So, apparently the world is going to end in 2012.
The Mayans predict it in their long-count calendar.
Countless theories have been written about the end of time, and with good reason. Talk about the payday you'd get for being right about 2012!
Wait. What good does a huge, one-day payday do?
I smell rip-off. I think I can see Tony Little, Chuck Norris or Billy Mays' soul trying to sell me infomercial gear in the post-apocalypse.
Speaking of something not happening before the end of the world, the idea hit me: What, in sports, might be cut short by the supposed 2012 end of times?
Well, I'll give you a clue. Brett Favre made another B/R list, folks.
So sit back, sip your coffee, clutch the rosary, and find out what the end of the world in 2012 will mean in sports.
It's supposedly a terrible idea.
Weather, and what comes with it, being a possible factor in the NFL's crown jewel, the national holiday of sorts, the Super Bowl.
Will the 2014 Super Bowl (scheduled to be played in the newly-constructed Meadowlands Stadium) make it's way northeast before the end of days?
The NFL's analysts and historians alike look back to the "Ice Bowl" and have fond memories? I'm sure if they played in the game it'd be more accurate to call them "cold memories" but fond nonetheless. It's widely considered one of the best games in NFL history, won by the Green Bay Packers and Bart Starr over the Dallas Cowboys.
It was so cold, it prompted Vince Lombardi to run the ball with his "Starr" quarterback with just 16 seconds left.
I quote, "Well, run it and lets get the hell out of here."
Announcer Frank Gifford commented on the broadcast "I'm going to take a bite of my coffee" at one point.
To be blunt, it was one hell of a cold, nasty game.
Since that game, the NFL has turned to domes and warm weather locales to host its favorite moneymaker.
Some would say, that the odds of a cold weather climate (like NY, Green Bay, etc.) ever hosting a modern Super Bowl have worse odds than hell freezing over.
Well, 2012 believers in some circles think the cataclysmic event that ends the world will be a polar reversal, meaning the weather and climates will switch. Will hell freeze over? Maybe New York would be a warm weather locale, post 2012.
The world'll be over anyways, so what's the difference?
American soccer has always been rushed. Wasn't the big turning of the tides supposed to come in the 70's and the following decades?
So much for that.
I'd never been more let down than by the last Toy Story movie.
The MLS is sadly being rushed, and judged against its peers, the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and NCAA Division one sports.
"I don't think the MLS will ever become truly popular in America. Americans don't care for soccer like they do football, or baseball."
You could hear that very quote, although admittedly it's not a direct quote, from any US sports fan. No one is willing to truly give the league its due, it seems.
Not true with Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson, who's squad is making a preseason tour through the US playing MLS teams before it's Premier League schedule.
"The progress is obvious," Ferguson said. "We realized that in the game against Philadelphia and just as much against Kansas City. There's a massive improvement in the organization and standard of play. That would be the reason I think they're ready to play the best teams in Europe now."
Strong, strong words from a prominent English club coach.
I'll put it like this. Where did the NFL fit in in 1934? (about 15 years into "professional football's" existence in the US)
It was FAR FAR FAR behind the MLB in popularity. C'mon. Watch Babe Ruth, or watch some leatherheads.
That same thinking is at play here.
Look how the NFL is now. It's arguably the NO. 1 sport in the US.
The same, if given proper time (and barring a world-ending apocalypse) could be true for the MLS. It's only in its 15th season of play, and the league has been steadily increasing the salary cap and its teams.
Both are great signs of health for a sports league, while the Texas Rangers are now operated by the MLB, and the Phoenix Coyotes were saved from bankruptcy by the NHL.
The MLS offers a clean, attractive game. Straightup soccer, with a few bright stars like Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry, and is playing all its cards right as the league develops into maturity.
If not for an end of days coming, i'd predict the MLS to have a seat with the "Big Five" in about 10-15 years. All it would take is a transcendent athlete that fans could follow through college and into the MLS, a hype machine for the game so to speak.
The New York Yankees last dynasty, built around key players Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, dominated in the late 90's, winning it all in 1996, 1998, and 2000. Baseball analysts would consider the 114-game winner Yankees team of 1998 as one of the greatest teams of all time.
However, the sands of time are not kind, especially to dynasties. After the Yankees' 2000 World Series win, the Yanks would go without another ring until the magical 2009 season, where nearly everything fell into place according to plan for the team, who beat the defending champion Phillies, four games to two.
Now, with key players Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Mark Texeira, and Robinson Cano, the Yankees and their ever-growing budget are chasing after soon-to-be free agent Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee who could help Sabathia and Co. anchor another three-ring dynasty.
...except for the fact the world is going to end in 2012.
Here's to hoping they can capture their 2009 success a few more times before 2012.
Following a myriad of allegations of violations centered around high-profile athletes Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo, (basketball) the USC Trojans were hit very hard by sanctions handed down by the NCAA.
