport; receiving a lifetime ban.
4. Another True NFL Dynasty
There was some debate about whether or not the Patriots of the early 2000's were a dynasty with their three Super Bowl Championships in just four years. Anyone who questions their dynasty in the infancy of the salary cap era is either wrong, or a Jets fan, or both.
The NFL salary cap, which the Patriots mastered very early on while other teams were struggling, has created such a level of parity in the league that it's hard to imagine a team even repeating these days—let alone winning three or four in five or six years.
Before the cap, each decade saw a dynasty. In the 70's there was the Steelers, in the 80's and early 90's there was the 49ers and in the mid-90's there was the Cowboys. That era is over. Officially.
3. NCAA Sanctions Like the PSU Sanctions
In the wake of the sex abuse scandal involving former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and the release of the Freeh report, which concluded there was a longstanding and widespread coverup aimed at protecting the reputation of the university and the football program, not to mention the legacy of Joe Paterno.
Many in the sports media, though obviously appalled by the situation, speculated that the criminal element and the ongoing court proceedings put the scandal out of the realm and overall reach of the NCAA. That seemed to be the thinking of the majority of PSU students as well, judging by their reactions, which were aired live, as the sanctions were handed down.
The university incurred a $60 fine, vacated 112 wins from 1998-2011, received a four-year postseason ban, a loss of 20 scholarships, they allowed players to transfer prior to the start of the 2012 season with no penalty and the Penn State was put on an athletic five year probation.
The sanctions made the SMU death penalty, the most severe until PSU, look like a day at an amusement park.
2. Pitching a Perfect Game on Acid
Pitching a no-hitter in baseball has actually become a much more routine event in MLB in recent years. That's not to say that it's not still a tremendous achievement, but from 1901-2009 a no-no was pitched once in every 794 games, and from 2010-2012 one has been pitched every 414 games.
That's a shocking uptick in the last two years but, as baseball fans know, stats tend to level off on the long run. But there's one no-hitter that doesn't properly register on the stat sheet: Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis' no-no that he managed while on LSD. Ellis has said that he lost track of the days and accidentally dropped acid at noon, thinking it was Thursday, only to find out he had to pitch six hours later.
If acid wasn't the drug of your generation, I assure you that the effects of the drug las well beyond six hours, and Ellis was well under the influence through all nine innings of the most infamous no-hitter in baseball history.
Considering you can get suspended by MLB from chugging cough syrup for a cold these days, there's absolutely no chance a pitcher will throw a no-hitter on acid ever again.
1. NBA 100 Point Game
The anniversary of certain sports achievements often sparks debate about which is the greatest achievement in sports history. I'm not going to argue that the legendary Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game for the Philadelphia Warriors in 1962 is the greatest ever, although I personally believe it is, because that's irrelevant.
Chamberlain's 100 point game made this list because it will, quite simply, never happen again. The game was different when Chamberlain played and Chamberlain was a different kind of player and I just don't believe the circumstances in the NBA today exist that would allow something like this to happen. The closest any player has ever gotten to reaching 100 was Lakers legend Kobe Bryant who netted 81 points in a game against the Raptors in 2006.
Many people have cited that as "proof" that it could be done, but Bryant is one of the most notorious ball hogs of a generation and, honestly, 19 points short isn't even that close. It means he scored almost 20 percent less than Chamberlain. That's the difference between an A and a C in school.
Wanna Know What Else Will Never Happen Again in Sports?
For more discussion of what will never happen again in sports, you need to follow me, Amber Lee, on Twitter. Follow @blamberr