They were punished by the NCAA with scholarship restrictions and a ban from postseason play for two years. Coincidentally, their postseason ban will run out just in time for the end of the world.
Gotta be a hard job recruiting for USC being Lane Kiffin, seeing as he already has had two jobs where he found himself in hot water, (Oakland with the NFL's Raiders, and in Tennessee with the Volunteers) and now the ban because of violations under a previous AD and coaching staff.
What's he going to tell a prospective five-star recruit?
"Come play for us! You'll get no postseason play or hype, and we've been sanctioned before so any wins you participate might get vacated too!"
I think I'd fax them back their letter of intent, unsigned.
Might the end of the world coming before the end of their postseason ban be fitting justice for handfuls of violations and improper conduct?
Global karma thinks so.
You can file this one in the cabinet of "Worst Ideas in Sports History."
In baseball, they play 162 games.
In the NBA, they play 82 games.
In the NFL, they've been playing 16 games since 1978.
For these leagues, records of performance are pretty easily compared.
We can look at Michael Jordan's 30 PPG career scoring average and hold it in high regard and compare the current NBA greats to it. We can take Ty Cobbs' astounding .366 batting average and measure the best modern hitters against it.
However, if the NFL is to go forward with extending the regular season to 18 games, it will be one of the dumbest ideas ever.
Peyton Manning will regularly eclipse 5,000 passing yards, when 4,000 was a gold standard for about the last 25 or so years.
Chris Johnson will have a legitimate chance at 2,500 rushing yards, and LaDainian Tomlinson's single-season touchdown record of 31 scores? That won't make it five years either.
Let alone the fact that players careers will be shortened by the extended season, and increased risk of injury.
But, as the NFL has shown time and time again, the all mighty dollar is what drives their business, and they'll do whatever they can to make that extra cash waiting to be made.
Just like the NBA needed Lakers-Celtics, the NHL needs the Pens and Caps to be contending for the Cup every year.
What better publicity or epic match up than the Penguins and Capitals, Crosby and Ovechkin going head to head?
Crosby's a flashy scoring threat anytime on the ice, while Ovechkin is the rockstar heavy hitting scorer who knows a thing or two about their rivalry.
It's all anyone (who is covering the games between these two teams) can talk about—Crosby Vs. Ovechkin. Who'll be the greater player when it's all said and done, and what a great matchup their different styles of play would make on the ice in a Stanley Cup would be.
I, for one, am not too big on watching the NHL, but i've enjoyed the games I've seen between these two and it'd make an interesting debate, who the best of these two will be once the last game is played?
My money's on Ovechkin, he seems more physical in nature, and I think that gives him the edge, as well as his ability to do some ridiculous things offensively.
My evidence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqCgwpkOpUo&feature=related.
I've never seen anything quite like that, and it just impresses me more every time I see the goal.
I've yet to see Crosby pull that out.
But then again, he beat Team USA with his own great shot in the Olympics.
To each his own, B/R. Debate.
What can anybody say about Pete Rose's situation other than "what a shame?"
He's one of the greatest players of all time, and probably won't live to see the day he's inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He's more than deserving, sporting 160 HR, .303 BA, 1314 RBI, A 1973 NL MVP, he was the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, and not to mention his 17x All-Star appearances and two Gold Gloves..
Now, the reason Pete Rose won't or hasn't yet gotten into the Hall of Fame, is because of his off field and post-playing years issues.
As the manager of the Reds, he was busted for gambling.
He was given a lifetime ban, which he has appealed with no success, and because of this, his career and once good name have been tossed in the dirt.
There's no doubt he made a mistake, betting on baseball, or other sports.
If you're a player or manager at the MLB level, you don't go around betting on your coworkers.
However, he only bet on the Reds, and the Reds to win.
It's unclear if he ever bet the Reds' spreads (to win by a certain amount, or to keep the losing score within X number of runs of their opponent) which is kind of an issue. If he was betting on the spreads as well, whats to say he didn't leave a gassed pitcher in a bases loaded situation in for one more pitch, and benefited a couple times from a three run double against the Reds?
That's where things become foggy, and people begin to take his gambling more seriously. He was gambling with direct knowledge and influence of and over the games he wagered on.
However, Rose's career and life shouldn't be defined by his misgivings, and I really do think someday Pete Rose will be in the Hall, but the Mayans won't give him enough time, as there's no way he makes it in before 2012..
We all thought Brett Favre was coming back after 2007's NFC Championship game loss, right?
We were wrong. He retired, surprisingly, saying he'd given all he could to the game of football.
Well, he was wrong that time.
Favre came back to the NFL, this time to the New York Jets after being traded from the Packers, and was on a mission: prove everyone wrong, and win a Super Bowl in the process.
That part didn't go so well.
Favre started the season on an 8-3 record and coupled with some great performances individually, like his 6 touchdown game against the 49ers.
But, like I said, Favre was on a mission.
He played so hard, that his arm failed him.
He (secretly) played injured for the remainder of the season, as the Jets and Favre's torn bicep tendon faded in the AFC.
Fast forward again, to that offseason. Favre retires from the Jets.
Notice I said "from the Jets," and not "from the NFL again?"
We all knew it was coming. Favre wanted to be a Minnesota Viking the minute he was told he'd have to compete with Aaron Rodgers to be the starting quarterback, and that if he did show up in camp, the PR mess would be so terrible that Favre received a text message from GM Ted Thompson saying "You'll get me fired."
If that's what Favre wanted—to get Thompson back—all he would have had to do, was simply show up to camp.
Favre doesn't have the ego and vendetta against Thompson that the media portrays, however.
If you look closely at what Favre had said in his tell-all interview with Fox News' Gretta Van Susteren, he didn't really say anything too damning of the Packers or Thompson mostly that he felt wronged, and both sides had parts in the nasty situation.
So, after his retirement from the Jets and all of the hoopla between 2007 and 2008, Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
Raise your hand if you saw that coming....
Alright, moving on.
Favre played a career-best 2009-10 season, and led the Vikings to an NFC Championship Game berth, but in the end, his season ended the way his last passes with both the Packers and Jets had.
It's in all likely-ness that Favre is going to return in 2010. He's 41 in October, but an offense sporting Sidney Rice, Adrian Peterson, Visanthe Shiancoe and Percy Harvin can make Favre feel young again, entering his 20th NFL season.
Unless Favre retires after this season, we won't see a Favre retirement (for good) until the world ends. The 2012 season runs past December 21st (the day it all goes down) so a May retirement would not be happening.
Yes, you read it right. I see Favre playing another year after this season as well...
Yes, there can only be one.
Who is the greatest?
Well, scoring would suggest MJ is the better of the two, having scored 30 PPG for his career, while Kobe sits at a still All-Star level 25.3 PPG.
Titles? Jordan, again, has the edge. 6 NBA Championships to Kobe's five rings.
So, in what way can Kobe surpass Michael?
Simple. Win more rings than him. Provided, that he be the main reason they win.
Sure, Jordan had Pippen, and that definitely helped, but no one questioned who the best player on the court was for his six NBA Championships.
Bryant however, must silence the fans who claim Shaq is the only reason the Lakers won, and that without a Hall of Fame big, Kobe would have two or three rings.
Truth be told though, we can only make arguments just for the sake of it, because there's we'll ever see Kobe be better than MJ. He'd need to at least eclipse Jordan's six rings.
To get seven, he'd need to win in 2012, and that can't happen as the Finals would be in June, 2013.
**Author's Note** It is understood the Lakers could Three-peat ('09, '10, '11) But I don't think that will happen, as the NBA is becoming more competitive in both conferences **
Michael's the best there ever was.
With one swing of the bat, Barry Bonds swapped places in history with Hank Aaron, hitting the record-breaking home run number 756.
With one injection of steroids, Bonds forever tainted his personal accomplishments, and the baseball record books.
Who knows for how long Bonds was using steroids. And frankly, who cares?
It makes no difference if he tried steroids for just one month, hit 14 homers during that month time frame, and never used again. 14 homers were ill-earned.
As one group of fans heckled Bonds at a Giants game during his home run chase to Aaron's record, they held a sign "Babe Did It On Beer and Hot Dogs" over him in the outfield.
Imagine if Ruth HAD taken steroids.
He played in an era where it was showboating to hit loads of homers.
Hank Aaron played in an era with death threats and harassment daily, all the while hitting his way past Babe.
Bonds, however, was not as noble in his pursuit.
Reportedly jealous of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire's home run binge, he began abusing steroids, to play level with them.
It's simple, to understand Bonds' logic.
If he didn't hit the same level of homers and tally similar RBI numbers as Sosa and McGwire did, his wallet would take a hit, as his place on the top players list would slide a bit.
He turned to steroids even though he was a Hall of Fame quality player anyways, and the rest was history.
Aaron, the previous record holder of baseball's most precious statistic, has been silent, but clearly disapproving of Bonds' supplanting him atop the list of long-ball artists.
For years, Bonds was suspected of steroids use, and ever since he'd passed Aaron, the first name off of people's tongue in the topic of "Who'll pass Barry Bonds to make the record clean again?" was Alex Rodriguez, of the New York Yankees.
He too, was outed for steroid usage.
Now, purists cling to the sweet swing of Cardinals first baseman, Albert Pujols, to do some housecleaning on the record books.
He's well on pace to do so, but it won't be by 2012, so we might as well swallow the pill known as the steroid era.